Chris McCully


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Hard work

Friday, 16 June 2023 at 09:08

Malham Although some cloud appears to have bubbled up in the image, most of the day at Malham was cloudless and hot. An easterly breeze saved us and we moved at least some trout during the day, bringing five between us to the net. (Lord Rhodes, typically, had the best of them at an estimated 2┬Żlb., possibly slightly bigger.)  It was hot and hard work, though. The trout seemed, judging purely from the rise forms, to be hunting perch/fry or taking buzzers, and there were periods of inaction throughout the day. Yet I kept reminding myself of the dedication and insight which has again opened up Malham's unique trout fishing to visitors. For details of availability and of the new regulations in place at the tarn and on the estate, see


Saturday, 10 June 2023 at 08:51

Poachers There were a few trout (mostly stockies) mooching about and they would take a softly-presented dry fly, but the water was worryingly low and the surface temperature of the stream was warm (18C). The dale was looking dusty and thirsty. Poachers and interlopers of different kinds had also been active: this spinner (image) I found among the stream-side stones and later, found nearly 60m of discarded monofilament. Naturally I disposed of these bits of detritus, together with a pair of nylon training socks and a plastic water-bottle - the last, debris of wild swimming. The otters had also been having a bit of a feast on the signal crayfish: on one shingle bank I found the carefully-dismembered carcases of numbers of these non-native crustaceans.

Dance of the spinners

Monday, 5 June 2023 at 21:50

Mayfly spinners A day as a lucky guest on the beautiful River Lathkill in Derbyshire, where the mayfly was in full swing. The dale was looking very lovely but the hot, bright weather did us no favours. We did release a handful of little wild trout, all of sensible sizes (9-11 inches), but we might have done better to fish into the evening. When we left,  I took a quick shot of one glide of the Lathkill where the mayfly spinners were beginning to dance. They show up in the image as dots or  smudges. Strangely, when flies hatch or return to the water in profusion the fishing can be particularly tricky: during the short mayfly season,  the trout can and do become sated and lazy and will only accept the most fastidiously-presented artificial....or (more usually) won't accept it.

Compare and contrast...

Monday, 5 June 2023 at 21:42

CDC Mayflies - and Mohicans ...the tying and efficacy of scruffy CDC Mayfly patterns (leftmost row) with the spectacular preening of the Mohican (right of image). The Mohican looks lovely, floats beautifully, is immensely attractive to trout but is a poor hooker and holder of fish. I experimented (again) with the pattern today: rose three, hooked three, brought none to hand. (I also think the size 10 I was offering today was a bit big for what were generally rather little wild trout.) Compare with the scruffy CDC May, tied with an upright plume of yellowish CDC wound around with another, beige or grey CDC feather, parachute style and with its abdomen tied to fish just under the film. Total today: three fish risen, three brought to hand. That's not at all conclusive - but the success of the CDC May (Itchen, Test, Lathkill, Nidd, several other waters....) is beginning to seem suggestive.

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