New opportunities for the Thames Trout

A recent project funded by the Environment Agency and designed and delivered by Andy Thomas of the Wild Trout Trust provides new opportunities for trout and other flow loving species that reside in the lower Thames.

The Abbey stream is an old man-made river channel that leaves the River Thames at Penton Hook and re-joins downstream of Chertsey weir. The weirs and locks on the main river mean that opportunities for flow-loving, gravel spawning fish species, including brown and sea trout are very limited but a recent project completed by the WTT with EA funding and support has not only created spawning habitat but also helped to provide improved migration opportunities.

Abbey stream Thames confluence
The confluence of the Abbey Stream with the main river Thames.

The project entailed increasing the flow velocities in the section immediately upstream of the confluence to create an attractant flow which will encourage any fish on upstream migrations to explore this channel as an easier route upstream. 

Migration opportunities over a small weir located under an ornamental bridge were also improved via the installation of a French oak easement, designed to concentrate flow and partially drown out the weir above. As well as improving access for migration, the project will provide new and improved spawning opportunities via the introduction of 10 tonnes of hand barrowed gravels.

Abbey stream Thames new confluence
The new confluence with imported gravel bed and attractant flows spilling out to the main river
Abbey stream thames flow deflectors
Live willow flow deflectors will help keep gravels clean and provide cover for spawning fish
Abbey stream thames weir
An awkward weir located under an ornamental bridge has been modified to improve access for fish
Abbey stream thames easement
Installation of an oak easement to drown out the weir above.
Abbey stream thames easement work
The new easement opens up the Abbey stream for improved access for Thames fish species.