Harrogate FlyFishers' Club

since 1887

since 1887


Newsletter June 2019

Summer’s here – Picnic Time!

After a rising river in the early part of May, water levels have declined down to 0.1 metres at Birstwith as I write. 

I had a quick fish on May 11th, while the river was still running fast, brown and relatively deep. Not a good combination, as I found out, but it was a lovely sunny day (just no fish).  

There were quite a few flies about – some mayflies and a lot of hawthorn flies. Also many small white flies (don’t know what they were!)

However I met fellow member Phil at Station Road, having his first fishing of the season, and we had a brief chat. Hope he had more luck than I did!

Since then we’ve had little rain to speak of, but I’ll be trying again soon – especially after the May stocking!

HFFC Club Picnic, Sunday July 28th

We would like to inform members of our summer event which we are currently planning. 

Mrs Pamela Holliday, our Club President, has kindly offered us the use of her lovely garden at Low Hall for a picnic on Sunday July 28th, from 2.30 pm onwards. Club members and their guests are welcome. (Potential new members would be good guests to bring!)

Fishing members will be familiar with Low Hall as our access point to the upper stretch of our section of the river Nidd. The Hall itself is a beautiful large house dating from the late 1500s. The large garden, which members will have seen from where we park our cars when we go fishing, is beautifully designed and stocked with specimen trees and plants. There’s a lovely lawn to picnic on!

More details of the event will be provided in due course, but the idea is that members and their families will bring their own food and drink, and any portable seating they may wish to use. The club will provide a welcome drink to start proceedings. In the event of inclement weather, the large living rooms of Low Hall will provide shelter!

We need to get some idea of numbers, so it would be most helpful if members could email me their interest (or otherwise).  There will obviously be an opportunity for final reservations nearer the date.

And put 28th July in your diary!

First Trout Stocking of the Year on May 9th

We had a very successful first stocking of 250 brown trout, from the far bank on Manor House Farm land. It went very smoothly. The weather was dry and the fish arrived promptly, thanks to Fred our regular lorry driver. 

The ground wasn’t too soft, though the farm’s inquisitive cattle chased after us and the lorry – presumably thinking we were going to feed them! After a while they lost interest in us, and we got on with the job.

The river was running quite strongly, but Charles and Brian did a sterling job at the riverbank, putting the fish in the river from various positions above the stepping stones - while Ian and I performed essential support work.

June Prospects – by Steve Rhodes 

May brought excellent falls of Black Gnats and Hawthorn Flies and in addition huge numbers of Aphids, as many as I have ever seen in more than 50 years of fly fishing.

June should offer the very best of the seasons fishing, in addition to excellent hatches of various Mayfly species Caddis flies start to hatch in ever increasing numbers, falls of terrestrial flies including Aphids and various beetles should also be present and Black Gnats could also feature until around the middle of the month.

Of course June is when we expect to see hatches of the large Danica Mayflies which usually peak later in the month in this part of the world but this year insects generally have been hatching earlier than usual so this will also probably apply to this species.  Expect to see them emerging from around mid-afternoon. I have found the dry Oliver Edwards “Mohican Mayfly” pattern to be most effective and somewhat unusually for dry fly fishing giving the fly a good “twitch” can often induce a take.  Trout usually take a little time to “lock” into these flies but once they do expect some great sport.

Fishing in the evening also starts to come into its own in June but be sure to pick your evening.  If it’s cold it’s usually a waste of time, the best evenings are those that are” balmy” when you can be fishing at 10.30 or later in your shirt sleeves worrying about being unable to sleep because it’s too warm.  Don’t go out too early, often things don’t start to happen until 9.30 or much later and fish until you can’t see your fly.  I am surprised at how few anglers fish in the evening these days, there is nothing quite as exciting as fishing a fall of Blue Winged Olive spinners just as the light is going with fish “clooping” all over the pool.

As always conditions are all, as I said last month we are fortunate in that our river usually fishes well in low water but a small spate or two freshens things up and usually livens up the fish, failing that warm weather without being extreme and a light wind is what I would order.        

2nd Trout Stocking on June 20th – Volunteers requested!  

Our second stocking will be on June 20th if anyone would like to join in the fun. Let me know if you’d like to take part.     

Club Committee Meeting Topics Discussed 

On May 7th the committee; 

  • reviewed club membership, with an analysis showing that while we had a substantial number of long standing members, there is a higher turnover of members who have been with us just a few years. This is known to be a feature of other Yorkshire fly fishing clubs. Our club is currently running at or near full membership.
  • examined the contract status of leases for a few sections of the Nidd in the upper section.
  • discussed plans for a summer picnic at Low Hall (see above).

New Members

We have 2 new club members; 

  • Andrew Simpson, from Harrogate, has joined us.
  • Hugh Elvidge from Boston Spa, a member of Settle Anglers, has also joined us.

Welcome gentlemen! 

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

Panorama TV Programme on Salmon Farming in Scotland

I don’t know if you watched this excellent programme the other night. A fellow club member alerted me to it, and I watched it on Catch Up - and was glad I did.

It was a cool hard look at the fish farming industry in Scotland, implying that they were not very environmentally careful (putting excessive numbers of salmon in their pens, a large number of which developed horrific lesions from the growth of sea lice, and/or died - a 20% mortality rate was quoted!) Chemicals used to treat the fish were allowed to pollute the lochs underneath the pens and probably affect wild salmon in the same lochs. Not to mention possible escapes of the farmed fish, and mixing with the native wild salmon.

An interesting comparison was made between the battery farming of chickens (now considered a bad practice as a result of people’s raised awareness of the issues for both chickens and humans) and fish farming, which by its nature is more remote and difficult for consumers to see.

The authorities who monitor the fish farming companies’ compliance with existing regulations were roundly criticised for being lax.

Do watch it on Catch Up if you are interested in this subject. I have a feeling that this issue’s not going to go away any time soon! 

David Clayden HFFC Hon. Sec.

‹ Go Back