Kirkby Stephen and District Angling Association

Pre-season assessment

Contributed by Paul Procter (02.02.2006)

Dear John (Secretary)

My main reason for writing is to let you know of the excellent fishing I’ve experienced on the Kirkby Stephen Association water during the 2005 season. Although I haven’t been able to explore the entire stretch I can confidently say the water I’ve seen so far is quite exceptional. It’s extremely nice to see a club leaving some areas totally wild and almost inaccessible, giving the fish sanctuary from both anglers and predators.

Given that we are predominately looking at the headwaters of the Eden, my initial findings of insect life were pleasing as it appears quite diverse. Early season saw significant hatches of large dark olives, large brook duns, olive uprights and even iron blue duns, at times these emerged alongside each other and the trout made hay. The often low water of summer restricted the usual mid season fly life, either that or I never quite made it to the river on cue! Following the promise of spring, late season hatches were fairly disappointing, especially the large darks which as you know can produce an excellent show from late August and throughout September.

My records show that at times it was a struggle to catch a couple of trout conversely there were other occasions when every fish in the river seemed to be in a taking mood. I personally believe that this is the attraction of wild trout fishing. It should never be a forgone conclusion with several fish being guaranteed on each outing. It’s about pitting your wits against a wily creature, which in turn brings a real sense of achievement when you eventually manage to fool one.

The trout caught varied in size from 5 inch juveniles to specimens of over 18 inches that went 2lb+. I was encouraged to see all year classes were present and in healthy condition. More pleasing was the absence of stock fish and whilst this might be a future option, I see it very much as a short fix in what appears to be a thriving wild fishery. They also cost money and might prove to be a waste of precious club funds. One consideration is to reduce the current 5 fish limit. This will not impact on funds though will surely contribute to better recruitment of more wild fish in the Association’s waters.

Speaking as a Vice President of the Wild Trout Trust, as wild trout fishing is very much at a premium these days I hope the Association continues to show vision and maintain the fishery as a truly wild one for future years. With that, if I can be of assistance at anytime then please do not hesitate in contacting me.

May I wish you the Committee and the Association members a successful 2006 season.

Kind Regards.

Paul M Procter