THE River Aire was in a fishable state for about two weeks before last Sunday’s inclement weather deposited 28 mm of rain and hail onto the already soddened ground, bringing the level up to bank top and putting the river out of bounds to anglers once again.

Since the beginning of September there has been almost continuous rainfall with totals rising from 652 mm to 1134 mm by last Sunday.

The river has been virtually running well above normal for three months and on six occasions there has flooding of the adjacent fields.

I would not want to blame it on climate change but I cannot remember such a prolonged spell of wet weather, especially at this time of the year.

Surely there will have been fish lost in the flooding. Minnows seem to soon lose their way and sometimes can be found in the fields four or 500 metres from the river where they eventually perish from fish eating birds or the water drying up.

The minnow population appears to be in trouble as there are far fewer of them and the average size of those that remain is noticeably less.

Chub, including fish up to around 1.8 kg, have been found together with pike to around the 2.28 kg mark.

Other species such as brown trout or grayling appear to fare better in flood water, although one or two big trout have been found dead on the bank after sudden flash flooding on the upper reaches of the River Wharfe in years gone by.

Luckily, there are the local reaches of the canal to fall back on when the river is unavailable and recently the canal has been providing some excellent sport with a variety of coarse fish including good pike, perch, bream and roach.

The Skipton Angling Association’s Whinnygill Reservoir is also worth a try with roach, perch, ide, bream and even carp likely to turn up in catches.

Day tickets for both waters are available from the Skipton AA website, Pennine Cruisers, Archway Pet Supplies, The Paper Shop, Sunmoor Drive and Jacksons Tackle, Earby.