Urban fly-fishing report: River Don, Sheffield

Sheffield fishing - River Beat

Thanks to a generous winning bid in this year’s Monnow Rivers Association charity auction, The River Beat blog recently visited Sheffield’s River Don for an introduction to urban fly-fishing

… walled in by pre-industrial brick and post-industrial modern glass, a Holiday Inn and busy road bridges. The sounds of general human commotion were never far away but momentarily forgotten when watching olives and caddis lift from the water or when a trout or grayling would take the fly.

Apart from the obvious rude health of those city-centre fish, and a namecheck for Trout in Dirty Places (thanks Justin!), we also loved this Orwell quote we hadn’t read before:

Sheffield, I suppose, could justly claim to be called the ugliest town in the Old World: its inhabitants, who want it to be pre-eminent in everything, very likely do make that claim for it. It has a population of half a million and it contains fewer decent buildings than the average East Anglian village of five hundred. And the stench! If at rare moments you stop smelling sulphur it is because you have begun smelling gas. Even the shallow river that runs through the town is-usually bright yellow with some chemical or other. Once I halted in the street and counted the factory chimneys I could see; there were thirty-three of them, but there would have been far more if the air had not been obscured by smoke…

Needless to say, it’s all changed a bit since Orwell’s time, and the river in the Steel City now runs clear and full of wild native fish. Click on over to the River Beat for lots more great photography and writing!

(Photo: The River Beat)

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