Late December observations from the River Wharfe

Back in December Peter Ramsden, our bailiff on the Wharfe and Ure, sent this interesting blog which we never got round to posting. So here are his late December observations from the River Wharfe, when it was very cold! Better late than never.

Ice on surface of river wharfe buckden
The river was icing over.

On 15th December I walked along the river Wharfe up to Hubberholme. My main objective was to
look more closely at the river bank where the proposed Dalesway footpath is to be rerouted. I’m
not sure if our club is aware of this, but the existing path along the true right river bank is to be
extended further up to Hubberholme. The path will be on the Kilnsey Angling Club side of the river.
If this goes ahead it will be a shame as this part of the river is currently very secluded.
The temperature that day was -6°C and stretches of the river Wharfe were frozen.

In November I joined the Riverfly Partnership and will be sampling just below Buckden bridge on a regular basis. My initial training was carried out at Addingham where we used the river Wharfe for our kick sampling session. The river was a bit high that day so sampling was a little tricky. The main invertebrates identified, as you would expect, were olive (baetidae) nymphs, heptageniidae nymphs, mayfly nymphs (ephemeridae) many over 25mm in length, cased and caseless caddis larvae, and
small and large stonefly larvae.

ARMI riverfly monitoring literature
ARMI identification sheet and certificate.

During the training I showed a few of photographs I had taken that I thought would be of interest to the group.. The photographs were taken on a Yorkshire Dales river (not BCAA water). The first photograph was taken last March and shows the river bed carpeted with very small cased caddis larvae. I opened one of them carefully to see what was inside.


Stones on river bed covered with caddisfly nymphs
An abundance of cased caddis.

On another fishing trip to the same river in September, every stone in the river was packed solid with cased caddis. I removed one of the stones to check them out. I wonder if this particular river has very few crayfish as I am sure that they would love eating these.

The nymph inside a caddis case.
Naked cased caddis.
Caddis encrusted stone
Caddis encrusted – food for crayfish.

If you are interested in Riverfly Monitoring check out this blog from the Fly Secretary about RF monitoring on the upper Aire.