river irt

kingfisheryh02nxs

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has anyone any info on how the cumbrian esk or irt are fishing?

I was on the Esk a couple of weeks ago, there didn't seem to be a lot of fish about, the ones that were there were very small, half pound to a pound and a half.
Things might of changed since though.

Paul
 

Hodder321

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I have not been up there for years. But lovely place Ravenglass with the Irt / Mite and Esk coming in. Plus it has the hand of history on it with the great man living up there.
 

bar'o'silver

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cheers, i am going up in a couple of weeks and was hoping to cast a line or two. i agree is lovely around ravensglass and eskdale
 

SP8

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Just got back from a couple of days in Eskdale with the Mrs. Didn't bother with any fishing gear as I doubted I would have time to fish. Wouldn't you believe it, p*ssed down Monday night and the river well up but clear next day! Just my luck. I spent an hour just looking at the river above Forge Bridge at Tuesday tea time but didn't see anything. I've not fished the Esk yet so hopefully I can find time and the right conditions sometime in the future.

SP8
 

Heebob

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Esk

Based on nearly 20 yrs spent fishing the esk, July and August best months for Sea Trout however there is an early run and also a late run of the really big Seatrout however the harvest run do not hang about -

Most of the later sea trout on the esk in my experience are smaller fish.

The salmon fishing on the esk is consistently best September onwards however you do catch early fish, we have taken them out of Donalds pool in July before. Again it depends on water however Donalds Pool, Barr Woodhalls water and then the likes of Hazel, Meadow, Upper and Lower Knott End, Black and Plum Dubs will have fish depending on water.

Donalds Pool and Black Dub always hold numbers of fish though. For a wee beck there are some cracking fish that come up it and it is this aspect that can shock people. When there is water it is an easy beck to fish and catch consistently on however it is when the water drops that is what sorts the men from the boys. Fish with stealth and keep your offerings on the move.
 

bar'o'silver

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Well just got back from my first fishing trip to the irt and esk,

there were reports of fish being taken on the irt in the last few days, but out of three of us fishing we didnt touch a fish or see one between us.

we went to the esk in the afternoon but we thought it was virtually unfishable due to lack of water, i suppose local knowledge is invaluble in those conditions, i.e knowing the pools were fish lie up.

is the esk really only fishable in full spate?
 

Saint Andrews

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I've fished the Irt & Esk for over 30years and know them quite well; I used to have a static caravan at Nether Wasdale. The Esk is really only fishable (Salmon wise) in high or falling water. I have had some success in the lower Tidal Pools i.e. Donald’s Pool & Corner Pool in low water but had to go down very fine often I used to use 4 or 5lbs line and tiny hooks with single worm. This was when Kathy Falkus owned the water and she let us fish her bit on the proviso we took Diamond her cat a herling upto Cragg Cottage afterwards for its supper. We used to go up with a bottle of red wine and talk for hours about Hugh and the old stories. Other times we took her down to Ravensglass for a meal, I remember one time in 2002 we were stood at the bar and she pinched my arse and said if only I was 40 years younger!! She was a real funny woman and was very sad when she passed 2003. She had one hall of a turn out at her funeral.

Anyway you can catch on the lower pools in low water but all in all it fishes best when up. It can be in spate in the morning and nearly back to summer level by evening it’s that up and down. No good for the visiting angler but if you hit it right you can have some real red letter days because the fish make a beeline as soon as the river rises I remember one afternoon taking 3 salmon between 5 & 8lbs, 3 sea trout between 3 & 4.5lbs from the bottom of the PA beat at Forge Bridge only to bump into a guy who was fishing above me and he had landed 8 Salmon, 5 on spinner and 3 on worm!! and this was only 6-7 years ago it’s not an old storey.

In recent years the Irt has really suffered and only had any numbers of fish run very late October, I remember when there used to be a good run of Summer fish from mid June onwards but not these days, it’s a real shame because I spent most of my childhood up there with my Granddad so it breaks my heart to see the runs deteriate. The Esk on the other hand still gets a fair run but as is such a spate river you have to be there at the right time and as PA have some of the best beats when it is right the river can be very busy.

The Ehen still gets a good run and isn’t really spoken about or noticed in Salmon fishing circles, a right little jewel in the Cumbrian Crown ……
 

bar'o'silver

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Saint Andrews

thx for that, me and playhappy fished yesterday with low water but had to come home today,typical, as river was in spate after last nights rainfall,
but we still had an excellent weekend in a beautifull part of cumbria.

i have just bought a static up at holmrook so hopefully i will be able to get another visit or two in again before the end of the season.
 

