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.

Late September salmon ahoy !

Farnley Estate Corbridge Salmon Lodge holds our catch records and the book that couldn’t lie with lots of happy entries or is it entrees !! I greedily approached the lodge a few times in September and was rewarded with a pie here a plate of this and that …..

What a spread indeed

Cracking lunches aside (if you want catering min 6 people get in touch early )

In truth we had to work for fish and for some days the river seemed dead yet the fish are definitely moving in and some lucky rods have been rewarded. Chris Porters yearly visit was a great success a good few caught including sea trout and a belter of a salmon 16lb on their last day. No pictures but a great trip.

A new team arrived in September a friend of friends here (I think most rods here seem connected in many mysterious ways its a little caring family our crazy quest for the Atlantic Salmon) Richard Rowlands his pals Dr Fred (the Tartan Terror!) who lost two in the dead tree witnessed by myself hiding on the bank really felt for him. Others included Max who got lucky Derrick and George all good fishers and already booked in for 2019! here’s a pic (Richard is on the right ):

Let the quest begin



Anthony T and Sheilas Party fared well with John and Lucy getting into them! Two small ones were kept for the table. They had a fab time and thoroughly enjoyed their second trip and have booked already for 2019!!

Bet he knows a lot about this game eh!

Robert W QC had a whole week courtesy of John M’s season starting early on the Tweed (he owns Upper Caberston so time was not on his side) . Elk Robert and a team of miscreants hit the beat and had a few albeit not prolific despite their efforts . The fires burnt in the river shelter, laughter was had Peter S and Barry M joined the throng and here is one of Barry’s (excuse the photo!) Danny J shared the spoils and his team had a few also!


Dave the Elk was there all week and fresh from a shock to him and all did his sporting best only to lose a couple (dammit).More fish were forthcoming including this one again for the ‘Nicholodian’….(the cap was free apparently :)Robert W got into the act too with some fish but no pics !

and drown him !

The Tyne rivals the ASR !

A Fabulous few days early September 2018 14 Salmon 1 Grilse and alongside this 11 Sea Trout !

Predictions for a successful Autumn may just be right if recent events carry on.

Ok lets stay calm its not the Kola Peninsula rather its lovely Northumberland(at a tiny fraction of the cost and none of the journey aggro  !) September fired into life with  a great push of water coming through from the South Tyne and probably somewhere in the Caribbean a few days previously. Lets finish the story ‘Its September and… three days with John M and his friends who it seemed were having some tremendous luck. The team hit the river on Monday last week were admittedly expert Tyne anglers (and understand getting up early is a good idea hint.. hint !) ,  one runs a beat on the Tyne for the owners the others have years of know how and tactical savvy. The conditions were excellent nets off at the weekend and a lovely height and colour along with a Spring Tide.

Autumn Bounty

My hopes were high that the there were a substantial amount of Salmon in the Estuary that with any good fresh water could be freed from their plight and make their lives most important journey upriver. I’d been to Wylam a few times a week earlier and witnessed fish jumping at the bridge but not a lot heading upstream and its very likely these would have slipped back into the tidal reaches to wait for fresher water.

Then it happened a big run  !! Texts just kept pinging and arriving in London with pictures of their captures and excitement abounding. Tuesday they hit the river again very early and were rewarded until a few hours passed and a large spate washed away any more fishing. I hear although I cannot confirm that there were celebrations afoot on Tuesday and they enjoyed Newcastle and all it offers! Wednesday was a repeat of Monday plenty of pulls and fish on, the fishy texts flying around , breakfast a good one in the Angel in Corbridge then back to the mayhem!! Here are some of the boys captures with only one small grilse taken all the rest were returned to fight another day and help the stocks recover well done indeed!

Carefully returned !

Well done and yes your welcome back again in 2019 to Farnley Estate Corbridge.

The huge haul was a up to 16lb estimated weight ( all credit to John Mumsey, Glyn Hall and Graham Lawson )


Its September and …..

Please sing along ….’I’ve lost one tooth or more and walk a little lame, especially in these lumpy wading boots . haven’t got time for the waiting game..and now as fishing days grow pitifully few…the salmon more golden …hopefully on the line for  you.’

Kurt Weill’s September masterpiece (thanks Robb Lawton of the Piano Shop in Bath) .

