Angling in Haltwhistle.
Angling in the rivers around Haltwhistle is extremely popular since the fish are plentiful and the rivers are beautiful.
The South Tyne is a spate river and as such the conditions can change rapidly, a placid slow flowing stream can change into a raging torrent in a few minutes, particularly in thundery weather conditions. Thigh waders will be all you will need for most of the fishing but chest waders can be useful on some of the bigger pools. I would recommend either studded or felt soled waders, I would not use plain rubber soles, particularly if wading deep. I would also recommend the use of a wading stick. There are no particular hot spots and all of the river can fish well. It can get busy, particularly towards the end of the season, but if you are prepared to walk away from the easy access points you should be able to fish. We fish for brown trout, sea trout and salmon.
There is a small population of brown trout, a half pounder being quite a good one. The season for brown trout starts on the 22nd March and goes through to 30th September. The best months are April and May, when they can be caught on traditional spider patterns or dry flies. The best spider patterns are, March Brown, Partridge and Orange, Waterhen Bloa and Greenwells Glory. For dry fly I usually use a Greenwells Glory or Blue Dun. Later in the season some of the sedge patterns can be effective.
The sea trout usually arrive in numbers in July. They are usually in the three to five pound class, but larger ones are caught. As long as there is some peat stain in the water and it is not too bright they can be caught through the day. In low water night fishing can work well, the local members tend not to do very much night fishing so you should have the river to yourself.
Traditional patterns such as Teal Blue and Silver, Invicta and the grouse wing patterns all do well. Success can also be had with the larger slender tube flies much favoured by the welsh sea trout anglers. For those people who like to spin Quill minnows can do well as can Mepps and flying C's. The sea trout fishing can go on to the end of the season will fish into the teens of pounds usually being reported.
The first salmon is usually caught with the first floods we have in May or June although the occasional April fish does get caught. In a wet summers the river can fish well right through. In a normal year we have to take our chance when the conditions are right.
At the start and end of the season fly fishing with a sink tip, or perhaps an intermediate fly line is about right, the rest of the season a floater should work well. Cascades, Stoats Tails and other popular patterns in sizes 8,10 and 12 usually do well, as do tube flies in the half inch to inch and a quarter size range. For the spin fisherman Tobys and Flying C's do well. For the last few seasons Rapalas and other plug type lures have been gaining in popularity.
Permits to fish for Seniors & Non Member Day Permits can be obtained from Mr W Eals, 4 Fair Hill, Haltwhistle. NE49 9EE. Tel: 01434 321818. The number of rods is limited to 4 per day, on a first-come, first-served basis.
Permits to fish for Junior Anglers (aged upto 17 Years) can be obtained from Armstrongs Carpets on Haltwhistle Main Street. Open from 9am - 5pm Monday to Saturday,(closes 12.30pm on Wednesday). A Season Ticket costs £15. This includes a FREE Lure or Pack of Flies.
Ivan Banks is a well known fly tying expert who lives in the town. He supplies many well known tackle shops in the region and sells flies and lures. He can be contacted by phone on 07780870853, his address is Thornthwaite, Park Road, Haltwhistle. (opposite No 19 Park Road) Ivan will be able to give expert advice on fly selection and to supply the relevant patterns tied to a high standard and at a reasonable price.
Bait fishing which includes worm and prawns is forbidden on National Trust Water, it is allowed on all other waters of the association.
Extensive information about fishing in Haltwhistle, along with some photographs, can be found on the Haltwhistle & District Angling Association website: www.haltwhistleangling.co.uk
The Fishpal Tyne web site can give you current water levels and other up to date information, www.fishpal.com/England/Tyne/ Water levels can also be found by Phoning: 0906 619 7722 (Press 1 when connected).
Need a place to stay whilst fishing? Wydon Farm B&B is perfectly located and has two rods from February till the end of October on a 6 mile stretch of the South Tyne. The river is very well suited to fly-fishing but you are welcome to spin if you wish or the conditions dictate. Deep wading is rarely required and usually a 13' or 14' rod will be adequate to cover the water - in times of low water a single hander can be great fun. Visit their website for details: www.wydon-haltwhistle.co.uk