Author Archives: Stephen Cheetham

Conservation Projects Funding Update 2023

All the funds we raise at the Great Yorkshire Show are ploughed back into worthy projects that aim to demonstrably improve habitat or passage for salmonids, and/or involve direct education of salmonid conservation.
To date, £12,000 has been put towards projects worth £230,000, involving 25 different organisations (angling clubs, conservation groups, private landowners etc) and 180 individual volunteers.

Nidderdale Angling Club received funds toward a project on Dauber Gill, to improve spawning habitat. After only one year, numbers of young-Pof-year trout were up 80%. See the 2023 Angling Trust film about this work:

Falling Stars Theatre Co. is in the process of developing an interactive, immersive production for schools in the Aire valley on the plight of our rivers told from the perspective of a young salmon. S&TC awarded £500.

Hawes & High Abbotside Angling Association has invested in a fish population survey of six tributaries of the Upper Ure to identify where best to target habitat improvement works, and has been allocated £500 towards project funding when landowner agreement is secured.

A tranche of S&TC project fund was submitted as a matched funding contribution towards TRoUT – Tackling Resilience on Underperforming Tributaries, leveraging £50k from the Yorkshire Water and working in partnership with various clubs / organisations across the Aire, Nidd & Wharfe. The focus is improving nine tributaries for spawning and fry habitat; all were electrofished for baseline data prior to any works progressing.

At Flasby Beck on the river Aire, a private landowner wanted to undo the historic straightening of the channel and reconnect the floodplain. S&TC made a financial contribution to allow artificial embankments to be lowered and boulders added the channel to increase flow diversity and improve retention and sorting of gravel for trout spawning habitat. With some work in progress and the beck during Storm Babet, increasing flood storage.

S&TC has also contributed £1000 towards new electrofishing kit for the Yorkshire Wild Trout Trust Conservation Officer, helping clubs, rivers trusts etc to establish fish population baselines or monitoring surveys.

On Malham Beck, local landowners and anglers are working together to renaturalise the course of the channel, rewet meadows, and improve spawning habitat and adult holding habitat for trout. S&TC funds helped leverage money from Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency.

Gilling West Fly Fishers received a contribution towards restoring their reaches of Skeeby Beck after gross pollution earlier this year, installing woody deflectors to sort gravels for spawning and translocating water crowfoot.

Yorkshire Grayling Day – ‘A Reet Good Time’

A resume of the Grayling Day held in October with support from the Yorkshire Branch of the Salmon & Trout Conservation. Thank you John Edwards “a reet good Yorkshireman”

Graham Pawson and I have been going to the annual Yorkshire Grayling Day for a fair few years (not last year, of course) and it has become something of a tradition.  Graham is the Honorary Secretary of the Derwent Anglers’ Club (founded in 1839 and still going strong!) and “the opportunity to enjoy fishing some of the very best beats” (to quote from the notice of the event) on the Ure, provides us with a pleasant change from fishing ‘our’ own lovely little river.

This year, we took Paul Wood with us; I say ‘took’ as he did the driving – and he also provided the pork pies and the sausage rolls.  The three of us live in or near to Scarborough so Graham and I were grateful to him for his efforts behind the wheel – particularly on the return journey.  Paul is a newcomer to fly fishing, and he is on a steep learning curve.  The secret (apart from aptitude and application!) is, I think, much to do with having reet good flies and good advice – which he gets from Graham.  He has also invested in some reet good tackle and has become something of an Orvis aficionado.

The event, now in its 53rd year, only happen through the generous goodwill of the various riparian owners, clubs and farmers set along a six mile stretch of the Ure. The base, as usual, was the Three Horse Shoes in Wensley.  This is a reet good venue (to use that Yorkshire dialect again) in a wonderful setting with the river just to the South, beyond the church and the graceful outline of Pen Hill on the other side of the valley, to the Southwest.  We got there at about 9.30 am and the car park was already full.  Lots of familiar (not to say old) faces among the assembled gathering.  But a familiar face, conspicuous by its absence this year, was the one belonging to the fly fishing and fly-tying legend, Oliver Edwards.  A regular supporter of this event and past winner of the Sam Turner Cup, he was not able to be with us on this occasion and so we wish him well.

The staff at the Three Horse Shoes were as helpful and friendly as ever, and the bacon butties and the beer were just as good as I remember them from two years’ ago.  The beer at this hostelry could, in fact, become a serious distraction and I do my best to resist its charms until after the event.

We were called to order at 10.30 am and it must be said that the new Grayling Society Area Secretary, Peter Chambers, did a reet good job (sorry) in getting across his message.  No doubt he is used to addressing the troops from a previous career as a Regular soldier, but what he had to say was a timely reminder to us all, of the need to support the organisations which are concerned with fish and river conservation – all with scarcely a hint of hectoring, whilst he was on his hind legs!

