Angling: Ice bit of work does the trick for angling

The thaw is beginning to take effect with some of the region's stillwaters able, after over a month's break, to stage contests.

Kippax Park was a prime example for a working party spent last Friday breaking the thick ice and then clearing it out and depositing it on the bank side to melt.

They reckon that over three tons of ice was cleared on the day and this enabled the first of the Winter Crown Leisure Series to take place, a contest originally scheduled to start in mid-December.

There was no evidence of fish mortalities at Kippax Park and all the competitors caught fish, which was somewhat surprising for the water temperatures were still very low.

Shaun Rodgers used waggler tactics with maggot on bait to win with an all-carp catch of 36-8.

In contrast, second-placed Dave Pollitt's catch of 23-8 comprised of all trout with maggot again the successful bait.

Catches improved the following day at the same venue in the Allerton Bywater fixture when Neil Rymer won with 42-0 of carp, again on maggot.

A few other local fisheries also re-opened at the weekend and Keighley's Calum Evans won the Langwith Lakes event with 65-8 of carp while weights of 28-8 and 27-15 won the weekend contests at the Oaks fishery in North Yorkshire.

The rivers, and in particular the Ouse, were in poor form and were at times carrying 10 feet of highly-coloured flood water.

But the anglers were still keen and Geoff Keech, from Yarm, won the second round of the Riverside Financial Services event at Widdington with a catch of small bream and roach totalling 6-5.

I have contacted quite a few fishery owners about the possibility of fish deaths, but, understandably, they are reluctant to commit themselves and have been very cagey with their answers.

I did hear a rumour that the York Club, owners of the Laybourne Lakes complex at Hessay, had suffered fish losses on all three of the lakes, but when I spoke to one of their officials this week he soon put me in the picture.

The York Club bought this site some years ago with funds received from the sale of their City Arms headquarters which occupied a prime site in the centre of York.

When they first purchased this site it already had one lake which was very shallow, only a couple of feet deep.

They then constructed two more lakes which are much deeper and I was assured that the only problem is on the original lake for it is surrounded by trees and bushes and prior to the freeze it had been covered in leaves.

These soon sank and now have started to decompose and the resulting gases will not have been able to escape due to the covering of ice.

the leaves will have de-oxygenated the water, which, in turn, will have badly affected the fish as the York people are anticipating fish losses on this lake.

But apparently the other two lakes are in fine condition with no sign of any dead fish.

I said last week that with reports of many fish deaths all over the

country following the freeze fish farms would be unable to cope with the demand for new stocks.

I spoke to three farmers this week and they all told the same tale, that their order books are now full and they are unable to take any new orders.

In fact, one supplier I tried to contact has just that message on his answering machine. Sorry, try again in three months.