LAST year at this time the great tree operation was under way on the banks of the River Aire with the aim of reducing the flooding risk downstream towards Leeds.

Some were chopped down and others suitable trimmed but the whole exercise appeared to peter out the further upstream they progressed.

Believe it or not, this year’s plan to reduce flooding is a reverse of last year's.

Millions of trees are to be planted to soak up the water during times of heavy rain and thus prevent flooding.

The scheme is obviously a long-term solution as in the first few years there will be little change until a reasonable growth has taken place.

The scheme is in its infancy at the moment and there has been little detail on where the trees have to be planted to provide maximum benefit. I

t seems likely that the valley bottom will escape becoming a forest but who wants the valley sides to be covered in trees. No doubt it will be sorted out in due course or be quietly forgotten like the tree thinning out exercise.

The winter weather seems to be dragging on this year with temperatures tending to be lower than average although without producing much in the way of snow.

Any change to milder conditions usually means rain and higher water levels on the river thereby preventing much in the way of fishing.

One or two anglers have been in action on the local length of the river but have not enjoyed much success, especially among the coarse fish. Any fish caught have been out-of-season brown trout, while the grayling, a fish that does not seem to mind the cold, has been conspicuous by its absence.

Chub have also not obliged and there has generally been too much water in the river for pike fishing.

Still water anglers have been thwarted by the running off of the water at Whinnygill Reservoir for repair work and anglers appear to be giving the water a miss at the moment.

The odd angler is fishing the canal but nothing of note has been caught of late.

About five weeks remain of the traditional coarse fishing season so there is still time for a change to milder and perhaps dryer conditions which will certainly bring about an improvement in the fishing on all waters.