Harrogate FlyFishers' Club

since 1887

since 1887


Newsletter April 2019

Here We Go Again!

A new trout fishing season starts. March 25th has come and gone. Our section of the River Nidd is open for business once more!

I’ve been down (on the Opening Day – that’s keen!), but only to have a look at the river, to see what’s changed over the winter, and to take a few photos. It was a lovely day, as you can see.

The river level dropped quite a bit in the few days leading up to the start of the season, but it was still running fairly deep and fast.

Duffers Pool looked lovely, but there’s been quite a lot of gravel deposited at and above the pool, making the river much narrower than I remember it last year. 

The Stepping Stones are clear of the water, but no less of a challenge to ‘do what it says on the tin’ I’ve never crossed the river here, but can recall Steve Rhodes showing me just where to wade to in order to catch some trout very close to them!

A New Fishing Show Coming To Yorkshire This June – Advance Notice

The event will cover all disciplines of fishing and will take place at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th June. https://hookedonfishing.co.uk/

HFF – April Prospects - from Steve Rhodes

It’s with great anticipation that we fly fishers look forward to April and the start of the trout season but to quote T.S. Eliot, “April is the cruellest month”, and indeed it can be.  The chance of cold and snow is not yet passed and a cold wind is often our enemy, however prospects improve as the month goes by.  Water temperature is critical and once over 10 degrees things will start to improve, the water temperature on the Wharfe on Wednesday was 8 degrees.

All that said fish can still be caught and our old friend the Large Dark olive often hatches in the foulest of conditions. Overall the best advice is to pick your day and concentrate your efforts between around 11.30 and 2.30, the warmest part of the day.  Cover some ground as hatches are often localised, the nymphs emerge in the shallower faster water at the head of the pools and fish will move up out of the slower water to feed on them or the newly emerged adults.  Spider patterns such as the Waterhen Bloa, Hare’s Lug and Plover and Greenwell Spider are essential patterns and together with some suitable dry olive imitations and weighted nymphs should cover most situations. So far this season I have done well on Bob Wyatt’s “Deer Hair Emerger” when the fish have been taking the adults.

Although Grannom, the first of the Caddis fly family to hatch are present on the Nidd I have never seen a large hatch although I just may not have been there at the right time. Where Grannom are plentiful hatches can be of Biblical proportions, look out for them from mid-April with hatches usually occurring in the afternoon although sometimes they happen very early in the morning.

March Browns are not present on the Nidd but midges and aphids, (later in the month) are so look out for these.

If you catch conditions right, trout fishing in April can be good but look forward to May when the best of the fishing really starts.   

The New Data Protection Regulations – A Reminder- from Nick Brigham

You will recall that the Club is bound by GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations). 

"This means that the Secretary and the Treasurer will store your information securely and will not use it for any other purpose than to communicate with you. Should we need to use your information for any other purpose, we will ask for your written authority. We will keep your personal information as long as you are a member of the Club and will not retain it thereafter."

This was discussed at the AGM, and you received an email about it.  It forms part of the membership information given to all new members.

 The Funeral of our Club Secretary, Tony Gilmartin, after 25 years’ service.

There was a good representation from our Club, including our esteemed President, Mrs Pamela Holliday, at the funeral of our late Secretary, Tony Gilmartin, at the Church of Our Lady and All Saints, Otley on Wednesday, 27 March. The packed church was the most eloquent testimony to the high regard Tony was held in by so many people across the community. Tony’s family over three generations are committed members of that congregation, and it was very touching to see his daughters and grandchildren taking part in the service. His two young granddaughters even served as altar-girls while other members of the family spoke movingly of Grandad Tony. 

Two priests who had served previously at the church and I were robed and in the sanctuary. I was delighted to be invited to read prayers. It was also my privilege to wear the Club’s badge over my robes. Fr Lawrie Hume made mention of this in his address and pointed the congregation to the box of flies on top of Tony’s coffin. All the members of the family wore flies which Tony had tied. 

The beautifully produced Order of Service contained all manner of fishing motifs, including a photograph of the lovely painting which was presented to Tony at his last AGM earlier in the year. 

It was a most uplifting service and a warm tribute to a fine man and a life well lived.  

Revd Brian Hunt. 

Special Offers for HFFC members

Following up from the 15% discount for HFFC members offered by John Norris of Penrith in last month’s newsletter,

HFFC members are offered a 10% discount from

Orvis in West Park, Harrogate https://stores.orvis.co.uk/ and 

Tim Brown, of ‘Brown Trout’ on Cold Bath Road https://www.browntroutsporting.co.uk

You may be asked for proof of membership (but maybe not, if you look trustworthy!)

New Members

We currently have 53 ordinary members, so there are vacancies for 2 more. Members might know of anybody interested in joining?


Club Website (http://harrogateflyfishers.com/)

The new ‘Current Conditions’ heading on our website now gives you a really good picture of the ups and downs of the river over time. Just press on the ‘Graph Options’ tab and select either Day, Week, Month or 3 Months’ to see the changes. It’s really interesting!

Mid-March was well into the ‘Possible Flooding’ category. It was down to 0.16 metres at Birstwith on March 31st.

On the same page, there’s our Twitter Feed, for all you bird lovers! We’re hoping to get a few current or recent pictures, of fish, the river or its wildlife, or anything from members who are into ‘tweeting’. You may like to provide a few words as well.

If you want to contribute you need to use the club Twitter I.D. @harrofly (not your own!), and use the club password xxxxxxx (Please don’t tell non-members the password, as we’d like to avoid spurious or malicious tweets!)

The latest tweets we currently have are from the 2017 season, but some from this season would give members a bit of timely information about how the river is fishing, or what flies are working for you.

I have my work cut out finding and catching trout, let alone taking a picture of them – but I intend to contribute this year. N.B. don’t drop your phone in the river while attempting a ‘scoop’ photograph!


I’d be very pleased to receive any ideas or suggestions that you have about the club through my contact details on our website http://www.harrogateflyfishers.com/contact-form/index.php or via email to d.clayden@outlook.com 

David Clayden HFFC Hon. Sec.

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