Wednesday, 11th September 2013

WTT members might be interested in courses being run by the FBA which will also be tutored by renowned angler/entomologist, Stuart Crofts.

Details below:

Freshwater fish: assessment of condition and ageing

Date: Tuesday 15 October; Tutor: Roger Sweeting; Cost: £120; early bird rate £105; FBA member £95; Location: FBA Windermere, Cumbria

This course is aimed at fisheries managers, fishermen and naturalists who want to know more about the fish that they see, catch or handle. Without recourse to dissection or detailed microscopy it is quite staggering how much we can piece together about a fish’s well-being and condition, its age and growth, life history and sexual development. This course aims to provide an insight into the ways of observing fish for these purposes. Roger Sweeting has spent many years studying fish health and helping to develop an understanding of how to improve fisheries for Thames Water, the National Rivers Authority (NRA), the Environment Agency and the FBA.

Fish health, parasites and disease

Date: Wednesday 16 October; Tutor: Roger Sweeting; Cost: £120; early bird rate £105; FBA member £95; Location: FBA Windermere, Cumbria

This is an introductory course for people wanting to understand more about the parasites and diseases of freshwater fish. It will include general principles of parasitology, fish physiology and some practical dissection and microscope work. Roger Sweeting has spent many years studying fish health and has a particular interest in fish parasitology.

For more information and to book a place, please contact or ring 015394 42468. For a full course programme including these, and all our other coursesand a downloadable booking form, please visit




Monday, 9th September 2013

The Silver Creek in Idaho and its resident trout population are regularly studied by the US fish and wildlife service who have noted the propensity of large adult brown trout to opportunistically feed on voles during episodic ‘hatches’ (or infestations) of the rodents (click here for details). Indeed, the phenomenon of trout ‘keying in’ on a mayfly hatch is well known to anglers. Here at the WTT we were recently sent a story about a shrew eating rainbow trout in Alaska.

The 19 inch fish had consumed 19 of the rodents and the picture and story can be viewed by clicking here

Monday, 9th September 2013

This is a reminder that the 4th annual Irish Fly Fair and Angling show will be held at the Galway Bay Hotel on  the 9th and 10th of November. Please click here for more information. 


Monday, 9th September 2013

The Riverfly Partnership’s Riverfly Monitoring Initiative (RMI, previously known as the Anglers Monitoring Initiative) is well established in the angling community, but increasingly non angling volunteers are also being trained to help monitor the health of their local river. 

A very successful training session was held at the end of August in Swaby and on the River Great Eau in Lincolnshire that included students, landowners and naturalists as well as anglers.  

More details can be found here

The event was organised by Ruth Snelson of the Lincolnshire Chalkstreams Project.
This is one of a number of programmes around the UK where the Wild Trout Trust is a long term partner and advisor to the local team. 

Thursday, 29th August 2013

This project took place on the River Great Stour near Ashford in Kent and the main construction phase was completed in August 2013. The objective was to create a varied habitat for flow loving fish over a 600m reach that would work in both low and high flow conditions, as well as provide improved cattle drinks and a doggy dip / drink area.

The river, like many across the UK, had been unsympathetically dredged and the banks were damaged by cattle. During summer low flow periods, the over wide channel became choked with reeds and potentially created a flood water conveyance issue during high flows. The answer was not to simply re-dredge the river, but to create a self sustaining channel with natural form and function that would be more resilient to flood and drought, and provide habitat for flow loving fish including trout, dace and chub.

This delivery of this project was a partnership between the Wild Trout Trust, the Godinton Piscatorials, the Godinton House Preservation Trust and the Environment Agency (EA).

Funding was provided by the SITA Trust, the EA and a private donor.

Before the project. Where is the river ? 

River Great Stour Kent

RiverGreat Stour  Kent









Construction phase.

The reed mass was pulled back and squashed to form a ‘ two-stage’ channel to support high and low flows.  The inside bends of the meanders in the channel were extended with faggot revetment and brash mattress to encourage the river to develop a more natural form.

