Thursday, July 26, 2007

Going wild at Wetsleddale.

Our rivers are still out of sorts at the moment so this week I took advantage of an excellent scheme run by the Eden Rivers Trust called GoWild. For the price of a few pints, a guide book and tokens are purchased which allow the angler access to some fine water in the Eden valley.
Most of the fishing is on small, overgrown tributaries of the main river, although some access to the Eden itself is available and - this is the one which caught my eye - Wetsleddale reservoir.

It is a great scheme for the visiting angler as it offers great value and some flexibility - it's simply a matter of selecting somewhere to fish, following the directions, posting the required number of tokens in the box provided, and filling out a return slip afterwards. The proceeds from the tickets go to the trust and landowners (and are ploughed back into sustainability and conservation schemes through the valley), and the catch returns are invaluable in assessing the health of some of the area's lesser known waters. All in all, a bloody good idea if you ask me!

I spent one night this week along the southern bank of Wetsleddale reservoir. Nestling in the moors above Shap at the head of the River Lowther, the reservoir is a peaceful and lonely place and I had often stared into its dark water and wondered what it contains. Unfortunately I didn't find out - a solid three hours of wet fly and nymph fishing yielded absolutely nothing despite my best efforts and apparently favourable conditions. I even watched as numerous grasshoppers were blown from the grass behind me and onto the surface where they drifted, stuggling away, for long distances without even interesting the residents.

Recent heavy rain has put a very black, peaty stain in the water and I wonder if this has put the fish off the feed? The only other ticket I could see in the token box when I posted mine, was from the previous day where another angler had fished over three hours for a nil return....

I'm sure there are fish to be caught at Wetsleddale and the overgrown wild flower pasture along its banks its pleasant enough to fish from, so I'm sure I will return at some point in the future.

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