Tanfield Lodge

<Latest reports from Tanfield can be found at bottom of page. Also, search my blog for Tanfield, I go every year!>

Situated near the village of West Tanfield near Ripon, Tanfield Lodge is an attractive 11.5 acre lake which
in a previous incarnation used to be a gravel pit. As is the case with many fisheries based on old gravel-workings
the water is very deep in places, shelving off to 30 feet at some points and usually quite clear.

The lake contains both rainbows and browns and you may also find a crayfish or two take a fancy to your fly! The
Yorkshire Dales Angler’s guide by Laurence Tetley (an excellent reference by the way) states that no
wading is allowed here but we spent half our time up to our tackle in the lake without any complaint from the owner!

The old fishing lodge

The new fishing hut

As you enter the car park there is a small ‘lodge’ complete with toilet and seating area should
the elements force you to beat a hasty retreat, and less physically able anglers can park almost at the water’s edge for ease of access.  Looking down from the car park at the lake you will see a
spit of land jutting out into the water on the left which is probably the easiest place for casting because there are no obstructions and you can easily switch direction if you find yourself casting into a headwind.

Still looking down from the car park, the right-hand corner is also a hotspot if you can nab it before anyone else does. The rest of the tree-lined bank is often tricky to cast from if the fish are far out because around much of the lake the bottom shelves off quite steeply apart from the side nearest to the car park. The latter is shallow enough to wade out quite a way.

Looking down from the fishing lodge

I have been to Tanfield twice, my 1st visit some years ago during which I managed to land nothing but a crayfish and my most recent in April 2005. This last outing was with a club I belong to, the Roundhay Fly-Fishers, and the 12 of us had the venue to ourselves. The weather was somewhat typical for early spring, a mixture of sun, cloud and a cold wind – the latter really
put a curse on the proceedings. Initially I felt optimistic when minutes into the morning session I hooked a rainbow whilst fishing from the ‘spit’ but the moment I contemplated reaching for the net my size 14 hare’s ear nymph and the trout parted company.

As is often the case, this encouraging start proved to be somewhat deceptive as the next few hours were spectacularly quiet. Just before retiring for lunch I grew weary of fishing the ‘traditionals’ and with an evil glint in my eye reached for the box of unspeakable horrors that rears its ugly head on these, and only these, occasions. Clearing a path through swathes of multi-coloured marabou and various beastly fibres I came across a ‘fly’ which must have consumed several feet of Fritz and untold rabbit pelts during its lager fuelled birth. With a nervous shudder I tied this heathen creation on to a mere 7ft of industrial strength nylon and clouds were rent asunder as I double-hauled it into the middle of the lake.

Let no-one be in doubt that had this fly struck me I would have been instantly decapitated. As luck would have it, an insane rainbow slammed into the lure as it plummeted through the depths and after a short but frantic  battle I managed to land a cracking fish which must have been only a scale or two away from 4lb.

Looking out from the Spit

After a leisurely lunch (during which I ascertained only a couple of other fish had been caught by the rest of the group) I returned to the spit where I had first hooked a fish upon arrival. Casting with the wind was delightful but the relatively shallow bay didn’t seem to contain any fish so I was forced to turn around cast into the teeth of an exhausting gale in order to cover the occasional rising fish in the main lake. Braving the elements paid off because after a period of disinterest from the fish I started to tempt fish up with size 12 hoppers but getting the blighters to the net proved to be astoundingly difficult. In-between missed plucks and swirls I managed to hook maybe 5 trout but each time they left me with a limp line and a mouth full of curses. Typically, one of these seemed to be a rather large fish judging by the length and ferocity of its runs but then again ‘the one that got away’ is never a tiddler is it?! Another member of the club stood
only a few yards away from me and he also seemed to be getting into fish but unlike me he was able to net them. After a while though the fish stopped moving and this signalled the end of our purple-patch.

Considering the number of experienced anglers on the lake that day our bag seemed fairly poor, but I am more
inclined to believe this was down to the curse of Roundhay Fly-Fishers rather than the muttered doubts about
the number of fish in the lake. Indeed, a pair of disgruntled anglers from the North-East who had turned up
unaware we had the lake booked for the day claimed to have caught 60 fish between them only the other week
on a Nomad lure.

Tanfield Lodge looks like a big reservoir squeezed down to a handy size lake and can fish like one too.
It’s well worth a visit as the fish are good quality and the venue is very attractive, with plenty
of woodland and general greenery to remind you fly-fishing isn’t about muddy puddles in fields.

Tanfield Lodge
North Yorkshire
01677 470385

Attractive 11.5 acre lake which in a previous incarnation used to be a gravel pit.

Fishery records
Ring 01677 470385 for more info .

Ring 01677 470385 for more info.

Portacabin Lodge with toilet.

60 thoughts on “Tanfield Lodge

          1. Jonny T

            I agree, bit of a silly comment! At least be descriptive of your opinions and not child like!

