Address: Pickering Trout Lake Newbridge Road Pickering Yorkshire Y018 8JJ Phone number: 01751 474219

Directions: From York take the A64 to Malton and then the A169 to Pickering. The fishery is well sign-posted in Pickering and is next to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

Fishery details: One fairly clear spring-fed trout lake of approaching 4 acres. It is fairly shallow and zoned. The bottom half of the lake is the bait fishing zone where every fish has to be killed and paid for at the current price. The other end is for fly fishing with barbless hooks so that catch and release can be practised. If fish are required from this zone they can also be killed and purchased at the advertised rate.

Stocking: Rainbows only. The majority of fish that I saw appeared to be in the 1.75 to 3lb range with the odd better fish. However the fishery record is a massive 251b 4oz. Perhaps the larger fish were down deeper out of view.

Price structure

Fly fishing:
Full day catch and release 10, three hour ticket 7.
Barbless hooks must be used. Fly fishing tackle hire is 3.

Float fishing:
Full day 4.50. Tackle hire including bait is 2. Barbed hooks must be used and all fish killed and paid for.

Facilities: These were very good with a lodge offering a range of hot drinks and food at sensible prices. Clean toilets, tuition with tackle for both hire and purchase.

A Morning's Fishing

I only bought a three hour ticket as we were off for a pub lunch with a friend who lives nearby. Arriving at 10 a.m. we were the first anglers to arrive. We walked past the float fishing zone where we could see plenty of fish past the island into the fly fishing area. On the island there was a variety of wild life including guinea-foul, rabbits and chickens. However the most distinctive feature on the island was an old telephone box.

At the other side of the island were seven casting platforms for fly fishing. I sat down on the second platform and set up my 4 piece 8.5 ft fly rod with a reel loaded with a WF5F line. I had a 9ft leader of 4lb bs Maxima ultra green to a size 14 gold bead hairs ear nymph. I was travelling very light with only the essentials.

I could see a few fish averaging about 2lb swimming about just under the surface. As this is a catch and release fishery, the rainbows had most likely been caught several times before and were not going to be "mug" fish. The first two fish that I covered rejected the nymph but the third effort produced a take from a 1.5lb fish that was ideal for my friend's supper. Naturally I retained it.

Fishing on I managed to catch and release several other fish that were running to over 21b. It was time for a change so I replaced my gold bead hairs ear with a size 14 black buzzer. Fishing with an exceptionally slow retrieve, I had several small tweaks. As these were very difficult to detect, I added a red wool indicator to the end of the fly line. This would have worked but trout kept rising taking the indicator.

After changing to a red Bobby's Bits, fish were following in and taking. Trout could be seen making wakes as they chased the fly. The tactic produced several trout to about 31b.

A young lad then arrived with his Grandfather, who was teaching him to fly fish. They caught regularly and it was a pleasure to see them working together. Then as I was about to leave they had a good rainbow of about 51b which they carefully returned. The look on the young lad's face said it all -he was hooked on fishing!

Conclusion:
Although Pickering may not be for the ultra-purist it provides a very useful function in providing fun fishing and a training ground for future generations of anglers.