Christmas Greetings from WTT Director, Shaun Leonard

Posted on December 17, 2020

From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for your support of WTT through 2020. We’ve been touched and humbled by your warm words and generosity in the auction just when Covid hit us in the Spring, then when so many of you renewed your membership and now again with our autumn raffle which has just raised a record amount of £7997.I am also indebted to my colleagues for their stoicism and the expertise of our trustees across a really bumpy year – we go into the unknown of 2021 in a strong position and with plenty of work to do. We have advisory visits lined up and will jump in leading volunteer groups when things feel a little clearer and trout spawning season has passed; we’re developing some really interesting river improvement projects.

The 2021 WTT auction will run 19-28 March, our annual journal will reach you in early May, we’ll aim for members’ fishing days through the year, our great fun 3-Fly fundraiser is planned for 19 June and (we can only hope), we’ll be able to meet in September for our postponed Annual Get Together. I wish you well for the Christmas period. Take care and stay safe. Shaun LeonardDirector

Annual Draw Result

Posted on December 17, 2020

1st Prize kindly donated by Sage, worth approximately £1000+A Sage Single-Handed Fly Rod of your choice from the range currentat the time of the draw to which will be added an appropriate reel and line.Won by M Chapman of Hope 2nd Prize kindly donated by The Peacock at Rowsley & Haddon Fisheries, worth £470One night’s accommodation in a large double/twin room for 2 peoplewith 3-course dinner and buffet breakfast, plus 2 low-season ticketsto fish the Derbyshire Wye, 2021 season.Won by N Dunn of Emsworth 3rd Prize kindly donated by William Daniel, Famous Fishing, worth £450A day’s fishing for 3 rods on 1½ miles of the Lambourn at Weston.2021 season by arrangement on a Mon, Tue or Wed after 30 June.Won by R Juddery of Tonbridge 4th Prize kindly donated by George & Ann Eaton, worth £120A day for 2 or 3 people (can be parent and child) to watch wildlifefrom a ‘high seat’ in a tree at Rectory Farm (in Bucks)to see badgers, muntjac deer, hare, owls and foxes. Summer 2021.Won by J Body of Chelmsford 5th Prize kindly donated by James Lanfear, Jim’s Lures, worth £80A pair of exquisite, wooden fishing lureshand-crafted in Devon by James Lanfear of Jim’s Lures.Won by J Pepper of Wembley All winners have been contacted.

Pet flea treatments in our rivers

Posted on November 26, 2020

Pet flea treatments are highly toxic insecticides used on cats and dogs to kill fleas, and recent research shows they are getting into our rivers across England. 

This is worrying for our invertebrate life in rivers, and the fish and birds that depend on them. This issue was highlighted by Buglife three years ago but no action was taken. 

Matt Shardlow of Buglife says:“Three years have passed since we first highlighted the risk to wildlife from flea treatments and no regulatory action has been taken. The massive over-pollution of all waterbodies with fipronil is shocking and there is an urgent need for the government to ban the use of fipronil and imidacloprid as flea treatments.” 

Aquifer recharge webinar 18 Nov at 7pm

Posted on November 12, 2020

Aquifer recharge webinar 18 Nov at 7pm

Mike Jones is a specialist in groundwater resources. Whilst at Thames Water he directed major groundwater resource schemes to support public water supply during drought and future supply in an uncertain climate.

He will be talking at a Chalk Aquifer Alliance event, hosted by Bury Water Meadows Group. The talk will address these questions:

  • What is managed aquifer recharge? How can it be used?
  • Where is it used in the UK? Why is it used more extensively in other countries?
  • Is there potential for integration with natural & engineered flood management?
  • Who are the stakeholders in understanding its benefits & applications?
  • When will its use increase in the UK?

Register for the event (free). 

Buffer strips on river banks are good!

Posted on November 09, 2020

Buffer strips on river banks are good!

The Environment Agency and Forestry Commission have published a report about riparian buffer zones, which are strips of uncultivated land on the river-bank, ideally 10m-20m wide covered with deciduous trees and shrubs. The report is detailed and, in places, quite technical but the take home message is as clear as ever – buffer zones are good for rivers and for wildlife. They help reduce flooding, reduce diffuse pollution, capture sediment and carbon and keep rivers cool by providing shade. 

