The whole of the River Eden and its tributaries is designated a European Special Area of Conservation, reflecting the diversity of wildlife and flora found in the river and on its banks, the farmland and beautiful rural area through which the River Eden gently meanders.
A large variety of habitats exist from the upland sources of the main river and many tributaries and in its entirety the Eden is a very large river system by English standards. It remains one of the most undamaged and consequently the best mixed wild brown trout and grayling river in England, at least on such a scale. It is also improving as a salmon fishery.
The Appleby waters are considered by many as being perfect in terms of scale for the healthy populations of trout and grayling. Nymph and dry fly fishing provide the best of the sport through the spring, summer and autumn months, while the nymph is supreme for the winter grayling. Members thus enjoy year-round fishing on a World class, environmentally protected river.
With the range of water types available in the Appleby waters, there is the opportunity for all fly fishing methods to be practised, including Czech nymph in winter and spider fishing in the riffles through much of the year.
Lure or streamer fishing is seldom practised and has not been noted as effective in this region of the river.
Spinner and worm fishing is allowed at certain times of year in certain areas.
General upstream nymph and in particular dry fly, however, tend to be the most consistent methods.
The quality of the wild trout and grayling is unsurpassed in England.
While a two pound trout is a good specimen, three pound plus fish are caught every year, with occasional four pounders. The grayling fishing is outstanding and in recent years the Appleby waters have been the most consistent in the entire system for very large specimens of this species, between two and three pounds in weight, with several fish actually above this size. It is worth mentioning that almost all the large trout and grayling fall to small dry flies, though in winter the big grayling come to the nymph,
with occasional specimens taking very sparse spider patterns.