Well the 2013 Brown Trout season has drawn to a close, time flies so quickly, it doesn’t seem like any time at all since it opened on the 25th March.

 

The 2013 season has again seen some unusual weather conditions with a prolonged winter and bitterly cold early spring which ran on well into May; the last heavy snow came late and was still lying well into April.  Water temperatures in early April were down to 3 or 4 degrees and only just managed to reach double figures late in the month.  More normal weather conditions followed from mid May until the end of June and then from July to mid August heatwave conditions, on the River Ure on the 19th July I took the water temperature at 24 degrees which was exactly the same as the air temperature that day.  Mid August to the end of September saw more unsettled conditions and was often cool and windy.

Wharfedale - 27th March 2013

Wharfedale – 27th March 2013

In complete contrast to the 2012 season lack of rain was a problem with relatively few lifts in the river levels throughout the season so low water has been pretty much the norm for most of the season.  Even now the reservoirs resemble lunar landscapes and I have not seen them as low for many years.

 

Insect hatches have been interesting, early season despite the cold there were some tremendous hatches of Large Dark Olives, Olive Uprights and slightly later big numbers of Large Brook Duns, I don’t think I have ever seen as many of all three species.  The Grannom were late and concentrated over a very short period, Yellow Mays were also late and sporadic.  I saw very few Hawthorns and just saw one fall of Black Gnats during May however there were good numbers of Daddies both in April and May.  Mid season saw the usual fall in aquatic insect numbers but in late August and September there was some spectacular falls of Black Gnat and large numbers of Heather Flies and Daddies.  More recently there have been good numbers of Stonefly and Caddis hatching.

 

After a slow start overall the river fishing has been good without being outstanding but that’s perhaps not surprising given the varied conditions and most often low water.  I am very encouraged by the number of wild Brown Trout in most of the Dales rivers this year and the fact that stock fish in the main have been generally conspicuous by their absence.

Perfection! - Wild Wharfe Brownie

Perfection! – Wild Wharfe Brownie

 

 

Fishing on the still waters for Rainbow and Blue trout has been good although became difficult once the heatwave really kicked in, the Brown Trout fishing has been more difficult but improved in September.

 

Again some excellent fish were caught including several wild river Brown Trout of more than 3lbs the best being a monster of 4lb 9oz, the biggest wild still water Brown Trout was 4lb 3oz, the biggest Rainbow was 6lb 8oz with Blue Trout taken to over 4lbs.

Wild Dales River Brown - 4lb 9oz

Wild Dales River Brown – 4lb 9oz

 

Our thoughts now turn to Grayling and given a decent autumn some of the nicest and most pleasant fly fishing to be had all year.