They Bagged Up !

George U organised his friends trip for a second time this year. Weeks before correspondence sallied back and forth. Questions over tactics what patterns? Fish seen and caught. Eventually the party assembled and plans were hatched to search out their quarry. They were seen at various times at different locations surveying the river lines, fly boxes and head scratching. at Farnley

They kindly requested I enjoy their now famous BANJO breakfast bap ‘Dead Farmyard’ style. Will normally supplies Wiltshire fare and in particular his amazing eggs, regrettably between car and hand these failed Will’s juggling skills and were no more.

Will Preparing The ‘Banjo’

Some excellent secret flies were tied by George some on single hooks. They covered the water well and day 1 some fish taking and properly on but not landed. James started proceedings and was delighted with his grilse!

Jammy James

Its possible that day 1 the successes hoped for were dulled by a great selection of highland spirit in the lodge the previous evening?
Day 2 the river was a little up a bit coloured but very fishy looking. We saw runs and the chaps redoubled their efforts. James got straight in early on to a fish estimated to be 17lb on one of his specials!

James bags one early doors! Farnley where dreams can come true ….

Will had a cracking take in Hut but fractions of a second separated this with a salmon annoyingly we watched in horror as the fish just dashed away. Day two he decided that enough was enough and hooked a fierce cock fish. It fought one heck of a battle and even leaped out of the net, it swam off hopefully to successfully spawn.

Will gets a Farnley Tyne Tiger

The day just got better as fish were about all hopes high and excitement in every cast. George got another in the afternoon much to everyones delight :

Fresh off the Tyne she escaped the Seals but not George

We had a good chat about conditions given the river was holding more colour and not much seen later on. They decided to keep at it and some fish showed interest, persistence paid off and James got his hattrick! It was a great fight the temperature had dropped and for a period it seemed they were back ‘On’ ! The other love of George’s life is also a Missy Salmon …

Has he the right to hold her ? The other Salmon …. ; )

They decided to call it a day and following a day where on and off heavy showers occurred no one knew if the river would be fishable on Saturday.

Day 3 and one fish lost !! James once again dear me . Everyone got after them but the river was definitely up and coloured. Hours passed not much seen rests were taken the river hut stocked with provisions and so the search continued without any success. When it seemed their last day would be fishless a girly shout could be heard way down in Dead Tree, James was into one! The trip was a great success and much was learnt about the beat in higher conditions, we look forward to seeing Will James and George in 2019.

James cradling his Tyne Cock !

A change for the better !

We were fortunate to have some wonderful parties on the river in August. It was a delight to have their company and at last the weather and river started to behave! Robert W and Mr Stott enjoyed a terrifc week with different guests each day culminating in a full on family party day for his son Richard’s 40th. Twin daughters his lovely wife Julia and two son in laws Al and Richard keen to learn the art of fishing! Two salmon caught that day biggest 10lb to Al the man in crocodile shoes ( Peter’s son in law ) who a few days earlier lost one to the net! (familiar story this year ) The children and dogs had a great time exploring the estate, ate a fabulous lunch, wines and cake were a fitting repast to the birthday. Barry Nichol guided very successfully and the rods were delighted to see their casting come on leaps and bounds. We have now two more courses fully booked now in October (contact us on for your special treat A 2018 Spring salmon course) ! Its a testament to the simple tips we can provide added to local know how in terms of tactics and we enjoy just watching and helping our current rods extend their skills and hopefully become more successful on the Tyne and other fine salmon rivers.

Following this group we had the return of one the most loyal and long standing friends of Farnley the Turner party, with Big John and Sally, the mad keen Hooper brothers John and Paul. Barry Mitchell had a lovely time guiding the party and all sorts of new techniques with rods and associated lines were tried. John Hooper had a tremendous tussle on day one with a 16lb beauty which was returned, well done John. After that the river looked superb, fish were running in flurries most days,but sadly nothing else to report. Many thanks Anthony for organising his party and they had a great time in Blanchland staying at the Lord Crewe Arms they said ‘highly recommended’.
Here is John Hooper’s beauty cradled by Barry Mitchell:

