River Seven, Yorkshire

Amazing what a bit of water will do


To the upper reaches of the Seven at Spaunton Moor on a sunny but not blistering hot late-August morning. The heavens are predicted to open tomorrow so best make hay while the sun shines, as it were.

I’m starting to think that for me there are essentially two ways to catch fish on this water – my trusty old foam-wing emerger, or else a couple of heavy nymphs. Today I’d start with the former and switch to the latter if that wasn’t doing the trick. So it was out with the 7.5ft Burns 3wt, five foot furled leader and another four or five foot of tippet.

The water looked in very nice nick – up a bit on previous visits and a good tint of colour:

Third cast and I had a nice fish take the emerger – which then failed at the knot. Unforgiveable. Anyway, at least the fish would come up to it, so I persevered and after fifteen minutes or so had the first one in the hand:

Two smaller ones followed but takes were few and far between, so after an hour or so I decided to abandon the dry fly and switch to the double nymph. It would have been sensible to switch spools and go nylon-only, but I couldn’t be fagged so continued with the fly line and furled leader, with about four feet of tippet.

It was a case of flicking the flies into likely looking water and following them downstream with the rod tip, watching the line for any tic or jerk.

Within a few moments the first fish fell to the point fly:

And thereafter I started picking up regularly in water like this:

Many of the fish were pretty tiny:

But a couple were really not bad for this water. The first one did a runner while I fannied about with the camera, but the second hung around long enough. It was stunningly coloured:

After a bit over three hours fishing I’d had 16 or 17 fish to the hand, with several lost and many more takes. Turned out to be one of the best sessions I’ve had this season. I put it down to the extra water in the river.

And Mother Nature was putting on a good show:

Fabulous water, great day.

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  1. A good day’s fishing there Simon. The colour in the water makes all the difference.

    Have you tried suspending a light nymph under your emerger and using that as the indicator. I tend to use it on small streams quite a bit.



    1. Cheers Dave. I’ve dabbled half-heartedly with the the duo but not seriously. It’s clearly an effective tactic so I will have to give it a proper bash.

  2. Hi Simon, I’m a fellow member at Spaunton, I allways really enjoy the classic dry fly water but find it frustrating to fish, my best visit only produced 5 fish this season, we need a bit of a Haircutting session for next season in places I reckon.

    1. I agree it’s a frustrating water to fish Pete: I have good success with heavy nymphs one day then can’t connect at all the next. It’s a cracking bit of river though (if somewhat hazardous for wading). Yeah, could do with a trim here and there – I’m sure we’ll sort something when life starts to resemble something akin to normal…

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