Having had a great holiday at Brompton lakes with my family a few years previous, I thought it would be nice to go back to see not only what had changed but, in particular, just how good the Lakes and river Swale are fishing some three years on. With this in mind, a long weekend break with the family was booked and, as you will soon find out, we were not disappointed.
For those of you that are not aware, Brompton lakes is situated a mile from the market town of Richmond in North Yorkshire. This complex has 20 lodges, each overlooking its own estate lake both full of coarse fish, with an additional few miles of the river Swale running along side which has both game and coarse fish, so there is something for everyone’s angling preferences.
The lodges are all absolutely immaculate, with each having its own identity and style, together with a generously spaced terrace complete with table, chairs and canopies all overlooking the lakes. On arrival, you are greeted with a welcome hamper, together with a guest information book covering every eventuality, plus all the in-house beauty and catering services on offer, should you wish to treat yourselves or loved ones for a special occasion or just as a nice surprise.
The view from inside our lodge
I could not wait to have a good look around the lakes again. Both contain plenty of coarse fish like carp, bream, tench and roach, then it was a walk down to the river Swale which runs alongside. It is a spate river, holding good chub, grayling and trout, but it was a bit low and in need of some rain to bring the levels up. However, the usual abundance of brown trout were still taking off the top. It is such a lovely, peaceful place and it felt good to be back, so it was not long before I was heading over to the lodge and getting the rod out. I had noticed that, due to the recent hot weather, there was much more weed growth than normal, so I decided to fish mid-range on a clear spot, using my medium feeder rod to start, together with a ground bait feeder stuffed with Dynamite groundbait, corn and pellets and a single piece of corn on the hook. After about an hour or so on the feeder, I had my first fish of the evening, a rather grumpy looking tench which was soon followed by a couple more before it was time to pack up and have some tea with the family.
Shane Calton with a grumpy Tench
As we were only here for a long weekend, Friday 'til Monday, there was a lot to cram in, but the girls were happy to let Dad fish all day Saturday, having just hired a couple of mountain bikes from reception. This, combined with a shopping trip into Richmond, meant I was left to have another crack at the resident carp.
It was a lovely sunny start to the day and I fished a simple running rig with a 2oz lead, together with a 15lb weed green Striptease hook length and a pineapple popup hair rigged to a size 10 Raptor, presented with a pva bag of pellets and ground bait together with a good glug of Dynamite's 'The Source'. I fished for quite a while, without so much as a touch for most of the day, but as the clouds descended and it started to rain, it was then I had my first run; a beautiful mirror with sun burst scales. A proper beauty., albeit only a few pounds in weight. With my confidence restored, I stuck to my tactics and as the tell tale feeding bubbles were showing over my spot, the right hand rod screamed off. I immediately knew it was a good fish by the sheer power of its initial run. I could not stop it getting to the weed but, thankfully, I managed to coax it out into open water, then, after a good ten minute battle with some heart stopping moments, I finally slipped the net under a beautifully scaled linear mirror carp.
Sunburst Scaled Mirror Carp
Shane Calton’s Linear Mirror Carp
The pressure was now off and what a lovely brace of carp, both stunning and individually marked. I’m not going to pretend it was easy, because it was hard going and nothing like three years ago, but I suppose the fish over time have simply wised-up with the constant angling pressure, but they are still there to be caught, that’s for sure!
That evening, we had a lovely family meal in the lodge with the log fire burning away, and a few glasses of wine while discussing a plan of attack for a family Sunday. I decided we would find somewhere nice for Sunday lunch and, having looked on Tripadvisor, we booked into the Richmond Grill and Brasserie. On arrival, it had a very relaxed atmosphere and was well set out. The service was good and the food was excellent, all washed down with a few glasses of Sancerre, I would highly recommend you gave it a try whilst staying at Brompton lakes.
The Calton family dining out in Richmond
On our return to the lodge, Clarissa and I decided to have a walk down to the river armed with only the feeder rod a few bits; rod rest, landing net and a pint of maggots, just for a bit of fun. Although the river was looking better, there was heavy rain forecast that night, so I was more optimistic for the morning's chances. However, it was all about Clarissa catching and it was not long before a greedy brownie had her shouting, “I’ve got one! I’ve got one!” which made her day.
Clarissa Calton with a wild river Swale Brown Trout
The following morning, I was up bright and early and although the rains had not come, there was time for one last session on the river. My target was a grayling, the lady of the stream. I was fishing a maggot feeder on 6lb main line to a 3.8lb hook length, with a size 14 hook and a plastic maggot acting as an aligner, together with a real maggot on the end, fishing just off the crease of the bend. I was soon into fish and over the next few hours I steadily caught, taking half a dozen nice grayling, coupled with a few dace, trout and a bullhead to round off what had been a lovely morning's river session, just before it was time to head off home.
Shane Calton with a brace of river Swale Grayling
To summarise, all I can say is that Brompton lakes has it all and is the perfect place to spend time with your family, staying in five star luxury accommodation combined with beautiful scenery and plenty of places to visit and things to do, not to mention the fishing on offer. You simply cannot go wrong.
For booking availability or further information, go to www.bromptonlakes.co.uk
Other photos from Brompton Lakes
River swale Dace caught using the magaligner tactics
Clarissa on the bikes available for hire
Shane Calton with a river Swale Grayling
The River Swale at Brompton Lakes