The video below is a simple but graphic demonstration of the effect of buffer strips.

River Ecclesbourne, Derbyshire

Posted on November 03, 2020

Another autumn is upon us and trout are undertaking their seasonal migration to find good habitat for spawning. In rivers, this usually means an upstream journey into headwaters and tributaries where the resulting offspring can spend their early lives before colonising the wider river system (or sea, in the case of sea trout). This migration can be over considerable distances (tens of kilometres) – but only if the way is clear. Man-made barriers litter our watercourses, on average one every mile (1.5km) in British rivers, stalling or preventing migration and greatly limiting fish populations.

On the River Ecclesbourne in Derbyshire there are two such barriers and the Wild Trout Trust is working in partnership with the Environment Agency, landowners and others to try and overcome them. Success will make miles of good spawning habitat accessible, not only for trout but also salmon which have been returning via the Rivers Trent and Derwent in recent years, after being absent since the Industrial Revolution. The short film (below) by wildlife cameraman Jack Perks introduces the project.

Watch this space for updates as the project progresses. Contact Tim Jacklin for further information

Sewage in rivers. One thing you can do now!

Posted on November 02, 2020

Sewage in rivers. One thing you can do now!

UPDATE: the bill has been delayed until 15 January 2021. Plenty of time to write to you MP!

There has been a great deal in the media recently about the poor quality of the water in our rivers, and in particular the discharge of untreated sewage from Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs).

You can find out more about the various campaigns and petitions on our water quality blog.

An evening with eels

Posted on October 27, 2020

The Institute of Fisheries management will be hosting a ZOOM Evening with Eels on Monday 2nd November 2020 at 7.30.

Eels in the Thames; from Domesday to No-Eel Brexit, with Darryl Clifton-Dey of the Environment Agency and Eels in the Azores: Trapping, Tagging and Tracking with Andy Don of the Environment Agency.

WTT Vice President Matthew Wright talks to Jack Perks

Posted on October 21, 2020

WTT Vice President Matthew Wright talks to Jack Perks in this podcast for World Fish Migration Day on 24th October.

Some good discussion about the WTT, the role of anglers in conservation, Matthew's experience of our 'Get Togethers' including our virtual Get Together in September this year, mental health and fishing.

Impacts of signal crayfish invasion in upland streams

Posted on October 19, 2020

Impacts of signal crayfish invasion in upland streams

To date, while the ecological impacts of invasive crayfish are widely known, the evidence for detrimental effects on fish species in the UK has been equivocal, based upon small-scale and/or short-term studies with correlative results, and laboratory experiments that may not always reflect impacts in nature. Hence, finally, it is good to see the first robust study of the impacts of our most widespread invasive crayfish, the signal, on the fish and invertebrates of upland streams (although the results do not make comfortable reading). Senior author on the study, Dr Martyn Lucas, has summarised the key findings below.

We used a combination of BACI (Before-After-Control-Intervention) and Control-Intervention studies in the upper River Tees catchment to robustly measure the effects of signal crayfish invasion on fish abundance, and fish and benthic invertebrate community structure, over medium (identical surveys at the same sites in 18 streams in 2011 and 2018) and long (30 years, benthic invertebrates in 3 invaded and 3 uninvaded streams) timescales.

Bottom-dwelling fishes, especially bullhead (a UK Biodiversity Action Plan species, and EU Habitats Directive protected species – but also an invasive salmonid egg eater in parts of Scotland), were dramatically reduced in abundance in invaded streams and stream sections. Recruitment of bullhead collapsed in signal crayfish invaded streams; this is not surprising as signal crayfish and bullhead both use cobble/boulder refuges and bullhead spawn under boulders, from which signal crayfish tend to exclude bullhead. Bullhead appear to have been extirpated from two study streams invaded by signal crayfish.

Trout spawning in tiny streams

Posted on October 19, 2020

Trout have started spawning in some parts of the country where water temperatures are low.

It is worth remembering that trout will spawn in streams less than a metre wide, and that we need to recognise the importance of these tiny, seemingly insignificant systems which some might (and do) consider drains or ditches.

This tweet from the Ness Fisheries boards shows a video of trout that has moved from a loch to a burn spawn in a burn no more than a metre wide.