I’ve noticed from before, that the assembled anglers very quickly melt away once this stage is over and the beats have been allocated.  It is no longer a ‘real competition’ (to quote again from the notice of the event) but there is, I suspect, a competitor lurking within each angler and most seem keen to get their feet in the water with rods at the ready for the moment Midday comes round.  Graham, Paul and I were allocated onto Beat 2 (which is the beat from Lords Bridge, upstream to Batt Island) and we, too, went whizzing off as soon as we could to find the track near West Witton, which gives access to that section of the river.  We were blessed with the best possible combination of conditions: a lovely, warm settled Autumn day and the river at a perfect height for fishing.  It had that amber glow about it, which a rain-fed river takes on when there has been some rain some time ago.

I was using my 14’ Tenkara rod and on the end a nymph pattern which I call ‘the Purple Warrior’, which I get from John Emerson of Unique Flies.  It is tied on a jig hook and its most obvious features are a bead – looking like a lustrous pearl – and just behind this, a sparkly purple collar with no hackle.  I’m not sure you’ll find anything like this coming down the Ure on an Autumn afternoon, but I think it fair to say that the ‘lady of the stream’ likes a bit of bling!  I ended up with two brace during the session and I suppose one or two got off.  I like to get them back where they belong as soon as I can, but that brief encounter each time a grayling comes to the net is a reminder of what a wonderful wild creature they are.

Four o’clock came round soon enough and it was time to head off back to the Three Horse Shoes for the raffle and the results.  In first place was Andy Ralph – a worthy winner with a tally of 18 grayling, predominantly on dry fly, runner up was Adam Fewtrell with a total of 14 grayling. I’m told that 45 anglers took part this year and a total of 125 grayling were caught and safely returned to the river.  The day raised £840 which was split in support of local S&TC branches and the various River Trusts in the region.

Having a driver to take us back to Scarborough meant that Graham and I were able to get our share of that aforementioned delightful beer and, having previously planned to make a quick exit, we were, in fact, nearly the last to leave and this with some regret!  The Three Horse Shoes is the sort of place where you could get well settled for the evening.

In conclusion, I should like to thank Peter Chambers & Duncan Courtney, on behalf of us all for their efforts in organising this most enjoyable event.  The opportunity to fish is such lovely surroundings, bookended by gatherings in convivial company, is not to be missed and, if you’ve not tried it before, then I urge you to do so.  I guarantee that you’ll have a reet good day out!!

John Edwards

Branch Winter Meetings 2021 to 2022


Most meetings start at 7:30 for an 8.00pm start.

The meetings will be held at Ben Rhydding Golf Club.

Ben Rhydding Golf Club, High Wood, Ben Rhydding, Ilkley, LS29 8SB

Guest Speakers for this year will be as follows and we all look forward to our new season of speakers.

Tuesday 12th October, 2021 – Don Stazicker
Don is a Freelance Videographer and a retired dentist who is a highly experienced instructor and fly tier based in the Derbyshire Peaks, a man who knows his rivers. He has guide extensively in both the UK and USA, apart from his contributions to Trout and Salmon magazine. Don recently co-authored the acclaimed eBook “Trout and Flies – Getting Closer”

Tuesday 9th November, 2021 – Jack Perks
Wildlife camera operator, Jack Perks is no stranger to life under the water and has become a regular feature filming above and below our waterways. Recently appointed as a vice president of Salmon & Trout Conservation we caught up with Jack on all things fish – from his favourite stretch of river to the challenges facing our watery environments.

Tuesday 14th December, 2021 – Jim Curry
Jim Curry is the UK Sales Agent for Guideline and Untamed Angling European Ambassador.
A renowned AAPGAI master instructor. He runs the Yorkshire Fly Fishing School in northern England, offering tuition on the stunning rivers and lakes of Yorkshire, Cumbria, and Lancashire. A writer and rod tester for magazines including Trout and Salmon Jim is widely regarded as one of the best and most knowledgeable teachers of fly fishing and fly casting.

Branch Meetings 2019/20

We have a new venue for our meetings during winter 2019 and 2020. Most meetings start at 7:30 for an 8pm starts.

The meetings will be held at Ben Rhydding Golf Club.

Ben Rhydding Golf Club, High Wood, Ben Rhydding, Ilkley, LS29 8SB

Guest Speakers for this year will be as follows and as soon as we get a topic from the speakers we will update the information.

Tuesday – October 8th

 Speaker : David Southall

 Topic: Fly Fish Montanna

David is well known to the branch and has been a guest speaker before. He resides in Driffield and has the wonderful opportunities to fish the Yorkshire Chalk Streams.

David also writes various articles for Fly Fishing & Fly Tying as well for the Grayling Journal.

He recently journeyed back to Yellowstone and has agreed to share his experiences.

Tuesday – November 12th

Speaker : Oscar Boatfield

Topic : Different methods for different water types

Oscar has found happiness on a river bank for as long as he can remember.

He started fly fishing when he was 5 and has been an obsessive fly angler ever since. He does not come from a traditional country sporting family. He spent most of my time growing up in a small council house in Cambridgeshire which he shared with his 5 siblings and parents. There was very little money for anything, let alone going fishing. So his opportunities to fish were few and far between, mostly during the summer holidays when he would visit his grandparents in the Test Valley.

