Feedback on the Environment Agency Survey Awareness Training Workshop (Leeds)

Posted on August 14, 2017

Feedback on the Environment Agency Survey Awareness Training Workshop (Leeds)

On Friday 4th August, WTT were invited to contribute to a workshop on Survey Awareness Training, organised by the Environment Agency at Lateral House in Leeds. This was in response to the tree works across Yorkshire which caused some consternation and has already resulted in the production of a briefing note – Tree Works: Lessons Learned.

The stated aim was to provide a clear message to EA staff and external surveyors involved in tree management, to ensure that survey work will be carried out in a consistent manner using the methodology provided during the workshop.

Both Jonny Grey and Paul Gaskell were involved both in the field and in the news at various times in the build up to this workshop, which morphed and changed date on numerous occasions. Ultimately, Jonny gave the presentation on Friday and here reports back for us.

Ed Eley – WTT’s Assistant Conservation Officer

Posted on August 11, 2017

Ed Eley – WTT’s Assistant Conservation Officer

We are delighted to announce that WTT’s latest recruit is Ed Eley, our Assistant Conservation Officer, who’ll work especially closely with Mike Blackmore and Andy Thomas in southern England. We chose Ed from a field of truly excellent applicants, impressed by his passion for rivers and wild trout and his practical background, including some high-level chainsaw skills; he’s also a very keen trout fisher.

Ed’s post is inspired by Pasco James, a young man who died tragically in 2010 and in whose memory we hold our annual 3 Fly Fundraiser at Meon Springs Trout Fishery. The money this event has raised will fund Ed’s post and hopefully allow him to absorb knowledge from Mike, Andy and the other WTT top-notch chaps and contribute to our work across the south. 

New guest blog on heron predation

Posted on August 07, 2017

On the WTT blog, another PhD candidate from the prolific group of Dr Martyn Lucas at Durham University has offered us some insight into heron predation.

Angus Lothian has always been interested in animal behaviour and studied seabird breeding behaviour to fish migration behaviour during the course of a BSc and MRes at the University of Glasgow. At the Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment (SCENE), he monitored the emigration of Atlantic salmon smolts in the River Deveron, Scotland, and picked up invaluable skills in telemetry techniques which ultimately led him to his PhD. Currently, he is furthering our understanding of how fish behave around engineered structures in rivers, such as weirs and fishways, and establishing passage success for various species of coarse fish, as well as our beloved trout.

The observed predation by herons was an interesting by-product of tagging work which Angus undertook and which he hopes to expand upon during repeat monitoring this coming Autumn / Winter.

Brailsford Brook follow up work

Posted on August 07, 2017

Brailsford Brook follow up work

WTT Conservation Officer Tim Jacklin gives an update below on a weir removal project on the Brailsford Brook. The Brook had over 40 weirs, approximately one every 40 metres.  They were installed to create a series of fishable pools in a small brook, but the pools are silted and the weirs are disrupting the natural functioning of the Brook and its wildlife – including trout. You can read Tim’s Advisory Visit report here.

Following weir removal, rivers and streams will adjust to the new flow regime and this period of adjustment may need some management, as Tim describes below:

The WTT has been working on the Brailsford Brook in Derbyshire where in August 2016 five weirs were removed to improve conditions for wild trout. Follow-up work this year has included further weir removals and work to increase bank stability. A number of alder root plates from trees being removed from a nearby lake restoration project provided a great opportunity for using natural materials to stabilise the outside of a meander bend. The bend was experiencing accelerated rates of erosion, leading to widening and shallowing of the river channel. The root plates were positioned to create a new bank line, then the bank was reprofiled behind. A 10-m wide buffer strip is to be fenced and planted with trees. The new bank provides great cover for fish around the outside of the bend and the increased stability will drive down the river bed level through scour, deepening the pool and creating good adult trout habitat.

Following removal of several small weirs on the Ednaston Brook, work was carried out to increase the stability of the banks (before the works).


Root plates from alder trees (which were being removed from the site of a nearby lake restoration) were used to protect the outside of a meander bend. These provide great cover for fish, plus will promote bed scour and deepening of the pool, making it more suitable for larger trout.


Further work will include fencing out livestock and planting trees to increase bank stability in the long term.

Environment Agency recruiting Board members

Posted on August 03, 2017

The Environment Agency seeks four new members for its Board, a good opportunity for a suitably-qualified WTT supporter strategically to influence the future protection of the environment in England.

More information on the website here  also  download this PDF.

Closing date for applications 11 September 2017. 

New ID picture guides for invasive shrimp

Posted on August 01, 2017

New ID picture guides for invasive shrimp

Dr Cyril Bennett and the Salmon & Trout Conservation Trust UK have produced some excellent pictorial guides to help identify two invasive freshwater shrimp species: the killer and the demon shrimp.

The killer shrimp guide includes a photo of a juvenile and illustrates how easily this invader can be inadvertently spread by anglers, boaters and so on. A timely reminder on biosecurity: Check, Clean, Dry!

