Brown Trout

Trouting with the T3

The beauty of being a full time guide in the Yorkshire Dales is that the wonderful freestone rivers we have here lend themselves to the full range of fly fishing methods, both modern and traditional. In a typical day a variety of techniques will be used including New Zealand style, traditional spider fishing, upstream nymph and upstream dry fly to name but a few.

It's important that the rods I use cannot only cope with whatever is required of them but do it well. I have been using Orvis T3 905-4 Tip 9.5 rods for the last few years and have found they fit the bill perfectly. Using the 5 weight has the added advantage of having ample backbone to combat nasty winds and difficult conditions, even the less experienced casters make it work well, yet it's still perfectly at home delicately presenting a small dry fly to a rising fish. Fly fishing on the Yorkshire Dales rivers is "busy" fishing, short lining a team of spiders up a fast run is hard work but the T3 loads well with a short line and therefore minimises the amount of effort required.

Light yet powerful enough to handle some of the large wild brown trout we have in the Dales rivers, this season the T3 tamed wild fish to over 4lbs for one client in high water conditions, no mean feat in such a powerful flow.

I match my T3 rods to the Battenkill Mid Arbor 111 reel in black and Wonderline Gen 3 weight forward line in olive dun. This makes the perfect outfit, the Battenkill Mid Arbor reel is a great workhorse, sturdily built with a smooth trouble free drag, all in all pretty much bullet proof which is most important when you are out guiding almost every day. The Wonderline Gen 3's perform well, slick and supple and high floating, essential when fishing on the fast flowing Dales rivers. I prefer the more subdued olive dun colour for fishing the rivers but use same line in the more visible yellow colour for Stillwater work.

It's amazing how often my clients make favourable comments about the outfit and especially on how well the T3 has performed.

One piece of Orvis kit I find really useful is the Dropper Rig Fly Box. It's essential to change tactics quickly as often the window of opportunity doesn't last long so I always have spare leaders made up complete with flies neatly wound on the inserts. This means in a couple of minutes I can be fishing new flies and presenting them a different way, I cannot remember how often a quick change of tactics has brought a fish or two and has occasionally saved a blank day. It weighs two parts of nothing, slips into the back of my Battenkill Pro Guide Vest, I often forget it's there until I need it.

Wading is essential when fishing the Dales Rivers, not so much for reaching places you cannot easily cast to but for getting in a better position to cover a rising fish or fish holding water in a more efficient manner. Good line control is the key to successful fishing on all rivers and the shorter the line the better control of the line and therefore the flies you have. Not moving close to your fish or fish holding water is one of the biggest mistakes most river fly fishers make, simply if you cannot control 5 yards of line properly there is no way you can control 10 yards. With my Pro Guide 2 Stocking Foot Waders and Henry's Fork 11 Premium Wading Shoes I can confidently wade over difficult terrain to reach the fish or fish holding water.

With Spiderman like grip with their felt and tungsten studded soles, the ankle support and hiking boot comfort the Henry's Fork 2 Wading Shoe's are a superb combination to the light and extremely comfortable Pro Guide 2 waders. I am astounded that the tungsten studs are so hard that they show absolutely no signs of wear after literally hundreds of days fishing. In addition a good quality wading staff adds a "third leg" which will save an "early bath" on most days spent on a Dales River.

Over the last five years I have used pretty much 100% Orvis gear and I have to say it has performed very well without exception, I get the impression it's designed by fly fishers for fly fishers which is refreshing change in these day's of marketing hype and product designers who do not know anything about using the product let alone anything about fly fishing.

Fly fishing on the Yorkshire Dales Rivers is almost always a challenge and will always sort the "wheat from the chaff" but with the correct gear the odds against the trout having the upper hand are greatly reduced.

Steve Rhodes
Director - Go Fly Fishing UK

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