News

Winners of the Conservation Awards 2019

Posted on October 17, 2019

Winners of the Conservation Awards 2019

Around 100 people gathered in the ballroom of the Savile Club on 16 October 2019 in London to celebrate the tremendous contributions of individuals and groups to improving river habitat. It is always an uplifting experience to see the dedication, determination and expertise that is demonstrated in the projects competing for the annual Wild Trout Trust Conservation Awards.

The awards are judged by the Wild Trout Trust team, under the watchful eye of Martin Jaynes of the River Restoration Centre, and presented by Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England.

WTT’s Director, Shaun Leonard said:

River Darent at Eynsford gets a make-over

Posted on October 14, 2019

River Darent at Eynsford gets a make-over

The Darent Valley Trout Fishers, the Environment Agency and the Wild Trout Trust have teamed up to improve two sections of the River Darent near Eynsford.

The most striking element of the enhancement has been to restore a long section of river that previously had sluggish flow, full of soft sediment and choked with emergent burr reeds, as a direct result of excessive dredging work carried out many years ago. A key part of this scheme was also to improve flood plain connectivity, as well as providing habitat capable of supporting flow-loving fish species like trout.

Announcing WTT’s new Urban River Toolkit

Posted on September 29, 2019

Announcing WTT’s new Urban River Toolkit

It’s hard to believe that WTT’s original Urban River Restoration Guidelines were published all the way back in 2010: written by Paul Gaskell, and generously funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

Now, nearly 10 years later, with even more knowledge and experience under our belts, we decided we should give those early guidelines a bit of an update.

So one of my first tasks, as Trout in the Town Officer for the south of England and Wales, was to sit down and think: “What else did we want to know when we started the Wandle project all those years ago? And what’s changed since then?”

Outfall Safari training

Posted on September 23, 2019

Outfall Safari training

Outfall Safari training

The Outfall Safari is a citizen science method for surveying outfalls in urban rivers and reporting those that are polluted to the relevant authorities. A ‘Train the Trainer’ session is taking place on Monday 4 November at Aylesbury Sewage Treatment Works for those interested in leading or supporting Outfall Safaris.

For more details including registration, see below or click here.

In Memory of Tony Donnelly

Posted on September 17, 2019

In Memory of Tony Donnelly

All of us here at the Wild Trout Trust were incredibly saddened to hear about the untimely passing of Tony Donnelly. Those who have visited the River Annan in recent years may remember Tony as the Rivers Trust and Fishery Board Director, where he worked until very recently, before heading north to take up the Director’s role at Cromarty Firth Fishery Board and Trust.

Tony has been a good friend to WTT over the years, and a mate to our staff, supporting our conservation work through project collaborations and guiding lots on the Annan for our auction, which proved ever-popular with bidders. His passion for trout and grayling conservation, in addition to salmon, demonstrated his broad knowledge and understanding of fishery management. Tony was an accomplished fly-tyer and trout, grayling and salmon angler himself and his presence will be sadly missed on the banks of rivers, burns, lakes and lochs around Britain. Our sincerest condolences go to his family.

Bruno Vincent joins the WTT

Posted on September 16, 2019

Bruno Vincent joins the WTT

Bruno Vincent joins the Wild Trout Trust today, 16 September 2019, as our new Fundraising Events Officer.

Bruno joins us from the Westcountry Rivers Trust where he was responsible for their Angling Passport scheme including the award-winning app Fish Pass. He brings a wealth of skills to the WTT including design and photography, IT, project management and a chainsaw ticket! Most importantly he is a committed conservation minded trout angler.

Bruno will be running the WTT auction and other events as well as getting involved in river habitat project work. He will continue to work part time with WRT for a few months; maintaining the Angling Passport and helping his successor ease into the role.

Volunteer planting adds the final touches to improved River Shep

Posted on September 06, 2019

Volunteer planting adds the final touches to improved River Shep

This a short press release that we put in to the local media in Cambridgeshire, and we were very pleased to see it picked up by them:  

More than 20 volunteers from Barrington and Shepreth added the final touches to a river habitat improvement project delivered at the end of July near to Barrington on the River Shep with over 1000 plants.

