High Court triumph for ‘waterway watchdogs’

Farnley fish farms manager Paul Clark with the second batch of rainbows for Kippax Park.
Farnley fish farms manager Paul Clark with the second batch of rainbows for Kippax Park.
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This week the Angling Trust, Fish Legal and WWF-UK (World Wildlife Federation) proved it was not afraid to take on the big boys by taking the Government to the high courts for failing to deliver its promises to protect vulnerable water courses from farms and agricultural pollution.

At the recent judicial review the High Court recognised the need for urgent action and ordered the use of water protection zones.

Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Angling Trust & Fish Legal, said: “This is a win for cherished species like the kingfisher, salmon and trout which are seriously threatened by this pollution. Salmon populations have declined by 40 per cent in the last 30 years, and agricultural pollution is one of the most significant causes of this.

“This sends a clear message to Government that they must stop dragging their feet and now take the necessary steps to improve the health of these precious rivers and wetlands.”

Like most anglers, I have done my fair share of floodwater fishing and know that pesticides, fertilizers and general field and farm run-off are all part of the decline in our sport. Let’s hope that the efforts of Mr Lloyd make a difference as the roach, dace, chub and barbel that never get a mention, would be as grateful as me.

Leeds & District, meanwhile, received good news this week regarding the recent KHV scare at its Moor Monkton commercial complex. Virology experts at the Environment Agency’s laboratory gave a verbal all-clear for the virus. A full report on the fish mortalities is expected soon with the fisheries’ management team at the pools expecting overstocking to be the overriding reason for the fish deaths.

With most river matches cancelled at the weekend, local commercials experienced good attendances with spare places on the up and running winter leagues being snapped up.

Kippax Park showed that stocking rainbow trout can improve both ticket sales and catches with its latest result. Venue regular, and now joint leader of the BSR league, Steve Raper, put over 76lb on the scales to win the latest match in horrendous conditions. Fishing down the track at seven metres with maggot, he put together over 35lb of rainbows before switching to his inside line for carp up to 7lb, more than doubling the weights needed to win before the trout were stocked.

Wharfedale’s Toms Pond also produced predominantly trout-based catches with winner Ross Pickles, of Silsden, fishing pole and pellet at three metres for a brilliant all-spottie catch of 74lb from Pond 2.

Neil Rymer, of Kippax, headed a string of other big weights to take second place, fishing pole and maggot at six metres with a mixed catch of trout and carp to over 3lb for a total of 67-8.

The JT Rogers-sponsored league at Moor Monkton produced good weights without the benefits of trout.

Stuart Stott took top spot with a more conventional catch of carp taken on pole and pellet at 14 metres for 61-2, beating Ollie Hewitt with a similar catch weighing 59-14.

Never giving up and a will to win came to the front on the second day of the prestigious Riverfest final held on Hereford’s river Wye last week.

Tom Lane, grandson of river legend Billy Lane, showed a touch of family class on a river almost 10 feet above normal level.

Feeder-fished maggot, lobworm, then pellet accounted for nine barbel for 43lb, moving him from a first-day 62nd place to an overall winner and £12,000 richer.

Wakefield’s Bob Brown was the best of our local anglers, taking sixth place and a cheque for £1,000 with a two-day total of 30-12.