How have the BCAA waters in the Dales been fishing in the hot weather?

In the last news item about heat stress in fish and the closure of the Gargrave, Buckden and Hubberholme beats I said we might soon hear from Peter Ramsden, our bailiff on the upper Wharfe and Ure, well here is his latest report from the Dales on how the fishing was before the closure, hopefully we will soon be able to fish up there again…………

It is now over a month since I wrote about the rivers Wharfe and Ure and in general the fishing has
become more difficult as we have got into the months of higher temperatures and less rain.
However, there has been a reasonable amount fly life about including day sedges (usually black),
some olive uprights and blue winged olives along with the usual small black flies on still bright days.
Soldier beetles are putting in a good appearance this year and are just peaking at the moment. It is
always worth trying an imitation of one tied on a 14s hook – Fly Fishing and Fly Tying showed a good pattern in their  September 2020 issue.


Soldier beetles on cow parsley
Soldier beetles on cow parsley.

There was a small lift in water height at the beginning of July with the Wharfe having a peak at
0.32m (Kettlewell gauge) on Thursday(30/6)/Friday(1/7) immediately followed by a the highest level
of the month on Saturday 2/7 at 0.46m. This brought out many of the regular fishermen that had
been waiting for better fishing conditions. I was hoping to fish that Saturday in good water and
watched the level gauge all day waiting for it to peak and start to fall. Unfortunately, this occurred
at 5pm and the day was gone. On the Sunday the level was at 0.26m but there appeared mainly
small fish willing to rise. The level has continued to fall since this lift and has now settled at 0.13m
since 9/7. The river Ure is experiencing similar conditions and the river level is currently below the
gauge and consequently reading zero.

An inviting spot on the river Wharfe


On the 10th July at 12:30 in hot, bright conditions, I was watching lots of trout happily surface
feeding above and below Hubberholme bridge. Also, at that time there were two 7/8” fish surface
feeding in Kirk Gill (the small stream next to the The George Inn).

Brown trout in stream at Kirkgill river Wharfe
7/8” brown trout in Kirk Gill

I have found at this time of year the Wharfe trout are quite happy feeding in hot, bright conditions
as long as there is no appreciable wind to disturb the surface, especially under the shade of trees, of
which there are many on the Buckden and Hubbeholme beats. This cover will provide protection for
them over the next few days when temperatures are forecast to peak at 33°C on Tuesday, but rain is
forecast the following day and there might just be enough to lift the river slightly. Unfortunately, no
major rainfall is forecast for Upper Wharfedale for the foreseeable future.
As I write (15/7) this there is light rain continuing on from the previous night but not sufficient to
help the river conditions. That’s three days on the trot that there has been some light rain,
regardless of what the forecast has been.

A cooler, wet day on the river Wharfe