Storms more storms

A beat owners lot is not a jolly occupation when the river is brown metres high and the Met office is regaling more bad news from across the Atlantic. Lost days you bet it , dangerous wading, slippery banks, the fire is on in the river hut. Our good friends from Newcastle West End Angling Club (my father was a member and enjoyed many happy trips) they are a very old and well established club have hosted the two great legends at their dinners Orri Vigfussion the sadly missed and epic Chairman of the North Atlantic Salmon Organisation and Peter Gray who was responsible for the Tyne river salmon revival with his pioneering hatchery in Kielder. Even this wasn’t enough the river just came up and up making any efforts futile ! They are keen to return in 2020 next year I’ll erect a bypass through the lakes if it does it again…
Dave W and Graham N were chewing their rod handles to get up after I told them of double catches of 18lb and some massive fish seen waving as they headed upwards. However ….another damn storm hit the county the lake pipe resembled a firemans hose and once again the river lifted to an ugly dangerous state..
The lads holed themselves up in the lodge prepared a superb breakfast that Robert W and I enjoyed waiting and waiting for fishable waters. That afternoon nothing too dangerous and the guys got in albeit gingerly. A few fish were seen and then my mobile rang we need help Graham is in! I borrowed some chesties slogged down got to see the fish was still on but the guys had no net oh dear. I jogged up to the river hut located the net and got in to find the river was rather pushing along. Graham played the fish very calmly and it was very very powerful after a few abortive attempts we got her in hooray !!

Graham hang on !!

Day 3 Dave W got into the Hut and bingo he wrested with a lovely fish just under 10lb and with a fish each it was pretty good going considering the state of the Tyne.

The day after Dom F and Nick hit the river which was running high well over 2ft and fast, Barry Mitchell looked after the guys and Nick hooked a fast running aggressive fish that took over 15minutes he was delighted and the guys got after them. Day 1 Dom hooked and played 4 including one estimated in the early twenties for 15mins but they all shook free incredible bad luck. You can guess what happened next yes another bloody deluge and the next two days were written off. As a lovely footnote thanks John Miller from Upper Caberston Tweed the guys were invited up there and each day caught one salmon one sea trout fantastic stuff!!

A Farnley Autumn Feast

Hopes were indeed high for John M’s team after our friends had a few hours last Sunday. The omens were looking good decent river height, a bit cooler, water flows normal and some new fish entering the system…oh and experienced Tyne rods. But first refreshment for there’s work to be done ! 

Pies Ahoy

Monday turned out to be an excellent day indeed with a lot of fish showing interest in their offerings. In total 6 amazing Tyne Salmon from 4lb to 17lb and not be forgotten a 4lb seat-trout!! Quite a catch considering the fact that others were on and off and two lost at the net. John and Glynn H were the lucky rods with John catching the lions share.

Tuesday was less of a bonanza but lady luck caused 2 to be lost at the net (the violins were playing ..) and 2 others properly on and lost! Of note the two lost to Trevors rod were LARGE !! (more sad songs ) coming to the rescue in the Drift Glyn H two beauties a 13lb and 3lb grisle. Its most peculiar the sheer number of grilse running currently no idea why these little ones are heading back to spawn. The successful tactics were fishing high in the water and allowing a good sweep of the fly across the pool and some secret patterns with all manner of exciting colours…slim dressings and discs employed.

Sadly the last day came and went the guys were tired but still in the game. They saw some lovely new fish coming in and hopefully this could mean the estuary fish are cleared and up the Tyne. Glyn was the lucky man on the last day he eked tow out of the Hut pool a specimen 9lb Sea Trout that put up a heck of a battle and joined by a salmon of 10lb , heading down to the Drift a 13lb silver beauty. Thanks guys and well done.

The Bateman Team Do it in Style !

A fat Farnley Tyne salmon

Early September and Chris and his team took their 3 days with everything planned to the nth degree! Food courtesy of a fine lady from Kelso who lodged at the Estate and Barry Mitchell on hand to ensure the river was covered in the right places with the best choices of lines leaders and of course patterns!
I was looking forward to helping out but a severe toothache curtailed my trip and I headed home sadly.
Fishing was once again in a river carrying too much but the fish were definitely running so Barry tried his best to keep people in the right zones where the fish might just hang around long enough to connect. With Christopher and Phil B working down Dead Tree Barry saw fish slip into the pool and suggested they just keep at it because the way of anglers ‘any minute!’ something will happen.. and it did wallop a beauty hit Christopher and a battled ensued with a corking 15lb broad shouldered salmon. Not soon after a shout and Phil had his rod bent over and another very good fish was on. Both were landed who had the largest its not clear but something to dispute over a glass or two eh ? Perhaps Christopher caught the cleaner fish and Phils was bigger …I have no pictures so it will remain a mystery!
The last day Angie a guest arrived and fished really well had a few decent pulls and landed a lovely little grilse. thanks for your email of thanks to the Estate and Barry Mitchell. Yes you are most welcome again in 2020!

