Author Archives: Chris Carter

S&TC UK at The Great Yorkshire Show

STCUK Great Yorkshire Show 2016

The local branch of Salmon & Trout Conservation UK are at The Great Yorkshire Show from Tuesday 12th to Thursday 14th of July so please call in at our marquee and say hello! We are there all three days and the show is open from 7.30am to 7.30pm (6.30pm Thursday).

Salmon Leap

Come and find out about the important work we do to preserve our aquatic habitats and dependent species for future generations.

Great Yorkshire Show Fly Casting

Watch fly fishing demonstrations from the experts and have a go yourself in the casting area.

Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust

Learn about rivers with the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust.

See HERE for further info on the event.

We hope to see you there!

Branch Meetings 2015/2016

Branch Meetings at Ilkley Bowling Club 2015/2016

Behind Morrisons on the junction of Skipton Road and Church Street

13th Oct    2015 Robert Smith – North Country Spiders and their history
10th Nov    2015 Ben Dobson – Trout Senses
08th Dec    2015 Phil Sheridan & Kathleen Roberts – The Riverfly Partnership on the Aire & Wharfe
12th Jan     2016 Dr Clark Coleman – Fly Fishing on Lakeland Tarns
9th Feb    2016 David Bamforth – The Ure Salmon Trust
8th Mar    2016 Branch AGM @ 7.30pm and @ 8.00pm –     Paul Procter on Fishing

David Peacock our secretary will be sending out the invitations prior to the meetings but we would ask you that when you say you will come please try to do so as we still have to pay for your food if you fail to attend.

All being well the cost for each meeting remain at £7.00 per person for this year.

Andrew Lawson our speaker finder has been very busy and booked a favourite or two but has also booked some very interesting speakers again this year.

Aire and Wharfe Riverfly Monitors

Conserving our Rivers by Stephen Cheetham
This month, by way of a change, Roger has kindly allowed me to take the reins to talk about the conservation work which is carried out on our rivers.  Each river in Yorkshire is under the scrutiny of a Rivers Trust specifically set up to take care of their local river. Not many people are aware of the work done simply to keep our rivers clean, healthy and safe from pollution and invasive species.
Whatever the weather, I can be seen, up to  my waist in the River Wharfe every month at Addingham High Mill –brandishing a large net. But before anyone reports me to the river bailiff, I would like to point out that I am not using it to try to catch any fish!

Riverflies and Bug Hunting with Steve Cheetham
Riverflies and Bug Hunting with Steve Cheetham

Instead I am one of an army of over 400 volunteers who regularly look after our rivers and streams in the UK, checking on the levels of invertebrate life to help to monitor water quality.  The nets used are specifically designed to collect a sample from the gravel on the riverbed so that they can be checked for a range of insect life.

The initiative is the responsibility of the  Riverfly Partnership, a national group that organises and trains teams of volunteer samplers who look for the bugs and mini-beasts living in the riverbed and report back on the numbers they find. Most of the tiny creatures we are looking for are the water-living stage of winged insects such as mayflies and sedges. They are sensitive to changes in water quality and if they are not present in sufficient numbers, I and my fellow samplers alert the Environment Agency. Their job is to  investigate and take action if they find that an incident of pollution has caused the drop in numbers.

Last year Addingham Beavers joined me for a sampling session and were fascinated by what they found. The group of over 20 children and their leaders, along with parents and volunteers, spent a happy if frenetic hour identifying the bugs in their sample trays before returning them to the river (leaving me and my fellow samplers helping me out exhausted!)

Anglers and environmentalists know about the bugs that live in the river but most people are unaware of them.  Anglers are often the first to be aware of changes in water quality because they know their rivers so well. And they’re in a good position to act as samplers as they don’t need much persuading to get into the water!

Most of the nationwide teams of samplers are made up of anglers, a fact which surprises many who think that fishermen are only interested in catching fish and eating them.  But fishing is now mainly about conservation and most fish caught are returned to the river unharmed.

