Trout in the Town Blog

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:

10/05/2016 - 12:42

I'm very pleased to be able to say that life is starting to recolonise after the extensive works to open up the culverted section of the Porter Brook at Matilda Street.

It was a delight to receive the photos on Twitter showing some of the aquatic creatures that are beginning to colonise the daylighted section of channel.



Some of the different beasties that have already moved in include Baetidae (agile darter nymphs), Gammaridae (freshwater shrimp), Heptageniidae (flat "stone-clinging" mayfly nymphs), as well as Oligochaete worms, Caseless caddis of the Hydropsyche and Rhyacophila genuses.

Hopefully the newly-created variation in channel depth, velocity and structure will provide lots of opportunities for more species and individuals for a long time to come.

If you live within striking distance of Sheffield and you want to get in on future invertebrate monitoring and other works in the streams and rivers of the city, you can email them on sheffieldsprite@gmail.com and also see their website at http://www.sheffieldsprite.com/
21/04/2016 - 11:30


Richard Paterson from ARM and SPRITE doing his best Phantom of the Opera impression (left)

I was delighted to meet with and give a talk to the folks at ARM in Sheffield yesterday (thank you for the invite and hosting Lotte Aweimrin). Richard Paterson of ARM also happens to be doing a fantastic voluntary job of collaboratively running SPRITE (the Sheffield "Trout in The Town" affiliated chapter) with other committee members in what passes for his "spare" time too.

ARM are responsible for lots of the electronic magic that happens inside your tablets, phones and other electronic devices - they are also taking an active role in providing charitable support to organisations doing good works. You can see more detail on this aspect of their business on their Corporate Responsibility pages.

I wanted to thank all of the ARM staff for listening to my presentation and also the excellent questions afterwards. SPRITE will ensure that your support is put to great use on the rivers in and around Sheffield.
12/04/2016 - 14:45

Here is a short video showing just the first phase (out of three phases we have completed so far) of works to re-introduce structural variety into a historically abused watercourse on the River Trent system in Staffordshire.

Wild trout are slowly making a comeback on the main river and - although water quality is a constant worry - there was a huge scope to improve the chances of fish to breed in a small tributary called the Lyme Brook.



With the willing support of the local council (Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council - through Becky Allen), the project was able to become a reality. It was delivered as a partnership project under the Catchment Based Approach (the local hosts for the Trent Valley Partnership are the folks at Groundwork West Midlands). The Environment Agency (as well as Staffordshire Wildlife Trust) are other key members of the partnership.

For this specific work, Matt Lawrence (E.A.), Steve Cook (Groundwork) and Lynne Morgan (Groundwork) arranged funding and logistics for each of the physical works events (that involved contractors/plant hire as well as volunteer days). I had the most fun job of designing the appropriate interventions and directing exactly what Geoff needed to do with the mini-digger to re-sculpt the river into a more functional habitat. Additional workshops featuring volunteers from the Friends of Lyme Valley Parkway (and including "Love Your River" events) put the finishing touches to the planting and gravel introduction (which let me do some final tweaks to make sure everything was going to work to the maximum).

It should be of interest to many people that the brook has seen some extremely high water events since the habitat features have been installed - and there have been no problems with stability of the structures.

13/01/2016 - 18:34
Jerome and I scoping out bits of the Porter Brook - finding a big weir
Continuing with the recent theme of the radical deculverting and habitat improvement work on Sheffield's Porter Brook - here is a quick update on a day spent walking and talking about potential further opportunities. The morning and some of the afternoon was spent in the company of Jerome Masters (EA Fisheries) in a combination of searching out potential sites to assess and then discussing options along with Sam Thorn and Jack Foxall of Sheffield City Council.

The series of short sections might be possible to combine with some more planned deculverting work on another City Centre Tributary (The Sheaf) for further improvements to the connectivity of the Don Catchment - and also the quality and variety of available river corridor habitat.

It will be my job in the coming weeks to come up with a variety of optional scenarios for each of the sites. Depending on the various constraints of either funding, available surrounding land and existing infrastructure - there could be several options for each site. Some of these could be long term aspirations (requiring significant funding and local stakeholder buy-in). Others might be much more simple and relatively inexpensive to achieve.

Hopefully, when taken together, the combined benefits that can accrue from these interventions might just make life a bit easier and more sustainable into the future for our urban river corridor flora and fauna.

Previous work re-shaping the Riverbed of the Porter Brook to improve habitat

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