Seeing as we are light of a photo or two lets celebrate Barry Nichol who had a few hours after our guests left and had 3 fish on!!! to be capped by landing this magnificent salmon estimated 18-20lb. Thanks for the photo Robert W

Canny Scots Farnley Adventurers

The excesses of Kielder releases were beginning to ruin our fishing and eventually it started to ease in time with the visit of Jamie and Barry Mitchell’s gang. The brothers John and Hector Wark enjoyed the new comforts and space of the new extension and refurbished lodge.
Monday early September was going to be a testing time given the disappointment of August huge waters days washed out compounded by 25 cubic Metres per second! of freezing waters for the poor creatures in the Tyne.
Jamie Murray expertly accompanied our local hero Barry Mitchell each devising their own methods and fly choice. John and Hector sharing the fishing above. The team fished hard and then a shout was heard and Jamie was into something substantial a gathering crowd waited and John stepped in to slip the net under a 22lb weighed beauty !

Rising River Big Salmon On

22lb Tyne Freshnet James Murray

A fine breakfast courtesy of Jamie and the team hit the river again… once again this time in the Willows with Grey Court rods watching another big powerful Tyne Salmon! The kind chaps from Grey Court slipped the net under and another 20lb plus salmon, what a double !!

Jamies Tyne Twenty two !

Cut to Barry Mitchell and not to be outdone he finished the trip with 3! two lovely salmon in the late teens 17lb and 15lb plus a bonus 5lb sea-trout. Unfortunately John W lost two but that’s the roll of the dice in this mad pursuit!

Dam Northumbrian Water !

Wills Wonder

As someone who has worked in the latest software technology and decision making for engineering and operations assets, I might be one of the very few people in the UK who could possibly have the right and knowledge to question the decision by our local water supplier (monopoly) to allow a fierce torrent of epic proportions to make Englands premier Salmon fishing destination virtually unfishable and dangerous to wade???

There are water companies the other side of the planet Ive met that could make way better decisions who even advise European/US  Water businesses …got to ask the question why we sell strategic assets like water its plain nuts, better employ to top UK based engineers scientists and systems people to do it right and sell the expertise we learn globally?
The monitoring , control and decision making is poor. To dump yes dump millions of tonnes of freezing poor (lacking on oxygen) into England’s premier salmon river beggars belief. Who knows what effect this could have had on the invertebrates and larger animals in the system. Sorry to get hot under the collar but they need holding to account. Deep breaths!!

August Ramblings 
Back to the fishing because despite all this lets hear about my friends the people that fish and enjoy the wonderful Tyne !

George braved the torrent !

JB off the mark!


We had some lovely guests in August who got stuck in ! George Upex brought his party into battle with the fierce water , James Bailey and Will Mulholland . They took the lodge fully stocked with provisions fresh meats, Wills eggs , drinks and other to keep them fortified.

Well equipped with beautifully tied Tyne specials and got in and waded in tough conditions. James hit into them early with two lovely grilse. They fished early and as usual rested with Banjo breakfasts at the Lodge a quick nap and well rested back later for more. Will followed up soon after with one of his own ably netted by James. Sure enough as the trip was finishing off James hit home with a very decent Tyne fish estimated at 17lb . Thanks chaps and see you next year !!

Decent Runs In June and Early July

We have been witnessing a good quantity of fish in the past few months. Certainly a very good sea-trout run and within this decent salmon and grilse. The river condition has been inconsistent with lifts of not necessarily clear water !  quite often suspended matter which can be off putting. The local view of this state of affairs is please do not give up ! The Tyne has not been the clearest of rivers its no Tweed nor Spey and for various reasons and in the past not good ones,add to this a combination of a peaty moorland colour stain , farming and other run off. As an ex scuba diver I donned a mask and snorkel a few years back in the pools expecting to see shoals of amazing salmon, alas even on a clear bright day the visibility is not what you might expect all I had was a few feet and nothing seen. Don’t be deterred keep at it, fish your lure high in the water and move it, the fish can see way more that we think.

