The River Wharfe
The River Wharfe is probably the most famous of all the Yorkshire fly fishing rivers and the six miles of the River Wharfe controlled by The Appletreewick, Barden and Burnsall Angling Club is arguably some of the best fly fishing water on the entire river. A mixture of runs, pools, riffles, glides and pocket water lends itself to all fly fishing methods and techniques both modern and traditional. There is no more interesting, challenging or variety of water on the River Wharfe.
Many of the “North Country” fly fishing traditions, flies and techniques were developed on the River Wharfe by past masters such as Pritt, Walbran, Edmonds and Lee and this tradition continues today. “North Country Spider Fishing” and its associated fly patterns and fishing techniques evolved largely on the River Wharfe and especially on the water at Burnsall.
The fishing extends from just above Linton stepping stones downstream to Barden Bridge and is mainly double bank, with just the odd short length not controlled by the club. Access is good and the club has secured various members parking places with local farmers and landowners. Wading is generally fairly easy although chest waders with felt or studded soles are recommended.
The ABBAC beats hold good stocks of wild brown trout in addition to some stocked brown trout. In recent years brown trout of 4lbs and considerably more have been caught on a relatively regular basis. Grayling are present but sadly not in the numbers they once used to be, however if you do catch one it’s likely to be a good fish.
Fly life is excellent with good numbers of mayflies, stoneflies and caseless caddis present in addition to good falls of terrestrial insects.
With the large variety of water available and excellent fly life the fish respond well to all methods and techniques and superb sport can be had by fishing dry flies, nymphs or of course spiders. It’s no wonder that the great Yorkshire angler Oliver Edwards chose to film his latest DVD’s primarily on the River Wharfe at Burnsall.
Lower Barden Reservoir
For many years the Club has leased the fishing rights on the 57 acre Lower Barden Reservoir which nestles in the moorland above Barden Bridge on Barden Moor. The fishing at Lower Barden Reservoir is reserved exclusively for club members and their guests and no day tickets are available.
The reservoir is very well stocked with top quality hard fighting rainbow and blue trout and with plenty of fish in the 2 to 4lb plus range some exciting sport is almost guaranteed. Aquatic insect life on these northern upland reservoirs is somewhat limited but nonetheless there are good hatches of buzzers and caddis together with good falls of terrestrial insects such as Heather Beetles, Flying Ants, Daddy Long Legs and Heather Flies. The fish in the main are free rising and most often will respond to insects on or near the surface so great dry fly and buzzer fishing is often to be had, on the days without any surface activity a lure or weighted nymph will usually tempt a fish or two.
Two excellent fishing huts offer some sanctuary on bad weather days or the opportunity to take lunch seated on the bench outside.
Three boats are allowed on the reservoir and these are funded and controlled by “members syndicates” comprising of 4 or 5 individual members who each hold a share, vacancies do arise so it’s quite possible that fishing the reservoir from a boat is potentially an option, a rare opportunity in Yorkshire.
Fishing at Lower Barden Reservoir offers peace and tranquillity in spectacular moorland scenery with only the cackle of an odd grouse to occasionally disturb your day.