  1. chris

    prices are £14 for 4 fish, 8am till dusk or an evening ticket for £7 2 fish 4pm til dusk. the time i had 33, 20 of them were from 5pm onwards. great place for the dry fly and naturals:-D

  2. Darren

    Hi everyone,

    I am new to fly fishing and have recently finished a short course with a charity ‘Fishing for Heroes’. I’m looking at doing my first solo fly fishing this week after I had a walk around Tanfield Lodge. Can anyone offer some good advice about the type of flies and possible areas? I understand that from the rules you can’t wear Waders but a few anglers had them and from the reviews it seems like waders are a must. I have just purchased a set this weekend and wondered if i should bring them.

    Any help would be appreciated. Darren

    1. Bob

      Hi Darren

      I’ve always worn waders when I’ve fished Tanfield, and most other anglers who go there seem to wear them as well. Buzzers do well early season, not sure how well they do at Tanfield this time of year though. You can always take some lures and an intermediate line with you,good to fall back on. Marabou lures with a god head are a good bet, in black, white or olive green.

      1. Darren

        Hi Bob,

        Thanks for the advice and have purchased a selection of lures and buzzers. Will hopefully have some success tomorrow.

          1. Darren

            Hi Bob,

            Been three times and haven’t been doing to bad thanks to some good blokes from the North East who helped with with fly selection. Last visit was good and caught fish when everyone else seemed to be suffering. Now looking forward to this Thursday as definitely got the fishing bug now.

  3. sam

    hi,im thinking of giving tanfield a go this year can you tell me what are prices for 2013 and how it is fishing this season so far do i ring first to book or can i just turn up cheers Sam

    1. Bob


      Not heard any reports from Tanfield yet for this year. I would ring in advance just to make sure you don’t turn up on a day when a club like ours has it booked for a chunk of the day.

  4. Gordon Dale

    Fished Tanfield Sun 8th Sept

    Water was warm and the bright sky kept the fish down for some time

    3 of us there early doors with two or three turning up later PM

    I had one fish and lost several more (missed even more taps) while Tony bagged up fairly easily. Several more fish came as the wind dropped and the sun went down, fish topping all over taking little black flies off the top.

    Flies ranged from Cats Whisker early on to small black spiders and green cheeked nymphs or buzzers getting frustrating taps.

    It was only my second time there and I will be going back, probably before the weather gets bad. It’s a long drive for us just to freeze our butts off.

    1. Bob

      Thanks Gordon, as always, fishing reports like this are really welcome so as to keep this site up to date for anglers looking for info on Yorkshire Waters. Cheers!

  5. chris

    All landed bob. Missed loads as was using my new di5 and never realised that the taps were takes. Hooked and landed 4 fish one after the other just wading thigh deep and slipping the bsrbless fly out then back out 4 consecutive times. It was unreal. Just as enjoyable as somedays there where you have to work hard to get a fish or two. But thats fishing and I love it either way:-)

  6. J.C.


  7. connor

    hi i haven’t been fishing for a while and was wondering if i need a licence to fish here as mine is out of date. thanks

  8. Daphne Porter

    I was a bit disappointed with Tanfield yesterday. Anyone wearing chest waders were into fish after fish all day, and those fishing from the bank were hard pushed to touch a fish despite using the same flies as those successful anglers.

    1. Bob

      …and yet sod’s law dictates that if you wear chesties and wade right out next time you go…the bank anglers will cane fish out whilst you blank!

  9. john sloan

    Just like to say big thank you for refunding me £4 didn’t have the correct amount but wasn’t bothered I had a great day only got one rainbow but here if you caught a fish every cast it would be to easy was down on holidays will be back later in year for sure
    water very clear good fighting fish what’s not to like about tanfield fishery
    tight lines to everyone who fishes here cheers John

  10. john sloan

    Hi bob if you and your mates want a really good days fishing why not give orchil trout fishery a go . Good fighting rainbows starting at 2lb upwards record fish 19lb.

    you can get all details on their website. It may be a bit far to travel as its near perth
    but as I’ve said it’s well worth the trip .4.5 acres beautiful scenery very friendly

    1. Bob

      Thanks John

      Perth is a bit of a long way from Leeds! But hopefully I’ll check out Orchill one day – out of interest are their any pike in the coarse lake?


      1. john sloan

        That’s a big fat no but carp up to 22 lb plus bream etc
        have 3 areas for coarse fishing ABOUT £7.50 FOR ALL DAY

  11. Daphne Porter

    How is Tanfield fishing at the moment, I am coming next Saturday and hope to have some nice dry fly sport on the surface.

    1. Daphne Porter

      Went to Tanfield yesterday, beautiful weather. Had one nice rainbow on a bibio and two more on daddies (small). Altogether a great day, goodbye Tanfield for this year and look forward to the 2016 season.