When adult salmon enter the oceans they have to adjust their vision from very shallow waters into much deeper where the light is greatly diminished and the colour spectrum changes and red and black creatures predominate making them in theory invisible.
The fact that salmon can feed and sense at great depths probably means they can see more than we assume so don’t be downhearted if the river is coloured!

In the past few weeks we had a great time with our regulars on the water, Guy H and his team hard at it ably guided by Barry Mitchell lots of dogs good banter and hope springs as ever eternal. Two salmon appeared to be  on but somehow got off ! One morning I took over from Barry and joined John (a guest of Guy) he got into a few in the hut pool with a good run on but none stuck dammit, we just gritted our teeth and carried on. Meanwhile Lady M caught a lovely sea trout above us proving women are just better at most things ! Their trip promised more but we just didn’t quite hit into the fish, nothing anyone could do the salmon were taking short.

Neil his son Sam and Tony D were on the waters next and with great anticipation I assured them the beat was full of fish and that they only had to flick a fly on the water and it would be easy! (oh well !) Barry Mitchell took charge and we saw many fish they tried all manner of stuff but only Sam had what appeared to be a slow long pull from a fish in the pump. Sam is still new to it and possibly was bemused rather than hit it so after discussions we reviewed it and said there will be a next chance! Sure enough the following day his first salmon, great effort Sam you showed us all how to do it.

A fantastic achievement Sam’s first ever salmon

Dave W and Graeme took the lodge and the beat in early July they were set up for a cracking few days as there were a good number of sea trout running so they focused their efforts on them wisely. Dave W had a couple of salmon on one a very good one that parted company in view of Graeme and the other just on then off. They re grouped and decided to have a late evening and early morning go at the sea trout. Sport at last fish taking on and off and 4 caught a few good sized ones at that. The conditions chilled and the other evenings were just too cold and what promised to be a tremendous few days was somewhat dulled by the Northumbrian weather!

Our last team took the whole of the second week in July and combined complete beginners and expert fly fishers. Barry Mitchell fly casting tuition for a group of graduates and meanwhile Phil and his friends covering the pools of Farnley and Grey Court. In truth the river was now crying out for water and it was very very hard going. Dr Phil sent me a lovely report :
“Only three sea trout from Farnley and three from Grey Court. We almost made it that we had no blank days both Chris and I lost fish on the Saturday. Other highlights include a salmon on in the Pump, pulls most days often with salmon jumping afterwards a reasonable number of fish seen”
thanks Phil and yes will split your fishing up nest year just need to see who might swap around! Come on rains please help liven things up…

A Truly Amazing Capture !

June began with Robert W and guests on the river, lovely conditions some gentle pulls but no fish. Tony R hit the beat and shared it with some local rods on day 2 I wandered down and Tony was smiling he had seen some serious action in the willow pool but the fish won the battle and evaded capture, Tony reckoned it was a very decent one. Dom F and Nick took a couple of days guided well by Barry Mitchell we saw fish and Dom experienced some knocks and pulls. his persistence and varying of flies depth and retrieve paid off and he was rewarded with a very fat and fast 12-13lb springer.

Tim Down and his fishing pal Chay Hedger were trying the beat for the first time and the rains decided to hit the valley! The river was basically unfishable sadly and it took until Saturday for their chances to improve Barry Mitchell was on hand to guide and assist. A change in tactics was needed as no fish seemed interested yet we knew plenty were coming into the system. Barry got the guys to fish higher in the water with his own fly choices, Chay hit the jackpot and a lovely fish resulted ….sadly as it glided into the waiting net the line parted company with the hook!
I offered the boys a few hours on Sunday to compensate for the lost fishing and little did I know what was about to happen…. I received a frantic phone call from the guys that one of them had caught a fish believed to be well over thirty pounds. Tim the more experienced had netted the thing having failed with both of the nets and got a large carp net. Chay had his first salmon ! Chay sent the pictures to Fishpal and they immediately recommended Chay put it forwards to the Charles Farlows English Trophy! Well done Chay and good luck!

The guys didn’t have tape measures so photographs were used to measure against all 6’4″ of Chays physique his hand to elbow , face ect. Tim runs a printing business and Chay a successful builder so images were checked carefully using software, experts quizzed (these started at 32lb and up to 37lb, from fishery owners and experienced well travelled rods). . Whatever it weighted (we have estimated its and that sits in our Lodge!) it was returned safely and was without doubt a stunning fish (it does not eclipse Stuart Rose’s stunning 35lb, rods present that day still talk about that capture in Dead Tree ) so that beat record remains.

