Trout & Salmon explores the Yorkshire Calder

Sowerby Bridge might be familiar to you as the the setting for the BBC’s Happy Valley crime drama. It’s also the hometown of Phillippa Hake… one of the new generation of fly-fishers who has taken full advantage of the information age, rapidly ascending the learning curve to become an excellent angler in a relatively short time…

The Calder runs within walking distance of Phillippa’s house. It’s where she began river fishing, and she knows it intimately… It’s always exciting to descend into the riparian corridor of an urban river; one minute you are walking through HGVs in a haulage contractor’s yard and over a girder bridge supported by huge steel pipes, the next you are surrounded by trees, wildflowers and running water, a magical transformation that never ceases to amaze me…

Written by well-known travelling angler, film-maker and flyfishing instructor Don Stazicker, the January 2022 issue of Trout & Salmon magazine (out now in December 2021) features a vivid evocation of one of the Urbantrout team’s favourite northern rivers – the River Calder around Sowerby Bridge – as well as a stirring appeal for more of the same:

This river was fishless within my lifetime: that it now holds a fine head of fish in surroundings where I want to fish for them is a truly wonderful thing. We are constantly being reminded that the planet’s ecosystem is deteriorating. It is therefore so important to encounter places such as this, where enlightened legislation and the hard work of dedicated people has reversed that trend and restored life to something that was once sterile. It shows that not everything is a one-way street. We can reverse change, we can make a difference, and that difference starts on your doorstep. If you don’t support one or more of the angling conservation bodies, you really do need to ask yourself, why not?

At the core of his article, Don also provides a detailed interview with skilled local Calder fishing guide Phillippa Hake: a professional custom fly-tyer with a well-deserved reputation for spinning delicate, realistic dry flies and nymphs, which often make a generous appearance in the Wild Trout Trust’s annual auction.

Intrepid flyfishing women on urban rivers: this definitely feels like a moment, and it’s superb to see. The January issue of Trout & Salmon is available now from all good newsagents… grab your inspiring Christmas reading today!

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  1. […] and nymphs for use on rivers across the UK, tied by guide, fly-tyer and Fulling Mill ambassador Phillippa Hake (whose home water is a true Urbantrout favourite, the River Calder in West Yorkshire). All these […]

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