These guides, a more comprehensive but very simple key from the Freshwater Biological Association covering the majority of invasive shrimp and isopods (both here and on the horizon), and more on biosecurity can be found on the WTT website:

WTT Seeks A New Trustee

Posted on July 21, 2017

The Wild Trout Trust is currently seeking an additional Director (Trustee) to join its Board of Directors. We are particularly interested in an individual in possession of significant professional communications and marketing experience, and who would be able to use this to provide strategic direction to the WTT’s communications activities.

The role entails attending four Board meetings per year in London plus preparation for meetings (proposing agenda items and reading Board papers including accounts, budget, business plan, and reports). Trustees are also encouraged to attend other WTT events, in particular the Annual Conservation Awards (October) and the Annual Get-Together (May/June). In addition, Trustees are expected to undertake Board activities between meetings remotely. An indicative time commitment over and above the four days of meetings is four further days. The post is unpaid, although reasonable travel expenses are recoverable.

Please apply by letter with a CV. Applications should be sent to: The Wild Trout Trust via: Your application should address:

  • your skills knowledge and experience relevant to the role;
  • how you can contribute to the success of the Wild Trout Trust, recognising our charitable articles (see, and specifically the opportunities and needs in relation to communications and promotion of the Trust;
  • your ability to operate as part of a Board of Directors, with diplomacy and in accordance with good governance and avoiding conflicts of interest.

Where have the rivers gone?

Posted on July 18, 2017

"River beds are dry, wildlife is suffering, but no one has come close to mentioning a drought. What’s going on?"

Many of you will be painfully aware of the plight of groundwater-fed rivers in the southern half of England; after a particularly dry winter, they are notable by their absence. Their plight is highlighted in a recent article by Catherine Moncrieff, Freshwater Programme and Policy Manager, WWF-UK, available here. Read how and why the Blueprint for Water coalition are lobbying the Government and water companies.

On the WTT blog, Jess Picken has just provided us with a timely update from her PhD research - she is starting to reveal just how markedly the invertebrate (riverfly) community may be affected by even relatively short periods of low flow. Robust, experimental evidence like this is crucial for organisations like WWF and the Blueprint for Water team to include in their arguments. See the original outline of her PhD project, here.

New EA Head of Fisheries meets WTT

Posted on July 13, 2017

New EA Head of Fisheries meets WTT

The Environment Agency in England has a new Deputy Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Natural Environment: Dr Kevin Austin, in post from early July.

WTT staff were delighted to spend a day with Dr Austin, showing him award-winning improvement projects in the rivers Nadder and Wylye, work that was the product of great partnership between WTT, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency area team, the Wessex Chalkstreams and Rivers Trust and local angling clubs.

WTT wishes Dr Austin every success in his new role and we look forward to carrying on our hugely productive collaboration with the Agency. 

A new type of river management- video

Posted on July 13, 2017

The past few years have seen a shift towards Catchment Management (managing the whole river basin, rather than only short sections of river) and more recently to Natural Flood Management (NFM) which uses natural processes to ‘slow the flow’ and reduce flooding.

This short film is very good explanation of the thinking behind this shift in the way that we manage rivers.


Knaresborough Anglers tackling balsam

Posted on July 10, 2017

Knaresborough Anglers tackling balsam

Knaresborough Anglers were recipients of a WTT workshop (led by Gareth Pedley) supported by the Yorkshire Water Biodiversity Fund. It was decided that the follow-up bursary (which the club match-funded) would be put towards the purchase of Stihl brushcutters and appropriate PPE so that the club membership could instigate a serious programme to tackle the invasive Himalayan balsam along the banks of the River Nidd.

Stuart Gregory reports that they have just completed five work days specifically targeting the balsam and have removed a huge amount from the banks over a two and a half mile stretch. The Knaresborough Anglers Committee is committed to continuing a programme of balsam reduction in the coming years, well aware that there is no quick fix and that success in the future will depend on doggedness, continued investment and working with a variety of key partners and the local landowners from whom they have had excellent support.

As well as tackling the balsam issue, Stuart also says that the club will continue to work through the recommendations highlighted in their WTT Advisory Visit report.  The willow whips already planted seem to have taken in the first phase of bank stabilisation and members are being supportive in leaving large woody debris that previously would have been hauled out. Anecdotally, the number of trout caught this year has improved and there are numerous fry being reported. The club has even managed to get Ripley Beck written in as one of the five priority tributaries for action in the EA’s current three year plan for the River Nidd because of its failure to meet the Water Framework Directive standards. Great work!

Great Yorkshire Show

Posted on July 09, 2017

The Great Yorkshire Show is on this week (Tues-Thurs) and Jonny Grey will be flying the flag for WTT.

Do drop by for a chat - he will be on a stand in the Country Pursuits section, alongside the Salmon & Trout Conservation UK West Yorks branch and Bradford City AA

Rhug (North Wales) Country Fair this weekend

Posted on July 04, 2017

Visit the Rhug country fair this weekend (7/8 July) and meet Noel Hulmston, who has a stand at the fair.Noel is a fishing guide and a much valued supporter of the Wild Trout Trust. 

Rhug is between Wrexham and Bala. Full details here.