Saturday, 28 July 2012

Careful Planning:


Planning a visit to the river has been more of a science rather than good judgement lately.  Monitoring countless weather forecasts then praying levels have dropped to something like a reasonable height, it was a case of striking when the iron’s hot.  With the Yorkshire Ure in good fettle I nipped over to meet Neil Whitehead and Paul Cowan to point them in the right direction.  Dry fly was the order of the day and the pair quickly got their eye in.  Neil was first to score when a solid 16” trout sipped down a tiny black Klink. Paul got in on the action too though he found a size 16 olive F fly worked a treat.  Despite a nagging downstream breeze coupled with fairly persistent rain a respectable number of trout and grayling were toppled during a modest flush of BWOs.  At least all this high water isn’t preventing fly from hatching.  Paul~







~Diligently drifting a small olive F fly down foaming current lanes, Paul Cowan hits into another good fish~







~When it comes to rattling out grayling, Crocodile Dundee can’t hold a candle to Neil Whitehead~


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Is this River X or Y..?

For a year or so I’ve been visiting a couple of rivers within easy striking distance of home. Granted they might not contain truly enormous trout but they’re feisty beggars and free rising too.  Best of all though they respond well even in high water or during sultry summer afternoons (a rarity I know).  I popped along the other day to enjoy a few hours of what is best described as blistering sport.  Every single fish fell to dry flies with my NDT and a small tan Klinkhamer coming up trumps. It’s nice to have such places up your sleeve though a couple of buddies (Mr Bond and The Silverback) are itching to known their location.  Well this is about as close as they’ll get for now… 

~A trout smacks into my dry fly close to the far bank~



…Pretty as a picture and plump too…wild trout like this for a tenner a day is outstanding value, a bargain you won’t find on ebay Mr Bond… 


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

River Fly Fishing Course:

HT Grayling 012

Sat 25th Aug 2012

Join A.A.P.G.A.I. Master Instructors Paul Procter and Tony Riley for a day on the River Wharfe at Bolton Abbey.  The course will cover all aspects of river trout fishing. The morning session will be spent discussing watercraft, basic entomology, tackle selection, leader set up, knots and casting techniques. Following lunch, participants will disperse for fishing with one-to-one tuition from Paul and Tony concentrating on tactics of your choice.

Cost: £135.00 per person (includes: lunch, refreshments and fishing permit)

For further details and bookings please contact me on: 0786 665 4091 or email:

Monday, 16 July 2012

Somewhere Secluded:


~Scoping the river from up high before dropping in to a likely pool~


P1020155At last, a brief interlude in the wet weather has allowed our rivers to settle down nicely.  With flows almost back to something like normal levels, I headed out to a little known area in search of trout.  Beneath the canopy trout could be heard sipping down tiny flies.  My NDT (non-descript terrestrial) did the business on smooth glides while a large Klinkhamer came to my rescue in more streamy parts.  Nothing huge today, but fit fish nonetheless that when hooked scooted about all over the pool, putting a decent bend in my 3-weight rod.  It’s nice to be tempting trout at the surface once more.  Paul~

~This plump trout nobbled a size 12 Klinkhamer~


Thursday, 12 July 2012

Rising Water…!


Only months ago forecasters were predicting a drought and hosepipe bans affected many areas.  Trying to keep ahead of the game, my column in Trout & Salmon covered low water conditions and how best to tackle them-talk about open the flood gates… Studying river levels reads like a mountain range as the graph is a series of peaks and troughs.  Sadly, conditions have never got back to what you’d term “ideal”.  Sod it, enough was enough and I had to wet a line.  Two days ago the reading came in at 0.36m yet by the time I arrived this had crept to 0.42m (boarder line).  Before the deluge hit proper I managed a brace of trout on dry fly then a rising water carrying silt called for nymphs or streamers to stay in touch with trout.  Thankfully the fish seemed keen to feed.  That was until conditions were totally blown out at 0.69m, a now angry river.  Drying off, I felt chuffed with my efforts, especially against such odds.   Paul~







~One to the dry fly early on~







~Granted this trout may have snapped up something big, but to connect with such fish in adverse conditions is a bonus I’ll take everyday of the week~








