Angling: Boycott opens Aire weir turbine

Barn Energy CEO Mark Simon and former Yorkshire and England cricketer Geoff Boycott by the Aire's Brotherton weir at Knottingley.
Barn Energy CEO Mark Simon and former Yorkshire and England cricketer Geoff Boycott by the Aire's Brotherton weir at Knottingley.
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It felt like a “breath of fresh Aire” last week as the river’s rejuvenation took a massive leap forward with the completion of the latest, largest and probably last hydroelectric power station in the country.

The plant, situated on the left bank of the Aire’s Brotherton weir at Knottingley and just a half-mile below the Ferrybridge cooling towers, will provide renewable power to the nearby flour mill and local electricity grid.

Visiting the site on opening day with Leeds & District’s retired president, Stan Jeffreys, we were both surprised at the time given and knowledgeable speech made by Barn Energy’s chief executive Mark Simon regarding environmental improvements and, in particular, angling and fish welfare.

The official opening and starting up of the dual Kaplan turbines was given to Yorkshire cricketing legend Geoffrey Boycott, who, as expected, pulled no punches in showing his concerns and dislike of nuclear power and fracking, though he admitted to being a big fan of the clean energy provided by water power. His 15 minutes with the microphone made a good trip even better.

From an angler’s point of view we couldn’t find any negatives. The huge fish passes and safety screens installed will undoubtedly help salmon reach spawning areas in the upper reaches, and other migratory species such as roach, dace and barbel will find the Larinier system a breeze compared to the impassable man-made weirs. A state of the art eel and lamprey sluice has been installed which otters and other fish-eating predators will benefit from!

It is over four years since I last visited the river and lakes at Knottingley, and, to be honest, at that time the place was an eyesore with bike frames, old tyres and the usual beer and lager cans

Barn Energy’s clean-up and landscaping has made the venue a better place for everyone. Mr Boycotts parting words were if it’s good for the environment, good for wildlife and even better for fishing then “why aren’t we building more?”. It makes sense, and no one disagreed.

The season’s first frosts, meanwhile, put a dampener on pleasure anglers’ hopes of a late-season barbel, but Meanwood’s Tony Hewson didn’t waste his practice day at Hunters Lodge, taking a quality catch of roach to scaled-down feeder tactics.

And, after seeing good numbers of big fish priming, he finished his session with three fat chub in just 30 minutes.

His practice paid off the next day, competing at the same venue and targeting roach to long-rod tactics. His catch of 11-14 put him just ounces ahead of Leeds star Jim Jordan to win the latest Ouse/Ure event.

Kippax Park’s Mark Turner Winter Opens got off to a record-breaking start last week.

Leeds’ John Brogden set a new Osprey benchmark with a brilliant cold-water carp-catch of 175-12.

The venue match report said of his performance in the five-hour event: “John struggled for the first 15 seconds then caught a fish-a-cast for the rest of the day – easy.”

Results

Riverfest - Hunters & Linton: 1, Pete Hyde Airborough 5-09; 2, Dan Ridley Otley 4-04; 3, Bob Brown Browning Ossett 4-03; 4, Jon Obank West Riding 4-02; 5, Tom Pringle Wigston 3-15. Qualifiers A Zone - B Brown; B Zone - P Hyde; C Zone - S Tate.

Ouse Championships Popp&York Below: 1, S Wilson 14-08; 2, A Hampson/ S Aldridge 9-08; 4, T Harrison 8-15; 5, P Austin 7-13.

Mirfield AC Aire & Calder Heck: 1, P Bennett 8-07; 2, D Armitage 7-04; 3, P Clark/ G Poucher 6-09; 5, K Hartley 6-01.

Altofts Ings - Woodnook Open Calder: 1, T Earnshaw 20-03; 2, P Bennett 14-15; 3, D White 12-08; 4, D Armitage 12-00; G Brown 11-06.

Mark Turner Open KP Osprey: 1, J Brogden 175-10 (new lake record); 2, K Worth 75-04; 3, B Rymer 65-12.

Leeds & District Kippax Park Osprey: 1, B Rymer 86-12; 2, A Broomhead 64-04; 3, J Gee 44-04.

