Contributed by Ricardo (24.10.2008)
Bit out of date sorry but wanted to add this to river reports!!
Owing to my Spring trips concentrating on the River Don (Aberdeenshire) the first time I fished Kirkby Stephen was Sunday June 1st. The family went on a 4 day trip to see relatives in Scotland so I decided as the BBC Weather report looked favourable to buy a day ticket for the river.
2lb 10oz 47.5cm (18.75") Paradun
2lb 10oz 47.5cm (18.75") Paradun
The day was good as far as fishing was concerned, nigh on perfect with complete cloud cover, warm and no wind. I was only able to get on the river at 1pm having dashed from Ilkley after seeing the family off.
I chose to fish from Warcop Bridge upstream and started off with a small size 16 Black Klinkhamer. One hundred yards above the bridge there is an S bend on the opposite side of the river and I was able to cover this from the shingle beach there. Delivery was a wee bit tricky as with the very low water all the useful flow was under the trees there. However 2 Trout succumbed to the fly with the best one maybe 0.75lb.
Walking up the path, crossing the river and walking a fair bit on the opposite bank before crossing again I came across a pod of Grayling rising steadily and was able to get one before they went down.
A few yards upstream another 3 Brownies were landed but none of any size. I then walked past a tree shrouded pool where near the neck I could discern a good fish rising fairly regularly. Using the high bank to mask myself I spent an intriguing 75 mins after this one fish. Every fly I tried he would have a look at but he was lying in such a position as to make drag a real problem and so many times he would be on the point of taking only to refuse at the last moment when drag occurred. It was great watching this through the lowish water (he had to come through 2' to get the fly I reckon). I finally got him with the first cast of a foam beetle landed practically on his head with the fly only drifting for a couple of seconds before he came up. He measured at 15.5" and 1lb 8oz exactly.
I then proceeded upstream until I came to a very long slow pool where I got a fish of 1lb ish. At the head of this on a corner I landed another fish of just under 1lb. Both fish since the 1.5lb one had come to a size 16 Paradun.
Then came a fantastic bit of sport in a very small pool where I got 3 fish and rose another 2 with each one being bigger than its predecessor. The last one was a cracking 16.5" and 1lb 11oz. All the Trout were absolutely fin perfect and in prime condition....one of the attractions of Kirby Stephen for me is the absence of anaemic stock fish....so refreshing!!
There then followed quite a bit of refusals from the few rising fish that I found until I came to the long tail of a pool where I could see the water was very shallow (maybe lower calf depth). I could see a fish rising fairly regularly and to mask my approach I waded up from the pool below in the riffley water. The obvious challenge here as we all know is that the fishes' window is very narrow in shallow water and being a tail the water is accelerating faster the nearer it gets to the pool below. I was aided by my leader which was 16' and the fact that there was barely a breeze. The delivery was quite a bit longer than I would have liked but to get closer meant that I would have had to step out of the riffle. Anyway first cast my Paradun landed with plenty of slack, in line and I watched it drift down with the slack unravelling all the time until it went over the fish and up it came, nose breaking the surface. I tightened and it went berserk in the shallow water zipping line off by running upstream only to dash downstream into the riffle below me when I piled on pressure. My rod was bent over but I have a lot of confidence in my tippet which was 5X Frog Hair and after a couple more runs was able to get it in the net. She weighed 2lb 10oz and measured 18.75".
After this I wandered 100yds upstream where under the shadow of a large tree I could see 2 Trout of close to 3lb, neither rising but both moving about a bit. It would have been about 8pm by this time and I took the opportunity to scoff my remaining sandwiches. Whilst doing this I thought I heard what sounded like a good rise. I sat and waited and heard it again and on the next occasion the fish came up it made such a disturbance that I could not miss it - tight to the far bank just the other side of a protruding rock. This was a seriously big fish and I reckoned he may be close to 4lb, certainly way over 3lb anyway. He was starting to feed more frequently and I got into position. The cast was not the most difficult in the world but somehow I got it tangled in the bush which overhung where he was and the fly did not break off easily so with that the bush was shaking and down he went. I retrieved my fly and cast to where he had been and only then found that drag was very apparent here too (like most big fish spots) so maybe I would not have got him anyway. However I changed my positioning and tried again and got some fantastic deliveries with no drag. So next time I will keep my eye out for him, be more careful with my delivery and I know where to cast from so I rate my chances as pretty good if we should meet again!!
All in all a great day with 13 fish from 1-7:30 pm and never saw a soul on what was ideal conditions.....I really did wonder where the 'locals' were today of all days!