This review was written a loooong time ago. More recent(ish) visits in the blog here:
The Wykeham Estate is a large rural estate located on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors. The fishery is made up of five gravel pits, two of which are trout waters stocked regularly with rainbow and brown trout.
The three other lakes provide a variety of coarse fishing and one of the lakes is a dedicated specimen pike lake.
I visited the fishery early on in the season on an outing with the Roundhay Fly Fishers, a club of which I am a member.
It was quite a cold and blustery morning when we arrived at the fishery after the long drive from Leeds. Upon arrival we were advised that intermediate lines and nymphs were the order of the day by fishery manager Angus Young. As I had never fished here before I decided to follow his advice and tackled up an intermediate line with a diawl bach on a fairly long leader.
I then proceeded to fish this at various depths and speeds without much success. A few of the other club memebrs were catching fish and montanas were the flies doing the damage, typically I didn’t have any of these in my box so I tied on something similar…. a black fritz!
Not at all similar to a montana but it was black and it was early season so I thought it was a good bet. After a couple of casts everything went tight and I was into a fish, luckily enough at the same time as I was talking to my Dad who proceeded to capture the moment on camera.
Wykeham is well renowned for its water clarity and it has to be said the water is absolutely gin clear which makes playing a fish all the more pleasurable as you can see all the action as it unfolds. After a good strong fight I landed one of the best looking rainbow trout I have ever seen. It was around 3 pounds and was shaped like a torpedo, a thick set and perfectly marked fish with perfect white tipped fins. This was the only fish of my morning session but it felt like it was worth five of the shabby stocked rainbows I have caught elsewhere.
The lodge at the fishery is a decent size and has plenty of comfy chairs. Around twelve of us fitted in for our lunch quite comfortably, over the course of which I gathered that I was lagging some way behind in the fish stakes, anglers out in the boats were catching lots of fish on orange nymphs fished almost vertically on sinking lines, which might as well be deep sea fishing but at this time of year any method that puts fish on the bank will do.
In the afternoon I tried fishing on the opposite side of the lake and by pure luck located what must have been a shoal of recently stocked fish, about five of us were lined up on the gravel bank getting take after take, even a driving wing and heavy rain didn’t stop the entertainment.
Some may call it ‘Stockie Bashing’ but I’m a novice at this sport and I was having a whale of a time, all of the fish were around 2 to 3lb and in top condition. This period of frenzied activity went on for around two hours, I didn’t even need to change my fly, all the fish I connected with took a fry imitation donated to me by one of the other club members. I have never caught anything on it since but it was an absolute killer on that day.
Towards mid afternoon I decided to take out one of the boats, which normally cost £10 a day but as we were visiting as a club ‘en masse’ it appeared to be a case of jumping in one whenever you fancied. To fish from the boats you need to attach yourself to one of the buoys dotted around the lake to hold you steady, something I found very difficult, much to the amusement of all those around me.
I’m not a great fan of boat fishing and my comical attempts at securing myself didn’t do anything to change my opinion, however the boats at Wykeham are in good condition and a couple of hours in a boat can break the day up nicely. Fishing a sinking line from the boat produced another two fish of around 3lbs, both of which fought like stink and did a good few laps around the boat.
In summary, I cannot recommend Wykeham strongly enough. Of all the fisheries I have visted whilst creating this website, this has to be one of the best. The surroundings alone make it a great fishery but it is the crystal clear water and top quality hard fighting fish that really set it apart from the rest. The only downside to the fishery is the quarry in the distance, the machinery is a bit of blot on the landscape but you can’t have it all.
I will definitely be paying the fishery a visit once the season is in full swing, an evening of dry fly sport here is probably the most fun you can have with your clothes on!
YO 13 9QU
5 gravel pits lakes set in working quarry, two lakes are fly only with one
reserved for season ticket holders only. The review above refers to
the ‘trout water’ which can be fished with day tickets.