Bellflask Fishery

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
proved useless.

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
his net.

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.

Bellflask Fishery
Nr. Tanfield
North Yorkshire
01677 470716

A Day ticket is £20 with four fish limit.

32 thoughts on “Bellflask Fishery

  1. carl

    went to bellflask on monday the 9th of april 2012. what a day we had between the 3 of us had over 25 fish. well worth a day. will be returning sometime soon.

  2. sam

    if you boys stop and think for a moment if you caught 25 fish every time you went fly fishing it would get very boring and if it was all about catching fish it would be called catching not fishing.
    its not about how many its about how you catch that elusive fish how you managed to trick it into taking your fly. I have come across many fish from belflask that have flys in their gullets and worse have half their gills torn out by people not being carefull unhooking and illegal use of barbed hooks too. i know its expensive to fly fish but so is any hobby we need to take care of our hobby not exploit it for our own selfish needs and hopefully next time you go it will be just as good if not better.

  3. kris

    Hi sam …. what has me and my friends got to do with people not takeing the barb off the hook
    It looks lyk u are jelouse to me i bet u havent even had 25 fish in a year. never mind keep trying kida
    u myt be as good as us 1 day x

  4. kieron

    i think belflask is a really good place to practice your fifhing because you dont have to cats out far to catch the fish

  5. chris

    @glen h
    millionaires fishery init
    3fish ticket for 50 quid.jesus christ do they ask for your eyeballs after a days fishing. pennine only 30ish for 3fish and their average stock is around the 4lb mark and quality fish at that

  6. Paul booth

    It’s £25 for 3 fish not £50 and its a cracking fishery. Fish are all in great condition and give a very good fight. The owner is very friendly and full of useful advice on what flies are doing well etc. It’s 25 for a reason and that is that it is very well looked after and stocked at least once every week. Those complaining on here about the fishery clearly jut want to catch a bucket load of fish with ease, if this is the case Fly Fishing is not for you. It’s about learning constantly and enjoying the whole experience, even if I don’t catch I still enjoy the day just being at a nice site doing something I love. Bellflask is a great place and I would recommend it very highly to anyone.

  7. chris

    calm down paul. if you read my comment properly you have your wires crossed.fished bellflask twice and thoroughly enjoyed both days nymph and dry fly fishing

  8. richie

    Me and my father and best mate are fishing it on sataday and I no a few people that have fished it and loved it I cant wait to out wit some nice 2lb to 3lb maybes bigger fish

  9. Mick patterson

    Best place i have fished in my 50 years fly fishing never failed to make my limit in fact my average is 12 this place is for experienced anglers

  10. Matk

    My first visit to bellflask, a great day at what is a first class fishery, which is not surprising with Brian Moreland running it.Ten hard fighting fish caught and plenty lost as well.
    Highly recommended.

  11. Chris preston

    Does anyone need any gear recovering from the lake.
    I am a local lad with scuba kit, I would return all found equipment to the lake owner. I could also film my time under water to aid with fish health, numbers, obstacles, weed growth and general under water enviroment

  12. David

    I have been there numerous times. Intermediate sinking line, olive, white and orange frisk, Dawson’s olive, concrete balls, etc. always did the trick. I miss it and I hope to return one day. I have fished many waters, in the area, Fewston, Swinsty, and many others. All of England has the finest fly fishing in the world.

  13. Skylark

    Sounds a good place.but for all the moaners. A fishery spends an absolute fortune on fish there not cheap to buy and stocking they all can go belly up due to shock it’s a chance they take for your sport. Also got to be on guard 24 hrs 7 days to keep poachers at bay. I will pay a visit one day I hope. Please gents no bickering it very child like.

  14. Malcolm Neale

    Hi to all. I’m a new starter and thinking of going to Bellflower fisheries. I have no Barbless fly’s. Is it possible to flatten the barbs. Tight lines.

  15. David Robertson

    gorgeous lake, just being there is a pleasure in itself! i have fished it probably about half a dozen times, which included a couple of blanks, but managed 19 yesterday, with 5 lost….excellent condition hard fighting rainbows, averaging around 3lb! brian the owner is a lovely guy too, just make sure you respect his lake, and use barbless hooks!

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