The Last Days Of May

The weather did not favour our visitors generally in May and increasingly the river dropped and algae began to blight the bottom. Certainly we had some heavy rainfalls and lifts and Kielder did allow some fresh fish in.
We really enjoyed Bryn’s team visit in early May they were new to the beat and a bit rusty and with one member of the team Richard learning the crafts ! Chris had a couple of fun days and left the youngsters to it who were assisted by me and Barry Nichol in various aspects of the craft! Things were looking up as fish were seen and on his last day Bryn had a fabulous tussle in the Willow Pool and the fish decided to run at him and off! All very exciting and as he said ‘I’m converted!”.

Richard at twelve o clock !

Welcome indeed boys and we really look forward to seeing you in October!
John and Graham popped up for a go and had a couple of days on the beat, fish were about and water was ok but nothing doing. In the middle of May two new faces arrived for a week at the Lodge Roger B and Eddie P. We had a few unfinished jobs on the extension so their rest was interrupted a few days from ‘The Friends Of Farnley’. Sorry lads but they had a relaxing time chilling out with the estate virtually to themselves! Bit of Kielder came in and as such we saw some sea trout some decent salmon around and they got up early to increase their chances. As it happened on day 2 Roger got into one in the Willows and he was very philosophical about the loss good on him.
They enjoyed their days of ‘Banter Tennis’ plus a few drinks and enjoyed a spot of lake fishing with at least one lovely brownie making it worthwhile.
On Friday the heavens opened and it looked like the river was lifting I think the boys were tired and Saturday they left early. So in pouring rain I had to give it a go and yes lost a beauty a real good on my drag refused to operate and with icy rocks underneath and wellies it won the battle. I knew there were fish about so kept going although becoming saturated and a 3lb sea trout was the happy result with ten minutes later in the exact same hole a Salmon of 5lb ish. Phone was drowned and screen loosened so no pics.
Next up the Kenny and Dave show! Plans were made and they fished carefully as the river had really dropped sadly. Robert W joined the party and fish did show and some were seen in the shadows in pairs hiding from the overhead conditions. In reality it was a struggle against the elements sadly, good stories and friendships renewed but no salmon!
Martin H and his partner hit the river on the 23rd for two days but the drought continued and sun beat down, you can guess the rest….

The brother McGregor and Dr Malcom hit the river and day 1 things were poor but the rains came ! Hooray possibly due to rising conditions nothing doing and also Malcom was incapacitated seriously (good luck and safe recovery). Brett headed south midday and I phoned Barry Mitchell. Told him the guys said fish were running and Barry struck into a sea liced 8lb corker !!

Barry has a tremendous tussle 8lb sea licer

He was convinced the fish was a large sea trout due to its aggressive fight!
We had a new rod on the river on Thursday Kevin S and he initially didn’t get a touch then ventured back in and caught a lovely 12lb fresh run one that looked straight from the sea !

From the waves of the North Sea

As of today the river is up and very big !!! So no fishing but looking very very hot prospect wise for June !!

First Sea Trout March 2019

Steady Eddy

Dom’s Farnley Spring Salmon 2018

Latest news Sunday 10th March

In what were exceptionally challenging conditions with a large spate and wild weather our two intrepid Essex anglers Tony Rae and Roger French (Farnley Regulars)  hit the river for two days last week. Day one the river rose probably 3ft ! So the guys hit the bars of Corbridge ready for an early home on Wednesday…

needless to say the river was dropping fast on Wednesday so they headed out with spinning gear and hit all the slack water spots. Nothing seen no pulls not even a measly trout or chub! They took a late lunch warmed up in the lodge and around 4.30 Roger bagged a fresh sea run sea trout! A lovely 2lb beauty he was delighted. Well done ! Tony deserved better luck and really gave it his all, it will happen Tony 2019 could be your year fingers crossed.

Late February

We have had a fish on apparently a decent fresh one at the bottom of the beat Barry N was the lucky or unlucky fisher! It coincides with information from Phil A and his guest the day before that a fairly substantial fish was showing in their stretch. Opposite at Styford its interesting to note their rods trying their hand right at the top of their beat. This tells me that the Fish Pass is not proving a barrier and its anyone’s guest where these early sporadic runs are settling.

