Chris McCully


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Tuesday, 17 May 2022 at 20:50

Buttercup Timing the run-off of a small flood didn't prove easy. The river was already dropping (from 0.66 to 0.53) when I arrived in the upper dale; I thought we might get two or three hours' fishing on the extra water. The flood would also, I thought, stimulate a hatch of fly. I was at least partly right: I moved four trout and brought two to hand - not the numbers I'd have expected thirty years ago, but fairly pleasing nevertheless - and there was some fly: hawthorns everywhere at the river's edge, some black gnats, larger and medium olives, a few small stoneflies. By late lunchtime, though, the upper river was fining down and it was time for a move. I drove to our bottom beat, where there's some useful fishing if you wade out when the river's around 0.35 on the gauge. This was a bad miscalculation: though there was much less water in the Wharfe than when I'd started, the Skirfare was clearly still in flood, so the bottom beat (below the confluence of the two rivers) was both high and coloured. I made a few fruitless casts but soon exchanged the rod for the camera.

19th century vision

Wednesday, 11 May 2022 at 08:24

Old map I spent parts of yesterday with Lords Rhodes and Calbrade, fishing the same lake near Skipton which had been so generous to us the week before; I also spent part of the morning looking at a map. This (c.1850) showed the Conniston Cold [sic] estate as it was before the lake and its surroundings were landscaped. I find it incredible that the old estate owners had such vision: to lead the human eye into a new apprehension of space, vegetation, water and sky - and their ecological possibilities. That in turn led to new understanding of what must have seemed like God-given abundance.

   I didn't spend all of yesterday in history and metaphysics. The fishing was tough in a gusty wind and sometimes, bright sunshine. Nevertheless we released four brace of rainbows, with the best just over 2lb. Many of then took small black buzzers. There were also some black gnats in the air and further east here in York I've also seen some hawthorn fly, so prospects look fairly good - though I wish the rivers rain.

Rutland ospreys and other raptors

Friday, 6 May 2022 at 08:56

Rutland ospreys Rutland ospreys (information and live webcam):

Peregrine chicks at Nottingham Trent University:

Peregrines at the University of Leeds:

Estate lake rainbows (1)

Wednesday, 4 May 2022 at 20:25

Old friends To an estate lake near Skipton, fishing for rainbows and blues and doing some prep. for an angling/writing visit next week. Despite the fitful, occasionally gusty wind and its flirtation with almost flat calms we picked up a leash of trout on slowly-fished buzzers teamed with Blobs. The image shows my old friend Steve Rhodes into a good rainbow. A grand day in a lovely setting. For more details of the fishing at Coniston Hall see

Estate lake rainbows (2)

Wednesday, 4 May 2022 at 20:22

Rainbow and Blob They were lovely fish, averaging around 2lb. This was a typical example. Note the Blob below the fish's belly -the barbless iron had just that moment fallen out serendipitously into the meshes.

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