Tuesday 1 June 2021

ABBEY BEAT - River Ure


The ruins of Jervaulx Abbey
The spiritual home of Wensleydale cheese

The Abbey Beat comprises almost 2 miles of single bank fishing within the boundaries of the Jervaulx estate on the south side of the River Ure.  It is bookable through FishPal.  If you wish to have a ghillie, please contact Brian Towers directly on 07850727132.  He is also an AAPGAI double-handed casting instructor, which allows you to combine fishing and learning.  Some may find that especially useful, as the beat is right bank with a downstream prevailing wind, which places a lot on emphasis on your skill with left hand uppermost.

The main part of the beat is easily accessible by vehicle, including 2WD with good ground clearance: 4WD is only essential when the conditions are wet.  You enter the park at the gate opposite the Tea Room car park and continue along the estate road until you reach the first track to the left, which leads to the entrance gate to the fishery.  The track from there to the river bank across the meadow is clearly visible.

Note that the Jervaulx Fly Fishers have the trout and primary rights on this beat.  Their members will be most active in the summer and at lower water levels.  On a cool and windy May Day I saw no one else during the afternoon I fished.

The surroundings are delightful, with the Abbey and park full of mature trees providing a beautiful backdrop for your sport.

Harker Beck

The top of the beat is at the junction of the Ure and Harker Beck.  This little stream has a special significance for Ure salmon fishing, because it was here in the 1990s that a very large dead spent cock salmon was found, weighing 36lbs post-spawning.  The length and girth suggested that its clean weight in the spring might have been close to 50lbs.  It was the first hard evidence of the rebirth of the Ure as a salmon river.

Abbey Beat
Pool and run numbering cross-reference to photos & paragraphs below
(c) Ordnance Survey 2021

All the photos in this guide were taken at a water height of 80cm at Kilgram, falling following a 2 metre spate, which usually offers ideal fishing conditions on most beats between Thoresby and Ripon.  With 3 limited exceptions the wading is the easiest I've ever encountered on the Ure, with long stretches of gravel.

At this height the water is easy to cover: I was using a 12' 6" #7 which did everything I needed.  On most of the runs you are fishing directly beneath your feet, and the longest cast you need on the pools is about 25-28 yards.  With a higher river and using sink tips and a heavier fly you might need a 13' or 13' 6".

1 - Top

1 Is a straight run over a rough bottom that starts at the very top of the beat, and extends for about 150 metres down to the head of. Pool 2.  At the far end it's too shallow to be productive (see photo 3).

The main running line is directly adjacent to the near bank, and the rough bottom provides an ample supply of. short-halt resting lies for running fish.  There's no need to wade: indeed, it would be downright daft to try.

1 - Middle

1 - Tail and entry to Pool 2

2 - Head

2 is a long right-hand sweep with deep water and the main flow on the far side against the wooden piling.  It's a delightful pool to fish and later in the season will undoubtedly hold good numbers of fish.  The running line exits on the far side before shifting across to the near side for the journey up Run 1.  The wading is very easy, but it's best to keep as far back as possible: covering the water isn't difficult and there's no point scaring fish in quiet water that clearly transmits the crunch of your footsteps.

2 - Middle

2 - Tail

Run 3 - start

3 comprises a series of runs under the near bank of a long sweeping left-hand curve.  Again, there's no need to wade and quite a lot of its length has a rough bottom.

Run 3 - middle

4 - Head

4 is a medium-sized pool at the bottom of Run 3 that bends right into a straight quiet stretch.

4 - Exit

5 comprises a long section of runs split by gravel bars, with some very interesting pots and holding areas.  it has a very 'fishy' feel and could well be productive when there are more fish in the river.

5 - Lower end
Fishing from 8 feet above the water
Keep back and kneel down to avoid sky lining

5 - Lower, looking back upstream

6 - Head

6 is a pleasant pool formed on a right-hand bend with plenty of holding capacity and a good flow.

6 - Middle & Tail

7 - Middle

7 is a large pool formed on a right-hand bend which looks like a good holding area.  It's easy to cover, and although the wading is somewhat stony near the head there's no point going out more than you need for a good D-loop.

8 - Head
8 is a deep channel created by the intrusion of a large bank of gravel on the near bank.  I felt that I had a significant chance of a fish here, so fished it thoroughly.  In the event that yielded 2 large brown trout, but I would fancy my chances here come September.  

8 - Looking down from middle to tail

Below 8 - the end of the easy fishing
Once you reach the end of 8 the banks become heavily treed with overhanging willows.  A quick scan of Google Earth shows that there are only a few open spaces between here and the bottom of the beat at Kilgram Bridge.  In any even going beyond here probably involves driving back to the estate road in the park as I couldn't see a gateway through the hedge-line that runs from the right side of this view.