Trout in the Town Blog

18/08/2016 - 15:51


As near as I can work out from the archaeology report, this section of river - recently brought back to the surface in dramatic fashion by Sheffield City Council, the EA and the WTT partnership - was buried in a low brick tunnel somewhere around 1853 to 1868. The northern half of the site was certainly buried underground BEFORE the time the 1853 map was produced....and the rest of the brick tunnel was placed over the top of the stream before the map of 1868...

Of course, it is not easy to tell what the water quality was like in that section even BEFORE the stream was buried...and whether there were trout surviving in the stream when it was sealed underground...

What is damned sure is that you couldn't wave a fly fishing rod around in that underground tunnel once they'd built it!

This was still the case until the completion of the massive project to remove the brickwork and create an attractive "pocket park" in the city centre. You might have seen from This Previous Blog Post that SPRITE have already been finding some wonderful invertebrate life here.

So, unless some other optimistic urban fly-rod explorer tried their hand between the completion of the project and when I was fortunate to revisit the site and show it to the judges of the Canal & Rivers Trust's "Living Waterways" competition, I think the little chap below COULD be the first wild trout landed on a fly for at least 160 years from this section of stream.


Now, that is not a very big fish, but everyone (especially me) was absolutely delighted to see it, briefly, up close before releasing back to its new home. On a personal level, because my other great passion in life is Japanese fly fishing, I am also tickled pink to make the capture with the tenkara methods that have been used in Japanese mountain streams throughout history.

The photos were taken on a visit that took place back in June, and I was back on site yesterday to join in with some of the interviews that were being recorded as part of the Living Waterways awards. I'm keeping everything crossed that this excellent partnership project will win through against some stiff rival projects - and it is fantastic to learn that it has been shortlisted as a finalist...

So watch this space and - either way - the re-connection of a little urban stream to the surrounding community and the creation of new habitat for riverside and aquatic wildlife is a great result already.

Big thanks to Simon Ogden for letting me use his photos to prove this isn't just a tall story!

28/07/2016 - 10:57

The great strength of (good!) science is that it tells us how confident we can be that what you see is a true effect - or just part of the natural random variation in nature. As humans, we are so often "fooled by randomness" - we see faces in clouds and the image of the Madonna in Fried Chicken...

As one of many fascinating aspects of our own Prof. Jon Grey's research, he has contributed to the understanding of what invasive crayfish actually do "do" in our rivers. You can see his thoughts on the most recent National Crayfish Conference that he attended and contributed to here: NATIONAL CRAYFISH CONFERENCE.

Below you can enjoy some fascinating insights into what existing good quality science can tell us about invasive crayfish

Did you know that there are at least 7 non-native species of crayfish in the UK? What do we really know (by controlled measurements) about their impacts on our native fish - including trout and salmon? Is there a crayfish species that is worse for UK waterways than the signal crayfish? The answer to the last question is yes; but right now it is still only here in small numbers...



 

08/07/2016 - 15:55

Andy Thomas gives us a great selection of his three favourite projects from last year. These are a quick highlights of his works to improve trout and sea trout streams in his role as Conservation Officer for Southern England for the Wild Trout Trust. Improving an urban concrete sea trout stream is his first stop...

05/07/2016 - 15:05

Careful and objective research reported at the Annual Get Together of the Wild Trout Trust by Dr. Kevin Wood of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust.

04/07/2016 - 14:47

Most rivers run through human settlements at some point during their length. Paradoxically, because the fragmented ownership (or previous water quality) of urban rivers has traditionally discouraged fly fishing clubs, the wild trout populations are often very healthy. 

Andreas Explaining How Opinions and Practices Related to Wild Fish are Changing (see video below..)

A regime of benign neglect (rather than removal of cover for insects and fish through over-zealous manicuring) and also the reduction of competitive or genetic impacts from extensive stocking often gives rise to some excellent wild trout fishing in urban settings. 
 
That is so long as the water quality is good enough and there is a viable source of colonisation for wild fish...
 
So, perhaps there are additional benefits to both reducing the number of straying stock fish from heavily-managed rural reaches - and at the same time increasing the supply of well-adapted, stream-bred fish throughout the river system?
 
The big question is - how do you hope to shift such a dominant and long-lasting practice in fisheries that are highly valuable in financial terms... ?
 
Bearing in mind that such fisheries are also subject to some of the strongest rituals and codes of practice when it comes to both fishing and also the keepering of the river...
 
Well, Salisbury & District Angling Club are doing just that and Andreas Topintzis from SADAC gives a great account of it in his talk that he gave to the Wild Trout Trust Annual Get Together (which this year was held at Langford Lakes on the banks of the River Wylye in Wiltshire)
 
29/06/2016 - 16:40

A Five Minute run-down of what the Trust has done with your donations and in-kind support between summer 2015 and summer 2016.

If you think some/all of these things are a good thing, then please support us by donating £3 per month (or even go for life membership or another donation) on this link:

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