The Gelt begins life as two moorland becks in the north Pennines. The association has fishing on both the Old and the New Water, and on the infant river itself, below the confluence of these two streams. A healthy population of small brown trout thrive in this upland setting and can provide interesting sport in conditions of high water, when the lower rivers are unfishable. Lower down the valley the Gelt flows through deciduous woodland, and over local sandstone, before its joins with the River Irthing. Good fishing is to be had on this stretch, with the bulk of the fish concentrated within the deeper pools. Fishing the Gelt, which is a rocky and fast flowing river, cannot be described as easy. The river does not carry as much colour as the Irthing, and a degree of stealth is need not to spook fish when fishing up a pool. The careful angler will be rewarded with hard won trout, and the satisfaction of fishing in such a beautiful setting.
Fishing on the Gelt
The Gelt is best tackled with a dry fly set up, or with a small nymph suspended New Zealand style. Access can be difficult, and the enhanced water clarity, mean a quiet stealthy approach is necessary. Gelt fish tend to be free rising and opportunistic, the hardest thing is often getting a cast in without being noticed by the fish. Small parachute patterns or sedges are the order of the day, along with small beadhead nymphs, which will take fish when trout aren’t keen to rise. Dry flies, particularly small sedge patterns work well on the upper river, where it splits into the Old and New Waters.
A rod weighted 3 or 4, with a length of 7 to 9 feet, will suffice for most all situations on the Gelt. Tenkara tactics can be successfully used on the open moorland stretches of the upper river.