Currently, on the River Wharfe, we have just a small team of samplers but much more needs to be done to ensure better coverage.  We would like to train more sampling teams to sample other stretches of the Wharfe and also other local rivers, but we need funding to do this.  Thankfully, with funding from the Salmon & Trout Association, West Yorkshire Branch, and the Aire Rivers Trust, we are now able to begin training 12 new volunteers to sample 12 points on the River Aire, starting March 2015.

Anyone interested in volunteering as a sampler, or in sponsoring the training of sampling teams or advising on funding for these can contact me on . You do not have to be an angler to volunteer, you just have to be interested in conserving our rivers and, as a result, our environment.  All we ask is for two hours of your time per month.

Find out more at The Riverfly Partnership website.

Aire and Wharfe Riverfly Monitors blog site:

Aire Riverfly Workshop

Aire Riverfly Workshop

The Salmon and Trout Association West Yorkshire Branch in partnership with the Riverfly Partnership, the Aire Rivers Trust, the Environment Agency and East Riddlesden Hall, National Trust.

Filmed and edited by

Branch News 2014

Branch News 2014

We now have a new meeting venue as from 12th October we will meet at Ilkley Bowling Club, albeit the room is slightly smaller it is warm and the beer is cheap.

2014/2015 Branch Meetings at Ilkley Bowling Club

Behind Nidd Vale Motors on the junction of Skipton Road and Church Street, Ilkley, LS29 9EW, 01943 605002

Click here to find the new venue

Dear All.

Writing this in mid August 2014, I am well aware that there is a lot of fishing to be had before the end of the season but also very aware that the start of the Branch winter programme is coming up fast.

In past years, I have used this opportunity to pass on general Branch news but now we are getting our web site functioning properly, members will be able to catch up with news of Branch events there so keep checking; all will be in place soon.  (Even I can find the Branch web site at !!)  We are grateful to Stephen Cheetham for pushing the web site development forward and to Phil Sheridan for his brilliant work on the design, the photography, and keeping the site fresh and up to date.

Our shows programme has been encouragingly successful.  At Burnsall we had a good attendance in view of the wet weather and our stand at the Great Yorkshire was arguably one of the best efforts ever and drew much praise from the show organisers.  We were also at Bingley Show where we could demonstrate solidarity with members who fish the Aire and with clubs, mainly course fishing clubs who hold waters on the Aire and adjacent still waters.

I must also mention the Riverfly sampling project now in the capable hands of Kathleen Roberts.  We were disappointed in not attracting funding to run further training courses for sampling teams and major changes in the organisation at national level frustrated our plans to extend sampling on the Wharfe and establish sites on the Aire.  However, Kathleen is not easily discouraged and is now keeping all existing and potential sampling teams informed and up to date with developments.  Anyone (member or not) who is interested in joining a sampling team should contact Kathleen direct on

Sadly, the coming AGM on 10th March 2015 will see a number of long serving Committee members standing down and we urgently need to identify candidates to take on the role of Training Officer, Secretary, Treasurer or Speaker Secretary.  This is your chance to help the Branch continue its good work so if you are interested please have a word with Stephen Cheetham or myself for more information.  Stephen Cheetham has now exceeded the time in office allowed by the Constitution and whilst willing to continue in office is prepared to stand down if the AGM so wishes.

Andrew Lawson, our Speaker Secretary, has engaged a very attractive range of speakers for our winter season.  Details are as follows:-

  14th Oct    2014 Mark Hamnet       Partridge and the history of hooks    
  11th Nov    2014 Stuart Crofts         The river angling year    
  09th Dec    2014 Stephanie Peay    Crayfish    
  13th Jan     2015 Peter Turner         The river Aire environment    
  10th Feb    2015 Dr Clark Colman   The evolution & development of modern flies    
  10th Mar    2015 Branch AGM @ 7.30pm and @ 8.00pm Paul Proctor on Fishing    

All meetings are open and anyone interested is welcome as a guest.  The entrance fee remains at £7.00 which includes a supper of pie and peas or sandwiches if ordered 7 days in advance.  Orders to be sent to me as indicated on the attached form.  We normally convene at 7.30pm for half an hour of social chitchat and the speaker takes the floor at 8.00pm; the exception is the AGM meeting as above.

