Malham Tarn

Brown Trout from Malham Tarn
Malham Tarn is one of only eight upland alkaline lakes in Europe and is also the highest lake in England. The alkaline water provides the appropriate pH and calcium levels to support a rich density and diversity of plant and invertebrate life. Its unique characteristics have drawn attention for centuries, since it was on the old high drovers path along the Pennines. In the 12th Century it was gifted to the Cistercian monks of Fountains Abbey in the Vale of York, who made the round trip of 60 miles or so on foot and horseback to harvest the plentiful trout.

Beautiful Brown Trout from Malham Tarn resting in net in boat

Situated in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, Malham Tarn is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI), managed by the National Trust. Luckily, the Trust has followed tradition and allows controlled fly fishing; since the resident trout spawn in the feeder streams, fishing follows the normal brown trout season. The Tarn covers 150 acres and has a fairly even depth of about 2.5 m (9 ft) with fishing by boat only. To protect the lake ecosystem there are no petrol engines on the Tarn boats, and we need to carry our own electric motor if we don’t want to resort to the oars.

Malham is well known in the fishing world for its head of large brown trout. The fish respond well to loch style tactics with traditional palmered patterns and wets, especially in a good wave, but sunk lines and lures can also produce the goods. The fish are incredibly strong for brown trout; fully-finned and as wild as they come, beautifully marked and fat as butter, just as you might expect from such a rich water. 
Into another rod bending trout on Malham Tarn
A trip to Malham can provide you with the fish of a lifetime. Personally, I can’t get enough of it and never feel more in touch with nature than when playing one of its feisty residents.