Fly Fishing at Fewston Reservoir
Living in Yorkshire has many perks but the number one, especially if you’re an angler, is the sheer amount of fishing you will find in a close vicinity. Luckily for me, I have the River Calder right on my doorstep where I can stalk wild trout and grayling. If it’s stillwater fishing you’re after then there are all manner of venues to wet a line, the most popular waters are Fewston Reservoir, Kilnsey Park and Stocks Reservoir.
On this particular trip, we took a short drive over to Fewston reservoir, which is near Harrogate in North Yorkshire. We have been here a few times now and I’ll be honest, it’s a fishery I’ve always struggled at. It’s quite a big water and is strictly bank fishing only so you may have to take a hike to find fish.
My Bank Fishing Set-Up
For targeting stillwaters, I prefer a 10ft 7wt rods, this helps give me the height for casting over tall obstacles on the backcast as well as housing enough power to cast a long line if needs be. My leader consisted of around 13ft of Fulling Mill Fluorocarbon, and a two fly set up. A black buzzer on the point, and a Nemo cruncher on the dropper.
You will need waders to fish the majority of Fewston reservoir, although it’s fairly easy to wade, there are some rocky and some sandy areas to watch out for. To make the most of the bank fishing and to help you cover more water it’s a good idea to start off by making short casts around the edges, and then work your way out, as opposed to casting to the horizon from the off. On almost all stillwaters you will find fish cruising close to the margins. It also helps to fan cast around your spot; this is where you imagine the water in front of you is like the face of a clock, the extreme left is 9am and the extreme right is 3pm – I make a cast at each ‘hour’ at a maximum distance of 15 yards to ensure all of the water close in is covered, then do it all over again at your maximum casting distance. This ensures you cover all the water effectively rather than casting your flies to the same spot of water over and over again.
Fishing at Fewston Reservoir
The strong winds of late meant that we had to take shelter in the corner of the dam wall, the rest of the lake was being hit by strong winds and gusts, making fishing very difficult. This is deemed the most popular spot on the water due to it being right next to the car park. My dad was first to get off the mark with a lovely rainbow trout of about 2 and a half pounds. It’s always a bit of a competition who can catch the most so I was eager to get my first fish! With the popularity of this area, I ensured to fish slowly, simply holing onto the fly line as it slowly came round with the wind. It wasn’t long before I got into a nice bow which gave a great account for itself, before being released to fight another day. It took the Nemo cruncher just under the surface.
As the day went on there was a good number of hawthorn hatching, with fish rising willingly to them on the edge of the wind. I decided to swap to a single dry fly, A claret popper hopper, on a 10ft copolymer tippet. The response was almost instant, I was casting my fly along the edge of the bushes where the fish were feeding and although my reactions were somewhat disastrous it was still good fun!