John Hooper’s 16lb Tyne Salmon August 2018 Farnley Estate Corbridge

Grilse a welcome sight

Its been a curious summer so far in respect of the enduring heatwave and the abundance of sea-trout. Many years ago I used to watch them feeding off Alnmouth and I’m guessing that the good weather has meant sandeels, prawns and crabs in abundance. Perhaps its easier for them to ambush the sandeels with their body buried and heads keeping watch at the low tide marks?
I’ve a theory that the fish pass is a barrier to larger fish coming through during low conditions. This might be why we’ve has a lot of grilse coming through and lots of sea trout above the Riding Mill pass. Salmon just don’t like their backs to be uncovered,someone with a great deal more know how that me has measured water heights needed on a certain weir in the Tyne and found that a minimum of 8″ is needed to let the salmon to make their spectacular moves across and above Wylam. With this in mind perhaps some modifications are needed in future to ensure that upper beats get a fair share of the runs when they are happening?

Our very latest friends are on the water as I write Danny, Eddie and Decca. Their first day was exhausting a very early start and nothing doing, however Danny managed a lovely 4lb bar of silver sea trout.They kindly let Barry N have a few hours in the evening and he was rewarded with a super 10lb salmon! Today they had perhaps cooler conditions and the important colder night which resulted in a lovely Grilse for Eddie, he was delighted and shared his fish with us here :

Sterling Silver 8lb well done Eddie

At the beginning of the week Neil W and his pals started really well with a lovely grilse 4-5Lb and despite really trying everything that was it sadly. They enjoyed the trip and as experienced Tyne rods are back in October to make amends!
Finally our trusty gang lead by Mark B, Robert W and John started with intent and 2 Grilse were landed ! I don’t have the sizes but well done indeed. It was a change of tactics following some intel from Bywell that brought the success. Robert W wrapped it up with a lovely sea trout destined for a fine meal with his friends:

Its true ! Autumn or late summer could be amazing !

Its early August and the Dee has had some pretty incredible fishing, the Tweed is looking much more fishy and here on the Tyne the rods report seeing decent numbers of running fish with Bywell doing very nicely thank you,

A handsome fishy !

There are fish holding below the fish pass thankfully its raining today and this could mean these fish will be spreading throughout our lovely river.
Admittedly in recent weeks the river temperature is poor for fish and the lack of oxygen not conducive to much activity. I’ve decided on the Farnley Lakes Syndicate to suspend fishing until its felt the waters cool because the fish are very much on the bottom in survival mode. This main factor has meant our rods have really struggled although at times people have done reasonably well. Our current team is Mark B and Robert W so at day two nothing to report only that lots are going through but hardly any appear to be settling..Mark had a sea trout on and off Grrrr! We have some good intelligence on what might work so perhaps a change in tactics today may produce its due reward?

Earlier the last few days of July saw the return of our intrepid regular trio Danny J, Decca and Eddie Mc. The first day ended in a very despondent note following the loss of a well hooked fish in Dead Tree by Decca that got off just as one would expect it to give up. Always really gutting and the next few days only one proper take. The previous gang led by Luke O had a better time of it and managed a fair bag of two salmon and one belter of a sea trout.

Took in pump ran down Hut ! Well done Chris

Their biggest definitely had to run the seal gauntlet luckily its now in the river and has a good chance to top up the next generations brood. Again well done Chris …I bet you were popular ! NOT

A great fight two times over the seal 0 Chris 1

A week before Kenny tried to fish his 3 days but work and other commitments meant that Dave fished the beat and his guests notably Big Eugene. Lots of laughs and enjoyment all round. One or two snatches the occasional chub! What was truly amazing for Dave and Eugene was the spectacular late evening viewing they had of the epic sea trout in the pools. The river burst into life with all different year classes of sea trout feeding. One particular beast in its mid teens harrowing fry in the shallowest of water. Sadly before they got in and after them it was too late the temperature dropped and it all went quiet.

Conditions Due For A Change – Early July Reporting

Just watching the RAF Centenary here in London per ardua ad astra (through adversity to the stars)  searching for evidence of the impending flypast,bit waiting for the salmon. No relatives sadly flew for the amazing RAF, my father operated in the last war in a newly formed Army Air Corps as a glider pilot and parachutist. It’s probably as well he was not allowed to fly powered aircraft (his AAC powered training mysteriously cut short) my brother and I used to chortle with great merriment at the seat gripping prospect of old dad  flying. We also think he only learnt to drive in a tank in North Africa !