And finally, a special note to members.  Due to spiralling postal and printing costs I will be sending this letter to all Branch members by email if they have registered an email address with head office.  Only those without email will receive a hard copy.  Member should also note that this letter constitutes the required formal notice of the Branch AGM to take place on Tuesday 10th March 2015 at 7.30pm in the Ilkley Bowling Club rooms.  An agenda will be available from 1st February 2015 on request.

Your Committee has worked hard to make the Branch activities interesting and relevant and we hope you all enjoy the remaining weeks of the season be your quarry trout, grayling or salmon and we look forward to welcoming your strong support for the winter meetings.

David Bryan.

Honoury Secretary.

Salmon in Yorkshire Rivers

Salmon in Yorkshire Rivers

Extract from the Yorkshire Post 29th November 2008

Salmon have been seen on the Derwent and are being caught on the Ouse. Roger Ratcliffe reports on preparations for the king of fish’s
return to the upper reaches of the River Aire.

A grainy photograph taken of a leaping salmon on the River Derwent last week opens another chapter in the success story of cleaning up Yorkshire’s rivers.
The photo was shot by a landowner on the river’s stretches above Malton but cropped to prevent poachers from finding the location. It is all the more remarkable for the fact that on its way up from the sea to find spawning grounds the salmon had somehow managed to clear the large barrage which keeps out the tidal Ouse at Barmby.

The Derwent was one of the cleanest rivers in England half a century ago, together with the Ouse, more than seven tonnes of the fish were caught there.

However, problems of pollution and obstructions like weirs and dams saw numbers dwindle. On the Derwent in fact, there had been no salmon since the barrage was built in the mid-1970s to preserve the river’s fresh water for drinking.

But in the past decade they have been returning, and the quantity of salmon to Yorkshire rivers is now the region’s greatest wildlife triumph. The River Ure is now said to be as good as many Scottish salmon rivers. The River Don – once among the most poisoned rivers on Earth – for the first time in living memory has salmon as far up at Sprotbrough Weir, just 15 miles from the heart of Sheffield.

Salmon are also regularly swimming up the River Aire to Chapel Haddlesey, near Eggborough Power Station, and occasionally are seen in flood conditions 10 miles upstream at Knottingley.

It is on the former industrial rivers like the Don, the Calder and the Aire that much of the effort is being concentrated. Toxic pollution from textile mills, dyestuff factories, chemical works and steel plants has become a thing of the past.

Discharges of filtered and treated sewage effluent (now known by the friendlier name of waste-water) have become less and less dangerous to aquatic life.

The River Aire now presents the biggest challenge of all Yorkshire’s rivers, and this week the ground – or rather the water – was being prepared for the salmon’s eventual return to its upper reaches.

In a low-key operation, the Environment Agency released thousands of fish at four points along the Aire to see if they will survive. Bred at the agency’s fish farm at Calverton, Nottinghamshire, they were brought up the M1 in large tanks.

A fisheries officer with the agency, Peter Turner, divided 1,000 young barbel between release points at Kirkstall and Apperley Bridge, and 1,000 grayling – a member of the salmon family – on the west side of Bingley.

Each barbel has been injected with a tiny piece of red polymer which sits just underneath the skin and does not hurt it or cause irritation.

When the river is surveyed next year the discovery of untagged barbel will mean that the fish have survived to establish a breeding population.

The grayling were too small to tag. But the mere survival of any grayling in the Aire will be a sure sign that the river is also good enough for salmon – for grayling are considered to be one of the best indicators of a river’s quality. They can live only in clean, well-oxygenated water.

On other Yorkshire rivers like the Don and Calder, Peter Turner says, conditions are now so improved that they don’t require restocking with fish.

“But on the Aire it isn’t as good as it could be. There are some stretches of the river which are still quite patchy for fish, so the populations need a bit of a kick-start.

“We don’t fully understand why fish don’t thrive on some parts of the Aire, but we’re trying to improve things by putting in buffer fencing to stop cattle churning up the banks.”

