Ribblesdale Angling Assocation

Chairman’s Review of the 2019 Season

After another productive season for the trout fishermen, the Ribble and Hodder experienced a late run of salmon as high water levels saw a big influx of autumn fish

After a rather frustrating season of low water and low catches, the salmon season on the Ribble and Hodder ended on a high note with encouraging numbers of fish caught – and released – in October.

With repeated heavy rainfall, the catchment experienced almost continuous spate conditions, allowing the traditional late run of fish to make swift progress along the entire length of the river.

As is usually the case, the vast majority of these fish came to fly on the upper beats on our syndicate water at Nappa with plenty of grilse and the odd double figure fish coming to the net.

I am pleased to report that the vast majority of these fish were returned to complete their spawning in the headwaters and hopefully replenish stocks for the future.

A few lesser spates in September provided some sporadic sport for those who fished the catchment as it fined down and perhaps the most notable fish of the season was a deep-bodied hen fish estimated at over 20lbs off the Hodder.

This clean fish came to a small black sea trout double fished on a light AFTM #5 trout outfit and took more than 40 minutes to land and swam off strongly after being released to continue its journey upstream.

The Ribble is now widely regarded as one of the top five salmon rivers in England, and while the salmon runs aren’t what they were, we are lucky in still having a viable fishery here.

Earlier in the season, a fine, bright, 10lb fish come from Calder Foot and the occasional double figure fresh salmon was landed on the few occasions the river saw some decent rises over the summer months.

Conditions were less than idea for sea trout, but a good number of fish were recorded in the catch returns and the summer night fishermen on the Ribble and Hodder continue to report fish in the 4-7lb range with the occasional ‘clunker’ lost in the middle of the night.

A cold spring with biting easterlies meant the trout fishing got off to a slow start, but once the hatches start in earnest, the Ribble confirmed itself as one of the finest wild trout rivers in the country.

Sea trout fishermen often seem to run into the odd monster brownie while casting for sea-run cousins, while the dry fly and nymphing specialists regularly report fish of up to the 3 ½ pound mark – and this year was no exception.

Early season tactics with deep-fished weighted nymphs produced grayling to 2lb and as the hatches increase intensity, sparsely dressed north-country spiders winkle out the better quality trout.

Several members reported red letter days during late May and July when they caught and released in excess of a dozen fish with traditional downstream wets, while dry flies fished as the late finds would often account for a better stamp of fish.

Membership for the 2020 season is now open to new applicants. Please click on the Membership: Frequently Asked Questions page for further information.

In the first instance, prospective new members should email our membership secretary, Ian Dawson:  [email protected]

Interviews will be conducted during November/December.

Fred Higham, RAA Chairman