Up north July began as June ended the relentless heat if dad had  been still around (he loved the sun! large cigar and Daily Telegraph and face of a cooked lobster) reminding him of 4 years roasting his whatsits in North Africa. Not ideal weather reminded me of fruitless trips up to Kildrummy Castle in June on the Don. We still had great holidays early and late fishing , golf and exploring old churches and Castles. You just got to get on with it nothing can be done when high pressure unusually refuses to budge over this usually chilly island in the North Atlantic.

Our first gang in July David E , Boz and Co stoically gave it a bash but the heat, sunshine and only Kielder water just about wrecked their chances. I hear some good food fine wines and laughter softened the misery of near impossible fishing. Farnley is such a lovely place to be its a chance to relax talk rubbish and listen to nature and think sod the fish its not their fault.

Typically the day after Robert W got up at sparrows art and sensed with a few plucks possible opportunities so it was that he landed a lovely 5lb sea-trout.

New potatoes and asparagus anyone ?

Dr Phil A has taken the beat with Grey Court this week and the water temperature is dropping ! The weather much cooler and possible showers coming hip hooray. Fish have been on and off Monday and Tuesday ! Its evident that Sea Trout are definitely in but very few of their bigger cousins. Latest from Phil is 3 sea-trout for the week to 5lb very few salmon seen though.

Small bit of tech advice from Barry Mitchell this AM whilst talking polyleaders he suggested that perhaps abandon the clear hover polyleaders, there is growing evidence from the elite instructors that they may scare fish reflecting too much light. So maybe revert to say 10-12ft fluorocarbon which reflects little light and should help especially in low waters.

Thanks Barry !

Poor returns in a magnificent Summer !

No one expects the amazing contrast of Spring and Summer in the UK so I suppose we have to be thankful. I thought you might enjoy this stunning picture, what is the dog seeing perhaps the ghosts of Roman soldiers, Scots Invading armies? This view from Farnley Scar would have been an ideal look out point for Border peoples? (many thanks Roger N for your lovely picture of Sandy looking up North towards Corbridge)

Many thanks from the Estate to our lovely guests over the past month.   Next up  our lovely course participant Grahame Armitage who thoroughly enjoyed Barry Mitchell’s casting tuition. Grahame took the key elements on board and showed some great skill as the 3 day course progressed. In helping Barry I saw how clearly he breaks down and simplifies the modern Salmon Spey casting technique. Certainly I learnt that we need to watch out for bottom hand creep, get the bottom hand working (easier said than done at times), make the rod ‘work’ watch our anchor point and learn not to kill the cast by overhitting the delivery stroke. Listening to how our cast sounds its possible to detect faults and learning to use our rods power rather than speed and aggression!  Barry Mitchell is GAIA and now soon to be announced has another amazing qualification! Many thanks Grahame we are looking to welcome you back here. Our nest course will be in a few months where we welcome Neil C and his son in September on our second inaugural Salmon Fishing Course! Please contact us if you are interested in a 3 day course which ensures ample fishing time balanced with world class instruction.

Peter T arrived with Martin both new to the beat and keen to get stuck in ! Another very tricky situation but for once some fish were showing a level of interest and Martin managed to hold onto a lovely 10lb salmon as May. Delighted for him and again my apologies for unhelpful weather and river out of sorts. Robson G arrived and was blessed with poor luck, he fished very hard and his companion both gave it a decent go. What to do its been a pretty disastrous season thus far with many things conspiring against the sport we all love.

Starting with Kenny, Davey and Graeme who did their very best early May but only touched a fish or two. To say Davey and Graeme were relaxed is an understatement but very much undispersed with expert covering of the water in the hardest possible of fishing conditions.

Lets think how to change our tactics with water so low and fish not easy to catch.

