The River Nidd 27 May 2017

I was up in Leeds visiting my Mum with the kids, she likes to have a bit of time with them without me around barking about manners, behaviour ect ect ect. I am only too happy to oblige and usually end up fishing one of the local rivers. I had made no plans this time though and an offer of some stalking didn’t come off. I had a few options but a quick check on how far I was from Orvis Harrogate showed it was only twenty minutes away. I have known Clark Coleman for a few years and we have enjoyed fishing a few of the rivers up North. It would be rude not to nip into Harrogate and say hello. So, after nearly killing more than one kamikaze cyclist I eventually made it to the Orvis shop. Clark was busy with a customer when I arrived but as soon as he was free we had a quick catch up. He asked where I intended to fish then offered up the day ticket stretch of the river Nidd. A new river to me but I was well up for a new challenge. Clark took the time to explain where I could purchase the £12 day ticket and the best place to start fishing. He also offered a bit of evening sport on The Cod Beck after he had finished work.

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The club that owns this stretch of the Nidd is the Nidderdale Angling Club. I bought my ticket from Summerbridge Stores, Summerbridge and the fishing was Upstream of Pateley Bridge, downstream of Pateley Bridge and Dacre Banks. I parked up in a tennis, bowls and cricket complex which seemed rather deserted as I set up my gear. As I started it was a bright sunny day, I was all kitted up just wearing my t-shirt. I was just about to walk off when a niggling doubt made me stick my waterproof jacket into the back pouch of my fishing rig. As I walked along the path I met at least half a dozen people all very friendly and chatty. I miss that living in the south of England if you speak to someone they often look away and keep their heads down. I could glimpse the river through the thick canopy of trees it looked clear enough for a Northern stream and it had bags of character. There were long flat glides coupled with some tumbling runs although quite low it looked in real good nick. I arrived at the sign that marked the bottom of the beat and sat for a while watching the water. As I sat watching several trout rising to an ongoing hatch I felt the odd drop of rain. I unpacked my waterproof jacket and stuck it on, it was a bit warm but at least I would stay dry.

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I entered the river as carefully as possible it was like a canal and I did not wish to create a bow wave that can so often kill the sport. I seemed to manage this ok as the fish continued to rise steadily. They did not look very big so I stuck on .08 tippet and a #20 Griffiths Nat. The trout approved and I was soon getting some good sport. After a while though I think they had become a bit wise to me. So I changed to a small Parachute Adams and suspended a Partridge and Orange #16 from the hook bend. It was a winning combination and more fish came to the net. I had lost a number of flies and it occurred to me that I could probably beef up my tippet and still get the fish. The first few casts with the heavier tippet produced nothing and an inkling of doubt was creeping into my head. I needn’t have worried though as after carefully stepping up a few yards I was back in to them. I even had a visitor from a fair to decent Grayling. I have to confess to really enjoying the fishing more than usual, it was very quiet fish were rising up and down the river it was bliss. What’s more I had all the time in the world, that’s when I heard the rumble of thunder and the skies went dark. I looked up expecting to see the ship from Independence Day. Thankfully it was just very dark skies. I fished on for a bit and the fish still seemed willing, but the first flash of sheet lightning got me winding in my line. I tucked right into the side of the river and waited for the rain to lighten up so I could carry on with my day. It was not to be though, what proceeded to happen was biblical! In the space of about fifteen minutes about a week’s worth of rain and hail stones hit the river. After fifteen minutes, I abandoned all hope and started back to the car. I had a spot of lunch and the storm seemed to have passed by. I thought to have a quick look at the river but my worst fears were confirmed it was the same river that features in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and my fishing was done.

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I contacted Clark who thought that one of his little Becks may be OK for the evening. We parked up by a pub and walked down to the river, fifty pence bet that it was going to be a solid brown colour? Clark took me on and I took his money….lol. Clark treated me to a meal in the pub and we spent the time catching up about his guiding business and life in the Orvis shop. It’s always grand to catch up with fishing buddies and even as we were saying our farewells in the car park we exchanged a few patterns. I will definitely be back to the river Nidd, I only had a glimpse of its potential but there are some grand days to be had there no doubt.