Skipton Angling Association has been in excistence for over a hundred years. Providing good fishing on local waters for both the local and visiting anglers.
A brief history.
At the beginning of May 1907 an advert was placed in the Craven Herald and Pioneer inviting all anglers to a meeting at the Globe Cafe, Skipton, (believed to have been on Water Street) with the intention of forming an angling club.
About 25 people turned up to the meeting and it became clear that there was sufficient interest to form a club. It was then decided to hold a further meeting two weeks later to elect officials and form the club. The meeting was again held at the Globe Cafe and about 34 people attended with club being officially being named as the Skipton Angling Association.
At first fishing was confined to the local lengths of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Then as the Association developed, various pieces of fishing were leased on the River Aire between Kildwick and Carleton-in-Craven. In 1927, the Association obtained the leases on Embsay, Whinnygill and Jennygill Reservoirs which were owned at that time by the Skipton Urban District Council.
Throughout the 1930s and 40s, the fishing on the Aire was consolidated into roughly the lengths that the Association has today (Carleton-in-Craven down to near Bradley) although it was all rented. A further length of fishing on the River Ure at Aysgarth was also rented and members even went by train to fish it.
In the late 1950s, the crunch came on the River Aire when one of the major landowners decided to sell the fishing rights. The Association was ill-prepared for this and with a combination of substantial subscription increases and loans by a few members, most of the rights were saved for all time.
The increase in subscriptions caused a few members to drop out but the outcome was that the Association built up a good reserve of funds to buy more fishing as it became available. This has resulted in the Association owning most of its fishing on the Aire and now pays rent for just two fields out of the 4 miles of fishing it enjoys. The length on the River Ure was relinquished in about 1985 following a massive rent increase.
Membership levels over the years have varied from about a 100 up to 1958; about 150 up to 1975. A maximum of 300 members was obtained in 1980 when the waiting list was exhausted and since then it has gradually dwindled to the 100 members of today.
In terms of fishing, the best years on the River Aire were enjoyed up to about 1970 when good brown trout were plentiful along with good roach, perch, grayling, bream, chub, pike, dace and gudgeon. Nowadays the river holds fewer trout, chub and pike and the very rare roach, perch, bream, dace or gudgeon. Grayling have increased in number and the chub and pike grow to a large size. 5lb chub and 20 lb pike are not uncommon whilst the grayling record stands at 2:10:0. Most of the Associations record fish have been caught since 1975.
The reservoir fishing has remained quite good throughout the 79 years the Association has rented the water. Jennygill Reservoir was lost in the 1980s when its role was changed to hold back flood water following the two disastrous floods in Skipton. Rainbow trout are now stocked along with brown trout and Whinnygill Reservoir also contains roach and perch. Embsay Reservoir is predominantly trout only although a few perch have found their way into this water.
John Preston [President]