LOCKWOOD BECK remains one of the most popular trout lakes in the North of England.
And with fishery manager Gordon Byers at the helm for almost 20 years the status of the scenic 60 acre venue remains assured.
Lockwood has always held a place in the top half of Trout Fisherman magazine’s annual list of the nation’s top 100 trout fisheries, and has consistently been placed as the top water in the North East.
Its appeal is that for the past two decades it has maintained its ethos and core value of offering traditional challenging and rewarding fishing for top quality trout, while making the subtle changes necessary to cater for all trout fishing tastes in a changing world.
Over the last few years a Wheelyboat has been introduced to help disabled anglers make the most of Lockwood, the lodge has been extended and a hot drinks vending machine added as well as some tackle and a good range of flies for sale, more beginner’s courses have been introduced, winter bait fishing has extended the season, float tubing has arrived (membership of the British Float Tube Association is essential), and a junior club has been launched to attract and encourage the anglers of tomorrow.
Yet amble under the trees of the wooded bank, cast a line from the point, or try the tempting water that laps against the moor side bank, and, but for more modern tackle and a few new fly patterns, you could be back in the mid 90’s when Gordon took over.
For the scenic value of this lake remains unchanged. Away from the dam wall you would not know this was a reservoir, for it fits so snugly into its intimate valley.
And even the dam is more appealing than on other reservoirs, for there is no expanse of concrete here, but a grassy ridge and large weathered stones, that provide a good grip for casting into deep inviting water.
Lockwood is stocked weekly, with most of the fish being between 1lb 12oz and 2lb 8oz. A sprinkling of 3lb to 6lb trout are added, as well as a few doubles throughout the season.
With a few browns added to the rainbows, you never know which strain will take you fly next.
Apart from the quality of the fish and the idyllic setting, the appeal of this lake is that no two days are the same. A method that keeps the fish coming one day, could result in a blank the next. So even regulars who know all the moods of Lockwood have to be versatile to get the best from it.
Whether stripping gaudy lures on fast sinking lines, or targeting trout that are gently sipping in tiny surface insects, anglers have to chop and change and think on their feet (or on the seat of their boat).
And sometimes tough days can glide into productive nights, for the evening rise can be spectacular.
On a good day you’ll have an aching arm from battling trout, and even on the hard days, patience can be rewarded with a fight you’ll remember.
The fish grow on well, for the feeding is surprisingly rich for a north country lake. Buzzers, damsels, daddy longlegs, snails, Shrimp, sedges, hoglice, and occasional swarms of ants and Beetles are all on the menu. As are the shoals of minnows, roach and perch, while fish will occasionally take frogs.
So there are some mighty fish here, and every season doubles are caught that have been in the water for several months.
Regulars, including season ticket holders, are the mainstay of any fishery, and at Lockwood a friendly welcome is guaranteed for all newcomers. There’s always sound advice on hand, or just a friendly chat about angling in general. That’s why so many vow to return whether or not they have had a fish filled day.
For at Lockwood you don’t measure a good day simply by how many fish you catch. From a coffee in the lodge before you fish, though a day on the water, and then a chat to compare stories at the end of the session, a day at Lockwood is a complete trout fishing experience.