DESPITE a freshet (the flood of a river from heavy rain or melted snow) of new water earlier in the week, the Dales rivers continue to be very low indeed. The Met Office forecast, however, is for heavy showers or even longer spells of rain over the weekend, with the westerly winds calming down after a stormy period.

At long last, there is the prospect of fresher rivers and hope of fish responding more actively to anglers’ efforts. Please note, however, that the river gauge auto reports from Gargrave are showing some unusual levels because a small section at the top of the weir has broken away, reducing the water backed up behind it. The river coarse fishing season opens tomorrow, so bait anglers will be back out in force on the rivers.

We’ve seen very little news from fisheries this week, though Tony Stockdale had a good evening visit to Shipton Lake, ending up with two good tench and six bream. At Oakworth, Carl Moralee enjoyed a bumper session, with 21 fish coming to his net, including 17 carp. Mike Tate fished our Aysgarth and Worton Bridge waters in midweek, but had only small fish. Better fish were in evidence, however, and in places the river was thick with fry, which bodes well for the future. Trout anglers should look out for heavy hatches of caddis on the Aire, where every rock seems to harbour dozens of cased caddis larvae.

A highlight last weekend was a working party on our Swale fishery at Topcliffe to repair and replace several old and broken-down stiles. This was very well supported by members, but special thanks are due to Daz Brewster for his professional joinery input over many hours in hot sunshine. On the Aire, Phil Bailey and Jon Grey took advantage of low water conditions to repair and create further current deflectors. Key objectives were to change the inflow to the pool below Eshton Beck to create a gutter in the middle of the river, and to add some pinch points which help clean the bed of the river of sediment in low water conditions.

A fourth but again unsuccessful attempt was made last weekend to catch and relocate the seal on the Swale at Topcliffe, which seems to have moved downstream from the weir pool to the BCAA section. Another attempt may well be made this weekend – though still to be confirmed – despite it being the opening of the river coarse fishing season. Our committee recognises that this is not an ideal situation but has taken the view that members would like to see the seal removed – even if fishing is disrupted a little – rather than let the seal predate fish populations still further. We will post updates on the BCAA website and Facebook once we know more details.

Our next match is on Saturday, 16 June at Lower Dunsforth, draw 8.30am, fishing 9.30am-3.30pm, with entry £15. Please let John Stark know on 07793-558227 if you’d like to fish this match. A further date for members’ diaries is a ranunculus transplanting work party on the Aire on Tuesday, June 26. If you can help, please contact Phil Bailey on 07811-286652.


After three long months, the coarse season will open on rivers tomorrow, and eager anglers will be greeted by low water levels. There have been big shoals of chub and barbel spotted on the River Swale at Thornton Bridge over recent weeks, while Maunby, Cowthorpe and Nun Monkton should also be good for a few early-season fish. The River Calder and Upper Aire are also well worth targeting for trout and grayling on stick float or fly.

Tickets are still available for the members' match at Cowthorpe on Sunday from Simon on 01274-571175. Beal will be closed tomorrow and Roecliffe on Sunday for outside bookings.

Result of Sunday's veterans' match at Raskelf Lake: 1 Bill Scott 45lb 11oz, 2 Ricky Malone 32lb 8oz, 3= John Stark, Pete Wilson 30lb 6oz, 5 Neil Pickles 27lb.

There have been yet more cases at Knotford of members leaving the gate open and not dipping nets, which has resulted in a number of yearbooks being taken and members facing a ban from the club after being invited in front of the committee. If anyone is in any doubt on how to do either of these things, then please ask a fellow member for advice or watch the videos, which have been posted on the club's website and social media pages. It is in everybody's interests to ensure that gates are closed on all waters.

Places on the junior match at Raskelf on Saturday, June 23 are still available through Simon on the number above. Entry is free and there are plenty of prizes to be won.


River coarse fishing begins tomorrow, but unless there is a dramatic change in the weather the dry conditions will mean that anglers will have to wait for a chance to get among the chub. The River Aire is very low at the moment following six weeks without any meaningful amounts of rain. Weed growth has rocketed and most lengths are unfishable for bait anglers.

Fly fishermen have fared better, and both the wet and dry fly have attracted plenty of small brown trout and the soon-to-be-in-season grayling. One angler landed 22 in the space of four hours' fishing. One bait angler, fishing on the top side of the Carleton Stone Bridge, managed to land a specimen brownie, estimated to weigh over 1800g. Unfortunately the fish had died after being returned to the water, possibly through poor handling, the higher water temperature or a combination of both. It was an unfortunate demise of a good Aire trout which could have lived for many more years with perhaps a little more care.

Coarse anglers have been enjoying some decent sport in Whinnygill Reservoir, with mainly smallish ide, roach and perch. A few good skimmers have also turned up in catches, along with the odd decent roach and hybrids. Carp are currently going through the spawning ritual and the return of the tench cannot be too far off.

Recent matches on the water have met with moderate success, with skimmers the biggest fish to be weighed in. Result of the second Tuesday evening match (only four weighed in): 1 Simon Chenier 540g, 2 John Leatt 500g, 3 Jason Aldis 480g, 4 Russell Heaton 10g. Result of Sunday's first Peter Hart Memorial match on the same water (only four competitors weighed in again): 1 Mark Bradley 1380g (including a good skimmer, roach and hybrid), 2 John Leatt 780g, 3 Jason Aldis 480g, 4 Russell Heaton 460g.

The next match will be the Summer League on Sunday on the coal-bunker length at West Marton, draw 7pm.


Results of Sunday's match at Coppice Pond: 1 A Greenwood 3lb12oz, 2 I.Ward 3lb 2oz, 3 A.Newman 1lb 8oz. Tomorrow the river season starts, and members are reminded that the top limit at Boston Spa is up to the wire fence below the bridge to Flint Mill. Members are not to cross this line.


Our next match is at Woodhouse Grange on Sunday, meet at venue 8am, fishing 9am-3pm, all meat baits banned at this venue.