River Wharfe – Buckden

See the Map below and/or Map Book page 8. You can buy a Map Book here, at a cost of £5 plus postage.

The Water
This water winds through Upper Wharfedale upstream of Kettlewell and Starbotton. It has a largely gravel and pebble bottom, with occasional larger boulders. The length contains both shallow runs and deep pools, with some parts in the top and middle sections lined with trees. Since it is towards the head of the river it is subject to rapid rises in water level when the weather is wet, which drop quite quickly afterwards. When clear, the water carries a slight brown tinge, which is typical of the River Wharfe.

The Environment Agency website details water levels at Kettlewell, with regular updates.

Prof Jon Grey of the Wild Trout Trust (and a BCAA General Committee member) undertook an Advisory Visit on this length in early 2017, and a copy of his AV report can be seen here.

Fishing the Water
The river fishes best when water levels are higher, once any colouring has cleared. Traditional flies are suggested, with north country spider patterns and nymphs typically used by many anglers.

Day Tickets
Day Tickets are no longer available for this fishery.

Local Rules
1. Fishing is by Fly and upstream worm only.
2. Catch and Release – all trout caught are to be returned to the water alive
3. Fishing is allowed from 25th March to 30th September only, since this is a trout only water.
4. No keepnets.
5. Anglers may use only one rod at a time.
6. No cars to be taken down to the riverside

Fishing Limits
Right bank – the top limit is a few yards below the bridge on the road out of Buckden towards Hubberholme, and is marked by a limit sign. Anglers may then fish downstream for 2 miles, missing one field near bottom limit, again marked by limit signs.

A further ½ mile length starts about 800yds above the bridge (again marked by limit signs).

Left bank – there is a ½ mile length, which starts about 800yds above the bridge, with top and bottom marked by limit signs.

The water can be accessed, both upstream and downstream, by gates at the side of the bridge. No cars or motorbikes may be taken down to the riverside.


(Map and key: Bernard Cracknell)