2022 Trout season – a bailiffs view.

big trout
Added this as it’s always good to have a fish picture in a fishing blog!

With the persistent hot weather and low water levels the past season has been quite challenging for some. Our bailiff at Gargrave lives right on the river there, he also fishes other association waters, so he is in a good position to assess how the season panned out. Here is his report…….

The work to replace the exposed sewage pipe progresses at a snail’s pace. The good news is that the vulnerable pipe has now been removed and no longer presents a danger to the river.  The work to replace the new sewer could start soon, Yorkshire Water have now received the go ahead from the EA but there is as yet no start date.


River aire at Gargrave
The river above the broken weir at Gargrave. You can just seen the temporary sewer pipe bridging the river in the distance.

Broken weir at Gargrave
The broken weir, it will be interesting to see what further break up the winter floods will bring.


himilayan balsam flowers

The Fly Committee have been busy during the summer on the river pulling up Himalayan Balsam. It’s an invasive species and although prevalent all along the Aire I think we have made significant inroads and largely have in under control on the upper river. This cannot be said a little lower down, for example on the opposite bank to our Niffany beat.

And what about the fishing? You won’t need me to tell you that conditions have, by and large, been difficult. The season has been badly affected by low water and high temperatures. We closed the river during the first heatwave, the water temperature was 22’c at times, and took some time to drop to below 19’c. I have met relatively few of our members out, although those that I have bumped into have caught a few fish, but they were usually out fishing when conditions were favourable.

Looking back at the season as a whole, it was a slow start for trout with mainly grayling in the first month. I fished up on the Ure a couple of times in April and experienced decent Grannom hatches and good fishing as a result. There was a decent Mayfly hatch on the Aire, I caught a few very large trout and a few smaller fish, a Grey Wulff was successful for me. After the Mayfly season river levels remained mainly low. There was good water on the Ure at the end of July, the fish responded well and for a week or so the fishing was excellent. This was the pattern on most BCAA waters, mainly low water with occasional but brief period of better conditions. For example, in late August the river came to life with a water level of 0.25 on the new gauge at Gargrave High Street and the fishing was very good. This is all very much my own individual experience and isn’t based on anything broader.

I am still trying to understand the correlation between the river level gauge at Gargrave High Street and the “old” readings just above the weir. A level of 0.25 is very good. I have been attempting to compare the new levels to how the river looks at the stepping stones. However, there is a suggestion that the riverbed has altered around the stepping stones so any comparison is difficult. Recently the level on the gauge was 0.36, yet the stepping stones were not submerged. This seems to support the idea that the river there has altered. With more variation in river levels in the coming months we will find out what water levels are best for us.

Rail bridge over river at Inghey
Rail bridge at Inghey with water level on Gargrave High St guage showing 0.51.

River Aire at Inghey
Further down stream at Inghey, same level. Both show it’s a bit high for fly fishing but probably OK for trotting.

It would be remiss to write about the 2022 season without mentioning the sad news of the death of Arthur Padgett. Arthur was Fly Fishing Secretary for a long time, and a regular sight on the river at Gargrave. We have named a pool in his honour and as recognition of the enormous amount of work he did for BCAA.

Finally, anybody interested in some winter reading might be interested to know that Chevin Books in Otley have a vast number of second hand angling books for sale. I bumped into the owner, Simon, recently at Gargrave. He is an old friend and long standing member of BCAA. He tells me he has hundreds of fishing books which include an excellent selection on fly fishing. Email

books on fishing