Saint Andrews

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There’s no better place in the world to get a Caravan than west Cumbria, where abouts is your static van? Drigg? Salcoats, 6 Acres Gosforth or Purdems Farm Holmrook? Either way it’s a cracking area to be. I’m not sure how much you know the area or river but if you want any advice just ask. There are a few areas which produce when conditions are right yet no one knows they exist. In the 1990's me and my mate systematically went down the Irt Valley knocking on every Farmers door and asked about the fishing on their land and offered them any catches. We got told to F**k Off a few times but a good number of times we bought half a dozen of eggs off them and they said we could fish, many stretches were cr*p but some produced fish out of areas you would have walked past.

Anyway enjoy your time there it’s a wonderful place if you’re a PA member try a cast under Stocks Bridge below Irton Church at the bottom of the Sporting Tribune Beat or cast an upstream Flying C in the run into Ashtrees at the Top Of the Lut beat at Holmrook. One of those areas which look nothing but produce is the small run below Holmrook Bridge, cast an upstream flying C and retrieve fast. When the water is right you will nail them if they are there. When the water drops off free line a shrimp through the Reading Room the bit on the Occasional Salmon where Andy Nich wades under the bushes, when they are there and lake water is running you will nail them.

Tight lines….
 

bar'o'silver

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Saint Andrews

cheers for all the info, that should save a bit of leg work!

caravans at saltcoats looking out over the estuary with sca fell as the backdrop.....stunning

luckily i am a member of pa so is really handy for all there beats
 

playhappy

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Coming Home ( Mel torme )

Do you Realize

I was drinking Wainwrights in the back of the car as we drove over the Corney Fell, admiring the truly stunning view looking towards Scarfell Pike. I had only drunk two Wainwrights as I had foolishly and naively packed them in the boot. Luckily the rods came through the drop down piece in the centre of the back seat. I realised that if I put my arm in and delved in up to my shoulder as far as I could stretch. I could just about winkle my hand between the crammed bags of luggage and tackle to my bag of beer. It occurred to me that I looked like a vet with his arm up an animal’s backside. I delivered my beer to me the proud father and I felt a wave of pride. My holiday was off and running like a Derby winner.

I started thinking about Alfred Wainwright. I reasoned that the Blackburner wouldn’t have been quite as productive if he drank five of these beauties a day. His drawings certainly would have been radically different. The hills would be full of confused walkers looking quizzical while turning their guidebooks, just to see if the drawing made more sense upside down. I was imagining what he sounded like, until I realized that the low Lancashire burr saying “I hate people, I bloody hate people” wasn’t Alfred Wainwrights voice, as I had never actually heard it. It was in fact the voice of the actor who narrated AW’s passages on Julia Bradburys walking TV programme. In real life AW could have sounded like Judy Garland and I wouldn’t have known.

I also thought about AW’s legacy in Blackburn......we built a great big iron railway bridge, plonked it in front of B&Q, painted it blue and called it Wainwrights bridge.........could anything be more repugnant to a man who thrived on natures own splendour.....and cultivated his own solitude. I doubt it. It’s just a matter of time before some marketing genius gives us Wainwrights greatest walks, Wainwrights iphone, Wainwrights tap shoes, flasks, tea and his favourite walks at Christmas books. It’s inevitable .......never; ever kill the golden goose.....even when it’s dead.

Optimism is tidal

These idle thoughts end as we pull into a service station at Holmbrook. Earlier that morning my friend and I fished the Ribble at 7am. We had been quietly confident but talked about the day ahead and our trip up to the Irt. Unbelievably my mate caught three salmon and lost a corking 15+ absolute pearler of a fresh fish. I had willingly landed these fish for my ecstatic friend (Howie). While I was in a state of supreme shock, I imagined cutting all his tackle in half with a Sthil saw. Only four days previous I had caught three in a day to even our tally for the season. I had been three behind and I was meant to be the one quietly gloating about pulling it back to all square. ...Now this jammy swine had his chest puffed out and was chirping aloud with a master class of untold salmon theories.