Bank erosion means that earth is flushed into the river by rain, and silt covers up the vital spawning gravels.

However, Peter adds that there are no plans to try releasing salmon into the Aire.

Artificially introducing salmon parr (fish that are between one and three years old and capable of breeding) would not be a good idea.

At least not while we have so many weirs in place.

“It would screw the fish up, because they would want to get back to the stretch of river they believed they had come from.”

It’s the weirs that pose the biggest obstacle to making the Aire a salmon river once again. Although a £400,000 fish pass has been built to circumvent a large weir in Castleford, there is no evidence that salmon have managed to reach beyond that point on the river in significant numbers.

Beyond Castleford there are a further two dozen weirs, at least six of which would require similar fish passes if salmon have any chance
of swimming through the centre of Leeds to suitable spawning grounds.

Kevin Sunderland of the Aire and Calder Rivers Group and a founder of the Derwent Salmon Group, lives in Bingley and campaigns for the removal of weirs and the building of fish passes.

He has successfully got commitments for new salmon passes written into strategic plans for the Aire and for Leeds and believes that the official will is now there to make it happen. All that is required is the money.

Meanwhile, the water quality is set to improve even further next year when £64m of improvements to the sewage treatment works at Esholt are completed. The stretch of river between Apperley Bridge and Kirkstall has been identified as a likely area of salmon to spawn.

“I’m not a salmon fisherman but a conservationist,” says Kevin. “I simply want to see the Aire become a proper river once again. I can remember it in the Sixties when it was nothing more than a sewer. My dream is that in my lifetime I will see salmon return to Bingley and spread all the way up to Skipton.”

Salmon & Trout Association Receives Major Funding


£106,000 awarded for Riverfly conservation work

The Salmon and Trout Association (S&TA) and the Riverfly Partnership have today been recognized by Natural England as key voluntary conservation organizations directly contributing to the conservation of UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) priority habitats and species. It receives £106,000 from the Natural England £5.5m Countdown 2010 Biodiversity Action Fund, which aims to help some of England’s most threatened biodiversity.

States Paul Knight, S&TA Chief Executive, “This important award arises directly from the work of the Riverfly Partnership, which is hosted by S&TA, in ensuring that riverflies were recognized amongst the UK’s most threatened species in Natural England’s major funding programme. It will enable the Riverfly Partnership to lead and deliver key work over the next 3 years on the eight most threatened riverfly species, in addition to key initiatives, including the Anglers Monitoring Initiative, on priority river habitats.”

He adds: “This is exactly the type of project that we, as the major charity supported by game anglers concerned about the health and future of our aquatic environment, are committed to and this recognition of the importance of our work from Natural England is highly significant.”

The project will be delivered through the newly established Riverfly Partnership Species and Habitat Management Group with key partners Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust – and the Riverfly Recording Schemes amongst others, together with angling groups across England. It will: consolidate research on eight riverfly species, carry out specialist surveys, develop Action Plans and develop key identification tools and survey mechanisms to engage the established cadre of RP monitoring groups (via the AMI) in BAP related activity. It will also generate new data through specialist surveys and volunteer effort.

Bridget Peacock, Director of the Riverfly Partnership, states, “This award is fantastic news. Riverflies are the canaries of our river systems and to further understand the distribution and threats of these species will inform wider conservation action. The project will start immediately by raising awareness of these species and taking forward targeted surveys”.

The 8 riverfly Biodiveristy Action Plan species are:

Ephemeroptera Nigrobaetis niger Southern Iron Blue, Potamanthus luteus Yellow Mayfly
Plecoptera Brachyptera putata Northern February Red, Isogenus nubecula Rare medium stonefly
Trichoptera Glossosoma intermedium Small Grey Sedge, Hagenella clathrata Window Winged Sedge, Hydropsyche bulgaromanorum Grey Flag, Ironoquia dubia Scarce Brown Sedge

Salmon and Trout Association and The Riverfly Partnership

As part of S&TA’s active engagement in the management and conservation of the aquatic environment, S&TA hosts the Riverfly Partnership (RP) on behalf of the partner organisations. The RP brings together anglers, conservationists, entomologists, academics, scientists, water course managers and relevant authorities to increase our knowledge and understanding of riverfly populations and help ensure the good ecological status of their freshwater habitats.  For more information visit the website

