Angling: Hydro’s the ‘weir’ to go for anglers and the fish

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After spending a few evenings reading the very basics of low-head hydro power, I thought it best to leave the kilowatt questions to the experts and spend my time at the opening of Barn Energies Kirkthorpe Hydropower Plant on the River Calder looking at things from an angler’s, or at least a fish’s eye, point of view.

I joined one of the group tours of the complex, and afterwards had a private one-on-one with chief executive Mark Simon, who took time to give me an in-depth look at the site’s migratory fish passes; I have to say I was impressed with everything I saw.

Salmon could be leaping back into action in rivers around Leeds and Wakefield thanks to the introduction of hydro power.

Salmon could be leaping back into action in rivers around Leeds and Wakefield thanks to the introduction of hydro power.

With a drop of over four metres, the weir, just east of Wakefield, is the highest in Yorkshire and has been an impassable obstacle for nearly 200 years.

Not any more; the new 3.8m wide Larinier baffled fish pass, with built-in resting areas should provide the passage needed for all migratory fish attempting to reach upstream spawning areas for the first time. A separate eel and lamprey pass has also been installed to aid upstream progress for these endangered and protected species. Downstream inlet protection comes from a custom-designed screen weighing in at over 33 tonnes.

As an angler looking in, it’s a win, win situation for the fish and it’s about time these ancient obstacles were made passable.

It’s just a shame they had to wait for private companies to pay for it. A quick search reveals four local fish passes to be commissioned in 2017: Kirkthorpe on the Calder, Barn Energies’ other project on the Aire below Ferrybridge, and two in Leeds City Centre as part of the flood-defence programme at Crown Point and Knostropp.

The works took over a century to start and two or three years to build, but I bet at the first sign of a leaping salmon in Hunslet it will take only two minutes for us all to hear about it.

Now into the first throes of the ridiculous coarse fish closed season on rivers, and days into the new trout season, a change to rules by Leeds & District might just catch a few anglers out on a number of Yorkshire river venues and should be explained.

Environment Agency rules stating that trout can be fished using worm has, in the past few years, been the reason for the society’s highest number of complaints as anglers bend the rules, claiming to be fishing for trout but actually targeting other out-of-season species. There’s no other way to say it, but the anglers that feeder fish or ledger weir pools and cast under willows on rivers such as the Swale or Nidd using lobworms claiming that they are fishing for trout, are cheats, using a loophole to target barbel, chub or anything else that swims along.

This year a number of the big associations allow worm on only designated trout fisheries, such as Ramsgill on the Nidd and selected venues on the Wharfe both above and below Poole.

All other rivers, including Topcliffe and Asenby on the Lower Swale, can now only be fished during this period with traditional fly or artficial lures.

At least if the angler catches a trout-season barbel on a midge, nymph or buzzer he can claim to be truly unlucky.

Results

Bradford No 1, Cowthorpe, River Nidd: 1, J Vickerman 14-11; 2, A Bradley 13-12; 3, F Prudham 13-00; 4, I Bradley 10-10; 5, R Pickles 9-12.

York & District, River Ouse, Fulford: 1, T Dalton, Selby 19-12; 2, M Dalton, Selby 18-13; 3, T Layfield, York 18-12.

Poppleton Lakes Horseshoe: 1, T Bainbridge 130-04; 2, G Shephardson 69-04; 3, G Peake 63-12; 4, D Pollitt 51-08.

Poppleton Lakes, Saturday Open, Horseshoe: 1, Gavin Peake 139-12; 2, Dave Rollinson 95-10; 3, Stuart Brown 65-10; 4, Wayne Barker 63-00.

Wetherby AC, Poppleton Lakes, Railway: 1, Kevin Bell 74-06; 2, Tony Koz 72-04; 3, Ollie Murs 56-08.

Kippax Park, Lapwing, Wednesday: 1, Paul Carter 102-03; 2, John Clark 62-04; 3, Neil Rymer 48-05.

Kippax Park, Lapwing, Saturday: 1, Eddie Story 67-04; 2, Jonny Wake 46-07; 3, Jason Humphries 43-07.

Kippax Park, Lapwing, Tuesday: 1, Paul Carter 90-00; 2, Eddie Story 60-14; 3, Neil Rymer 53-07.

Kippax Park, Osprey, Open Match: 1, Tony Hewson 66-10; 2, Elliot Freer 62-15; 3, Paul Cromie 43-06; 4, Mark Rockingham 42-03.

Moor Monkton Pools: 1, James Roper 91-02; 2, Eric Boldison 86-010; 3, Steve Mazza 67-08.

Moor Monkton Pools, JT Rodgers Spring Series: 1, Steve Power 43-13; 2, Gavin Peake 38-00; 3, Lee Smith 36-09; 4, Martin Dodsworth/Craig Coombs 33-01.

Moor Monkton Pools: 1, James Roper 69-06 ; 2, Lee Myers 61-09; 3, Mick Green/Steve Mazza 50-12.

Listerhills AA, Moor Monkton Front Pool: 1, J Harrison 36-12; 2, E Harrison 19-15; 3, D Stephenson 12-12.

JT Rodgers, Brafferton: 1, D Ward 1198-14; 2, A Jackson 108-14; 3, R Richardson 93-00.

JT Rodgers, Brafferton, Round 19: 1, A Conboy 165-10; 2, A Jackson 129-07; 3, T Biggins 129-04.

Park Piscatorials, Fletchers Pond: 1, A Roze 31-00; 2, P Broadley 25-11; 3, C Broadley 21-15.

Colton Sports AC, Poppleton, Horseshoe: 1, C Remmer 62-00; 2, J Murray 54-01; 3, K Gale 40-15; 4 K Foster 35-00.

Viking Saturday Open (Deer): 1, R Scott 47-13; 2, T Bullas 41-13; 3, G Newsholme 36-10.

Viking Saturday Open (Hawk,March 19): 1, D Sawyer 62-01; 2, J Pell 53-13; 3, D Playford 51-14.

Marshlands AC (Viking Hawk): 1, M Lumley 104-11; 2, D Lumley 83-09; 3, S Elcock 49-08.

Swinefleet AC (Viking Deer): 1, M Harris 61-00; 2, J Holt 53-13; 3, S Walton 31-00.

Fryston AC Winter League (Viking Fox): 1, G Gill 53-05; 2, P Morris 50-10; 3, R Scott 49-03.

Results of Fryston AC Winter League: 1, G Gill 109 pts; 2, S Varley 98pts; 3, S Lupton 95pts.

Match Diary

Saturday

Anglers World Saturday Series: Hunters/Linton, January 7 to season end, contact Stan Haigh 07542700743.

Kippax Park: Winter League November 5 through to March, £10 entry, £20 pools, 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.

Viking, Hawk Pond: 30 pegs, tickets £16, contact 01405 860764.

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

Sunday

Leeds DASA: Moor Monkton Pools Winter League, November 13 through to March, £10 entry, pools £20, contact 07967000746.

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-50,: tickets £16, contact 01347 838115.

Tuesday

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

Wednesday

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

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