Here are some thoughts:

  • Keep as far away from your quarry as possible and move with stealth (think heron !)
  • Think lighter / tapered longer monofilament 10ft plus and slimmer smaller patterns. Salmon will take size 16 lures/flies as they have terrific eyesight,  salmon parr feeds on exactly the food as  trout (In Scotland frequently salmon are caught in low conditions on trout fly simulations for many decades for salmon and I’ve managed to succeed in the past tying such patterns when all hope seemed lost)
  • If you have a lighter outfit such as a rod suited to a lower grain or weight  fly line or even decent single handed combination perhaps use this( I’ve had salmon 20lb plus at Farnley on small flies on 7 weight rods its just a battle once you hook them!)
  • Try to not create a large sloshy water anchor cast ( double Spey (!))so perhaps (and think wind direction) a snake roll but don’t use in an upstream wind, also the gentle single Spey and obviously overhead where no backcast obstructions occur. Airborne anchor is the key to quieter casts.
  • Think wet fly tactics for trout the old traditional ways for north country rivers, there is a fair element of skill in fishing a fly(S) to ensure they are ‘lively’ and attractive in the current and where flow is poor we need to keep the fly active do some homework or ask one of local experts (Barry Mitchell and Barry Nichol) to spend some time with you on honing presentation skills
  • We are it seems all pretty well versed in slow and low tactics for high water and the spring but need to adjust when water is slow and low!
  • Dawn and dusk, take a late breakfast, read a book, relax enjoy the nature around the estate and focus on the taking times early in the morning and say 5pm onward to dusk.
  • Finally and very importantly rest the water, salmon if disturbed will find a tree root or rock and rest well away from our endeavours

With all this in mind lets finally think of our rivers and the migratory fish we all cherish that are daily running a gauntlet of natures perils and in yet still in 2018 no end yet in sight of manmade predation on the seas. Given these conditions and all the effort that we are taking perhaps the Government should end netting where the life blood of their catch namely our rivers are in trouble? It cannot be sustainable to harvest sea trout or salmon when the rivers are low for long periods. If these so called farmers of the seas provide no answers to sustainability they are in dire need of reform or their own extinction because a joined up system is one that is fair to all and rightly needed to maintain a healthy run of fish? Anyway its all been said before I’m a member of the STA and Phil Knight does a fine job but we all need to support his organisation and influence the public.

We implore you to join and make a difference!


Challenging Times In May !

We had some somewhat tricky conditions in May. Where has all the water gone (answers please Northumbrian Water …) it was a spring of terrific rainfall and snows and our lakes are testament to the real picture of our spring bounty. Perhaps the fishing people as protectors of the rivers need to hold these private businesses to account because all life surrounds our rivers and the levels need better management .

Anyway that said the fishing has been tricky due to the lack of water, fish are still running spring salmon and early sea trout. I sat at lunchtimes watching the water with rods and it was reassuring to see the odd back of a fish here and there along with people getting the occasional pull. Tony R brought a team which had two Norwegians a Bermudian and then Yorkshire folks for a day! As luck would have it one of the Norwegian gentlemen had a 30″ plus beauty early doors and Tony left a lovely comment ; “Thanks for making the group welcome and its a great venue. Will look forward to fishing it again”. Thanks to them and I wish it had been easier but boy did the sun shine.

Graham L brought his team next in mid May and the sun once again dealt the proceedings a blow with two of his friends missing the last day. Graham great to meet you and your friends, your a great fisherman and the flies you tie were absolutely brilliant. Next time you deserve more !!

Dr Malcom W and his merry men from Norfolk were totally new to the estate so without trying to enthuse them too much (there were fish running in the days before I’d seen so I was hopeful despite the low water). Anyway Andrew Malcom and David enjoyed their trip which included a sea trout and lovely 15Lb salmon. Malcom was broken by a fish too ! IS the beat jinxed we are due a thirty or two but the biggest seem to rightly evade capture, good quality hooks and tough line always here !

A Hardy Pair!

It has been in somewhat unbelievable conditions that our amazing fishermen has braved what can only be described as a hell of a spring. We had only light bookings and although Eugene’s gang fished excellently in the freezing cold on an up and down river meant nothing was doing at all! Towards the end of March I saw some good fish showing at the tail of Dead Tree and one that could only be described as a ruddy monster. (do Seals travel through the Fish Pass !!)

A Motley Crew

Robson G (Motley Crew) and James S popped in late March looking for  a fish and hooked and landed (on the votes cast) a springer, so had the first fresh fish. I unhooked it checked the gills, vent. mouth and it was firm with an excellent tail and an excellent colour so judging by everything I could from experience(Ive fished for salmon from aged 12 and seen hundreds of well mended kelts from the Tweed , Don, Esks. Tyne et al) it was fresh and about 8-9lb and shot off having fought like a tiger and hammered the fly on the surface on the far bank of the hut pool.

