Bailiff report for Gargrave/Inghey – May 2022

We are keen to encourage discussion about the fishing on our waters, this could be talk about good sessions you have had plus the bad ones, unusual or humorous things you have seen while fishing. But particularly we would like to see information about how to fish our waters, so to kick off Peter Bell gives his bailiff report for Gargrave/Inghey – May 2022. He  talks about what’s going on on the river and what patterns are catching, we hope to follow this in coming weeks with reports from our other bailiffs………big trout in landing net

As some members may know, I live by the River Aire in Gargrave. It has been suggested that as a BCAA bailiff, I write an occasional piece on the river at Gargrave. So here goes, for May.

The first part of the 2022 trout season has been dominated by low water levels. This has been the case for several seasons now, and it doesn’t seem to help the trout fishing. There were hatches of Large Dark Olives, but my experience was that the trout were hard to find and I mainly caught out of season grayling. Now that the weather is warming up, fly hatches are good, and the trout fishing can be very good. Today there has been a good Mayfly hatch, with trout taking them. As you would expect, the Mayflies are bringing up some large fish. There is a bit of rain forecast so the fishing should continue to be good. I usually use a Grey Wulff, but did succeed yesterday with a rough copy of the Mayfly pattern Phil Bailey posted on our BCAA Fly Section Facebook page on 15th May – sorry, I don’t think he gave it a name.

Mayfly dry fly pattern
Phils mayfly pattern

There are currently two civil engineering projects affecting the river at Gargrave. Following the collapse of the weir in February, the sewage pipe previously embedded in the river has been exposed and undermined. It is vulnerable and could fracture, potentially disastrous for the ecology of the river.  As a result, Yorkshire Water are replacing the pipe. Currently they have constructed a temporary bridge over which sewage will be pumped, enabling the pipe in the river to be cleaned and sealed.

At some point it’s planned to remove it completely. Yorkshire Water plan to install a new pipe under the river somewhere as yet undecided, but not far away. If any member sees any discolouration or pollution in the river as a result of the work being carried out please report it immediately to the Environment Agency (Incident Hotline Telephone: 0800 80 70 60). I keep a close eye on the river but obviously am not here all the time.

Undermined sewage pipe in river
Exposed sewer pipe – note water excavating beneath

The broken weir is a mess. It has a large gap in the centre with huge chunks of broken concrete all around. It will not be rebuilt. When the work on the sewage pipe is complete, some sort of restoration should take place but I don’t expect that will happen this year.

collapsed weir
The weir suffered major collapse

The effect of this on our fishing is minimal. For anglers planning a trip, the main inconvenience might be the changes to the EA river level as shown online. The measuring gauge was situated immediately above the weir, but has been moved upstream, above the road bridge. The levels given bear no comparison to what they were previously. The current level is -0.86m. This is low, but not too low to fish.

After the warm and damp weather we’ve just had, the river is looking good, the surrounding farmland green and lush. It’s all very inviting. Most of the usual birdlife is around, not as many curlews these days and swallows are almost a rarity, but there are sand martins swooping over the water, common sandpipers with their loud alarm call, lapwings and oystercatchers to name a few.

If you do fish, don’t forget to complete a catch return, this helps the club monitor the state of our river, and I hope that you won’t mind me reminding you to leave any gates as you found them.