Safety & Risk Assessment Statement for fly fishing on the ABBAC waters on the River Wharfe and at Lower Barden Reservoir
Specific Risks – River Wharfe - Linton Stepping Stones downstream to Barden Bridge – Members, Guests and Pupils
When walking to or beside the river try to only use obvious paths where available, be aware of uneven terrain, rabbit holes, tree roots, wire, barbed wire, move slowly and with caution.
The river bank can be steep, uneven and slippery, be beware of undercuts in banks especially near deep water. Take care when entering and leaving the river and if in doubt about the water depth or speed of flow don’t enter the river.
Take particular care when wading in deep or fast water and on rocky bottoms. It is recommended that you use a wading staff and wading belt at all times, a life preserver is also recommended. Do not enter the water if flows are very high and be aware of the risk of quickly rising water or flash flooding. Felt soled waders offer excellent grip on stone or gravel but are very slippery on mud or wet grass.
Do not fish under or near power lines, electricity can arc over considerable distances. You are ideally earthed in water to conduct electricity. Carbon fibre rods are also an excellent conductor of electricity as is a fly line coated in water. Power lines which cross the river are marked on the banks with a post and sign both upstream and downstream of the power line. Power lines away from the river bank are unmarked.
Always be aware other people on the river bank and avoiding hitting anyone with your back-cast/flies. A peaked hat is recommended and glasses should be worn when fishing at all times to protect your eyes from hooks.
Fishing under trees can be unsafe in windy conditions. Beware of falling branches.
Stiles, Bridges and Fences
Always take care when negotiating stiles, crossing bridges and climbing fences and walls, walls, stiles, fences, and wooden bridges can be slippery and potentially unsound. Beware of barbed wire.
Electric fences which are used for the control of animals and can periodically discharge high voltages. Contact with the wires may result in a painful electric shock, or worse.
Specific Risks – Lower Barden Reservoir - (Members, Guests and Pupils Only)
When walking to or around Lower Barden Reservoir try to only use obvious paths where available, be aware of uneven terrain and rabbit holes, heather stems can trip you and are slippery especially when wet, move slowly and with caution. The path along the west side of the reservoir runs parallel and close to the overflow channel, take particular care along this path.
The banks at Lower Barden Reservoir are steep, and the stonework which surrounds the majority of the reservoir is very uneven and slippery especially when wet. Take particular care near the inlets at each side of the reservoir which are steep, slippery and at their edges drop vertically into deep water. When descending to the water be aware that heather stems can trip you and are slippery especially when wet, move slowly and with caution. When the reservoir is low mud banks can be exposed, the mud can be potentially deep and is very slippery, avoid these areas.
Wading is not usually necessary at Lower Barden Reservoir and is not recommended, however when the reservoir is very low wading to knee depth in shallow water over a gently shelving reservoir bed is sometimes practised, take extreme care, the bottom can shelve away steeply and the bottom can be soft and muddy. Do not wade when the reservoir is high, the banks are steep and shelve away very quickly into deep water. Felt soled waders offer excellent grip on stone or gravel but are very slippery on mud or wet grass and heather, felt or ideally cleated waders with metal studded soles offer overall the best grip at Lower Barden Reservoir.
Do not fish under or near power lines, electricity can arc over considerable distances. You are ideally earthed in water to conduct electricity. Carbon fibre rods are also an excellent conductor of electricity as is a fly line coated in water. There are no power lines immediately adjacent to Lower Barden Reservoir so there is no risk whilst actually fishing. There are power lines near the parking area on the west side under which you need to walk to access the fishing hut and reservoir, keep your rod if assembled horizontal when passing underneath these and ideally don’t assemble your rod until reaching the fishing hut.
Always be aware other people on the reservoir banking by avoiding hitting anyone with your back-cast/flies. If you are on a boat take extra care if you have other occupants, as you can easily hit them with a fly whilst casting. A peaked hat is recommended and glasses should be worn when fishing at all times to protect your eyes from hooks.
Stiles, Bridges and Fences
Always take care when negotiating stiles, crossing bridges and climbing fences or walls, stiles, fences, walls and wooden bridges can be slippery and potentially unsound. Beware of barbed wire.
Getting On, Off, Moving Around on Boats
Boats are constantly moving and are unstable when their balance is disturbed. The motion of boat and getting on, off and moving around on boats disturbs the balance, hence maximum caution is needed when getting on, off and moving around on boats. Never stand up whilst fishing from a boat. A buoyancy aid or ideally a life jacket should always be worn when fishing from a boat and is a club rule. Always check that the boat, oars and rowlocks/thole pins are in good condition and in working order and that the drain plug is in position before launching.
