Maran Lakes, also known as Marston Wyse Trout Farm, can be found off Wetherby Road in Long Marston,
North Yorkshire. The turn off to the fishery is roughly opposite an envelope factory but don’t
worry you can’t see it when you’re fishing! The surrounding area is typical of this part
of Yorkshire being mainly fields – not spectacular by any stretch of the imagination but enough to
make you feel you’re ‘getting away from it all’. Paying for your day’s fishing
is also straightforward. The fishing lodge/hut has a list of tariffs and you simply sign the book with
how much you’re paying then put the money in an envelope and post it.
There are four small lakes at Maran, although the first one you hit on your way from the lodge
(Lodge Lake) is currently closed whilst it is being cleaned out. I have never fished this one so
will be looking forward to casting a line into it when the work is finished. Directly behind it
is the largest of the four, South Lake, where I tend to start and finish my session at Maran. If
you’re fishing South Lake, with Lodge Lake just behind you and an island in front of you then
to your left is one of my most productive hotspots.
The stretch of bank a few yards along from the reeds seems to always hold fish and in winter a sinking
line with a Cat’s Whisker or Fritz pattern will almost certainly get you some action. Whilst
you’re here, the area just to the left of the island is also worth trying the same tactic on.
I’ve not had much success around the rest of this particular lake although I guess much of this
is down to the fact that I head straight for my ‘hotspot’! There is plenty of bank space
around South Lake and little in the way of back-cast ruining obstructions so try fishing all the water
rather than taking the narrow-minded approach like me!
Ok, so hopefully you’ve got your first fish from South Lake so now it’s on to Guide Lake
(the name comes from its sponsor!) which is adjacent to you to catch another! Here you’re casting
skills face more of a challenge because most of the bank is shrouded in trees with few casting spaces.
It’s easier to lose yourself here though and it can sometimes be nice to escape the elements
during more inclement weather. My favourite tactic here is floating line, long leader and small
nymphs e.g. PT nymph on point and hare’s ear dropper .
I’ve yet to try the bite indicator or bung methods of fly-fishing so tend to rely on watching the
end of my line for the slightest movement which is a fine way to focus your mind. I’ve read many
articles in books and magazines which emphasise how many fish you may be missing out on if you rely
upon only feeling a bite and whilst nymphing on Lodge Lake I’ve found this to be very true. Many
times I’ve watched the tip of my fly-line move almost imperceptibly as a fish gently takes the
fly but felt nothing. You have been warned!
By now you may have either caught another nice rainbow or grown tired of decorating trees with your carefully tied flies. Perhaps it’s time to move along to the last lake which is known as Hawkins. This is probably my favourite at Maran and this in part is due to its exceptional water clarity which enables more of a stalking approach. On some days it feels like you can see every fish in this lake but as with most clear water fisheries this can sometimes lead only to frustration! I don’t tend to use lures on Hawkins because it’s quite shallow for even an intermediate and the fish seem interested in more ‘natural’ patterns.
A long leader seems particularly important for this lake because of its clarity and you should pay attention to your presentation in order not to spook its residents. I’ve had quite a few fish on here to buzzers, fished static as per the normal method but also it can pay to give them a few fast strips. This seems to occasionally stir otherwise languid fish into action. Dropping an ethafoam beetle in front of cruising fish can also induce a take along with hoppers and daddy type patterns. In addition to these, as with many stillwaters, bloodworm patterns are becoming more prevalent amongst catch returns and should therefore be amongst your armoury.
Aesthetically, Maran Lakes is at its best during the summer months when there is an abundance of foliage around the water when it looks very pleasant. The scenery is slightly marred by the presence of a crane (dredger?) at the fishery and in winter the place can be a bit of a quagmire to negotiate your way around because of the mud.
These minor niggles don’t deter me though because the sport is consistent and I have paid numerous visits to this well run fishery knowing I have every chance of catching. (It’s far from being a walkover though, I do sometimes blank!) In an ideal world, most of my stillwater fishing trips would be to unspoilt natural lakes and reservoirs inhabited only by wild brownies but this simply isn’t practical with all the constraints of modern living! Places like Maran are ideal for the average days fishing – open all year round, easily accessible with good quality hard fighting fish.
On several occasions I’ve had hooks bent after screaming runs that test the usually redundant disc drag on my reel. Indeed, there are big fish in here with the current record fish being a 14lb 8oz rainbow and a 7lb 12 oz brown. As a final aside, the Maran Kingfishers fly-fishing team have had competition success with a 1st place in the Airflo Stillwater competition.
Marston Wyse Trout Farm
The fishery is located off the B1224, opposite a factory that you can’t miss.