Angling: Something fishy going on along the River Ure

I’ve heard of losing your keys or the odd £10 note, but a phone call about a lost river was definitely a first for me.

Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 6:00 am
Ripon regulars Chris Smith and Dave Robson searching for the lost River Ure.

Answering the call from Ripon Piscatorials official and good old pal, Brian Sowerby, had me intrigued within seconds, and a meeting arranged for him to show me I wasn’t hearing things.

Arriving at the Dales Field and Bull Hole area of the exclusive Norton Conyers fishery on the upper River Ure, my first words of “wow” – with a few sweary ones thrown in for good measure – couldn’t do my first impression justice.

Normally fast, gin-clear water, running over clean gravel beds would greet anglers as they approached quietly, hoping for the sight of a summer barbel, chub or even a salmon. For me, I got a muddy Environment Agency van, two high-viz-clad fishery officers and a pair of well-known Yorkshire matchmen looking as though they had lost some thing.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Though it sounds like a Christmas Cracker, the stunning River Ure had vanished, leaving the old riverbed exposed for the first time and just the odd, small pool of water remaining with the occasional, massive chub hoping to be rescued before the indignity of becoming lunch for the area’s increasing otter population.

It didn’t take long for things to fall into place, as a walk upstream in the dry river bed soon found a perfectly formed natural miracle or disaster – in the form of a brand-new river, breaking through, or over and under, the gypsum-based terrain to take the shortest route to the sea.

Business implications could be massive as some fishery owners will lose miles of once-prime riverbank and others, through left and right-bank boundary changes, could easily see an increase in angling potential.

I can see local land agents, solicitors and insurance companies having a busy new year. Though the Conyers fishery has lost most bank space, the Ripon club downstream of the breakthrough could be impacted most, with the freshly dislodged upstream beds of soil, silt, sand and gravel all looking for a new resting place.

Though the incident is probably a once-in-five life times event, nature has a brilliant way of bouncing back and making us wonder what all the fuss is about. As I walked the banks, it looked to me as though it had already made a start in its recovery, with the old river course now creating one of the longest oxbow waters in the UK.

It could become the best of its kind the area has ever seen and the old days of huge dace shoals above North Bridge could be again just around the corner.

A few miles downstream, both the Ouse and Ure were used for the latest Bob Co Yorkshire Winter League around Hunters Lodge and, though not affected by dislodged sediment, the levels were high and grim catches followed.

Mirfield angler Ricky Bonas, drawn on the rarely used Widdington section, made the most of his draw to win with a single bream and a handful of small roach for a total of 5-09.

Results

Bobco Tackle, Yorkshire Winter League, Linton & Hunters: 1, Ricky Bonas 5-09; 2, Stan Haigh 5-00; 3, Steve Newns 3-11; 4, Andy Hampson 3-06; 5, Andy Bradley 3-02; 6, Simon Heaton 3-01.

Bobco Tackle, Yorkshire Winter League, Linton & Hunters: 1, Dennis White 5-14; 2, Andy Miller 4-05; 3, Tony Hewson 3-03; 4, Steve Lowther 2-14; 5, Phil Austin 2-05. Overall Teams League: Tackle 2U 7 pts; Anglers World Holidays 10 pts; Mirfield/Leeds 15pts.

Kippax Park Fishery, Saturday Open, Osprey: 1, Steve Pearson 41-01; 2, Adrian Broomhead 37-12; 3, Paul Kidd 33-05.

Kippax Park Fishery, Saturday Open, Lapwing: 1, Steve Pearson 103-12; 2, Dave Page 1-04.

Kippax Park Fishery, Saturday Open, Osprey: 1, Tony Hewson 46-15; 2, John Brogden 17-15; 3, Adrian Broomhead 10-06.

Kippax Park Fishery, Christmas Eve Open, Osprey: 1, John Brogden 48-12; 2, Geoff Wilmore 43-10; 3, Andy Gallant 12-14.

Moor Monkton Pools, Sunday Winter League, All Pools: 1, Lee Smith 146-03; 2, Dave Wright 99-15; 3, Ollie Hewitt 90-13; 4, Mark Wade 67-13.

Moor Monkton Pools, Wednesday Rover, All Pools: 1, Lee Smith 83-02; 2, Mick Green 43-02; 3, Adrian Bolton 42-04 ; 4, Mark Wade 27-12.

Moor Monkton Pools, Sunday Winter League, All Pools: 1, Roy Worsnop 46-01; 2, Chris Watson 24-00; 3, Stan Jeffreys 23-09; 4, Mark Wade 22-15.

Moor Monkton Pools, Wednesday Rover, All Pools: 1, Steff Armitage 5-05; 2, Graham Thooey 4-09; 3, Mark Wade 4-07.

Moor Monkton Pools, Sunday Winter League, All Pools: 1, Alex Warren 107-12; 2, Chris Watson 99-02; 3, Ben Fisk 98-08; 4, Martin Dodsworth 57-09.

Moor Monkton Pools, Bank Holiday Rover, All Pools: 1, Dave Wright 87-02; 2, Graham Thooey 49-07; 3, Roy Worsnop 42-04; 4, Martin Dodsworth 34-12; 5, Mark Wade 31-12; 6, Stan Jeffreys 25-14.

Viking Saturday Open (Hawk): 1, M Jukes 41-06; 2, M Firth 28-13; 3, J Blythe 23-04; 4, R Green 22-14.

Angel Lakes Open Lookout Saturday: 1, John Dryden 102-06; 2, Dave Hudson 90-15; 3, John Foster 86-00; best silver net Ethan Bradley 23-15.

Match Diary

Saturday

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.

Kippax Park: Winter Series, Osprey Lake only, contact Stan 0796700046.

Sunday

York & District: open matches, River Ouse, contact Mick Potter 07890870551.

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: 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, draw car park 5pm, pools £11 contact Roger 01904 737279.