Be aware other boats can approach you from any angle and may be unpredictable in their direction, when “on the motor” you should always give way to those drifting or rowing. Wherever possible avoid standing up in boats and never fish stood up.
Signing in and Out
It’s a rule of the club that members fishing the reservoir must sign in when they arrive and sign out when they leave by filling in the sheet provided in each of the fishing huts, this is important as it could alert other members of a potential problem.
Other General Risks Associated With Angling Both On The River Wharfe And At Lower Barden Reservoir – Members, Guests and Pupils
You are perfectly earthed when in water and a carbon fibre rod is an excellent lightning conductor. If you are on a boat you and your rod may well be the highest point around and a prime target for a lightening strike. Wherever you are fishing put your rods down horizontally somewhere safe and take shelter ideally in a car, building or hut and don’t shelter under trees.
Hooks are sharp and easily penetrate the skin. Their use brings them into contact with bacteria etc that can be injurious to health. Caution should be used when handling hooks and tying on or removing hooks. Rusty hooks should be avoided at all times.
Weighted flies cause unpredictable movement of the leader when casting. Extreme caution should be exercised when casting weighted flies to ensure they do not come into contact with you, fellow anglers or members of the public.
Avoid cows with young calves, bulls, rams and farm dogs. Approach the river or lake with caution.
Do not touch snakes and don’t put any part of your body into burrows, holes, stone walls or other similar openings.
Avoid wasps, hornets’ nests and beehives, wear insect repellent to reduce the risk of insect bites. If you are taking a guided day or fly fishing tuition day with one of the clubs “resident” guides/instructors please make your instructor/guide aware if you have any serious allergies to stings or bites.
Weil’s Disease & Sewage Effluent
Weil’s disease is transmitted in rat’s urine. Never put wet lines in your mouth or any other items of tackle that has been in the water. Wear waterproof plasters on any cuts or abrasions. Weil’s disease symptoms are flu like, report any unexplained flu like symptom or fever to your doctor. There may also be a risk in some waters from treated swage effluent.
Check for ticks after returning home, remove any ticks and swab with alcohol and apply antiseptic cream. Report any unexplained fever or rash around the bite site as soon as possible to your doctor.
Blue Green Algae
Avoid contact with blue green algae. If contact is made wash off immediately and never drink the water. Never let your dog ingest blue green algae, there is no cure and it’s always fatal.
Never touch any part of the Giant Hogweed, their sap is caustic and causes potentially severe burns. Never lick, chew or eat any unidentified plant, berries, fungi or mushrooms.
Falling In The Water
Falling in the water may cause drowning. It’s recommended a buoyancy aid or life jacket is worn at all times when on, in or near water.
When boat fishing, the weather may change suddenly and cause unforeseen dangerous water conditions. With all fishing and any outdoor activity be constantly aware of changing weather conditions and its potential consequences. Strong winds make casting difficult and potentially dangerous. Avoid sunburn; wear sun block even when cloudy in the summer months and tinted glasses or sunglasses will help protect your eyes from glare.
Duty of Care/Medical Conditions
If you are taking a guided day or fly fishing tuition day with one of the clubs “resident” instructors/guides you must advise your instructor/guide if you have any serious medical condition, physical disability or other such limitations at the beginning of the day. It’s also your responsibility to advise your instructor/guide what he or she should do in the event of an emergency in your case. Don’t be afraid to say if you are finding anything too difficult or physically demanding.
General Risk Assessment
Please note that this is a general risk assessment highlighting the majority of the potential problems/risks you are most likely to encounter during a day of fly fishing, if taking a fly fishing tuition or guided day your instructor/guide will bring to your attention any specific risks associated with the venue you are fishing at the beginning of the day and throughout the day. Clearly it’s impossible to anticipate every single problem or potential risk and some circumstances can be and are totally unforeseen, accidents do happen, take care, move slowly and above all use common sense, much of the responsibility for your own safety lies with you. It’s also advisable to inform someone as to where you are intending fishing and approximately what time you expect to return.
If you are taking a fly fishing tuition or guided day with one of the clubs “resident” instructors/guides in the event of a severe problem involving any health or safety issue the decision of your instructor/guide to terminate the day is final.
In the event of an emergency dial 999 or 112.