For years now I have been meaning to fish Bellflask and this year, with self-imposed pressure to get
content on the website, myself, Phil and Stu finally got round to paying a visit. B-Day was the 1st of
May and weather conditions for the operation were of the ‘fair to middlin’ classification
with some sun but a stiff breeze.
Practically panting with anticipation we arrived at Bellflask to be greeted by its owner Brian Moreland who,
in a no-nonsense fashion, proceeded to explain the fishery rules to us before giving us tips on where/how to
fish his very clear 10 acre lake. I must confess that whilst he chatted to us my attention was distracted by
the splashy rises around the lake and occasional glimpses of anglers playing fish.
Initial impressions of the lake itself were good although like many places a pleasing view is slightly
marred from certain angles (in this case a working quarry). The water is very deep in places but enticingly
clear and generally emanates the feeling ‘there be monsters’ lurking here.
It’s actually reminiscent of Raygill, another venue which inspires confidence in the possibility
of landing a leviathan. By the time we got to the water’s edge the fish had, unsurprisingly, stopped
moving but we persevered and remained buoyed by the knowledge that there had been a recent stocking of trout
including a batch of double figure brown trout.
Brian had told us the fish have an abundance of natural fodder to feast upon due to the alkaline qualities
of his water and this led us to shun lures for more traditional patterns. I don’t think I’ve
ever read a piece of literature or magazine review of a fishery which doesn’t claim the water is
magically “rich in aquatic insects” and “fish therefore quickly naturalise and pack
on weight whilst swimming around in the gin clear water with their shovel-like tails blah blah blah”.
How refreshing it would be to hear a fishery manager proudly admit his venue had sh1tty brown water, nowt but
a few buzzers and mutant fish which even the cormorants won’t eat. In this instance though
Brian’s claims proved to be accurate and I’ve never seen as many olives on the water as I
did at Bellflask. It seems almost unnecessary to tell you I tied on several olive imitations and they
After an hour of no activity for any of us Phil suddenly became attached to a good sized rainbow which
put up a spirited battle before being netted, then promptly released. I watched all this from afar and
began to question the logic behind my decision to move to the far corner further down the bank. However,
the occasional swirl kept me going and when the clouds parted to allow the sun to shine through things
picked up as I caught two nice fish on a tiny tungsten-headed hare’s ear. Both were in very good
condition with clearly defined markings and …yes…full tails.
Like much of the bank though this area was quite tricky to cast from due to the trees and bushes behind which
seemingly held a strange fascination over my flies. Deciding upon an easy life I headed over to
the ‘sandbar’ which extends out far into the lake and allows hassle free casting. I waded out
and fan-cast my way around either side, paying particular attention to the shelves as I had been advised.
Unfortunately it didn’t result in any fish, despite having observed anglers work it to great effect
earlier that afternoon.
Consequently I returned to the corner I’d caught fish from and put up with the constant
snagging of back-casts and was rewarded with another couple of good fish. However, the rapid
discombobulation of my tungsten bead hare’s ear whilst playing the last of these two rainbows
marked the end of my success for the day.
Several other flies were tried on both floating and intermediate lines but I couldn’t get anymore
interest and Stu had to persevere until the very end of the day before his luck changed and a fish came to
All things considered, Bellflask is a nice place and I would recommend it to anyone. The place is nice
and tidy (please ensure you keep it that way!) with clear, deep water, the fish I saw were all in good
condition and the manager is friendly and honest. A random fact that may also appeal to the budding
twitchers amongst you is that during a 2002 survey 142 species of birds were seen at Bellflask quarry. I
am sadly unable to confirm how many tits were amongst this total.
A Day ticket is £20 with four fish limit.