Moor Monkton Pools Rover: 1, S Jeffreys 53-07; 2, L Smith 39-04; 3, D Wilson 38-08; 4 L Myers 27-14.

Moor Monkton Pools All Lakes: 1, J Roper 93-02; 2, S Jeffreys 68-05; 3, S Mazza 54-10; 4, S Brown 48-05.

The Oaks Sycamore: 1, C Kendall 181-00; 2, N Marley 124-01; 3, C Routledge 119-05; 4, B Pool 105-08.

Oaks at Sessay A-B-S: 1, P Sellars 351-00; 2, C Hall 334-13; 3, L Helliwell 308 -14; 4, T Watson 294-05.

Forest Lane Open Furlong: 1, M Addinghall 53-05; 2, C Evans 33-12; 3, D Jackson 28-04;

Viking Saturday Open (Hawk): 1, R Scott 87-04; 2, D Sawyer 71-15; 3, G Watson 58-13; 4, J Danby 52-09.

Fryston Winter League, stage 2 (Viking Fox): 1, I Roebuck 45-08; 2, G Gill 40-07; 3, G Vause 34-02; 4, R Copley 33-08.

Rodley Nomads (Viking Hawk): 1, D Lawson 62; 2, M Bell 51; 3, I Hardisty 30.

Match Diary

Saturday

Viking: Saturday Open, Hawk Pond, 30 pegs, £16, contact 01405 785206.

Kippax Park: Saturday Open, Lapwing or Osprey, contact 07967000746.

Poppleton: Saturday Open, pools £15, draw cafe 10am, contact Roger 01904737279.

Birkwood Farm Fisheries: Emily’s or Oscar’s, draw 8.30am, contact 01924 892251.

Woodlands: 72 pegs, tickets £18, contact 01845 520110.

Oaks: at Sessay, 50 pegs, tickets £17, contact 01845 501321.

Langwith Lakes: 60 pegs, tickets £16, contact 01904 431874.

Moorfields Farm: 54 pegs, tickets £16, contact 07710817150.

Fleets Dam: 50 pegs, tickets £15, contact 01226 292579.

Birkwood Farm: 60 pegs, tickets £16, contact 01132 80609.

Tollerton Ponds: open match all ages, (Kingfisher 20 pegs, Coot 18 pegs, Heron 32 pegs), contact 01347 838115.

Anglers World Winter Series: River Ouse/Ure, contact Stan Haigh 07542700743 or Dave Miles 07867680479.

Sunday

Leeds & Liverpool: Kirkstall, contact Roger Movley 01132 772215.

Listerhills: Leeds & Liverpool Canal, contact Eddie Harrison 07518721051.

Woodlands: 72 pegs, tickets £18, contact 01845 520110.

Oaks at Sessay: 50 pegs, tickets £17, contact 01845 501321.

Langwith Lakes: 60 pegs, tickets £16, contact 01904 431874.

Oak Tree Leisure: 50 pegs, tickets £15, contact 01347 810686.

Poppleton: Sunday open, 50 pegs, draw 11am Cafe, contact 07425 146677.

Monday

Woodlands: over-50s, 30 pegs, tickets £15, contact 01845 520110.

Langwith Lakes: over-60s, 30 pegs, tickets £10, contact 01904 431874.

Tollerton Ponds: over-50s, tickets £16, contact 01347 838115.

Tuesday

Kippax Park: over-50s, draw 10am, tickets £10, contact 07967000746.

Wednesday

Leeds & District: Moor Monkton Pools, draw 10am, contact 07967000746.

Birkwood Farm Fisheries: Emily’s or Oscar’s, draw 8.30am, contact 01924 892251.

Woodlands: 72 pegs, tickets £18, contact 01845 520110.

Fleets Dam: 50 pegs, tickets £15, contact 01226 292579.

Tollerton Ponds: open match, all ages, contact 01347 838115.

Thursday

Poppleton Lakes: Thursday evening, draw car park 5pm, pools £11, contact Roger 01904 737279.

Barlby's John Cyrowski with the nine pound barbel he nearly caught twice.

Angling: Favourites feeling the squeeze as veterans come to the fore