~Three hours later the reading was 0.68m and our day was done (note the push of water compared to earlier)~

Friday, 6 July 2012

Best until last:


~Fly Odyssey Iceland 2012 L-R: Colin, Ian, Stjani and myself on the final push~

Not a breath of wind greeted us on our last morning and Stjani seemed as excited as ever.  We dashed down to the lake expecting fish to be topping everywhere.  Sadly, bar the odd dimple, nothing showed.  Admittedly, our heads went down, but Stjani had one last ace up his sleeve.  Five minutes later we were stood on the banks of a nearby river watching trout gently sipping down midges.  Trying to remain composed when you’re pitching at a bruiser greedily feeding under the far bank is difficult at best.  Granted I might well have cocked-up the first big fish of the day, but a string of beauties including the one below made up for it. 

Plans are already afoot for our 2013 July/Aug visit featuring Stjani "The Viking” and specimen trout...  for further details contact Fly Odyssey: or myself:


Thursday, 5 July 2012

Black Gold:

Ground up into tiny particles by constant water action, where it occurs volcanic lava forms much of the river bed.  As far as trout are concerned such silt is black gold dust as it creates the perfect habitat for millions of midges.  Equally this dark P1020125substrate absorbs sunlight, which in turn increases water temperature, lengthening the growing season for trout and bugs alike in this harsh environment.  This is what makes Iceland so unique and it goes without saying, if you’re after dry fly action then head for rivers and streams leaching off ancient lava fields.  Paul~






~Walking to and from the water sees clouds of small midges gathering on your waders and jacket…A good omen as far as I’m concerned…

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

What a day:


Our man Stjani treated us to an experience I’ll never forgot, a day on the mighty Laxa.  This is pretty much midge central and the trout here can go totally daft under the right conditions.  Our day started with heavy cloud and rain,but this didn’t deter midges from emerging.  Of course, trout plucking such tiny items from the surface rarely betray their presence and ultimately the skill lay in  detecting subtle rise forms, especially in the more turbulent areas of a pool.  Naturally, you do lose a few trout in fast currents, thankfully though enough came hand, making this an unforgettable experience…




~Ace guide Gummi (who’d I swear can sniff fish out…) gets the measure of a fat Laxa midge feeder~




~Even icy rain fails to dampen your spirits when trout like this are in the offing. Several fish of this ilk were encountered of this special day…can it get any better?


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Food fit for Kings:


~Colin & Ian were tireless in their search for rising fish~


I’d like to think that the epic battles with Icelandic trout and char zapped our energy.  However, an overdose of fresh air the relentless search of rising tout and nervous energy generated when approaching huge fish was perhaps nearer the mark.  Lucky for us, intrepid guide Stjani Ben is a first class chef too.  Following a long shift by the water he rustled up meals you’d expect to see served up in a classy downtown restaurant rather than some backcountry fishing lodge.  Food fit for Kings fuelled our adventurous tendencies.  Paul~


~Stjani, Colin and Ian tucking in to some well earned grub before hitting the river for an evening session~


Monday, 2 July 2012

Evening Rise:


Like the UK, any daytime breeze usually dies away towards evening time in Iceland.  Of course, with 24 hours daylight you still have good visibility come midnight (a surreal sensation) which is when hatches can peak.  Then it’s a race against time as believe me these midge feeders take some landing.  The difficult part is to stay calm and refrain from attempting to horse fish in otherwise disaster strikes.  Of course you do lose a few, which is to be expected at the extreme end of fly fishing!


~The wait was worth it as this leaper latched onto my midge pattern~


Sunday, 1 July 2012

Ain't no mountain high enough:


The northern tip of Iceland doesn’t really have many roads, so fishing often incurs a bit of a stroll.  Determined as ever Ian Swettenham clambered up and down dale in search of arctic char.  Following a slow start our efforts were well rewarded with a string of hard fighting fish. Sadly, risers were thin on the ground, but a brace of nymphs presented upstream saved our bacon.








~The long walk led us to a remote stream in a quiet corner of Iceland~







~Ian clutching a well earned char~