Strong !

Kenny’s crew similarly fished incredibly hard caught a kelt, a tigerish chub and trout! One of the team had a pull from a decent fish bottom of dead tree but it failed to stay connected sadly.

Late April and Dominic F  and Wednesday the 24th a belter of about 20lb 11ish AM as the birds started tweeting ! A twenty minute battle ensured hearts were racing until it finally gave in. The hut net which is aged decided to cave in and after a quick snap it was racing off. Well done Dom and Nick (who it is rumoured also had one on but no cigar !)

Champagne Moment

Salmon “Russian Back” To Farnley

Its now late March, the rods have been restless the fishering folk(copyright soon to be adopted by all!) equivalent of stir crazy. Freezing “Beastly” conditions the tyne had ice grue yes looked like the Artic, iced mud on the tracks and a general disenchantment by all. The ruddy moles are turning the place into a war zone ,rabbits chewing all the tree bark…so frankly sod em all! However my friends in the North are optimistic they tell me its looking like things are due for a welcome change, yet still a nasty wind blowing currently but hope that nature will permit Spring to do its wonders!

Our first team hit the river a week back and managed a few days where eventually the river behaved. A beautifully mended kelt was landed by Dave assisted by Barry M followed up by a fresh sea trout on …then off ! (soft mouths OR anglers ?!).

Let me go to Greenland for Summer !

After Dave’s kelt and sea trout miss Kenny decided to concentrate stepped in and after them. He spotted a fish moving through the tail of dead tree, clearly a Fish Counter dodger! Then, sadly hit into one that was very brutal and came off, views being was a very decent fresh one and the river is very powerful there not helped by a biggish river so consolation all round dammit! The gang enjoyed their trip and are back early April. They enjoyed their time in the Golden Lion in Corbridge so I’ll suggest maybe give the place a try! Trip Advisors reviews are decent too.

This morning I’m hearing that fish are showing which is about time, the tides have been very helpful water 40 degrees F. Some rain due in the west but snow up in the hills. So all in all a proper spring for once which might help provide some welcome sport. Fish in the edges if its up, think about the warmth needed and perhaps where a salmon could warm itself. Think perhaps large patterns, gaudy and don’t be afraid to impart some movement to induce their aggression.

Ello l’eau Ello A Life Of Brian

Well done Mark!

The combination of hurricanes and north Atlantic deep depressions (storm Brian) brought an awful lot of rain. Our hardy parties endured frustrating times and yet some fish were caught and some good fresh fish still running. After the trip arranged by tony R Roger followed up with a lovely email to the estate. “just to say how much I really enjoyed fishing your beat, greatly boosted by being lucky enough to catch a fine 14lb salmon the first day..and thanks to Barry for guidance , casting improvements and netting the fish!”. Neil W brought his party up for some days in the beginning of the second week, I really hoped that the river would settle and with some luck success.
As it happened it WAS NOT EASY !! Day one was fishable but Day 2 Neil asked could they fish the lakes and they had a fantastic time with a variety of Browns, Blues and rainbow…no specimens but good sport. Saturday was the day and eventually one fish was kind enough to be caught by Neil’s friend John nearly 13and a half pounds. that’s it for Neil this year and his friends but thanks a lovely chap who knows his fishing.
The next party were a late addition, Mark B who had caught a lovely fish a month or so earlier on the fly came back with his friend who persisted with the fly and both caught fish ! Well done and hard earned when the conditions were not easy by any means.
John M and his pal were joined by Brett Mc all great anglers and deserved some sport but the ridiculous amounts of rain in all directions just meant the river was carrying a massive amount of residual water and new from rains that just would not stop sadly…John and Co called it a day for the season and Brett gave it a game go but the river refused to settle. We had some new clients look at the beat guided by Barry Mitchell and they were lucky to have a fine evening touring the estate and beat. Kenny B saw some fish and was enthralled by the wonderful peace and tranquillity. Looking forward to seeing you in 2018 Kenny.

Mark’s buddy with the husband !