Luckily two cars travelled to Holmbrook.......and we put chirpy in with Warren, a none fisher, so he would receive not even a slightest drizzle of appreciation from his captive audience. Warren likes fishing like cats like water. We were surprised that he wanted to come at all. He doesn’t get it and he has no intention of ever getting it. He can’t conceive how we can get excited about it...This plan worked so well that a troubled Howie phoned us in transit. We put him on loud speaker “this is ****,.. I’m telling him all about my fish and how magic I am and he doesn’t get it.....he just keeps saying right right, is three meant to be good?.....that’s no ****ing good, I wanted to be in with you lot”.....our natural reaction was to hang up the phone mid rant.......why fight this kind of urge.

Crash landing at the cosmic service station

The service station had a 4x4 on the forecourt with 2 rods set up on a roof rack. The driver of the vehicle wore a leather cowboy hat. I can’t tell you what else he wore as I couldn’t take my eyes off his hat. It was of course like Howies birthday to see these anglers and he leapt from his car to eagerly question this salmon angler about our prospects but much more importantly; let this Hat fully understand that he was in the company of greatness. Howie had quickly established that the Hat hadn’t caught anything by a direct route of questioning. And he wasn’t going to hang about before he announced....... “I’vehad3thismorning” like the bullets from a machine gun. No time for gaps in-between the words.....The Hat’s eyes widened like he had been assaulted and then offered his congratulations. .......This is of course part of the prise for catching a Salmon.....you get to mention it to as many anglers as you can, as quickly as your mouth will carry you.

I decided to get out the car and join in on the conversation. Naturally I wanted to tell the Hat that I had caught 3 on Monday........hey, nobody’s perfect.... The garage owner came over and explained that it had been slim pickings on the Irt and Esk. The Hat then threw a grenade into the conversation................ “last week there were that many in a pool that I thought I could just walk out and pick them out, do you remember Howie”..................eh, Howie? ,.... how does he know Howie......Howie as it turned out was also the name of the garage owner. On hearing this unlikely coincidence I raised my arms aloft like Christopher Lee in the wicker man and declared “a sign, it’s a sign, our planets are aligned...............your howie, hes howie, we drive up here and you tell us that there are so many salmon in the rivers that you can catch em by hand!”...........silence and awkward glances from the locals as I stroll back to the car to open another Wainwrights. My 3 other comrades in the car all agree that I have just freaked the locals out within 60 seconds....not my intention, I was excited and felt a sense of ironic comic timing.

I’m sure you can imagine the mood though as we drove off that cosmic forecourt.. Most fishermen are automatically predisposed to be almost fatally optimistic. We wilfully discarded the comment about “slim pickings” and clung to “you can pick them by hand” like a shipwrecked sailor on a plank. Our tiny minds were overloaded with thoughts of Salmon stuffed into those rivers just waiting to be caught. Honestly we were laughing like lottery winners, repeating back the key points of the conversation utterly convinced that it was true in every sense. How had we become so naive, in such a short space of time. Had none of us been in dialogue with a fellow angler before. We had a short term case of full blown craziness. I sat in the back of the car elated but with a nagging awkward feeling in the pit of my stomach.

The GilCraig

Im sure most of you are aware of the story of the Macnab. Two high flying professional men given a new challenge by a mutual friend when they grew bored with their lives. The challenge set for them was to shoot a stag and then to catch a salmon on the same day. It’s a fascinating tale of two crackpots with an absurd amount of A: Free time B: Money .

Howie and I had often discussed a task that would suit our tastes and immortalise the challenge as our own. We lingered long on the immortalised part, we liked the sound of it. So one day while fishing we came up with the GilCraig. My surname is Gilbraith, his forename is Craig. The devil is always in the detail. To have performed a GilCraig you must first catch a salmon (with a rod and line) believe me, we had to stipulate. Then once the salmon is caught and landed you must win a game of live tournament Texas Holdem poker against at least 8 of your friends. As we are playing for money nobody wants to lose and most of all, the person who has not caught a salmon would rather scoop out their own eye with a rusty tea spoon than let you win. The logistics of organising a game of poker between 8 – 11 family men over the age of 35 once a month isn’t easy but we manage. We have managed for over twenty years. So the game is booked first. You must catch the fish on the day of the game, ie a Friday/ Saturday. Salmon to order..

Last year I came within a fin away. I caught two fish, cooked one of them for the poker school. Howie was electrified like a bolt of lightning and went all out to stop me..He was highly animated, like Basil Fawlty on speed.. . Obviously he crashed out first and spent the evening heckling from the sidelines. He tried to lobby the group for a sudden change of GilCraig rules. This is the backdrop I had to contend with. I came an unpleasant second place from eleven players. Close.... but no GilCraig.

