Being located in Leicestershire, yet on the Derbyshire border, people can forget what great proximity we have to some seriously good trout fly fishing on the clean limestone rivers of Derbyshire, most running through the most stunning scenery. As a very keen fly fisher myself I often have to remind myself that Derbyshire rivers can match any wild trout fishing in the British Isles - if you know where to go!
Derbyshire is, then, a haven for fly fishing enthusiasts, with its diverse range of rivers, streams, and still waters providing the perfect setting for this popular angling technique. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner, there are plenty of opportunities to try your hand at fly fishing in Derbyshire, who's limestone streams offer some of the finest wild river fishing in the country.
One of the most popular spots for fly fishing in Derbyshire is the River Derwent, which runs through the Peak District National Park. This picturesque river is home to a variety of fish species, including brown trout, grayling, and (some do slip through) the odd Atlantic salmon!
Other notable fly fishing locations in Derbyshire include Ladybower and Carsington Reservoirs, which offers the chance to catch stocked but fighting fit rainbow and brown trout, and the River Wye, famed for its cleanliness and which is known for its indigenous wild rainbow trout, beautiful brown trout and large grayling population.
However, Derbyshire also boasts possibly the most famous fishing beat in the World: Izaac Walton's Temple Beat. Close to the picturesque village of Hartington, and not far from the spa town of Buxton, this is the place where Izaac Walton and his great friend Charles Cotton fished on their beloved R.Dove, Cotton building his famous fishing house in 1674, known as The Temple, beside the river to celebrate their passion (see below), some would say the birthplace of ‘modern’ fly fishing.
The Temple is so significant for anglers because it was built by Charles Cotton, a 17th century poet and writer who lived at Beresford Hall, near Hartington. A fanatical fisherman himself, Cotton fished with Izaak Walton, author of The Compleat Angler, first published in 1653 and one of the most notable books ever written in the English language. Cotton himself wrote a second section for this book’s later editions based on his experiences of fishing the Dove and it is considered to be one of the finest early treatises on modern fly fishing. Its teachings are still applicable today – some of the fly patterns Cotton describes are still used by modern anglers.
Charles Cotton built the fishing house in 1674 to celebrate his friendship with Izaak Walton and their entwined initials are carved into the stone above the door, along with the inscription: ‘Piscatoribus Sacrum’, a sacred place for anglers, hence it is known in angling circles as ‘The Temple’. The Temple and the R.Dove feature in Cotton’s writings and represent his idea of angling heaven. This was Cotton’s spiritual home made real.
If you're new to fly fishing, there are plenty of guides and instructors in Derbyshire who can help you get started, people like Andy Buckley who can put you onto a fish in some very special places. He'll teach you the basics of casting, choosing the right equipment, and identifying different fish species.
Fly fishing in Derbyshire is a great way to connect with nature and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Peak District. It's also a fantastic way to relax and unwind, as you immerse yourself in the peaceful surroundings and focus on the art of fly fishing.
So if you're looking for a fun and unique activity to try this summer, why not give fly fishing in Derbyshire a go? Most of the best fishing is within an hour's drive of us here at Breedon Hall, and we can sometimes get you on private beats usually unavailable to visiting fishermen (its not what you know its who!). Get in touch if this is of interest.