River Seven, Yorkshire

Elusive fish finally succumb to the good old emerger


A pretty straightforward plan today. Head up to the topmost beat of the Seven at Spaunton Moor, wang on a couple of heavy nymphs on a French leader and hoik out 20 fish. Or maybe 30.

Conditions were nigh on perfect. The water is still on the low side, but the overnight rain seemed to have freshened things up a bit and the faint hint of colour would surely seal the deal. The river looked absolutely stunning:

Given the tightness of this small river, a smaller rod than perhaps ideal was in order – the 7.5ft 3wt Burns, with only nylon on the spool. Well, so much for the plan. The fish were having none of it. I fished hard for over an hour with nothing to show save a couple of tiddlers that didn’t set the hook. Bah.

So I re-tackled with floating line, furled leader and, to start with, a small deer hair emerger to see if I could tempt something – few fish were rising.

The deer hair floated nicely. For a bit. Then it started to sink once it had been in the lumpier water and I couldn’t be fagged to keep drying it. So it was back to the old faithful foam-headed emerger. Once that was on I could feel the confidence re-establish itself, and sure enough after two casts into the head of the pool here:

I had the first little fish of the day – and most welcome it was:

Another arrived in short measure:

The fly started to disintegrate after that so I replaced it with a similar, albeit with an oversized ‘wing’ if that is what you can call the foam ball. It’s not pretty and I wasn’t sure that it would be too unsubtle, but you can pass it through the roughest of churning water and it still floats like a cork. Anyway, the fish didn’t seem to mind, and I picked up another three little ones (to be honest they’re all more or less little in this part of the river):

And that was it: three-and-a-half hours hard fishing produce five little wild browns. I’ll take that.

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  1. Nice looking trout Simon. The emerger is my favourite fly, particularly a deer hair tied by a mate of mine. Always manages to raise a fish.

    1. Thanks Jon. Actually it was reading your blog that inspired me to tie up some DHEs. I really like the look of them, nifty little fly. I will persevere!

  2. Enjoyed the post , as always Simon . I went up to the Lower Rye House beat last night to catch the evening rise. Except it didn’t happen ! Hardly a dimple in what seemed ideal conditions. We all have ‘ our go to flies ‘ , which as you write give confidence. Mine , no surprise , 16-18 PTN ! Ken

    1. Thank Ken. Bloody fish never do what you want them to. At least your go-to fly is an elegant classic. Mine’s a disgraceful mutant.

  3. Great post Simon. Was that the very top of the beat going up above stepping stones?

    1. Ta Chris. I started about 60-80 yards below the stepping stones, nymphing all the way up with nothing to show for it. Switched to dry above the stones and had my modest success thereon. Went a fair way up the beat – not sure where it ends!

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