We are rather of the opinion (challenging some opinions) that Spring can offer world class opportunities here on the Tyne and experience of 25 years fishing here has resulted in fish in February , March and April. One can understand peoples reticence to ‘give it a go’ when the biggest runs are later in the season. One can counter this with a rather charming email from a long standing rod returning to fish early April this year . “About 15 years ago a lovely chap Stuart Rose in the Dead Tree pool tail had three fish in three casts!! A 36lb Salmon , a 21lb Salmon then ! A Sea Trout of 19lb.” You have to be in it to win it, yes Stuart is a top fisherman but he gets after them and it very patient. Where I ask you in the northern hemisphere bag a catch like that?

Early February

Its been quite the most tropical beginning to our season here in Northumberland. Reports of fish seen throughout the system and a few caught (remember its not always on Fishpal  and as time allows I will try and give you some more local information on the state of play in 2019). As the huge tides currently are running more fish will be moving in and one will guess that as these settle into pools it could be fairly good next week. With the warmth the fish will move up the system and could go a long way up river which is good news for everyone. It is also possible some sea trout will be picked up which is a lovely surprise for the intrepid spring game fisherman. The locals are apparently hitting the river this weekend so lets wish everyone good fortune and hopefully they get lucky!

In early February river came up a few feet with proper rain not snow melt and gradually dropped due to Storm Erik, the temperature is currently perfect for an early cast and this is further highlighted by some fish being seen. Its not clear yet how many came up yesterday Monday the 11th Feb but they crept up. We don’t have any early clients so no doubt some of my friends will be having a go soon. The best times tend to be late morning and later in the afternoon and from experience when the sun is out warming the pools. In past years spring fishing its tended to be the times when all the birds are calling around the river, a few little trout rising and you sense the air warming and hardly expecting anything suddenly your in !! I was lucky to witness this in early April a couple of years back, the fish refused to give up and eventually landed estimated to be 20 pounds. Barry Mitchell our casting coach and guide saw fish popping into the glide above the Willows and suggested perhaps to the students lessons were over please have a fish!!!

Salmon Course Springer On!

We have been working on a variety of projects the principal being our rebuild and repurposing of the creaky old extension. If you want to catch up on this and other estate works go to FriendsOfFarnley . We are going to rebuild some of the access points to pools, strengthen parts of the bank under wear and generally look at what can be done to improve our fishing.
The past month has been a real roller coaster as regards the weather. We enjoyed a rather warm Christmas and most of January until late in the month and early Feb the snows and deep freeze hit us for about 2 weeks. The river had grue on the margins and the lakes were well and truly frozen

I visited the estate and wisely decided to park at the top early Feb with a friend Neil. I managed to slip 3 times in spectacular fashion heading down the road meanwhile he sensibly hugged the roadside and survived the madness.


Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 3 ?

Lets pray for bumper runs this year
For no more nets let’s cheer
Take your chums to Farnley
And join the happy army !

Get that fire on !

Time again to hit the river with your fishing stick c’est fantastique. Anyway enough of the musical asides its time to get ready as the season starts on the 1st of February. Could this be a good early start? Its been a few years since reliable spring catches tempted us to put the effort in. Lets take a stroll down to the river and look hard as you may find something you least expect.
A week ago whilst helping get the new lodge block build started I took some time to walk with some friends and sit enjoying the benign weather and sunshine.Robert a very keen and expert rod came to survey proceedings and suggested a wander around with Fidget his naughty dog.

As we wandered to the pump section and down into the hut pool a bright silver fish came clean out half way out of the river and near the old willow. It was fat and silver could have been a kelt, baggot or maybe a clean fish, nevertheless exciting to see and cheered me up. Things got a bit more interesting a few days after, a good friend David came down with a lovely bottle of sauvignon ‘Goldwater’ after his family name ! We sat on the bench in magnificent sunshine, midges in the air and the river looking superb. After a glass or two David a non fisher pointed across the river and said is that a salmon John ? I spun round and a nice grilse or sea trout bounced up and through the top of the hut pool and on its way. Early January ! My experiences in my teens on the lower Tweed talking to the experienced netsmen and anglers (Hugh Falkus occasionally fished the water so knew a bit about the habits of salmon) were that salmon will run all the year round depending on all the known factors of tide heights, water temperature and sea state. Hopefully as this winter has been pretty calm and only a biggish lift at the end of November its more likely fish will creep in rather than years a big waters and extreme weather.

My close friends are planning some early trips assuming that no long icy weather comes, also Barry our brilliant guide and Barry our local expert and all round fly guru will be testing some patterns on the waters to see if beyond the inevitable kelts and chub they can pick up a fresh fish. We will keep you posted !
Meanwhile get in touch about fishing for this year spaces still up to the end of June and salmon courses in April and May ! 2018 courses were really successful with great feedback.