Yesterday (13th May) I had a superb afternoon’s dry fly sport.  After spates in recent days I knew the Yorkshire rivers could be about perfect so I thought I must take advantage of the conditions and go fishing.  I had the whole stretch to myself and  moved slowly, looking for rising fish and mostly only cast when I’d spotted one.  Starting at around 2pm I found rising fish straight away but then had to sit out a 30 minute hail/rail/thunder storm before I could fish.  There were lots of all sorts of flies on the water – Black Gnats, Large Brook Duns, assorted smaller upwings and quite a lot of Danica Mayfly.

Wild Yorkshire Brownie

To cut a long story short I fished dry fly all afternoon (ending just after 5pm).  I walked slowly well back from the water’s edge, crept to my chosen casting spot and then sat down to cast.  In total I rose ten fish.  Two were small fish which I missed, two were big fish which I missed but I went back later to catch.  The rest was six fish all spotted, six fish cast to, six fish landed – an estimated 12” fish and the rest measured at 18” (photo above), 18.5”, 20.75” (photo below, maybe 3lb 8oz), 18” and 16.5” (sorry about the quality of the photos taken on my phone).  These are excellent sized wild fish.  Twice I got two big ones out of the same pool – catching a second within fifteen minutes of landing one in the same spot.  This on a river where the big fish are notoriously spooky and don’t often feed on the surface.  On this day the fish’s mind was on feeding and they were tolerant to some disturbances.

  Near 21" Wild Yorkshire Brown Trout

The biggest fish I caught was rising every 10 seconds to everything that came down.  I caught it on a size 16 Parachute Black Gnat but it was also taking Danica, ie. not at all selective to fly species or size.  After being hooked it bolted off downstream and twice it took me round sunken branches before coming free.  It’s a good job I had a 5lb tippet on!  I had no Mayfly patterns with me so I made do with Yellow and Tan Humpies – which looked like a Large Brook Dun.  These caught me all the other fish.

A fantastic and memorable fly fishing session. 

So what to learn from it?  Try to hit the river when the conditions are ideal.  Observation and stealth are vital – try to find the fish, make sure you don’t spook them, try to work out what they are feeding on and use an appropriate fly on a decent strength tippet.