Now the River Rye as been at the top of my must do list ever since my very first flyfishing days. Back in the early nineties, as a raw but eager and excited novice, I watched a flyfishing video by Nicholas Fitton called 'In Pursuit of Wild Brown Trout'. He fished in various places in the video, but the streams running off the North York Moors* featured mostly and the River Rye was one of them. Years back I visited the very same spot on a family day out, at Nunnington Hall. Looking over the stone bridge into the crystal clear waters of the Rye, trout and grayling could be seen in good numbers. The Rye is a gem of a river and ever since these early encounters it has been a river I've longed to fish, but doubted I'd ever get the chance.
I couldn't believe my luck when the guest day was proposed. A date was quickly arranged and I grew ever more excited as it got closer. But it could only happen to me... I wait 20 years to fish the River Rye and we get the wettest May, June and July on record! I was fully expecting the day to be called-off when my client (let's call him Mr C) sent me an e-mail saying it would still fish. He explained that "it would be running a bit high, and slightly coloured, but it wasn't as 'spatey' as the Dales rivers". This was a complete turnaround, because back in the dry spring the EA had to remove fish from some of the downstream beats because the river had completely dried up!
The club run a beat booking system and so I was booked onto the upper beat, Mr C describing it thus "I've booked you on our upper water, which is the prettiest, and full of wild browns with some good grayling". Looking over the bridge, at the mid point of the beat, the water was indeed running coloured, but nothing too bad. In fact many of the Dales rivers routinely have more colour than this due to them running off peat moorland.
|A pool on the River Rye too good to walk past!|
|River Rye wild brown trout|
My first cast on the River Rye and I'm immediately into a small trout on the GHPTN on the dropper. Second cast and another small trout, on the same fly. Good start, how long could I keep this up? I couldn't. I went a few casts then before I hit something that felt much bigger - a grayling. It wasn't that much bigger, it just felt bigger on the strike. This happened all day; every grayling was more solid on the strike, irrespective of size, than the trout I hooked, and this is something I haven't noticed before? I left the pool to head to the bottom of the beat having caught 4 trout and 2 grayling, all on upstream nymph without indicator, my favourite method.
|Mist rises on a long glide, River Rye|
|A River Rye grayling|
So thank you Mr C for allowing me the pleasure of one of your guest tickets. A long-term dream realised at last.
*Many people from outside the area assume that the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors are the same. They aren't. They are roughly separated north/south by the A1. The Yorkshire Dales are situated to the west and cover a much larger area than the North York Moors to the east. Both are outstandingly beautiful areas, but they are completely different in character.