Countdown 2010

Countdown 2010 galvanises European Union member countries to take specific steps to save biodiversity in its realm by supporting governments and other stakeholders to achieve the 2010 biodiversity target. Countdown 2010 combines efforts to save biodiversity within a powerful network of active partners, including governments, cities and regions, and civil society organisations. National platforms assess performance, create awareness and demand action. For more information visit the website

Natural England

Natural England works for people, places and nature to conserve and enhance biodiversity, landscapes and wildlife in rural, urban, coastal and marine areas. We conserve and enhance the natural environment for its intrinsic value, the wellbeing and enjoyment of people, and the economic prosperity it brings.
For more information visit the website

E-Newsletter – 21st October 2008

S&TA Future

What is the S&TA? What do we do? Five key questions – and five inspired answers. Absolute clarity here of our status and position in the angling and fisheries worlds. This “statement of intent” came out of the most positive S&TA Management meeting (held on 16th October) that we’ve had in years.

Who will be looking after the interests of game fishers now that S&TA has given up this role?

S&TA has NOT given up this role! True, the role has tweaked slightly, but the influence is just the same – indeed, even stronger. Under charitable status, there is such a thing as ENLIGHTENED SELF INTEREST. In other words, if what you are working on is of benefit to you, that is absolutely fine, provided it is also for a wider benefit. As I wrote in the recent Gamefisher, we received charitable status for the work we have traditionally undertaken on behalf of game anglers, because the benefits were perceived as going well beyond merely the interests of our members. Nothing has changed in the way in which we will operate in future! In fact, S&TA’s new strapline is Game Anglers for Fish, People, the Environment.

Who will be the governing body of game fishing?

The new Unity group will be the governing body for all angling. S&TA only received governing body status because our competition anglers needed to be within that structure to participate in International competition. S&TA has never governed game angling! Indeed, I have had to wear a tin hat at meetings more times over this issue than any other! In my early days with the Association, I used to say that we were a governing body, and was shot down by being asked, ‘whom do you govern; not us!’ Governing body status is also a conduit for Sport England development money, but all that funding now goes to the Angling Development Board, not us. Being a governing body has never opened political doors for us; we meet Government ministers, department and agency staff because we have more than a century’s collective knowledge, experience and influence over game fisheries issues, not because of GB status.

Who will regulate competition game fishing?

S&TA has never regulated competition game fishing. The Confederation of English Fly Fishers (CEFF) controls all game competition fishing on a national scale. However, we hope very much to have a close working relationship with CEFF in the future over environmental, especially fly life, issues.

Why should we be members of an organisation which no longer looks after the interests of game fishers?

I refer you to the answer to the first question. S&TA represents the fisheries view at the highest tables as to how fish stocks and their environment should be managed and conserved. Interestingly, we have worked as closely with Brighton University over Access to Water, perhaps our most controversial issue, since charitable status as ever we did beforehand! There is no issue we addressed before which we cannot cover now that we are a charity.

When I met the Charity Commissioners, I asked them whether we could defend angling against the antis, should that ever be required. We agreed that to do so on the grounds of the social, economic and environmental benefits derived from angling was quite legitimate under charitable status – and what more compelling argument could there be?

The membership voted on the issue of unity and it was carried unanimously. Now that this action cannot be followed through by the Executive, will they be asking the membership for a further mandate?

500 of our 13,000+ members voted to continue negotiations towards Unity. At the AGM in April, we were given a very clear mandate that in no way could we agree to merge with anyone without first going back to the membership. As it happened, the charitable status issue emerged and negotiations had to cease. However, the membership had already voted for charitable status, a decision which has since been carried forward

I hope that this helps to answer any lingering questions over our continued suitability to undertake work that will be directly beneficial to members on the basis of enlightened self interest. The very fact that what we do is also for a far wider benefit only makes our position significantly stronger, and will undoubtedly add to our influence in future.