Harrogate’s Washburn Valley water warden welcomes new fishing

Colin Winterburn has worked to maintain the reservoirs for 25 years.
Colin Winterburn has worked to maintain the reservoirs for 25 years.

The grounds-keeper for the Washburn Valley Reservoirs has celebrated 26 years of working there at the same time a new type of fishing is introduced.

This year marked over a quarter of a century of maintaining the grounds of the three Washburn Reservoirs for Fishing and Public Warden, Colin Winterburn.

The fishery includes Fewston, Swinsty and Thruscross reservoirs and is set in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Mr Winterburn said: “I’ve been here for 26 years now, I started in 1989 and I fished here before then. I like being out and about meeting people, teaching them how to fish, it is just very enjoyable. I’d encourage anyone who has not been to come to the Washburn Valley and enjoy a beautiful experience.”

Mr Winterburn, who is a qualified Salmon and Trout national instructor, affectionately calls the Washburn waters the ‘jewel in the crown’ of all the fisheries.

And after a suggestion by Colin to trial coarse fishing at the Swinsty reservoir, fishing fanatics are now able to enjoy two types of fishing at the Washburn Valley.

Mr Winterburn said: “The Swinsty reservoir hasn’t been fished for over 40 years so I knew that a population of course fish would have absolutely thrived in there.”

A fishing club trialled the new type of fishing last year and confirmed there was an excellent coarse fish population including roach, perch, chub and dace.

Anglers can now choose to fish for rainbow trout and coarse fish in Swinsty, brown and rainbow trout in Fewston and brown trout in Thruscross.

The area is already popular for game fishing.

Colin said: “Over the years we’ve put a lot of effort into making the land around the reservoirs accessible for everyone. We’ve created new paths, reduced gradients where possible, widened paths to allow pushchairs and wheelchairs to pass and created resting points so views of the reservoir can be enjoyed to the full. Our site attracts hundreds of thousands of walkers, hikers, cyclists and horse riders every year. We hope our new offering of coarse fishing will attract even more visitors.”