Angling: Ouse stocking is an EA ‘thank you’ to local clubs

Dave 'Rushy' Rushton with a pristine Nidd barbel that had possibly not been caught before.
Dave 'Rushy' Rushton with a pristine Nidd barbel that had possibly not been caught before.
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I remember last season applauding the efforts of the diehard river anglers of Leeds and Boston Spa, who, through some horrible winter conditions, helped the Environment Agency catch and collect valuable grayling brood stock from the upper Ure at Middleham and later from Boston’s prolific Wharfe fishery.

The clubs’ efforts were rewarded quickly as thousands of the adult grayling fingerlings were released back into the rivers only months after hatching – a massive boost for both rivers.

The willingness, of the clubs and its anglers, to help the Agency’s fish-rearing facility at Calverton has put our area at the top of their ‘thank you’ list with an unexpected gift stocking of over a thousand small chub and barbel, released at Aldwark Bridge on the Ure just a few months ago.

In the past few days another 600 superb looking chub in the four-to-six-ounce bracket have been released on the Ouse at Linton, with whispers of more junior barbel heading for the Ouse Nidd confluence at Moor Monkton.

It’s a case of ‘watch this space’. Let’s hope the EA fish are as successful as the barbel stocked by Leeds at Linton over the past few years are proving to be. Only a few seasons ago summer midweek matches on the Ouse would have given anglers the chance to finish a thick book without getting bothered with bites. How things have changed.

Bill Collier this week followed the trend of the recent winners claiming top spot at Linton with a single big barbel and a decent skimmer for 12-8. Bream secured the other places and entries are increasing weekly.

Further downstream, it was barbel again with the Listerhills contest at Newton on Ouse won by Eddie Harrison with seven fish for 36lb, his best going just under 8lb. All of his barbel were taken on a medium caster feeder fished close-in under heavy caster and hemp loose feed.

Changing rivers, but not species, the nearby Nidd is in its own way paying back the actions of another group of Leeds members, who, through the closed season cleared pegs and footpaths to open up Hammerton’s railway length. A forgotten jewel is back firmly on the map.

Visiting anglers are now much more easily able to reach famous and flier pegs, such as the kissing gates, which had been all but lost for years.

Good catch reports are coming through with barbel from most pegs that have ‘the look’. Fortunately for first timers this stunning section of river has a high proportion of pegs that look capable of producing barbel, and they will oblige if a few simple rules are followed.

Most obvious first: Travel light but make sure tackle is balanced and strong enough for powerful fish in snaggy pegs. Keep quiet. Backside cover and vegetation has been left intentionally long, so don’t cut, crash or dig match size openings.

Be patient! I know roving has been successful for some good lads over the past months but on my visits letting the peg settle and staying that bit longer has proved best.

A good peg can be ruined with careless feeding. Take care to get it right. Loose feed, bait droppers, swimfeeders, straight lead or bomb and a bag will all have their day on the Nidd. Baits are simple with the tried and tested maggot caster/hemp, pellet/boilie, or meat and lobby covering all conditions.

Plans are in place for on-bank car parking – another step toward making this section the best on the river.