Panorama programme on sewage pollution

Posted on April 13, 2021

Panorama programme on sewage pollution

This Panorama programme was really good to spread word to a wider audience, but, sadly, it wasn’t news to those of us working in rivers. Official statistics verify that recorded serious pollution events from the water industry have not decreased in at least the last decade.

WTT’s Conservation Officers offer a unique, national perspective on England’s rivers, spending as they do around 1000 professional days by and in the water: they widely see evidence of pollution of rivers, whether from sewage, agriculture or other industry. When we see issues, we report them to the regulatory agencies, we record them in advisory visit reports; in normal years, we offer an expert view directly to the Secretary of State and we join with other NGOs to inform policy makers. We encourage members to engage with their MPs to gain political support. It is a source of frustration to us and to anyone who cares about rivers that the EA, NRW, Ofwat and, by extension, Water Companies, are not directed by our politicians to treat water quality as a priority with the necessary investment in infrastructure and funds for enforcement of regulations.

Good river condition is a function of decent water quality, quantity and habitat. We make no pretence that our kind of habitat-focused work will solve the ills of a river running with pollution or too little water. But our kind of work is a great way to get local people practically involved in their river and get them started on a journey that in time sees them tackling those three vital components of a good river.

Sportfish Virtual Show 17-18 April

Posted on April 08, 2021

Sportfish Virtual Show 17-18 April

WTT Director Shaun Leonard will be taking part in the live panel discussion as part of the Sportfish Virtual Show. The discussion takes place 15.15 to 16.00 on Sunday 18 April.

The show takes place over the weekend of 17-18 April and features both live and recorded events with guests including Charles Jardine, Paul Procter and Tiggy Pettifer. 

The full programme is available on the Sportfish website, along with links to the Sportfish Facebook page and YouTube channel. 

The Irish Society’s Festival of Game Fishing - recordings of presentations

Posted on April 06, 2021

The Irish Society recently ran an excellent day of talks, with some involvement from WTT’s Gareth Pedley. There are really interesting presentations from Ken Whelan on salmon, from Richard Kennedy on the intriguing (and mighty) dollaghan trout of Lough Neagh and from Robert Rosell on sea trout tracking work along Ireland’s north east coast. (Agenda here)

The presentations have been recorded and are available on the Irish Society website  Very well worth looking at! 

Dunston Beck Project in Lincolnshire

Posted on April 06, 2021

Dunston Beck  Project in Lincolnshire

A terrific project on the limestone Dunston Beck in Lincolnshire has put this arrow-straight river into a more natural shape, together with lots of floodplain features.

Work on the 3-hectare site has turned a former arable field into diverse floodplain wetland and meadow habitat allowing wildlife to thrive. The work was led by the Wild Trout Trust and involved collaboration between the landowner, Beeswax Dyson Farming, the Environment Agency, the Lincolnshire Rivers Trust and the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. Not only will the project benefit fish species such as brown trout and aquatic plants and invertebrates, but the back channels and ponds will be great for bird species such as snipe.

Project manager for the Wild Trout Trust, Tim Jacklin said, “We’re delighted to have been involved in the development and delivery of this project along with our project partners. Creating more natural areas alongside our rivers and streams has so many benefits. As well as making them simply nicer places to be, it provides more space for water and better wildlife habitats, making our landscapes more resilient to climate change and boosting biodiversity. It will be great to see this site develop as the wildflower seeding and native planting becomes established.”

Wild Trout Trust Auction 2021 Result

Posted on April 06, 2021

The Wild Trout Trust Spring Auction closed on 29 March and we have raised a fantastic £81,200. This is the second best ever result and we are amazed and delighted! Thank you to all the very generous donors and bidders and to the many people who helped to promote the auction.

We promise to wisely spend the money raised on practical advice and river habitat projects for wild trout.  

