THE WEATHER has been mixed over the last couple of weeks, with snow and ice followed by a spell of milder weather. The forecast for the weekend predicts fog, but only a 30 per cent chance of rain, so there may be a few anglers who have escaped from Christmas shopping commitments, out on the banks.

As usual at this time of year, we have seen only occasional reports from anglers. However, Luke Gent was delighted by a fine 21lb pike, which he caught during a night session at our Shipton Lake (see picture).

Steve Brown landed some good-sized chub at Skirbeck on the River Ribble (see picture), using ledgered bread. At Gargrave, Peter Bell dared to fish in the snow and – battling leaky waders, but seeing lots of snipe and a dipper – was rewarded by a 15-inch grayling, taken on a green nymph loosely based on an Oliver Edwards pattern. Unfortunately, he also saw four fish-eating cormorants and a male gooseander, which have been logged on the Angling Trust’s Cormorant Watch website at

2018 yearbooks are on sale at our agents in Bradford, Eccleshill, Keighley, Otley, York, Leeds and Halifax. They can also be purchased though our online shop via the link on the front page of our website at

Members should note that despite work on the Skir Beck near Settle, parking for members fishing our stretch on the Ribble is unaffected.

Last week the committee also formally lifted the keepnet ban, which was introduced last May to manage risk of transfer of the lethal KHV virus to our fisheries.

The first match of the 2018 season will be on January 6 at Salmon Hall on the River Swale. To book a place, and for information, please call Rodney Brooksbank on 0787-5275749.

Finally, the committee send its best wishes for a happy Christmas to all past, present and future members, with hopes they see tight lines during 2018.


Membership for next year is now available from the club website, any of our tackle shop agents or from Simon Freer on 07714-662783. Senior membership costs £50, while ladies, OAPs and intermediates (age 17-19) cost £30 and juniors (under-17) just £5. This gives access to more than 70 waters, with no day-ticket fees to pay. New members are more than welcome.

Night-permit holders from 2017 have until a week on Sunday to renew, while anybody new wanting a night permit can now join the waiting list for any that remain. Full details are in the yearbook.

As passed at this year's annual meeting, there is now a third rod permit which allows members to fish with up to three rods at Knotford and Kirklees Lagoon all year round. A second rod permit isn't required if you are in possession of a third-rod permit.

Still waters have been frozen for the last couple of weeks but may be defrosted by the weekend. The River Swale at Topcliffe has been producing good nets of roach on float and maggot.


With the cold weather continuing into a second week, Skipton Winter League competitors reluctantly decided to abandon the last two matches (the postponed final league match and the Christmas Cheer) and agree that the league placings after the match on Sunday, November 26 would decide the 2017 winners in all the various competitions.

Results – Individuals: 1 Dave Fenn 27pts, 2 Bob Fenn 36, 3 Rob Thornton 49. Pairs: 1 Dave & Bob Fenn 14, 2 Bill Davenport & Keith Brown 22, 3 Russell Heaton & Jason Aldis 23. Individual Knockout winner: Brett Young, runner-up Bill Davenport. Pairs Knockout winners: Bill Davenport & Keith Brown, runners-up, Simon Chenier & Graeme Waterfall.

Weather permitting, it is hoped to organise a few matches in the New Year for Winter League competitors and their friends. No venues have yet been decided, so watch this space.

With the canal being mainly icebound, most of the fishing available lately has been on the River Aire, and even here, some high-water levels have been experienced thanks to rain and melting snow. Few anglers have been fishing the river but those that have wet a line have caught the occasional grayling up to around 450g. Brown trout are still more or less absent but should begin to increase in number now that spawning has been completed.

Plenty of anglers have shown an interest in fishing for pike on the Aire but the weather has been against them lately, especially during flood-water conditions. The best length for pike at the moment is from Carleton Stone Bridge downstream to the bottom limit or even lower for Bradford City AA members. This stretch contains a good variety of sizes from roughly 1.5kg to over 7.5kg. The Skipton AA record fish came from just below the Snaygill railway bridge and weighed 10.2 kg. It was caught on a sprat in 2005 by Ryan Preston of Hellifield, beating a 9.81kg fish landed in 1988.


Result of last week's river match, which fished very well despite lots of cold water coming down: 1 Carl Chadwick 21lb 14oz (eight chub, a reward for five hours standing in freezing water), 2 Eric Wright (four chub, no weight given), 3 Pete Vickerman 3lb 4oz (one chub). The next open river match will be on Sunday, January 7.

The open pike match will take place next Thursday on the Shipley boats section of the canal (draw 8.45am-9am in the Hotel Ibis car park, fishing 10am-3pm). A large landing net and an unhooking mat is a definite requirement. Contact Lee (07496-445303) for further information and to book on.

Yearbooks for 2018 are available in the shops and must be purchased before fishing any of the club waters. There will be an open canal match tomorrow. Please contact Richard East (07815- 092966) to book on. Any outside match bookings must be made to Richard prior to fishing.