Bailiff report from Rivers Wharfe and Ure – May 2022

Following on from Peter Bell’s bailiff report from the Aire at Gragrave/Inghey here is the bailiff report from the Rivers Wharfe and Ure. Peter Ramsden is our man in the Dales, being the bailiff for the Wharfe at Buckden and the Ure at Worton and Aysgarth. Here he gives us the latest new from these rivers……


Dry fly
Peter’s Fayfly

Both rivers were low on opening day with the level gauge at Kettlewell at 0.18m.  Although the day was warm I only saw a couple of fish rise.  For the rest of March and April the weather has been cold with north and east winds dominating.  Consequently, the hatches of large dark olives have been sparse.  In general the hatches of upwing flies have been disappointing so far this year. Most anglers have been fishing small and black to rising fish or searching the water with a nymph.  Around the second week in may the hawthorn flies made their appearance and the fishing was good.  Once they had finished the fish were concentrating on the smaller black flies, smuts and gnats.  Given good weather and a light breeze fish should be seen really on the feed.  On the 1st June I saw the biggest hatch of mayfly I have seen on the upper Wharfe with numbers of duns drifting down together.  They were left untroubled by the trout.  On Saturday 4th June I caught a good trout on a May F Fly (Fayfly) that was feeding on the black fly and taking any passing mayflies.  A few other rising fish were also on the mayfly.

River Ure at Worton
The Ure above the bridge at Worton at 1:30pm, 5th June, river level 0.11m (Bainbridge gauge)

At the moment if the fishing has proved difficult during the day, it is worth staying on into the evening as fish have been rising until 9pm.  Although midges can be a problem for the angler, the evenings have been cool so has kept them away.

Many anglers believe that the best of the Wharfe fishing is when the Kettlewell river level gauge is at 0.4m on a falling river.  The river at this level would normally be showing colour with a good flow.  Below 0.2m the fishing can be difficult.  At 0.6m the river is a little too big.  Wind can be problem for the angler especially when fishing the dry fly.  A west wind, usually the best direction for fishing, blows directly downstream on the Ure and manifests itself downstream on the Wharfe, making delicate and accurate casting difficult.

River Wharfe at Buckden
The Wharfe below Buckden bridge at 4:30pm, 4th June, river level 0.21m