River Seven, Yorkshire

Hoorah! Fish!


I’ll be honest. I haven’t found it massively easy to get back into the fishing groove. Something about the enforced inactivity over the past year has embedded itself into one’s psyche. Torpor seems to have bred lassitude and general demotivation. I don’t think its just me, other people have said similar.

This general apathy wasn’t helped massively by a trip out last week to the lower stretch of the Seven which produced only two small out-of-season grayling and no trout.

So it was with a bit of effort that I hauled my kit into the car and drove the 60 minutes up to Spaunton Moor, west of Pickering on the North York Moors to the upper reaches of the Seven. The weather had perked up somewhat, and the thermometer hovered around 13C, not exactly tropical but not Arctic either, which of course it has been until recently. Overcast with a touch of breeze in my favour, so the omens looked ok.

It was worth the journey. The river looked in very good shape after a fair bit of recent rain. The water was up and coloured, with a pretty brisk flow on it. The river wasn’t in a boiling rage but it wasn’t at its most tranquil either. Maybe irate.

Anyhow, this is the view of the first pool before I started to set up with the 10ft 3wt Snowbee, French leader style:

I’m no expert at this method of fishing, but I’m getting better and it seemed to me that the conditions suited deep nymphing. In fact I’m starting to think that this top section of the River Seven is ideal for the short line nymph. These were the flies, set about 18″ apart:

I was using a spiral indicator. The first pool produced nothing so I worked my way upstream against a pretty stiff current and with slippery boulders underfoot. To think I used to do this without a wading staff. I prospected in likely looking runs (actually anywhere I could land the flies) in water like this:

And after about 15 minuted connected with two fish in quick succession, both of which released themselves early. Eventually got one to hand, a tiddler:

And then a better one, which headed off downstream so felt a lot meatier than he actually was. In fact probably 9-10″, not bad for this water:

This section looked very fishy, particularly in the slack pool, but I couldn’t tempt anything:

Upstream from the pool and the natural weir that precedes it the water slackens off and widens out and in the summer there are loads of fish, so I was confident there should be some action:

And lo and behold they started taking:

By and large I found the 10ft rod workable enough, but space is tight and I did end up with three or four tangles in the trees. After a couple of hours I caught the tree again and this time lost my flies so decided to call it a day. I’d had probably 15 fish to the hook and managed to bring a dozen to the hand. That’s pretty good for me and I was happy with that. The water was stupendous and it was more than worth the effort. I can feel the enthusiasm returning.

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  1. Glad you had a good day….totally agree with you ref the “lethargy”….guess a couple of nice wild brownies can put that right for me!
    The river looks great up there…is it private water? I have fished the Seven in Sinnington and had great sport….not the biggest fish but just as beautiful! I would love to have a go where you were?
    Thanks…great blog, always enjoy reading it….I too, am a hopelessly optimistic angler
    Tight Lines…

    1. Thanks a lot David. Yeah, hopefully once the fish start coming consistently (ha!) the old enthusiasm will return. This stretch of the Seven is on a private estate and is let to a small syndicate.
      Tight lines!

  2. Thanks Justin, yes it was fantastic to be out again and I can feel the magic returning…

  3. Brilliant and witty write up as usual. I too am suffering from a dose of lassitude. However, reading your exploits I can’t wait to get back out there. I was thinking a day ticket on the Esk to ease myself back in before the bigger rivers.



    1. Dave you are too kind, much appreciated thank you. I’m pleased I have been making the effort to get out – you soon get back into the swing and the joyousness (is that a word?) of immersing yourself in nature.

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