When he was 12 I found out about the England youth fly fishing team and quickly realised that this was the right direction for him to head in. He first qualified for the team when he was 15 and over the next few years was lucky enough to fish in 3 loch style internationals and 2 world championships.

During these competitions he grew significantly as angler, and was able to fish alongside and learn from many of the worlds best.

Since leaving the youth team he has spent his time as a professional guide working across the U.K. He has also co-authored an award winning book in modern nymphing techniques called “Nymphing The New Way”, spent a year fishing for sea trout in Denmark, started initiatives to get more people involved in fly fishing and promote the positive mental health benefits of the sport, and most recently started a business making and selling high quality fly fishing products.

Oscar loves rivers, particularly reading them. He believes that understanding a river and how it flows is one of the most important skills one can have as an angler. However those skills are useless if you cannot match the correct technique to the water style.

So join Oscar to find out how he approaches a river and learn the techniques that he uses to catch fish in all water types. These skills have been learned and refined over many years utilising knowledge from some of the worlds best anglers.

Oh, and Oscar has just migrated north to Yorkshire with his Australian partner.

Tuesday – December 10th : Christmas Meeting

Speaker : Jim Curry

Topic : Rumble in the Jungle

Jim is the Guideline Sales Agent for the UK and Ireland and runs the Yorkshire Fly Fishing School in Northern England, offering tuition on the stunning rivers and lakes of Yorkshire.  Jim is also a trout and salmon instructor with over 20 years experience, and a senior assessor of AAPGAI instructors.  Jim will be doing fly casting demonstrations throughout the Open Weekend and be on hand to answer your questions and can help with your casting faults.

Jim resides here in Ilkley.

Last year Jim journeyed to Bolivia to fish chasing Golden Dorado in the Amazon jungle. Should be very interesting.

Tuesday – January 14th

 Speaker : Kenny Galt

 Topic : The Grayling of the River Tweed: History, Biology and Angling

Kenny works on the River Tweed for the Tweed Foundation as their Trout & Grayling Biologist, a position he’s held since 2006. During his time with the Foundation a large proportion of Kenny’s work has centred around working with local Angling Associations to gather the information needed to manage the trout and Grayling fishery within the River Tweed

For anyone targeting Grayling this will be a must.

Tuesday – February 11th

 Speaker : Mark Barrow

 Topic : Beneath British Waters

Mark has been filming underwater for over 25 years and has a wealth of knowledge of filming in rivers and lakes too. In 2016, Beneath British Waters gained more popularity with anglers and more anglers wanting to know about life underwater and how particular fishery’s are from an underwater aspect.

Alan Gee joined Mark in 2016 to help with the filming and Alan has a wealth of knowledge of fishery’s and fish care and has planned a lot of dives for the two of them from his contacts with in the angling industry.

They also do have help from anglers too which are more than happy to help being involved in helping gain footage from the angling aspect. Mark has a passion for filming pike and is now starting to use his footage to promote the species along with studying the biology of pike and how they operate, along with various talks he does for fishing clubs and organisations new angles in filming are gaining the pair a lot of work.

It is worth noting that this is not a paid business and all the diving and filming is funded out of there own pockets. Future plans are in place to gain even more unique footage with more work being done along side more anglers giving a whole new perspective to what they do.

Tuesday : March 10th

 Speaker : Paul Proctor

 Topic : TBA


Branch Meetings 2018 to 2019

We have a new venue for our meetings during winter 2018 and 2019. Most meetings start at 7:30 for an 8pm starts.

The meetings will be held at Ben Rhydding Golf Club.

Ben Rhydding Golf Club, High Wood, Ben Rhydding, Ilkley, LS29 8SB

Guest Speakers for this year will be as follows and as soon as we get a topic from the speakers we will update the information.

October 9th Paul Knight – CEO of the S&TC
November 13th Paul Gaskell
December 11th Howard Croston
January 8th Stuart Wardle
February 12th Jon Grey
March 12th AGM followed by Paul Proctor

We look forward to seeing as many anglers at the meetings as we can fit in. You DO NOT have to be a member of the S&TC to attend our meetings. We encourage all anglers to join us.

Branch Meetings 2017 and 2018

Branch Meetings at The Fleece Inn, Westgate, Otley

The meetings will be held at a new venue for 2017/18 which is on Westgate in Otley and is on the left as one drives into Otley from Guiseley.

Food  can be ordered before the meetings either by phone  to the Fleece or in person on the night.

The Fleece,



West Yorkshire ,

LS21 3DT

Tel: 01943 465034

This winters program and speakers are :

10th Oct    2017 Stuart Crofts   –  Flies by Stuart
14th Nov    2017 Giles Evans – The Angling Trust
12th Dec   2017 Jeremy Lucas – Fishing The French Chalk Streams
9th Jan     2018 John Barnes   —  Wild Brown Trout
13th Feb    2018 Pete Turner – The Aire Catchment
13th Mar    2018 Branch AGM @ 7.30pm and @ 8.00pm –     Paul Procter 

John Rishworth our new 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 will be £5.00 per person for this year. This cost will not include food which should be ordered by phone prior to meeting or on the night between 7 and 7:30 pm. The food will be served at 9:00pm 

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.