Yes interlude over its that time of year folks, wistful as we are to search our memory banks of those Autumns in times passed when it all seemed so easy and the fish always obliging. The question on all of our lips is will this Autumn be bountiful and after our fruitless exertions ? I remember many happy trips to the Annan , Tweed , Tyne and lesser rivers where the fish were hurling themselves about ! Things are tricky in the salmon world and lets hope all the conservation efforts will start to pay dividends.

The situation Tyneside  is certainly rosier here at Farnley Estate Corbridge ! Our past few weeks have switched between some very good water and very low but generally very good runs flying in. Fish are moving and catches reasonable. Lets hope this is a sign of a significant and welcome run that will fill the redds and allow the humble salmon fly angler a little sport to light up their faces. Or current gang are regulars headed by John M and its been arm achingly successful !! I will keep quiet about the full score because they are still at it even though yesterday the 11th it was a complete brown out.

John M’s team in action !

Chris B brought his friends and family across to Farnley with sumptuous lunches prepared by Vicky. Barry Mitchell did the guiding and certainly fish were hooked! It took until day 3 when Chris landed a lovely grilse to round off the trip. Good feedback on the Lodge improvements the new steps riverside and other things we are trying to make the Farnley trip better!

Regular twice yearly Keith J and his merry men hit the river and found it ok and dropping. Fish were hooked pulls had and the interest was there. The team really enjoyed their time so much so have booked 2019 already along with other rods so get in touch soon please. The trip finally paid dividends when team leader Keith caught a lovely grilse!! Picture may be forthcoming … he said 30 yes 30 days up and down Scotland and England to get this fish so at last it happened well done indeed Keith.

Barry Mitchells gang had a lovely time but the river suddenly dropped (Northumbrian water pumping again ??) fishing was tricky and once again hope and some interest ! Eventually Jamie hit into one a lovely grilse of 6lb. .


Roger’s Return

Two great teams of highly experienced salmon fishers hit the river to round of the summer. Roger N , Stephen and Hugh followed by Keith J (retiree of SportsFish fame in Theale) and his pals. Roger and gang plus the dogs were treated to a river in fine order there had been recent rain and the weather was cooler and distinctly more ‘fishy’. The lodge proved a hit and the new comforts appreciated.

The whole of day 1 proved a struggle sadly and when all seemed lost Hugh waved the net at Stephen asking if he needed help for his imaginary salmon ….seconds later ‘fish on’!. After some excitement and net waving the fish was caught a lovely grilse! The team were in a mood to celebrate , fish and chips or perhaps a Curry at the Station in Corbridge?!

Day 2 and 3 did not result in any more landings yet there were good pulls fish seen and a tremendous fish go for a fly in Pump. Hugh is someone who has fished all over the world and estimated it to be in excess of 40lb WOW !! Will this be caught someone on the upper Tyne’s !

Keith J and his friends had a great time the river had dropped and some pulls here and there. So by day three they were thinking perhaps this was not their turn. Keith had a little chat with one of our resident experts Barry N and hey presto a little later a lovely grilse! Keith mentioned he has had a very poor season so in many respects deserved his prize. Hope to see both teams again in 2019!

Summer Comes To An End In Northumberland

A busy time for the Estate battling with the effects of a drought and hot weather meant a team had to be employed to start weeding the Spring Lake. Sadly the weed has taken hold and on the main lakes and lagoon some fish have inevitably given up we are just hoping as we are that the river gets an injection of clean oxygenated water soon and the temperatures fall off We also witnessed a family of cormorants  harvesting the lake and river which seems slightly unfair competition given the fishes sluggish state due to conditions.

I read an interesting article in the Fishing News online:

As they have stated their arguments clearly then perhaps its only fair to respond equally clearly. Firstly its all fair and well talking about jobs and 150 years of history but the article fails to define what exactly is truly going on today in 2018 the modern world of sea fishing. The technology used in fishing in our modern world means that sonar is available allowing a more accurate culling of fish to the point of knowing their size, direction and quantity, the nets used (yes gillnets) 150 years ago and more recently were hemp or other fibrous plant materials not made of virtually see through plastics which kill any marine creature swimming into them. So not only are modern nets highly effective they are capable of more fish killing when they are accidently lost ‘ghost netting’. Added to this the fishing bodies (correct me here if I’m wrong) don’t help the water courses environment that are fundamental in the lifecycle allowing the migratory fish to spawn and start their lives. As regards jobs that this is at best a part-time activity. Oh and finally are they unaware that the rivers are experiencing a severe decline in runs, no one is saying this is their fault but given this fact its odd the government is allowing netting of endangered migratory species anyway?