The fly fishing in the Yorkshire Dales over the last couple of months has been challenging especially over the period when we had the very hot weather and low water but despite the conditions clients overall had some very good fishing.The fishing on the rivers over the hot weather was interesting, fish were quiet throughout the morning and until around mid afternoon but were coming on from around 3.00pm and many clients had some excellent sport during the last couple of hours of fishing.  This was exactly the opposite to what I would have expected, I would have thought that the fish would have been on for the first couple of hours before the heat built up and then gone off, just shows how little I know.  I was guiding two Americans on the River Ure on the 19th July and despite some deepish wading there was no cooling effect by being in the water, I took the air temperature and it was 24 degrees, I then took the water temperature and it was exactly the same at 24 degrees, unbelievable!, despite that the fish again came on around mid afternoon, strange.

Two days earlier I was on the same River Ure beat with Tom Hiley and his two sons Fred and Olly aged 13 and 9 respectively, we had had a tough day at Barden reservoir the day before in blistering heat with Fred and Olly just missing one fish each on their first ever days fly fishing, however they both managed to catch a good fish on the river and they each lost a couple more decent fish despite the conditions. The picture below shows Olly and proud Dad Tom with Olly’s first ever trout, he cast hooked and played the fish all by himself and was over the moon.

Olly's First Trout

Olly’s First Trout

Over the period of the hot weather fly hatches were poor with very few insects both aquatic or terrestrial on the water and consequently there were very few fish moving and those that did move tended to be oncers not surprisingly fishing with a nymph and French leader was by far the best tactic in the low clear water.  Stock fish were conspicuous by their absence and the vast majority of fish we were catching were wild, which suits me just fine!, perhaps the wild fish could cope better with the high water temperatures and low oxygen levels, who knows.

Stillwater fishing was good until the second week in July when the weather finally took it’s toll and the rainbows and blues just shut down, things improved from mid August with the cooler weather but now they are feeding again and have been taking dries well and have been particularly partial to a foam bodied Daddy.  This last week hatches have improved and especially terrestrials, I have seen a couple of big falls of Black Gnat on the rivers and fish have responded well, there have also been huge numbers of Heather Flies, Daddy’s and Flying Ants around especially up at Barden reservoir.

The fishing in September should be good and it’s one of my favourite months for fly fishing but as always it will be down to conditions, as I write it’s cold and very windy so we want rid of that “reet sharp” as we say in Yorkshire!