Kevin Sunderland of the Aire and
Calder Rivers Group remembers me asking the question
in this diary; 'Will salmon ever return to
the Calder?'. Today he writes:
'The answer, I think, is yes. I believe I saw a couple today
at the foot of Kirkthorpe Weir, Wakefield.
I went specifically to look for them following the recent
floods. In my opinion, Kirkthorpe is the highest point on
the Calder that they can get to. The Environment Agency will
tell you that they were large trout but I don't think so.
'We know that salmon are now going up the Don, and they have
also been seen at Thwaites Mill, Stourton in Leeds. If they
turn up the Calder at Castleford instead of going up the Aire,
there are no major obstacles before Kirkthorpe.
'I saw 3 fish today. One may have been a trout. Another one
made a prodigious leap at the weir and my immediate reaction
was that it was a salmon. The last one leapt about 3 feet
vertically about 10 yards downstream of the weir. There's
no guarantees but I think it was a salmon. They won't get
up the weir so if there are any more heavy rains over the
next month or so, I think that they will be leaping again.'
Maker's plate, the sluice
gate, Kirkthorpe Weir.
There were probably still salmon in the Calder in 1827.
In medieval times Wakefield had a Fishers' Guild. Even later
than this salmon was in such plentiful supply that apprentices'
indentures included a clause that the master should not
serve fish more than an agreed number of times per week.