Bailif Update – R.Wharfe Buckden – May 2023

Driving back from my annual visit to Assynt on 13th May we passed close to the River Eden at 8pm where I spotted a few rising trout in a roadside pool. This signalled a marked change in the feeding regime of the Dales trout. Where I had left the Wharfe trout mainly feeding between 11am and 4pm, there would now be chance of some evening fishing. We left Dales the previous weekend in cool weather conditions with the forecast for the coming week to be bright and sunny. The warmth had done it’s trick on the landscape, transforming the trees to a leafy green.

Wharfedale at Buckden as viewed from Birks Fell.

The large dark olive hatches have been reasonable this year where a F fly variant had been very successful for me. When I first started using and tying F flies I tended to use blue dun CDC. This worked reasonably well, but most importantly, they were easy to see. Many years ago I called in at the Bakewell fly fishing shop where Peter Arfield recommended to me to use the dun coloured CDC. Flies tied with this colour did work very well. As we all know the F fly is initially quit buoyant but once it has been water logged (drowned in fast water or after catching a fish) they tend to sink. Recently I have used natural (cream) snow-shoe rabbit feet fur instead of the CDC. This floats much better, is easily seen, very durable and if dried and treated floats great, fish after fish. I call it the type R [single letter name as the F fly, Ramsden, rabbit (actually hare) and souped-up performance].

Type R fly (large dark olive)

At the moment the Dales rivers are low, with the Wharfe registering 0.14m and still falling on the Kettlewell gauge. Water temperatures back in April were 8°C but yesterday it was 16°C.

Low water again on the Wharfe

The large dark olives, of great interest to the trout for the past month, are now finishing for the spring, being replaced by hawthorn flies, black beetles and black gnats.

Foam black gnat and foam beetle.

Peter Ramsden – Bailiff