We’ve just added many links from our Go Fly Fishing UK website to river level and weather forecasts information websites.  There is nothing more frustrating than travelling out to a river for a day’s fly fishing and finding when you get there that the river is unfishable due to a high or coloured river.  As full time guides Steve Rhodes and myself want our clients to have the best possible day and so on a daily basis (often twice – early and late in the day) we are checking river levels and weather forecasts to decide which location will give the best chance of good conditions and good sport.

The key sources of good information are:

– the Environment Agency river level service

– the Farson Digital water cams service

– the Met Office five day weather forecasts 

We have added many links to our website to specific river locations on these three websites.  Check out our ‘Locations’ river specific web pages, eg. for the River Taw in Devon, and scroll to the bottom of the page to see the ‘Useful Links’ section.  Maybe bookmark in your ‘Favorites’ the pages for the rivers which you fish the most.

Some rivers almost never change in level or water clarity.  These are mainly the chalkstream rivers of Hampshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire and East Yorkshire.  Thus it is not usually necessary to plan for the river conditions on these rivers.  But at the other end of the spectrum are the spate/freestone rivers of the north and the west.  I’ve known the River Wharfe to rise three feet in one hour after a deluge of rain upstream.  October this year has seen regular bands of rainfall passing over the north of England and river levels have been up and down like a yo yo.  As well as fishing my local River Wharfe I have also been fishing the River Wear in Co. Durham and the River Annan in South West Scotland.  On a number of occasions I have had to adjust my planned fishing day and my planned fishing water in order to give me the best chance of good river conditions when I do fish.

Fly fishing is best with river levels at no more than 12″ higher than the normal average level and ideally either at a stable or falling level.  It is also best when the water is not coloured.  The way to anticipate the likely river level and conditions for your planned day is to look at a combination of the latest EA river level information and combine this with looking at the Met Office weather forecast.  But DON’T look at the information for the place where you plan to fish.  Look at it for well upstream.  I live at Ilkley on the River Wharfe so if I’m planning on fishing at Ilkley I look at the river level and weather forecast for Kettlewell (20 miles upstream).  That way I can FORECAST what is likely to happen to river conditions rather than to know what the conditions are at the time when I’m checking the websites.

So don’t get caught out by bad river conditions.  Plan ahead and use the excellent information sources available via the internet….and now via our website.