Oxfolds Beck, North Yorkshire

One small beauty can’t banish the blues


To Oxfolds Beck, the gurgling little chalkstream that used to be heaving with fish but where pollution has taken a heavy toll. There are some fish still, some large, but not many. Ever the optimist I cling to the hope that there might be a three pounder with my name on it.

I decided to experiment with the French leader on the 6ft rod – it’s so jungly that anything longer is a liability:

I put on a couple of nondescript nymphs weighted with tungsten beads:

Encouragingly I had a bit of early success, pulling a very handsome little fish from the channel just to the right of the dark patch of weed in the pic:

Some big fish often lurk in this deep pool, but today I could see only a couple of smaller fish, one of which had a go but didn’t stick:

After that I saw maybe a dozen more fish in the quarter of a mile or so of remaining water. It was depressing frankly. Twenty years ago I remember my mate Don telling me how he had taken 28 fish from one single little pool. Over the past several years the club has had Fish Legal banging away at the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water and the various alleged polluters. Invert samples are showing some signs of improvement but clearly these have yet to translate into a healthier, sustained population of fish. Maybe in a few years. Maybe.

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