  12. Daphne Porter

    Was at Tanfield yesterday, weather beautiful, but cold wind. Fish taking just under the surface, not many people were touching them they were very picky, got one on a little bibio, a bar of silver that fought like the clappers. Only a handful of anglers which surprised me on such a lovely day, Bluebells are out and saw quite a few swallows, very peaceful and harmonius. Prices are the same very good value 4 fish for £16. Nice one Chris.

  13. Daphne Porter

    Thankyou West Tanfield for 30 + years of delightful fishing. Sadly I am hanging up my waders as after my visit last Saturday, when fishing off the spit I realised that my body is kicking back at the walk round the lake and up the hill to the loo. During the day I made that journey three times, and when I eventually packed in I could hardly drag my body and fishing gear back round to the very welcome seats. I have many very happy memories of fishing there with S. & T. Ass. At one time we had a competition there every September with branches from Wensleydale, Cleveland and Northumberland all mustering two teams. Absolutely fantastic years, but sadly when we met on Saturday there was only about half a dozen of us, some of them (still in their fifties) will carry on for many years I hope, but sadly, now in my seventies my body says when you spend half the next day in bed recovering now is the time to say Thanks Tanfield it’s been good to know you, over and out.

      1. Daphne Porter

        Thankyou Bob, did you read the article in Aug/Sept edition of trout fisherman about Tanfield, hope it brings more anglers in. I am going to fish S.& T’s grayling day in October and we shall have to see after that. The annoying thing I found when I was at Tanfield that last time was that just before I packed in fishing I was casting better than I had for years – Sods Law. Tight lines in the future Bob.

          1. Daphne Porter

            Very good Bob, a good photo of Chris looking very smart with some of his dogs, a photo of me and a couple of Peter Fletcher, it was three or four pages, and was a very true and positive article. It was issue 487, and well worth reading.

  14. Vinegar Fly

    Really enjoyed my two visits to this place. First time was in mid August ’16 and found half a dozen anglers around the car park bank and spit so ventured right to a shallow sandy clearing through the trees. Even though there was little movement of fish on the top there was a favourable ripple and tried various wets finally landing a stockie of around 2lb. Next went dry with a favourite of mine the black gnat and had several takes and fish ‘out of the blue” when others I could see were having less success. Revisited on 13/09/16 and returned to the same location. Waded nicely out on a scorcher of a day with the favoured black gnat. Minimal ripple on top and had 5 fish in the first hour or so. When it went quieter dried a daddy and caught two more. Two more up to 4.00pm on the gnat then the minimal breeze stopped and the water became a mirror. Had not one other fish then but had bagged 9 on the day in 6 hours. Great value for money this fishery. Love to get out with my chest waders and cast freely. Good averaged sized scrapping fish. Clean and accessible venue.

  15. Shane Allison

    Fished here 3 times in 2016, what a cracking fishery it is with hard fighting fish. Looking forward to the new season. Anyone know when opening day is?

  16. Glenn

    Tanfield Lodge lake opens on Friday 24th March 2017. Unfortunately the website hasn’t been updated so far this year and at first glance gives the impression that the full day ticket price remains at £16, which it has been for several years. However (and not before time IMHO) this year’s price is now £20 – still very good value, so don’t be caught out!

  17. daphne porter

    Had a great day at Tanfield, thoroughly enjoyed myself, sadly blanked due to the wind being in my face, I am not able towalk round now so have to stay on one of the two jetties. Had a few follows and a couple of half hearted nibbles, couldn’t work out what they were taking, whatever it was, was just under the surface, there were some cracking fish swirling round. Perhaps next time I shall have more luck. The other anglers that could get round the lake had a cracking day, well done lads. xxx

      1. daphne porter

        It’s a pleasure Bob. Hoping to be going to Kilnsey in a couple of weeks, I don’t drive now, so have to take any offer of a lift I can get.

  18. daphne porter

    Bob, if anyone is gong to Tanfield and they are going through Bedale I would be so grateful for a lift, thankyou very much. xxx

  19. ben

    dont think Chris is stocking it as regularly, 3 visits between 7 experianced angles showed very little in losses or catches, theres been talk of him running down ready for retirement. pity as we normaly have good sport. will be visiting nearby leighton instead.

    1. Glenn

      No shortage of fish here! Yes, as usual, they were very dour and picky during July, but the fishing picked up again after the rains came at the end of July. Visited four times in July and although it was slow and a bit frustrating managed 2-4 fish on each visit. It’s worth a look at the website to see the beautiful brownies that Elvis took and returned during July too. The lake fished well from August onwards and I had some memorable days on dries as well as early buzzers – some far better fishermen than me were well into double figures (mostly on fast lures, but also daddies from mid-September). I’m happy to dispel the rumour, at least from Chris’s parting “Look forward to seeing you next season” on Friday, a most enjoyable day with two early on orange buzzers followed by six on hoppers (including 3 x 3lb) before I left at 2 p.m. with a sore shoulder.

      Roll on March !!

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