SPRING is definitely here, with the crocuses and daffs making attractive shows, while longer evenings and fine weather have made it an excellent first week of the trout season on Yorkshire Dales rivers. The River Aire was a little lower than ideal but very wadeable, though the Wharfe and the Ure enjoyed good levels as the previous week’s snowmelt made their way down the catchments. Despite some forecasting unsettled weather over the weekend, we wish tight lines to all anglers over the Easter period.

However, all fishermen should take care not to target coarse fish in rivers in what is now the close season. Environment Agency enforcement officers will be out in force patrolling waters this weekend in a crackdown on illegal angling, making sure that anglers are fishing in the right place with the right tackle and equipment, and with a valid licence. Officers will be supported by Angling Trust voluntary bailiffs in England on Operation Clampdown, keeping watch on local rivers and reporting suspicious activity to the EA and the police.

Unfortunately, we’ve heard little feedback from anglers this week. One of the few was Chris Stevenson, who reported: “My guest and I had a comparatively uneventful day fishing the Aire on opening day last Sunday. Although the weather was warm and the river at a good height, there was still snow on the hills and the water was still very cold. One or two fish rose to artificials presented in a small olive hatch towards the end of the day but none managed to come to hand.”

Fly anglers may also be interested in two guides to fishing BCAA waters on the River Aire at Gargrave and the Ure, which have been prepared by fly secretary Phil Bailey. Members may obtain e-copies from him – his contact details are in their yearbooks – or they can see copies on the relevant fishery pages at

Midnight tomorrow will be the last opportunity for members in 2017 to renew for 2018. After then, all anglers joining or re-joining BCAA will be asked to pay a £15 joining fee. Yearbooks can be purchased from agents, from membership secretary Terry Duncalf or via the online shop accessible from the club website.

Our Telegraph & Argus Trophy match was fished last weekend on Staveley small lake, John Stark’s first event as match secretary. Weather was overcast but mild, though hard fishing resulted in a number of DNWs (did not weighs), although there was plenty of banter. Result: 1 Sam Braithwaite 6lb 15oz, 2 John Stark 5lb, 3 Graham Brammer 1lb 9oz. The next match will be the JD Illingworth Trophy, again at Staveley Lakes, on Saturday, April 14. Please contact John on 07793-558227 with enquiries and/or entries.


An increase in day-time temperatures over the weekend led to improved catches of carp and silver fish for the fourth and final round of the Raskelf Winter Series. Result: 1 Bill Scott 44lb 5oz (F1 carp consistently caught on pole and maggot), 2 Bob Newby 26lb 1oz (feeder-caught F1 carp), 3 Matt Foster 24lb 12oz (11 F1s on pole and worm), 4 James Vickerman 20lb (mixed net of carp and ide). Overall standings: 1 Bill Scott 108pts (wins Ronald Hipwell Memorial Trophy), 2 Stuart Tate 98, 3 Matt Foster 92.

Shelf Dam is producing good nets of roach, perch and skimmers on pole or waggler. Bream are also beginning to show at Knotford, with many fish in the 6-8lb bracket. A dye has been introduced to Knotford recently in a bid to reduce weed growth.


After another unsettled week of cool weather, the Yorkshire brown-trout season opened last Sunday in what can be described as the best weather for several weeks, with reasonably mild conditions, sunny spells and a light to moderate west wind. The water level was just about right on the River Aire but, surprisingly, very few anglers were seen in action either on opening day or the following day when conditions were equally as favourable. Those that wetted a line reported some sport on the worm or fly with fish up to around the 900g mark.

Anglers fishing the Aire should note that most clubs now operate on a catch-and-return basis as the removal of fish for the table is now prohibited. This rule has been in force since 2015 and is intended to turn the river into a wild brown trout water, with all stocking done by spawning. So far it seems to be working to the sportsman's advantage, with plenty of good-sized fish turning up each season, sometimes to well above the 2kg mark.

Reports from Embsay Reservoir seem to suggest that cold weather is keeping the fish down, with only the recently-introduced rainbow trout being landed. Prospects are sure to improve as the weather begins to warm up.

The water level at Whinnygill Reservoir is still a fair way down following the recent remedial work on the stone setts. This should not prove to be a disadvantage once the weather begins to improve, but at the moment reports suggest that coarse fish are slow to respond. One or two good brown trout have been caught before the recent cold spells, including one claimed to be a potential record-breaker.

Prospects over Easter appear rather unsettled, with spells of rain and temperatures below the average for this time of year.


The odd trout has been caught to worm baits on the River Aire in Bingley, but members are reminded that the club does prefer a catch-and-release policy for trout. Small roach and skimmer bream are being caught on the canal at Crossflatts. The next bank clean on the River Aire is a week tomorrow at Rye Loaf Meadow. Meet at the Rugby Club at Wagon Lane (10am).


Our first match of the season is at Swanland Fisheries on Sunday, April 15, meet at venue 8am, fishing 9am-3pm. Members must be in possession of a 2018 licence.