Embsay Reservoir

The clubs flagship venue is located above the village of Embsay, near Skipton and holds large numbers of good sized trout and a great spot for Fly fishing (plenty of casting space).

Unlike most game fisheries, float fishing with worm & minnow and spinning are permissible too, however the use of ground bait or loose feeding is strictly prohibited.

Closed season for brown trout is from 1st October to 24th March. Fishing for rainbow, blue, spartic and tiger is allowed all year with the exception of a closed period from 28th February to 24th March inclusive.

The water covers almost 30 acres and is very deep due to the dam height of 24 m (79 ft). (Fishing is not permitted from the dam wall due to health and safety reasons).

There is a 2 fish limit for rainbow trout (max size 3lb/fish). We remind anglers that all species except rainbows must be released in order to give them chance to grow on and others to catch.

Species: Trout (Rainbow, blue, brown, spartic, tiger), Perch

Tributaries; Moor Beck, Lowburn Gill.

Water volume; 795,000 m3 (175,000,000 imp gal)

Surface elevation 215 m (705 ft)

River Wharfe and Ilkley Ponds (shared with Ilkley Angling)

Our two associations are local open membership clubs who charge similar annual membership fees and both sell day tickets. This scheme shares our resources and increase fishing opportunities for our respective members without any additional cost to our clubs or individual members.

Ilkley Angling Association has the fishing rights on both banks of the River Wharfe at Ilkley and Ben Rhydding plus two coarse fishing ponds just to the east of Ben Rhydding. The river stretch is ideal fly fishing and wading water and contains large populations of wild Brown Trout and Grayling. One pond is managed as a wild Tench water and the other contains large numbers of small Roach and Perch plus some sizable Pike, Carp and Tench.

A booking process has been implemented which makes it easy for everybody to use the system. No actual IAA ticket needs to be collected but all SAA members must carry, and on request be ready to show, their SAA annual permit when fishing an IAA water.

Please note that this scheme does not cover waters that Ilkley share with other clubs, notably the river Wharfe at Wetherby and the river Nidd. For rules and maps please visit Ilkley AA

Whinny Gill Reservoir

Whinny gill reservoir is situated to the East of Skipton on the edge of the Greatwood estate and was until 2014 a working feeder for Embsay reservoir. The reservoir is roughly rectangular in shape and has an area of 6.75 acres and a maximum depth of 34 feet. There is no close season on Whinny Gill.

It is a 'hole-in-the-ground' type, with inset grit stone blocks laid with no mortar. This provides an ideal bed for small fish to hide away from the waters larger fish and also provides an ideal breeding ground for the varied insect and mollusc life found at this water.

Its banks are steep-sided and therefore there is a good depth of water close in to the side and fish can often be caught only a couple of feet from the edge.

Whinny Gill is regarded as a mixed fishery and is regularly stocked with coarse fish and although not stocked with any trout for quite some years, there are still reports of the odd monster brown trout patrolling the depths.

In 2013, the club stocked Whinny Gill with small common and mirror carp to increase the waters biodiversity which are growing on well with some double figured fish now present, just don't expect a net full as only a small number of carp were ever stocked so as not to impact upon the water quality.

A stocking of bream also took place the same year, which was kindly donated by one of the clubs members to complement the existing stock. Since then various species of coarse fish have been stocked on a regular basis.

In addition to the stocked coarse fish there is an established stock of other species. Perch are present in large numbers and range in weight from a couple of ounce to two pounds but there are much larger ones in there.

Catches of roach in The Gill are frequent, vast shoals of 2-6" fish have been spotted, but the 2lb plus roach have been one of the talking points, the record being a ounce short of 3Lb but there is good chance this will be broken soon.

Whinny Gill also appears to be a popular spot for people to illegally dump their overgrown pond fish, with koi, golden orfe, chub and goldfish putting in the occasional appearance.

Over the past few years extensive weed beds have appeared, cursed by some anglers, appreciated by others. The weed growth has eased somewhat since its initial growth, presumably due to consistent high water levels. The fish have clearly appreciated this growth and huge numbers of fry have been spotted living and feeding among it.

The club maintain Whinny Gill as a more 'natural style' fishery rather than an 'overstocked commercial' style venue, which are all too common these days. Instead of being a muddy puddle, Whinny gill offers its visitors clear water, so make sure you bring your polarised glasses and be prepared for a challenging day of enjoyment, just don't get too distracted by the beautiful scenery and keep an eye on that float/quiver tip.

The water is enclosed within a perimeter fence with a key required to gain access through the gate, (available to members from the club secretary for a deposit). All legal baits and fishing methods are allowed. Day-ticket holders must be accompanied by a member with a key, cars can be parked just inside the gates.

Species: rudd, golden rudd, roach, perch, bream, tench, ide, orfe, carp (common & mirror), crucian, gudgeon, ruffe

Leeds Liverpool Canal

SAA has full fishing rights from the top lock at Bank Newton (41) to Belmont Bridge (178) including the basin in the town centre and full length of the Springs branch. This equates to roughly 7.5 miles.

Angling opportunities were increased further in 2023 by sharing our angling rights with Keighley AA, from Belmont Bridge 178 to Leaches swing Bridge 196. The canal offers some fantastic mixed bags of roach, perch, bream, gudgeon, ruffe, and of course pike even the occasional brown trout.

River Aire

The River Aire is a limestone stream and has abundant insect life, the Brown Trout and Grayling are possibly the fittest and heaviest length for length in any Yorkshire Dales river.

Baits permitted are fly, worm, minnows & artificial lures from 25th March until 15th June. All legal baits are permitted from 16th June until 14th March. 

Fish on the River Aire will respond to most methods with upstream dry fly or nymph taking most fish when fly fishing. Spiders as usual (fished upstream) take their share but stealth and a careful approach are essential if you are to catch fish as often the water on the River Aire can be cut glass clear.

The river Aire is challenging water, with its overhanging trees and deep holes, you will find deep slow stretches, fast shallows and steady runs of around five feet in depth where you can trot a float.

The baits used are most commonly red worms and of course maggots, but bread flake and crust can also produce results. Lob worms certainly work on this river when the water is high and coloured. Be careful when reeling in those big trout though or you may lose it one of the Aires monster pike.

S.A.A. rights are; Skipton side: From the Carleton stone bridge, down to the fifth field below the Snaygill railway bridge including parts of Eller Beck up to the cemetery on the road side (1 1/2 miles approx). Carleton side: From the field over which the former railway line crossed on Heslaker Lane down to the first field below the Snaygill Railway bridge (2 1/2 miles approx). Please note that some fields are shared with Bradford City AA.

In response to the change in legislation regarding the stocking of diploid trout (2015), the association have since decided to safeguard the Aires indigenous brown trout by insisting that all caught are safely returned to the water.

Source location - Malham Tarn, North Yorkshire Elevation 377 m (1,237 ft)

Mouth - River Ouse – location, Airmyn, East Riding of Yorkshire elevation 5 m (16 ft)

Length 114 km (71 mi)

Basin 1,004 km2 (388 sq mi)

Discharge for River Ouse – average 35.72 m3/s (1,261 cu ft/s)

Drone photography courtesy of Kenny Foster

Maps of our waters



Whinny Gill


River Aire