River Seven, Yorkshire

Seven heaven!


Fly fishing for wild brown trout can be a funny old game and things rarely go exactly to plan. The water’s not right, the wind is in your face, the fish aren’t cooperating, your casting is all to pot, you lose your glasses, fall in the river, etc, etc. For such an apparently sedate pastime it can be remarkably frustrating and, on occasion, downright dangerous.

But once in a while everything – everything – comes together and then it is unalloyed bliss. Well, today was one of those days.

The lower beat of the Seven looked in terrific nick as I got into the water downstream of Lodge Farm at around 11.30. There was the merest breath of wind in my favour, the water was nicely coloured and at a perfect depth after the recent rain, mayfly were coming off and fish were rising.

Even the banksides were chipping in with floral displays worthy of Chelsea:

Before setting off I had toyed with the idea of tackling up the 10ft 3wt with a team of spiders and fishing traditional north country style. In the end I chickened out and instead took the 7.5ft wt. I did put three spiders on in the first instance, but after 20 minutes casting to rising fish with no success abandoned that idea and stuck on a big dry mayfly pattern. This too was ignored. I worked may way through the fly box – F-fly (I struggle with CDC. My fly sunk like a stone), tiny duster, various emergers. They weren’t interested. It was starting to pull out what little hair I have left.

I flogged away like this for almost two hours, eventually settling on a mayfly emerger pattern of my own making:

Then, as I came round a sharp bend in the river things began to happen. Mayfly were still coming off consistently and in good numbers and fish were definitely taking them. I cast to a rise in this stretch

And was into the first fish of the day:

That is a pretty good fish for this river. And after that they kept coming, some really nice browns in the 12-13″ range:

It was fantastic. These bigger ones were interspersed with the usual 7-8″ fish, but the action came thick and fast. After having failed to tempt a single fish for the first two hours, in the second two hours I brought 20-odd fish to hand and missed half a dozen more. I still had a few hundred yards of river to fish, but a rumbling tummy told me to cash in my chips while I was still ahead. That was the best day’s fishing I can remember for a long time and the water was simply stunning. Pure, unadulterated bliss.

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  1. Fab post Simon. I’m just back in from a couple of hours at the top end above the sewage farm. 5 fish and plenty of mayfly coming off. Bliss like you say, report for the website on the way tomorrow.

  2. Thanks John. Some pictures of decent fish to post for once, though not quite in the class of yours…

  3. Well done Simon , brilliant angling . I had a similar day on the Rye yesterday, except it lasted all of the day and not just the first 2 hours. I did try mixing it up , but did not have a self tied grey Wulff looking emerger ? The gang of chaffinches, however , had no problems. Lazily picked off the mayfly all day. Wonderful. Ken

  4. Thanks Ken, not so sure about the brilliant angling, more like the fish took their eye off the ball.

  5. Thanks Dave. Yeah, I reckon I’ve used up all my astrological credit now!

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