There can be few visitors to Bakewell who have not taken the time out to wander by the riverside who have not been surprised by the number of fish to been seen when the water is running low and clear . Both in numbers and in size (some of these fish have been in residence for years) they are a constant source of excitement for youngsters as they are pointed out by parents , grandparents and friends of all ages. Many a grandparent remembers coming here for a rare day trip outing from perhaps a very grimy city background to see the fish the ducks and to enjoy a bit of fresh air. But what are these fish and how did they get here?
There are three types of fish in the river Wye. The fish with large red / brown spots are called Brown trout and they are a native fish to the British Isles and many other places around the world. The Brown trout we can see are all sorts of sizes and fish of over ten pounds in weight are not unknown and these big fish are what draw exited comments when they are spotted competing with the Ducks for tourist bread. By the way, the Peak Park authority has put notice boards by the side of the river concerning feeding the ducks have you read it?
They have inhabited the clear waters of the Peak District for as long as there have been people and the other type of fish we see the Grayling have possibly been here since before that.
The Grayling are often a slender elegant fish with a very large and lovely fin on its back ,which is not always easy to see when it is laying flat,but when the fin is posted ,perhaps to signal to other fish, it is an unforgettable sight, with most colours of the rainbow with a kind of purplish sheen on many fish.
Grayling do not grow to a large size as a rule, a fish weighing over a pound is good and a two pounder is an unfulfilled ambition for most fly anglers.
The other fish which are common on the River Wye and which has exited most admiration and comment over the years are The Rainbow Trout. The Rainbow trout is a major food and sporting stock fish throughout the world , and usually has a vivid streak of colour down each side and smaller spots. But these Wye rainbows are different to the fish which are stocked in our Stillwater fisheries, these fish are wild.
Although the exact records are missing, it is believed that a consignment of very small fish was on its way to Scotland from the Washington state in the United States in 1910. For some reason they were put into a lake in the grounds of Ashford Hall to spend the winter. the river flooded that year and the rainbow trout had found a new home
These trout came from a smallish river which has a very similar flow rate and temperature to the Wye, and the type of rock and the background minerals in the water are also very similar.
The fish were well established by the 1930s and many a distinguished angling authority was moved to comment on them with sometimes less than approving words!
Fly fishing for trout has been popular for centuries and in some important regards Derbyshire, and Bakewell in particular has played an important part in the history of what is now a world wide passion for millions of fly fishers.
A well known angling author and fishing tackle dealer from Ashbourne, James Ogden was using a then novel way of fishing for trout using a floating fly in June 1865. It is thought that this was the first time an artificial fly was constructed to float or at least the first time recorded in print. The river keeper was so taken with this new method he made it a rule that all fishing on the river should be with the Dry Fly, a rule which persists today.
Fishing Permits for the river are available to the visiting angler from the Peacock Hotel at Rowley and other permits for fishing further upstream of Bakewell at Monsal Dale
The fishing available from the Peacock Hotel is part of The Haddon estate and to conserve the unique wild rainbow trout all fish caught on the fly rod are carefully returned to the river by anglers who come to fish from all over the world.
3A Hebdon Court,Bakewell,Derbyshire.DE45 1EE
Tel: 01629 813531