Great Stour pull back reeds    Stour create brushwood matress

800 tonnes of gravel were imported to raise the river bed and create slight gradient, encouraging faster flow velocities and the development of natural features in the channel.

River Stour a lot of gravel


After construction.
Inevitably the site looks very ‘raw’ immediately after work has been completed, but plants will rapidly recolonise the areas of bare earth through the late summer and autumn, ahead of winter increases in flow.  Now that the main work has been completed, the river will be fenced in September and trees will be planted over the winter.

 As well as creating a clear flowing channel, there is shallow riffle habitat at the head of the reach.

Andy with the new riflle on the River Stour

River flow has been substantially increased over the whole reach with minimal impact on the overall water levels - a less than 50mm lift in upstream water levels was measured. Meanders have been accentuated, which means that the faster  flowing water on the outside of the bends should remain clear of encroaching reed even during lows flows.

Sour made narrower to speed flow


Cattle drinks with substantial cobble and gravel foundations have been created to allow access with reduced erosion impact. Cattle were excluded during the construction phase and will be allowed to return to the drinking areas as soon as the banks have been fenced.

River Stour cattle drink

Large woody debris has been installed to encourage the river to create natural scour pools and to protect the soft banks from erosion during high flows. 

Stour LWD


The river is a popular area for dog walkers,  so a doggy dip / drink has been created where dogs can access the river safely and with minimum impact. There are some tree trunk ‘seats’  for the public to enjoy a rest and look at the wildlife in the river too !

Stour doggy drink


Wednesday, 21st August 2013

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Peter Lapsley, journalist, author and fisherman. Peter was a tremendous supporter of the WTT, and will be very much missed.  

Neil Patterson, his good friend, fellow fisherman and writer, has kindly written this obituary: 

Head out of Watford and turn left to Cassiobury Park. Walk to the bridge over the Grand Union Canal and follow the footpath until you get to a lock. Cross over and plonk yourself on a concrete shelf and place your maggot just where a stream hits the canal.

This is where Peter caught his first roach, aged six. Six years’ later he was to catch his first trout on a fly, on the River Chess.

Peter was born in 1943, in Gravesend. Not a name he’d have given a place to begin his life. “You got to start somewhere” he’d say.

He went to Sandhurst where he captained the rifle shooting team. But when I lent him my airgun to shoot a big fat pigeon that was swaggering around his bird table, it was still there the next week. 

Peter served 10 years in the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment, working in British Guyana, Aden and the Emirates and later, Northern Ireland.

As a military man, to me he was James Bond. Furiously handsome, well-spoken and immaculately groomed. But you can tell the character of a man by the flies he ties.  Each material was systematically and carefully selected. Each turn of silk cautiously calculated. Watching him tie a fly was like watching a nervous man eat a kipper.

Peter never traded in the unnecessary. To drive him crazy, you just had to tell him “A Daddy-long-legs pattern has to have six legs.”

“Trout can’t count,” Richard Walker had once told him.

He developed his relaxed fishing style when he ran a trout fishery; Rockbourne in Wiltshire. This “cured me of any wish to catch and kill fish’. But it allowed him to study trout in their environment and he became much more interested in imparting his knowledge to others. 

Perhaps more than any other British writer in recent times, Peter will be best remembered for helping beginners and seasoned fanatics understand their sport better. As a ‘fly-fishing database’, his ability to simplify and cut away mystique – without letting his ego or self-interest get in the way – is a rare quality amongst sports writers.

There was, however, a time when I thought he was going stark-raving bonkers. Once he proudly turned up to lunch in a pair of spanking new, sand-coloured Clark’s desert boots. And he adored the cruise control on his Lexus.  He wanted to put a sticker in the back window saying ‘I love Cruise Control’, where others might put ‘I love New York’. Which is where drivers behind him wanted Peter to be.   

But the coincidence of an assortment of medical conditions – osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, systemic lupus - combined to make Peter largely house-bound. Then they discovered he had leukaemia.

