Barbel boost for River Aire

Match and specimen anglers from Yorkshire have cause to celebrate this week thanks to the completion of a five year project to rejuvenate barbel stocks on the River Aire.

Last Tuesday around 1,500 barbel were put into the West Yorkshire waterway by Environment Agency officers between Keighley and Leeds City Centre taking the total number of fish stocked during the project to 17,500 spread across six separate locations.

All the fish came from Calverton fish farm in Nottinghamshire which is paid for by rod licence money and follows numerous other stockings of fish into other UK rivers this autumn as part of the EA’s regular re-stocking programmes.

EA fishery officer for Yorkshire, Pete Turner, is passionate about improving angling on the Aire. He told Angling Times: “We have run a number of surveys on the river and seeked advice from the angling clubs who run stretches and although we knew there were barbel in the waterway we wanted to improve it for anglers.

“These fish have gone in at around 6-8 inches long so they should already be spreading out and taking anglers baits, and we will continue to monitor them to check their health and see if they breed.”

Some of the stockings have taken place on free fishing stretches of the river but several clubs have also benefitted, including Keighley Angling Club, who control a stretch west of Leeds. The club’s match secretary Darren Watson told Angling Times: “We have already started to catch them in matches which is a great sign and bodes well for the future. However, it’s not just barbel that we are catching – the whole river is fishing better than it has done in years for all species.”

The EA are asking anglers to report any barbel they catch from the river by tagging their catch photos on social media site Twitter. Simply post it on your twitter page and tag @PeteTurnerEA. The fish should have a small coloured tag on their heads to help you identify them.

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