Trout in the Town Blog

12/05/2014 - 15:25

Some readers may have already seen the various pieces that I've contributed on managing surface water in urban and rural catchments (e.g. videos embedded at the bottom of this post) alongside the organisational role to Sheffield's first One Big River event. This was a week of activities focused on the rivers of the Steel City and was timed to coincide with both the River Restoration Centre's Annual Conference (held for the first time at Sheffield Hallam University) as well as the formal signing (and Cabinet adoption) of the Waterways Strategy.

The various community and volunteer events that formed the week-long programme ( included a family-day of riverside events run by the Sheffield branch of the Trout in the Town project (SPRITE) and the Wild Trout Trust. Everyone involved really enjoyed talking to local residents and visitors and showing them the life that abounds in the river via both bug sampling displays and also a demonstration of the "Mayfly in the Classroom" apparatus. This also provided an excellent opportunity to hand out the materials containing contact details and descriptions of SPRITE's monthly activities to people who have been living close to the patch of river corridor that the group looks after - but who had not yet heard of all the good things that are done by these dedicated volunteers.

Unfortunately, the downpours in the run up to the SPRITE/WTT event meant that the planned water crowfoot planting was not safe to carry out - so this will be rescheduled for more appropriate conditions. However, there was ample opportunity to introduce some newcomers to the activity of fly fishing (of both British and Japanese varieties!) in the park where our Gazebo of displays and information was installed for the day.

I hope that we can run a similar event next year and, in the meantime, please check out the collated information on this inaugural event on all the web pages here:

Also, please have a look at the important and surprising information about managing surface water for the benefit of society and wildlife:

17/04/2014 - 10:51

Wildlife photographer and videographer Jack Perks visited Sheffield yesterday as part of his bid to document as many of Britain's freshwater fish species as he can. Some of these species face an uncertain or bleak future - and Jack's project ( could be the last time that they are possible to document on film. On this, his first recce visit, I took Jack on a whistle-stop tour of a number of locations spread across the city; ranging from retail/city-centre areas, heavy industry zones and suburban sites. Jack's VLOG gives a snapshot of his visit below:


19/02/2014 - 18:46

Valuable proof that anglers and community interest groups can be taken seriously by large companies (as well as government bodies) was ably demonstrated yesterday during a meeting convened by the formidable Mike Duddy of Salford Friendly Anglers (centre of picture above).

Discussions over the current (and future-planned) status of a range of Combined Sewer Outfalls on the Irwell system were held at Mike's offices in Salford. Presentations by network managers and external affairs representatives of United Utilities (the local water supply company) were combined with debate over conditions in and around the river.

I'm pleased to have been able to support the group in getting to the stage in the discussions through some assistance in data crunching and interpretation that allowed the "priority" discharges affecting their rivers to be identified based on reported chemical discharge information. Coupled with detailed local knowledge from anglers such as Arthur Hamer on the observed performance of outfalls - a useful exchange of information occurred; enabling plans for exploring collaboration and partnership efforts for the benefit of the condition of Greater Manchester rivers to be made.

Great stuff - and an inspiration to all who may feel intimidated or unable to contact and influence large institutions on the issues that matter in their environment
30/01/2014 - 09:32
Nice brief profile video on this link

Support Salford Friendly Anglers to keep the recovery going,
08/01/2014 - 14:12

Perhaps topical given current examples of river-bed-transporting extreme flows happening in many parts of UK...

In a striking similarity to the widespread lack of understanding of the impacts of dredging on flood risk - the problems caused by weirs that choke off the downstream progression of river gravels, cobbles, sands etc. are not widely appreciated.

The presentation below gives a basic outlining of why everything that lives in our rivers depends on the capacity for river channels to continually transport (and periodically deposit) river bed material from the hilltops to the sea. If we work better with (rather than against) these processes it would be far better for both societal needs/costs and the natural world.

02/01/2014 - 16:05

Although extremely counter-intuitive upon first sight; trying to help wild populations of (for example) trout by boosting their reproduction actually has many more chances to go wrong than to actually help. There is a lot of coverage devoted to the various aspects of this in some of our WTT guidance pages (

But as a really readily understandable example from the world of bird conservation; we can see just one of the prominent pitfalls of giving an artificial helping-hand to breeding success. The nub of it is that if the boosted numbers are made up of individuals that the natural environment would otherwise kill off; you risk actually pushing the population closer to extinction (or permanent reliance on human intervention). The story below and trout-specific research should give serious pause for thought to any club assuming that the best response to the Trout and Grayling Strategy (which will prohibit the stocking of fertile hatchery-bred trout from 2015) is to set up their own wild broodstock programme. Especially as the stripping of wild brood stock removes the natural reproduction that would otherwise have taken place(and which would, consequently, have been subjected to the relevant "filtering" by the actual environment in your river).

Story of the Black Robin:

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