Northern Ireland Festival of Fishing

Posted on March 04, 2021

Northern Ireland Festival of Fishing

The Irish Society, owner of extensive fishing rights in Northern Ireland, is running an online Festival of Fishing, on Friday 12 March 2021, 12.00-20.00. Speakers include great men and women of the fisheries world in Ireland, including Ken Whelan, Richard Kennedy, Robert Rosell, Jim Haughey, Feargal Sharkey, Glenda Powell and Trish Murphy, with contributors from across the water too. WTT’s Gareth Pedley will contribute to the Q&A sessions, to stress the importance of good habitat for the fish (and fishing) of the river. The event is free, with more information and registration at:

More details on this leaflet.

Freshwater fish in 'catastrophic decline'

Posted on February 23, 2021

Freshwater fish in 'catastrophic decline'

A new report by WWF and 15 global conservation organisations reveals the shocking fact that one in three freshwater fish species face extinction globally. 

WWF say: 

'Freshwater fishes continue to be undervalued and overlooked – and thousands of species are now heading towards extinction. Freshwater biodiversity is declining at twice the rate of that in our oceans or forests. Indeed, 80 species of freshwater fish have already been declared ‘Extinct’ by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, including 16 in 2020 alone. Meanwhile, populations of migratory freshwater fish have fallen by 76 per cent since 1970 and mega-fish by a catastrophic 94 per cent.'

Gail Davies-Walsh is the new Chief Exec of Rivers Trust in Wales

Posted on February 12, 2021

Gail Davies-Walsh is the new Chief Exec of Rivers Trust in Wales

Chris Mills, Chair of Afonydd Cymru, has made this announcement:

'I am delighted to announce that following a competitive process Gail has been appointed to lead the umbrella body for the Rivers Trust movement in Wales.

Gail has over 20 years of experience in the water industry and consultancy more recently moving into the Rivers Trust movement where she is currently Head of Natural Capital for the Wye and Usk Foundation. Gail will now divide her time between this role and leading Afonydd Cymru into the next phase of its development.

Jack Perks: Britain’s Hidden Fishes film

Posted on February 09, 2021

Jack Perks: Britain’s Hidden Fishes film

Wildlife cameraman Jack Perks does a tremendous job at getting fish onto our TV screens and showing the public that wildlife doesn’t have to have fur or feathers to be fascinating. His next project is to make a one hour, cinema quality film that showcases the hidden stories of British fish, everything from sticklebacks to basking sharks. He has assembled an extraordinarily talented crew of editors, composers, consultants and camera operators, including Jeremy Wade (of River Monsters fame) who will narrate the film.

The film will be funded through a Crowdfunding Campaign on IndieGoGo – Jack says ‘this is the only option to create a short film about fish as most see them as brown, slimy, boring things. However, they are so much more than that with the ruby reds and kingfisher blues on a grayling’s dorsal fin or the deadly patience of pike waiting for an unsuspecting shoal of rudd to pass by’.

Rivers & Wetlands Community Days

Posted on February 04, 2021

Rivers & Wetlands Community Days

The Rivers & Wetlands Community Days (RWCD) 2021 programme, funded by Thames Water, is open for applications from Friday, 5 February 2021, closing on 12 March 2021.

The programme seeks to fund practical action for local people to make things better for their rivers and wetlands, now and into the future. Following on from its success in previous years, RWCD is looking to support projects big and small, from a couple of practical days with volunteers and now too, some larger-scale improvement work for rivers and wetlands.

We welcome applications from local, non-Governmental community groups working in the Thames Water catchment, including rivers and wildlife trusts, flood groups, countryside/catchment partnerships, angling clubs and conservation volunteers.

Dead Drift - a novel by Pat O'Reilly

Posted on January 19, 2021

Dead Drift - a novel by Pat O'Reilly

WTT Vice President Pat O'Reilly will be well known to many anglers for his book 'Matching the Hatch'. 

His latest book is a fast moving thriller called 'Dead Drift' that has, inevitably, flyfishing woven into its intricate plot.

Pat is very generously donating his author royalties and publisher's proceeds to support the work of the Wild Trout Trust inspiring, advising and helping community groups across Britain and Ireland to protect wild trout and their habitats.

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