As his good health slipped quietly and painfully away, he wasn’t a man in retreat. Or a man who displayed the tiniest iota of anger about the blow life had dealt him.

This is because Peter was a man fulfilled:

He was a literary giant, the first person Richard Walker asked to take over his column in leading fishing magazines of the day. Dermot Wilson said of him: “Peter has two great gifts which I envy: he never wastes a word and every word is a mot juste”. 

He has written, co-written or edited ten angling books, including the bestseller, Fly Fishing by J R Hartley.  His latest, A Pocket Guide to Matching the Hatch, he wrote with Cyril Bennett MBE is a complete guide, the size of a fly-box.

His monthly column in FlyFishing & FlyTying – which he contributed to since it was first published – was essential reading. No other fly-fishing writer interviewed so many of the leading fly-fishing luminaries and commented so effectively on issues of the day.

He was a life-time member of a club he’d dedicated so much of his time to, The Flyfisher’s Club. As editor of the Flyfishers Journal he ‘upped’ the standard until his death. His fly-tying classes were oversubscribed.

Once a member of the Abbots Barton water on the Itchen - and later after wild trout on the ‘pretty little’ Meon as a member of the Portsmouth Services Fly Fishing Association - Peter finally found the river that was to fulfil his dreams. The Cresswell & Litton water on the Derbyshire Wye.

Peter never put himself first. When the late John Goddard was unable to drive, Peter drove from his home in Ealing to Surrey to Hampshire and back again almost every week for the last five years of John’s life making sure his friend fished until he could fish no more.

Peter would tell you he was a fulfilled man. He had everything. But his health.

He died on Saturday 3rd August aged 70. He leaves Liza, his wife, children Clare and Douglas and five grandchildren.  

Wednesday, 7th August 2013

Brown trout in the River Hayle have adapted to survive and breed despite lethal toxin levels, a legacy of the Cornish tin mining industry. A joint study by KCL and Exeter University has found that this population of brown trout has undergone rapid genetic changes and developed a tolerance to the toxin levels. This study clearly demonstrates the importance of trout being able to use the full range of genes in their genetic ‘tool box’ and illustrates the dangers of stocking in diluting this resource (see the WTT Stocking page).

View the full story by clicking here

Tuesday, 6th August 2013

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Peter Lapsley, journalist, author and fisherman.

Peter was a tremendous supporter of the WTT, and will be very much missed.

Wednesday, 31st July 2013


Face the Facts programme ‘Sold Down the River’ focuses on paying the price for cheap water and the Charter for Chalk Streams

Tune in and Face the Facts

Face the Facts  broadcasts on BBC Radio 4 and the ’Sold Down the River’ programme goes out on July 31st at 12.30 PM and August 4th at 9PM. However, like most BBC radio programmes it is available on BBC iPlayer so please share this link with anyone you think might be interested or who is in a position to make a difference.

Click here to be redirected to the programme. 

Monday, 29th July 2013

Much like the miners’ canaries of yesteryear, birds are once again warning of potentially damaging substances in the former South Wales coalfield. 

Whereas deep miners once carried caged canaries to warn of suffocating gases, today’s equivalent comes from detailed chemical analysis of pollutant residues in the eggs of wild birds such as the dipper. These thrush-sized birds are the world’s only song-birds to feed directly on river insects and they have proven to be excellent indicators of river health.

Research* carried by scientists at the School of Biosciences shows that dipper eggs along urban South Wales rivers contain some pollutants at levels, on average, over four times greater than in adjacent rural rivers and are among the highest ever found in songbirds. 

The pollutants – such as PCBs and PBDEs – can persist in the environment for long periods and are among those believed to contribute to hormonal irregularities and abnormal development in fish. 

Some of these pollutants are a legacy of past industrial activity but others, such as PBDEs – widely used as flame retardants in building, industrial and domestic materials – might still be increasing. 

This work is important in showing that such substances can find their way into water, particularly near towns and cities, and accumulate in river wildlife. 


Full story here.

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