Now on the brink of our trip to the Irt with a poker game booked in for Friday night, Howie started his pre match warm up. Bombarding me with calls reminding me that all you had to do was catch a salmon and the Gilcraig was on.

So when the lucky bastard caught three in three hours...well, he went into a kind of frenzy. It was an uncomfortable scene to see another grown man quite that smug, trying desperately not to appear smug........I reminded him that there must be five players to win it. “The three salmon make up for the missing players”.....that’s what the slippery **** said. Earlier that week (when I had caught 3) he had accused me of making everything a competition.

So now in a wave of idiotic optimism we drove to the caravan, keen as mustard, dreaming of fishing the Irt and the Esk, rivers no wider than a pencil and overflowing with salmon. Easy peasy. The Occasional Salmon had taught us that it was a piece of piss.

Playhappy, Boo

Look out for part two:

“It’s like the bloody canal” ...........This isn’t a quaint Cumbrian expression or saying. This was the description on arrival at the river Irt at holmbrook, ravensglass.

www.myspace.com/playhappypromotions
 

albyn73

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Memories

What memories the River Irt and hearing about it being like a bloody canal!
Obviously a bit over expressed as the Irt that I recall was more like a lttle Scottish stream or burn in places when we dared venture down to it so many years ago, that was when a Mr Andy Nicholson was charging a £10 a-day to fish its waters. But...

IF we had been down the week before we would not have been able to get near the river to fish as it had suffered a mighty flood, and had risen to over 7 or was it 8 feet higher than normal. And what we were seeing was the aftermath of the river coming back to its normal height again, one diseased sea trout was all that we saw all day, until we were just heading home there was a couple of grilse came through but try as we might they were not interested in our baits either.

Still it had been an experience and we had been getting on so well with the local farmers bullocks, when all of a sudden a might big JET came very low [approx250ft] screaming out from nowhere and frightened the **** out us and the bullocks, and the horses on the other side of the river, and I'm almost sure I could see the F**king pilot laughing as he leered down at us then screamed away in through the surrounding countryside. One of the not-so pleasant joys of fishing in Cumbria.
Must say though Julia Bradbury would brighten up any walk, if only just to keep up with her:)
 

Saint Andrews

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Brilliant Boo!

Made me go upstairs and follow the framed map of the Irt valley the Mrs bought me for Xmas. The memories from my childhood with my Gramps who indecently is the old bloke ‘Jack’ Andy Nich interviews on the occasional salmon where he says the immortal lines on film ‘it’s a good way of getting away from the wife. I remember when the film was first screen, the family including my Nanna were huddled round the screen, when he said that she flipped and dragged him home. Both have sadly passed but the memories remain. I keep in touch with Andy and meet up every so often, infact he keeps threatening of having a weekend on the Ribble but not yet got round to it with fishing the Dovey, Blackwater and Baltic.
Look forward to part two and will ring you this weekend to sort out that days fishing I promised, maybe share some of my Wasdale stories with you, most of which are not printable on a public forum.
Now where’s my copy of the occasional Salmon I got for Xmas....

PS The service station you refer to me and my mate used to call 'Howie Turpin' daylight robbery on the highway. He incidently owns the gift shop/team rooms at Santon Bridge.
 

DonnieH

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I've tried a couple of ways (text, email, Facebook) to get in touch with Gosforth Anglers and got no reply. Are they still going?

Reason for asking is that ideally I would like to spend a couple of days up there fishing their stretch maybe mid september.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks
Don
 

Andrew B

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That's very true, Shaun Penny is a close life long friend of mine so if you still struggle getting in touch Donnie drop me a PM and I'll call his personal mobile for you. FYI day and week tickets now available from village store in Gosforth.
The meat pies from that store are superb. There’s a caravan site called the Old post office that has long appealed to me, albeit I’m not sure about the fishing?
 

Saint Andrews

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The meat pies from that store are superb. There’s a caravan site called the Old post office that has long appealed to me, albeit I’m not sure about the fishing?

I'll PM you Andrew tomoz ref Post Office short beat, only one small dub on it but before Mrs Thwaites died she let us fish it for nothing and was our go to pool for near guaranteed catch in 1990's
 

Andrew B

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I'll PM you Andrew tomoz ref Post Office short beat, only one small dub on it but before Mrs Thwaites died she let us fish it for nothing and was our go to pool for near guaranteed catch in 1990's
Great stuff and what a great thread this is by the way. Such a beautiful part of the world and as one local from Ravenglass told me in May..... “the only people who come here are people that really wanna be here”.
 
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