Bailiff Update – R. Wharfe Buckden – April 2023

25th March was a washout with the River Wharfe at over 0.8m on the Kettlewell gauge. I suspect that this wasn’t quite as frustrating for me as other anglers eager to wet a fly line because well over a week earlier I’d nipped over the county border to fish the River Lune catchment. The next day (26th March) the river Wharfe had dropped nicely to 0.54m and few anglers ventured fourth.

There was a reasonable hatch of Large Dark Olives although sparse it lasted two hours (1pm to 3pm). They instinctively made use of their sombre colours as camouflage against the grey and damp conditions. Not many fish made the most of the poor weather to pick off these olives while they spent an extended period of time on the water drying their wings before take-off. However, I saw a few fish rise during this period of the afternoon but none of them consistent enough to try a dry fly, so I stuck it out with wet flies and nymphs. I’d normally be happy avoiding a blank at this time of year but managed six fish, so a good day.

Four fish rose at this location on 26th March.

The following day saw bright sunshine and lower water levels – a beautiful day in the Yorkshire Dales. However, only a few flies hatched and consequently very few fish rose or were caught.

The Easter break saw a number of anglers on our Yorkshire Dales rivers.

Undoubtedly the best fishing days so far have been when the weather was inclement and the water level above 0.28m. As I write (10th April), the Wharfe and Ure are just beginning to rise and with heavy rain forecast tomorrow followed by snow/sleet/hail showers the rivers will probably be unfishable for the next few days.

One of our members injured a foot on some iron work on the riverside path about 1⁄2 mile down from Buckden bridge. I would urge anglers to be very observant when walking along this stretch of the river as indicated on the map. There are about half a dozen pieces of ironwork in the path that are either a trip hazard or may cut through footwear. These have been there for around 25 or so years and were used to bolster up the bank to prevent erosion.

Example of one of the hazards      Hazard Location Map

On the Saturday of the Easter weekend I carried out a Riverfly sampling session on the Wharfe. The three minute sample contained over 400 Baetidae (olives), over 100 Heptageniidae (probably some March Browns, Large Brook Duns and Olive Uprights) and 10 stoneflies. Only three caddis flies were observed in the sample.

A corner of the sampling tray containing mainly Baetidae and Heptageniidae