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Fishing Breaks offers fly fishing at the Charles Cotton’s historic Fishing House and other beats on the River Dove
The limestone rivers of Derbyshire have a very special place in the history of fly fishing as the first detailed writing about the sport comes in two chapters of Izaak Walton's Compleat Angler, which were actually written by his friend Charles Cotton, and described the fishing in the Derbyshire.
Cotton (1630-1687) was far more than a fisherman; he was one of the most illustrious academics of the 17th century famous as a poet, writer, best-known for translating the work of Michel de Montaigne from the French, for his contributions to The Compleat Angler, and for the highly influential The Compleat Gamester which has been attributed to him.
Born at Beresford Hall, Cotton learnt to fly fish on the River Dove which flowed through the Beresford Hall Estate. Fishing of all types was his passion and in the gorge of the Dove he made a private garden “with a delicate clear river about it.” where the world is reduced to its simplest and best essentials. It was in this garden in 1674 that he built the Fishing House.
The rivers of the Derbyshire Peak District are the Wye, the Dove, the Lathkill and the Derwent, plus numerous smaller streams and brooks. The rivers are fed by the winter rains that fall onto the hills and peaks of Derbyshire and Staffordshire, percolating down through the limestone rocks flowing out through the river valleys. The temperature and quality of the water is ideal for brown trout and grayling, and the clarity perfect for fly fishing.
It is fair to say that Tony pretty well has the waters of the River Dove running through his veins. A Derbyshire policeman for all his working life, Tony has fished the Dove for over forty years. Since retirement he has dedicated much of his spare time to fishing the Derbyshire streams and has become the acknowledged local expert on Charles Cotton and Izaak Walton.
As a qualified instructor and fishing guide Tony is the ideal companion for a day on the River Dove. If you want to pick is brain on the history of fly fishing, as the Secretary of Izaak Walton Cottage Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America there is simply nobody better. As an instructor Tony is patient and helpful, holding both the ACA and GAIA badges.
Tony simply loves everything about the Dove valley; as he says, “There are very few places in the world were you can trace the history of fly fishing back for centuries, but in Beresford Dale we will be walking in the very footsteps of Walton and Cotton, casting into the very pools that they fished four centuries ago”. As an angler who twice represented England he is equally at home, with nymph or dry, trout or grayling so whatever the conditions throw at you Tony will be at your side making sure you have a successful day.
If you wish to ask Tony a question direct, please e-mail him direct
All diary and booking enquiries should be made direct to Fishing Breaks.
Top local hotel: Charles Cotton Hotel
Top local pub: The George Hotel
Top place to visit: Chatsworth House
Our Derbyshire rivers usually require wading of some sort; certainly
you can fish some parts of most beats from the bank but to get the best
do take your waders.
Fishing Breaks Ltd, The Mill, Heathman Street, Nether Wallop