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Tuesday, 10th April 2012
A large part of the country is in drought and water levels in rivers and lakes are low even outside the drought areas. Low flows over the summer can also mean higher water temperatures, and warmer water holds less oxygen, putting fish under considerable stress. Lower water volumes also mean less dilution of pollutants and pathogens. The situation is likely to get worse as the year progresses, and it will be a difficult year for trout and other river wildlife in many areas.
How can we help?
First and foremost, reduce your own water use and encourage others to do so! Find top tips here.
In terms of habitat management:
- Allow trees, shrubs and bankside plants to grow and provide shade to keep water cool. Avoid cutting back vegetation to allow light in, especially on the deep pools which will be cool water refuges for trout.
- Minimise cutting of in-channel weed, even if this interferes with your fishing! Weed in the channel will help keep levels up, provide shady refuges for trout and places for them to avoid predation by birds.
- Where in-channel weed and shade is lacking, consider making bundles of brash and pegging them into the channel to provide temporary cover, or create temporary shading over holding pools using cut trees, or branches spanning the channel, supported by posts and cable/wire.
- Fish become stressed when water levels are low and the water is warm. Think carefully before fishing on hot days with low water levels. Don’t play fish for any more than absolutely necessary and release fish quickly and carefully.
- ‘ Fish Rescues’ are a last resort and must only be undertaken in consultation with the Environment Agency, or the relevant fishery authority in Ireland and Scotland. Make contact with your local Fisheries Officer and agree lines of communication and action if you think a fish rescue may be needed. Moving trout from drying sections into reaches further downstream is not always the best solution as it may put an even larger number of fish at risk by increasing the density of trout in the flowing sections. Be aware that unauthorised moving of fish may be an offence and could spread disease.
The Environment Agency website has up to date bulletins on the drought here.
Tuesday, 3rd April 2012
The annual Wild Trout Trust Get Together will be held at the Tufton Arms in Cumbria on 2 and 3 June 2102.
The talks on the 2 June are a mixture of fishing and habitat, fun and information. There will be a 'Wild Trout Question Time'- your chance for some answers on wild trout ecology, habitat work and and fishing.
Speakers include Paul Procter, Stuart Crofts, Roger Smith, Will Cleasby, Simon Johnson and Shaun Leonard.
Click here for an agenda and details of how to book.
On Sunday 3rd we will disperse and take advantage of the excellent fishing on the Eden and its tributaries.
Click here for a guide to the available fishing.
A typical Eden trout
Tuesday, 20th March 2012
The Wild Trout Trust would like to thank all the donors and bidders for making this an extremely successful auction raising £51,568 gross.
For details about our annual auction, including a copy of the 2012 catalogue, how to donate lots and how to bid, click here.
Our next auction will be in March 2013.
Friday, 9th March 2012
The EA have produced a really interesting but incredibly sobering report on the water situation in England & Wales: The Case for Change - Current and Future Water Availability The report indicates yet again but in stark terms what we think we know about the future for our environment: warmer with more frequent droughts, more people needing more water and big increases in pressure on our aquatic ecosystems. Click here for the report.
Monday, 20th February 2012
The UK Crayfish website www.crayfish.org.uk, brings together up to date information about the UK’s only native crayfish, the White-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobuis pallipes) and its conservation. Also provided is a range of information about non-native crayfish species, their impacts and control. The website contains both professional and public channels to ensure that a wide variety of information is available on all aspects and issues relating to crayfish, regardless of what you know or what you want to know about crayfish, there will be something to interest you.
The professional channel contains a White-clawed crayfishconservation toolkit, it provides information on crayfish projects including ark sites and summarises crayfish research. The public channel provides an introduction to the different types of crayfish that occur in the UK, what to do if you find a crayfish and how you can help conserve our endangered White-clawed crayfish.
Friday, 17th February 2012
In 2011 we held a photography competition in a bid to generate some high quality images for use in WTT publications. The entries were judged by WTT President, Charles Rangeley-Wilson, who took the cover shot of last year’s Salmo Trutta magazine.
Charles said “The winner was hard to pick, but bearing in mind the standard of his other pictures I'm picking Don Stazicker whose overall selection was the strongest. His winning picture is perfectly timed and I know myself how hard a shot that is to get. Charles Carr's Mayfly is also fabulous and this is my choice as runner-up.”
“Honorary mentions should also go to Kevin Milner and Ian Ashton. A lovely shot of a stricken mayfly and a simple, but nevertheless very evocative riverscape that would make anyone want to go fishing.”
Congratulations to Don who wins a day’s wild trout fishing arranged by the WTT.
Look out for the images from the competition throughout the upcoming Salmo Trutta magazine in April.
Don Stazicker's winning image of a rising trout
Charles Carr, Mayfly Silhouette
Ian Ashton 'Early May'
Kevin Milner, Stricken Mayfly
Monday, 6th February 2012
The Environment Agency has today launched a fund of £28m over three years to:
• restore more natural features in and around waters;
• reduce the impact of man-made structures on wildlife in waters
• reduce the impact of diffuse pollution that arises from rural and urban land use.
Applications must come from a charity or charity type organisation and the WTT (as a registered charity) is very keen to support any groups who would like to apply for this funding. Timing is very tight for the
first round of funding, but it makes sense to register an expression of interest by the first deadline of February 29th.
More detail about the fund can be found here
Sunday, 15th January 2012
Following completion of a project to improve a short section of the Meon at Meonstoke in Hampshire, a plaque was unveiled on Saturday 14th January to the memory of Pasco James by his mother, Harriet Poland, and girlfriend Holly.