The project is led by the Wild Trout Trust, and recent work included 200 tonnes of gravel carefully placed into the river to create new spawning areas for brown trout, minnows and dace. Riverbanks have also been re-graded to create new habitat for water voles, and trees managed bring more light to previously shaded parts of the river.

The brown trout genome has been fully sequenced!

Posted on September 05, 2019

The Wellcome Sanger Institute today announced that they have ‘sequenced’ the brown trout genome. Genetic analysis is a crucial part of understanding how organisms function. The secrets to their unique abilities could be hidden in their DNA. So far only a tiny number of organisms have been analysed to this level of detail, but the brown trout, Salmo trutta, is so amazingly adaptable that understanding its genome may hold answers to helping the species survive climate change and other challenges. 

For more information, read this blog and this article.

England close season for coarse fishing stays as is

Posted on August 21, 2019

England close season for coarse fishing stays as is

Following a review of evidence and a consultation earlier this year, the EA in England have decided to retain the existing dates for the coarse fishing close season, i.e. a close season on rivers and some canals and stillwaters from 15 March to 15 June. Their decision is explained here.

WTT are pleased with this outcome as we felt that, whilst not perfect, this close season period is practical and protects most species, most of the time. We believe that spawning coarse fish (especially in the light of predicted climate change and likely earlier shifting spawning times) need some protection as do salmonids (juveniles and adults) that are feeding hard as the river wakes up and are vulnerable to capture and mortality from bait fishing. We also argued that for the many mixed fisheries, the fly anglers should have some period on their own on the bank, early in the fly fishing season. You can view our response to the consultation here.

Nick Lawrence joins the WTT

Posted on August 12, 2019

Nick Lawrence joins the WTT

Our new Conservation Officer for the south & south-west, Nick Lawrence, starts today, 12 August 2019. Welcome Nick! 

Nick will be working out of his home base near Andover, Hampshire. He’ll be out and about from day 1, but if you’d like to contact him, call Nick on 07733 336385 or nlawrence@wildtrout.org.

Nick is a graduate in fishery management from Sparsholt and went on to work in river restoration, the fishing tackle trade and, for the last 14 years, as a fishery consultant, guide and riverkeeper, bringing to WTT this wealth of practical experience. Nick is also a passionate and highly competent wild trout fisher, so he’s perfectly-equipped to talk to WTT’s core stakeholders, offer his experience and expertise and carry out river habitat improvement projects.

Pink salmon update

Posted on July 31, 2019

Pink salmon update

In 2019 to date, there have been 7 recorded incidences of pink salmon across the UK and the Republic of Ireland (1 in Ireland, 1 in Wales, 3 in Scotland and 2 in a T-net set off the Northumbrian coast). It is anticipated that more pink salmon will be observed over the coming weeks and fisheries managers, anglers and netsmen are requested to remain vigilant particularly if fishing in the lower reaches of our river systems.

Details of what to do if you catch or find a pink salmon are in this document.

High water temperatures and trout

Posted on July 30, 2019

It is that time of year when, on some rivers and lakes, a combination low water levels plus hot sunshine means high water temperatures and low oxygen levels. Once the water temperature reaches 20 – 21C, our native brown trout start to struggle and even best practice catch and release can result in unintended mortality. Take the temperature of the water before you fish and if it is at or around 20C, it is better not to fish. If you would like to know more about the effect of temperature on trout and salmon, click here.  Thank you Wynn Davies (aka Torgoch) for reminding us about this paper.  

Welsh Govt Approves All-Wales Rod & Net Fishery Byelaws

Posted on July 22, 2019

Following a Planning Inspectorate Inquiry, Welsh Government has announced approval of rod and net fishing byelaws proposed by NRW. That announcement and the Inspector’s Report is available here.

The measures, to be implemented from 1 January 2020 include mandatory C&R of salmon, with some measures specific to sewin. However, we are fearful of displaced pressure on sewin, whose populations in Wales appear to be in an unprecedented, parlous state