Harrogate FlyFishers' Club

since 1887

since 1887


Newsletter August 2019

What a Scorcher we’ve been having – for a while ….

July has seen our river at a typically low level for most of the month, perking up with the recent heavy rain to about 0.35 metres at Birstwith, and then falling back to 0.25 metres before the picnic. The last few days’ heavy rain have taken it back to 0.32 metres as I write! It’s a roller -coaster! It’s also been very humid for a while, with some ‘heavy’ sunshine sapping one’s energy levels (for me at least).

I had a couple of evening fishing sessions this month. Nothing much happening until it started getting dark. Then, wow, a classic revival of interest by the trout with multiple rises. Textbook stuff, and just as Steve Rhodes predicted in his July Prospects piece in the last newsletter.

The only trouble is that as the light starts going, my eyesight does too. I also tend to get into tangles – probably a result of the sudden ‘unexpected’ activity on the river. Don’t panic, Captain Mainwaring! 

I did manage a ‘perfect’ cast at a persistent riser in Harold’s Pool – then lost him on the take. Doh!

Wonderful evenings though. I saw my first kingfisher this year, along the river near Duffers Pool.


Charles Carter has found a large half-eaten Crayfish on Pam Holiday's water. 

I’m no expert, but is that an introduced North American Signal Crayfish, rather than a native white-clawed crayfish? (The clue’s in the colour of the claws?)

HFFC Picnic, Sunday July 28th

The Club picnic at Low Hall duly took place last Sunday. 

My greatest concern was for good weather, as we wanted to enjoy the delightful Low Hall gardens to the full.

In the week leading up to the picnic, we were all being baked in thirty degree heat, and the weather predictions for the picnic day then started changing from fine, to OK and then towards drizzle with a chance of thunder and lightning! However, God came through with a cloudy but nicely warm day – very acceptable for the occasion. I’m not sure how much our Chairman was responsible for this good ‘fortune’! 

A very respectable thirteen club members together with their families and friends turned up for a most enjoyable afternoon.

Pamela Holliday, our Club President proved to be a wonderful host, making us all feel very much at home.

We gathered on the magnificent lawns at the back of Low Hall, sharing the welcoming wine (thanks, Bill) and eating our picnic fare.

It was great to put a few faces to names, as much of our club’s communication is by email, Web and telephone. We were a mix of long-standing members (1980s input) and the relatively recent (including me, 2014)

There was a lot of conversation – not all about fishing! It was good to hear from a number of members who shared the love of the Nidd environment, with catching trout being an important, but not the only interest.

A feature of the afternoon was Pamela’s lovely, spirited poodle who socialised (and scavenged picnic items) effectively. The above photo, apparently focused on Rosemary, was intended to highlight Pamela (centre, back) with her poodle on her lap. Sorry Rosemary!

Our Chairman, Brian Hunt, presented Pamela with a magnificent succulent plant (name omitted for lack of Latin) for her kindness in holding the event in her lovely gardens – which many of us subsequently explored and admired.

Following the success of the picnic it would be nice to think we might hold other club events. Any suggestions would be welcomed!

Waterside Maintenance

Steve Rhodes and Ian Dodd did some excellent clearance work by the river a few weeks ago. 

The brambles and other undergrowth that were hiding the 4 access ladders on the Low Hall stretch of the river have been given a significant haircut and they are all now clearly visible and accessible both from the river and the path.

Great work! I had noticed how much the vegetation has grown all alongside the river (it must be summer!), since the regular maintenance parties did their work pre-season.

New Members

There are no confirmed new members this month – well, we are just about full! There have been a few ‘rises’ that might yet turn into landings ‘on the bank’! 

Please continue to encourage your friends to join the club (they may be put on a short waiting list!)

August Prospects – by Steve Rhodes 

I think, although I would be prepared to be corrected, that it was Oliver Kite who used to refer to the “Dog Days” of August.  Overall my experience on rivers at least is that given half decent conditions the fishing can be quite good especially from the middle of the month onwards, lakes and reservoirs can of course be a different prospect.

The best of the evening fishing is drawing to a close as the days shorten but it’s still worth going out for the last couple of hours provided of course that it’s warm and balmy.  What goes around comes around and as the month progresses the fishing in the afternoon is likely to be better than in the morning.

Hatches of Blue Winged Olives, Pale Watery’s and other Mayfly species together with various different species of Caddis will be hatching and later in the month look out for increasing numbers of terrestrials.  Falls of Black Gnat and Bibio also referred to as Heather Flies or Red Legs can be expected, Trout love to feed on both of these insects and heavy violent rises are often an indication of fish feeding on the Heather Flies.  Our old friend the Aphid will also be featuring in ever increasing numbers from now until well into autumn.

Grayling should be becoming more active and can provide excellent sport especially to small dry flies, look out for small dimpling rises often in the tail of the pools.  Another indication of rising Grayling is that they often leave a bubble on the surface after they have risen which trout don’t often do.  

Books about Fishing

My daughter gave me a book about fishing for Father’s Day. It’s what family and friends do, isn’t it – knowing it’s one of my interests. Very welcome too.

This book is entitled ‘Mortimer and Whitehouse – Gone Fishing’’, and is based on their BBC TV series, which I missed,. It’s about two comedians of a certain age, long term friends, when both of them had heart problems that made them reassess their lives. The series, and the book, follows them on their trips (game and coarse fishing) to a variety of waters.

There’s not much to be learned about techniques from the book – but it’s very strong on the feelings involved when fishing. Love of the countryside and the waterside, enjoyment of the solitude and the companionship, and the pub afterwards. Quite a few bits on the history of fishing, and on the pros and cons of catch and release – as the club discussed at our last AGM.

A gentle read that reminded me why we’re doing what we are doing, when we’re fishing.

Let me know if there are any fishing books that you have enjoyed – even better write a short review of one of them for me. We’re always looking for contributions to the newsletter!

David Clayden HFFC Hon. Sec.

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