Hayeswater & Moss Eccles


Hayeswater outflow

Finally, a dedicated fishing mission!

I’ve had a distinct lull in my enthusiasm for fishing recently. Stepping back and looking at my hobby with a critical eye it began to seem almost ludicrous that I’d spend a shit load of money on tackle, provisions, petrol, day tickets etc to go catch rainbow trout that have been raised in an underwater cage and may well have been driven in on the back of a wagon a couple of days ago. Of course, you and I know it’s not that simple and the many pleasurable aspects of fishing, rainbows or not, often negate these factors. Nevertheless I have been struggling to get back into it all.

With summer circling the drain we were keen to get a last weekend mission in and after 30 emails we settled on a plan to fish Hayeswater in the Lake District, near Hartsop. Pictures online of the lake and its residents really switched me on again and I felt the old feelings returning.  Back in business!

The 7:30 departure melted away to 9am then sank without trace as Tom slept in whilst Stu enforced a detour to Otley to pick up his waterproofs and a further stop off at an outdoor shop in Ingleton. He’d forgotten his sleeping bag so went to buy a new one and we naturally jumped at the opportunity to buy more outdoor paraphernalia as well. So it came to be we didn’t arrive at our campsite until about 2pm then struggled to put up our extensive array of tents in the blustery conditions which meant we didn’t begin the walk up to Hayeswater until 3pm. Pathetic. Everything was a bit out of kilter, Stu was still a bit broken from our walk up Ben Nevis and I still needed to recover from a disastrous 10 hour drive  whilst  Smithers was just….Smithers. But the views were spot on albeit much softer than the Highlands.


I was looking up Pasture Bottom here

It’s a quick sharp pull to get up to the outflow of Hayeswater Gill but when we got there any thoughts of fishing found themselves stacked up on top of ‘operation early start’ in the bin of fail when we saw the white horses.


We did stand around for a good half an hour drinking tea and formulating ideas about having a bash at the fishing or going for a hill walk but in the end the fact that our campsite (Sykeside at the foot of Hard Knott pass) had a pub with real ales forced the inevitable. Why is it wherever North Country Angler goes  he catches big  fish to liven up his excellent blog whereas we end up fishless fools forcing me to fill my pages with pictures of flowers and the like. Anyway, never mind we’ll just have to go back another day. If you decide to go, permits must be bought from here: http://www.lakedistrictfishing.net/online-shop.html. One thing I did get right was to concentrate on drinking this all night –

Wychwood Bountiful

Sunday begrudgingly coughed up a beautiful morning and after putting the tents down I tried to encourage the ‘B’ team I was left with to do a good hill walk with me but the morning turned into a ‘pottering’ event, taking in Daisy’s cafe and several of Ambleside’s outdoor shops. We then dawdled at advanced level 9.5 before finally deciding to go fish Mos Eisley Moss Eccles Tarn which sits kinda  in-between Esthwaite and Windermere,  near Sawrey. This was the second time I fished it but on this occasion I stupidly didn’t bring my waders which really proved to be a mistake, I must have a short memory!

Moss Eccles Tarn

If you’re looking for the happy ending money-shot of me with a big brassy brown trout and a grin forget it, we all caught nothing. I have however learned that Beatrix Potter used to row around on here – bet she bloody caught fish.

Again, permits can be brought from the Lakedistrict fishing website which does a grand job of making obtaining a permit nice and easy.













8 thoughts on “Hayeswater & Moss Eccles

  1. paul johnstone

    next time your going to hayeswater, give angle tarn a go. park at the white horse in patterdale (they do a couple of real ales).cross the bridge over the beck and follow the path to the right at the bottom of the fell. its a longer walk than that to hayeswater,(1hour 15mins ish)but the views are better and theres some cracking fish when there on. no permit required, just your rod licence.

    1. Bob Post author

      Hi Paul

      We’ve actually wild camped and fished Angle Tarn a couple of times, with varying degrees of success! Nice place but I do wonder if it and other small lakeland tarns do get a bit too much angling pressure.

  2. paul johnstone

    hi bob

    ive fished angle tarn regularly for over twenty years and ive yet to see another angler. mind you when its dour its dour and can give the impression there’s no fish in there. but if you go at dusk and the caenis come on the whole tarn boil’s with fish and plenty heavy one’s too, its also the most difficult time to tempt one under these conditions!!.

    1. paul johnstone

      i used to fish a three team rig, the usual bushy bob fly(soldier palmer), winged wet fly middle dropper (various patterns) and spider (snipe + purple) or nymph (pheasant tail) on the point. but for the last few years ive changed and like to fish a single small dry fly (14/16), usually an f fly or grey duster parachute, i find it brings up the better fish. i like yourselves have an annual trip to assynt and have changed to this method up there as well and find i get better fish and they stay attatched. i go back to the traditional set up in a big wave, but only if i have to.

      1. Bob Post author

        Interesting, I know a few people who seem to favour the single dry when targeting wild browns, a tactic which is markedly different to the traditional approach. I do love fishing dry for brownies on a loch, but I don’t have the confidence/patience to fish a single dry when there’s nothing showing. Do you only target rising fish or do you fish blind with a dry as well?

  3. paul johnstone

    i use the dry fly for rising fish and even if there is nothing showing. ive seen it floating around for over 20 minutes and then still be taken. i keep in touch with the fly, taking in the slack frequently and give the fly line the odd twitch which can often get a reaction off the fish. it is surprising how much water the static dry covers, with the differing winds moving it around the loch. the anticipation is fantastic compared to stripping the flies in traditionally, and as ive said my average weight of fish has increased considerably.

    1. Bob Post author

      Ha, that kinda answers a long held question of mine. When fishing a static dry I usually cast out, keep in touch, occasional tweak for a maximum of maybe 2 or 3 minutes before recast. Maybe a bit longer sometimes, but I do often wonder if that 2 or 3 minutes without interest means any fish in the vicinity is never going to go for it, or what would happen if I just left it…and left it…and left it.

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