Pasco was a keen fisherman and loved the Meon. He died in 2010 at the age of 22, and his friends and family made donations to the Wild Trout Trust in his memory. The WTT looked for a project that would be a suitable memorial for Pasco - one that was publicly accessible and reflected his love of the river, its trout and all the wildlife that makes the river so special. The Churchwardens from St Andrew’s were delighted to help by giving access from ‘The Green’.
Pasco’s mother Harriet says; “The River Meon was always special to Pasco. As a young teenager, he slaved away one summer holidays on his own to clear a neglected upper reach between East and West Meon. He later worked at Meon Springs Fishery. So he would be delighted with all these improvements at Meonstoke; especially since they will benefit the wild brown trout that he loved so much.”
Much of the river Meon around Meonstoke is a beautiful example of a small chalk stream. The short stretch next to the A32, however, had problems. It was a wide, shallow concrete channel bounded by walls and topped with a weir that presented a major challenge to trout wanting to move upstream to spawn.
A fortunate coincidence of the land beside the river being gifted to St Andrew’s Church, the Environment Agency wanting to improve the weir and the Wild Trout Trust seeing the potential for improvement led to a project to enhance the river channel for the benefit of all wildlife – and especially trout!
The project involved modifying the weir to allow fish to freely migrate and the creation of a new wildlife friendly river bank below. Traditional ‘soft engineering’ techniques were used in the channel to construct a new section of river bank planted with native aquatic plants that will provide a haven for fish and aquatic invertebrates and also provide habitat for birds and small mammals.
The work was completed by the Wild Trout Trust in November 2011. The changes to the weir were funded by the Environment Agency, and the habitat improvement work was paid for by the WTT’s Pasco James Fund.
This simple, cost effective project is already inspiring the local community to get involved in caring for their river and helping the Meon reach its full potential for wildlife, as well as providing a fitting memorial for Pasco.
Saturday, 7th January 2012
The recent high winds that have swept across the country have caused a lot of damage and inconvenienced many. Many trees have been blown over and quite a few of these will have ended up in rivers. The first reaction of many will be "we'll have to get that out", but before jumping to that conclusion - stop and think.
A recent tree-fall on the River Dove in Derbyshire
Here at the Wild Trout Trust, we're always banging on about large woody debris (LWD) and its benefits for in-river habitat. In fact we spend an awful lot of time working on projects to introduce LWD to rivers. It could just be that the recent weather has saved an awful lot of leg-work by introducing LWD for you, without the need for lengthy consultations, consent applications and considerable expense!
Of course, some of the recent tree falls may have the potential to cause problems, for example by increasing flood risk if they are upstream of bridges and likely to break loose in floods. Many however will be firmly attached to the bank by root systems and remain stable during high water; these are some of the most valuable habitat features to be found on rivers. Trees which genuinely increase flood risk are likely to be assessed and removed by the Environment Agency, but those which are low risk or in waterourses not designated as "main river" will be the responsibility of the landowner. This provides a great opportunity to maximise the benefits for fish habitat by taking a hands-off approach.
The various WTT habitat manuals contain guidance on managing LWD in your river, orginally derived from the West Country Rivers Trust. It's worth re-iterating here:
- Is the debris fixed? If yes then continue to 2, if not continue to 5.
- Is the debris causing excess erosion by redirecting the current into a vulnerable bank? If yes then go to 5 if not then go to 3.
- Would fish be able to migrate past it (if the head difference across the LWD is greater than 0.4m or if the LWD appears ‘sealed’ then migration is unlikely to be possible). If yes got to 4, if no go to 5.
- Retain the woody debris in the river.
- Re-position securely using appropriate techniques, or extract the debris
Guidance on fixing LWD securely can be found in the WTT habitat manuals or by contacting our conservation officers. Remember, there are multiple benefits of having LWD in your river: cover for fish from predators, local scour which improves depth variety and cleans spawning gravel and retention of leaf litter which supports fly-life and improves trout food, to name but a few. So even if the newly fallen tree does cause a bit of inconvenience from an angling perspective, think long and hard before reaching for the chainsaw and winch!
Monday, 12th December 2011
2011 highlights for me? The meeting of the Trout in the Town groups on the Wandle in February, the e-bay and Flyfishers Club auctions, the brilliant WTT annual gathering on the Monnow, some really good collaborative work with the Angling Trust, Atlantic Salmon Trust, Fishmongers Company, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust and Salmon & Trout Association, agreeing three more years of AVs & PVs funded by EA, getting Gareth Pedley as a Conservation Officer in a really neat collaboration with Eden Rivers Trust, the Game Fair at Blenheim, the 2011 WTT Conservation Awards, Simon Johnson returning and Gary Mantle joining as WTT trustees and so much day-to-day contact with existing and prospective WTT members.
This bit of feedback from a recipient of a Practical Visit last week on the Gloucestershire Coln says a great deal of what WTT is about:
I had not appreciated what the Wild Trout Trust was capable of but now know that there is a professional and expert body which one can turn to for both advice and practical assistance. If only I had known this years earlier then the river might not have slipped into such a bad state.
What's maybe even more exciting is what 2012 holds for us. We'll launch a really fresh-looking Wild Trout Survival Guide penned by Vaughan Lewis, the habitat film starring WTT Vice President Jon Beer, a series of short, hugely practical "how to" videos (made with Fish On Productions) and advisory sheets on river habitat enhancement and, as a hub for all this and a wealth of other info on wild trout and river conservation, we will (finally) have our new website. All this is icing on the cake that is the Conservation Officers continuing to get out there and working with clubs and landowners to make life better for our wild trout. There will be plenty more, so watch our various WTT spaces in the ether. Can't wait.
Thank you to all WTT members and followers for your support through 2011. Have a great Christmas and New Year.
Very best wishes,
Director, Wild Trout Trust