As one of the oldest fly fishing clubs in England, generations of anglers have enjoyed the River Derwent and all its beauty, as it meanders through this outstanding Vale of Hackness in North Yorkshire.
The natural beauty of the valley unfolds when we put our rods down and sit for a while, we wait for the Kingfishers to go by, Wagtails to fly from rock to rock. Dippers can be seen working their way through the shallow riffles for the abundant nymphs and other aquatic life that make their homes under the stones and around the weed beds, all indicative of the healthy state of our river.
Buzzards soar above us calling to each other. Kestrels, Sparrow Hawks and Barn Owls also make this valley their home.
In May, wild garlic abounds areas of the riverbank especially throughout
Forge Valley, Bluebells catch the dappled sunlight in the woods and the smell of coconut wafts on the breezes from the flowering Gorse bushes.
Flowering Cherries line the riverbank above Wrench Green as do the Crab Apple, Birch, Alder, Willow, Sycamore, Yew and Oak.
At Kings Weir clumps of daffodils add a splash of colour and with the flowering Blackthorn comes the Hawthorn fly to make its yearly appearance alongside the various Olives. Mayfly, Stoneflies, Willow Flies, Sedges and Beetles. All provide the dry fly angler no shortage of imitative patterns to choose from. If you are able to get down to the river in the evening you may catch sight of an otter as it makes it way upstream, diving in the pools searching for native Crayfish. You may see Roe Deer that live in the surrounding woodland.
The River Derwent pulls all sorts of wildlife to its riverbanks and as the sun sweeps around casting gentle shadows over the countryside that this lovely river runs through, fly fishing for the Trout and Grayling should not be the only reason why we are there.
The Derwent Anglers’ Club supplement the Wild Brown Trout and Grayling with Trout from a local fish farm so that members wanting to take fish for the pot can catch good sized stock Trout for that purpose. This enables the natural wild fish to grow and thrive.
Grayling are caught in good numbers each year, with fish 30cm in size not uncommon. Those hardy souls who fish in all weather can fish all year except March. Catching a few Grayling on a crisp frosty bright day can make the angler forget about the cold, if only for a short while.