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Fishing the Tees with Andrew Wilkinson – Reasons to be Optimistic as 6oz Trout Indicate Breeding – Country Life

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SEVERAL brown trout around 1lb 8oz have been caught on the Tees in recent weeks as the river continues to provide reasonable sport.
The improvement over last season continues, although trout numbers are still down from previous decades when many older anglers in the valley cast their lines for the first time.
My last session yielded 13 trout and three graylings, a pleasant tally, although none of the trout were over about 6 oz.
However, that’s not a bad thing, as it shows that the trout are reproducing, with a new generation of smaller fish arriving.
Reports continued of the capture of large multi-pound rainbow trout. There has been speculation that rainbows are breeding successfully in the Tees.
It’s possible. I asked a friend, who is much more knowledgeable on the subject than I am, as he ran his own trout lake with stocked rainbows, bred as triploids and therefore unable to reproduce.
He said farming triploid fish is not 100% efficient and some can reproduce. Therefore, it is technically possible that a few escapees from Teesdale Reservoirs could spawn in the river.
However, it seems almost certain that the large rainbows that have appeared are stocked fish, which have fallen from the tanks, and not specimens born in Tees.
As rainbows tend to form shoals it is likely that when one fish leaves the tanks others will follow, which is probably why some pools on the Tees contain a few.
Fishing in the reservoirs is a good challenge, which I may not do as often as I should. However, I had an enjoyable session on Hury at Baldersdale a few weeks ago.
Northumbrian Water stocks its waters with some great rainbows, many in the 3lb range. They are stockpiled in good numbers, so while a few end up in the river, the vast majority do not. Most are free-riding and can be caught on both dry flies, wet flies, and lures. Hooking them up is a challenge and when you do you are guaranteed a rod bending battle.
Hury is a fly-only reservoir, although Grassholme offers bait and fly rods. With miles of banking space, these tanks are suitable for those who like to focus on one area and those who prefer to keep moving, looking for trouble spots. Tickets can be booked on the Northumbrian Water website.
While we all have our favorite places, there’s a lot to be said for a change of scenery and a different challenge.
This year I have fished various waters in the Lake District, from the larger lakes to the tarns high up in the hills. Wild brown trout in these waters are mostly small, but with different markings from Tees trout, some with olive and yellow hues.
They are not easy to catch and in my last sessions I only caught one fish in each tarn. It’s a huge effort to climb to these hidden places, but every step is worth it. You are virtually guaranteed to have the water all to yourself, and spending a day of solitude in such beautiful surroundings is rewarding in itself. Catching one of their wild fish caps on a glorious day.
The same flies that run off the tees will catch lake trout, although in a team of three flies it’s worth trying a bushy fly on the top dropper as the wake caused when retrieving often attracts a trout to follow and take. Coming back on the A66 and looking out over Teesdale reminds us how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful area, with so many great fisheries.