Do you live near a chalkstream?

Posted on August 28, 2020

Do you live near a chalkstream?

If so, now is a good time to write to your MP! 

The inaugural meeting of a new All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on chalkstreams will meet on 15 September 2020, led by Sir Oliver Heald and Sir Charles Walker. 

APPGs are there to gather MPs with common interests or common constituency issues. We know that all our chalkstreams are ecologically unique and face huge challenges from abstraction, housing development, pollution and climate change. If you live in a chalkstream constituency, please encourage your MP to join the APPG and make them aware of the importance of our chalkstreams and how they are under threat. Write to them, express your concerns and ask them to join the APPG. Here’s how:

Trout and Beavers

Posted on August 17, 2020

Trout and Beavers

Wild Trout Trust is member of the English Beaver Strategy Working Group, which aims to develop a strategy for the introduction and management of beavers in England. The group includes conservation charities, landowner and farmer representatives, academics and many other interested groups. Wild Trout Trust has chosen to participate in the group in order to influence how and where beavers might be introduced and how they are managed. Clearly, our objective is to look after our beloved trout (including sea trout) and ensure they are not adversely impacted, notwithstanding the benefits that beavers may bring for flood relief, water quality and other biodiversity. We are using our network of advisors and contacts to develop a broad and deep understanding of the issues and benefits that beavers may bring to trout and trout habitat, including learning from experience in Scotland, Europe and Canada / USA, updating the information paper prepared for us by our Research & Conservation Officer, Prof. Jon Grey (see below). We recognise that the recent decision by Defra to permit wild beavers to continue live on the River Otter in Devon has widespread media and public support; it is important for us to ensure that we provide expert input to future decisions.

The first output from the Working Group has been released, Proposals for an English Beaver Strategy – current and future proposals for restoring and managing beavers (14 August 2020), and we have chosen not to support that document but to continue to work with the Group and to participate in upcoming discussions and consultations with Natural England and Defra.

The Press Release from the Beaver Trust (who chair the Working Group) includes this quote from WTT Director, Shaun Leonard:

Warm water and trout fishing

Posted on August 14, 2020

The very hot weather means some rivers and lakes are now very warm. Even though thunderstorms and heavy rain might lift the water level, water temperatures can remain high. High water temperature means low oxygen concentrations, which is bad news for fish and especially cold water fish like salmon, trout and grayling.  

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.

Global populations of migratory freshwater fish decline by 76% between 1970-2016

Posted on July 29, 2020

The World Fish Migration Foundation has just published a report showing a massive decline in migratory fish populations. some very worrying figures regarding the decline of migratory fish. In the UK, migratory fish include trout, salmon, eel, shad and many others that migrate within freshwater (potadromous) and to sea (anadromous and catadromous). Trout can migrate both within the freshwater environment and to sea.

Globally, monitored populations of migratory freshwater fish have declined by an average of 76% between 1970 and 2016. Average declines have been more pronounced in Europe (-93%) and Latin America & Caribbean (-84%).

The biggest drivers of population decline are habitat degradation, alteration and loss, and over-exploitation. All of these are inextricably linked to human use and impact.

What a difference a fence makes

Posted on July 28, 2020

Early in 2019, Andy Thomas of the WTT delivered a project on the headwaters of the River Itchen in Hampshire in partnership with the local angling club (the Tichborne Syndicate) and the Environment Agency.

You can find details of the project here

The final element of the project was to fence the banks to allow bankside plants to establish and to prevent the resident cattle from breaking down the banks again. Bankside vegetation is important for river flies to complete their lifecycle and to provide cool, shady lies for trout.

Fishing in Wales website launched

Posted on July 22, 2020

Fishing in Wales website launched

A new website has been launched with very comprehensive coverage of where to fish in Wales.

Wales is justly famous for its sea trout (locally called sewin) fishing on iconic rivers such as the Towy and Teifi, but it also has some excellent wild trout fishing for resident brownies in rivers, reservoirs and in the hundreds of mountain lakes (llyns).

The website uses intuitive interactive maps to enable you to find fishing and angling facilities in Wales quickly and easily. There is also information on where to stay at Visit Wales graded accommodation, where to purchase fishing tackle from local shops and where to hire a fishing guide or a charter boat skipper.The website will be regularly updated with quality written blog posts - some blogs written by staff and members of the WTT will be appearing over the coming months.

Beavers - a fishing guide's view

Posted on July 06, 2020

Beavers - a fishing guide's view

Duncan Pepper's blog post gives an interesting perspective on beavers and angling. Duncan guides on the Tay (amongst other places in Scotland) where beavers are, well .... problematic for some farmers.Visit the WTT website library page on beavers (and predators - which beavers are not!) for a review of the science on beaver-trout interactions and other useful links on beaver ecology and management.

Together for Rivers campaign

Posted on July 03, 2020

The Rivers Trust has a launched a campaign called ‘Together for Rivers’ whose goal is to introduce bathing water standards for well-used rivers across the UK. The campaigning is looking for support (and donations) from everyone who cares about the quality of water in their river – including anglers, swimmers, canoeists, families who like to paddle, dog walkers.

Many people don’t realise that their local river could be contaminated with sewage. This isn’t a small-scale problem; it happens across the nation, in urban and rural areas alike. When sewers become blocked by non-flushable or overwhelmed with rainwater, water companies are legally permitted to release untreated sewage directly into rivers.

The campaign includes an interactive map for England which allows you to see if your local river is fit to play in.

Three-fly Challenge at Meon Springs New Date: 3 October

Posted on June 30, 2020

Three-fly Challenge at Meon Springs New Date: 3 October

This is a simply brilliant day of fishing and camaraderie, with lots and lots of laughter, at the Meon Springs fishery near West Meon in Hampshire, all raising excellent funds for WTT.

Tremendous prizes including Sage rods and elegant trophies.Many other runners-up prizes. A raffle will be held at lunchtime.

The Three-Fly Challenge is a fishing tournament that will test your skills and catching ability as you will only be able to use three flies (one at a time), these will be provided on the day: Kites Imperial dry (3 points per fish); Black buzzer (2 points per fish); GHHE nymph (1 point per fish).Points will be awarded according to the fly used and the weight of the fish, i.e.a 3lb fish caught with dry Kites Imperial would score 9 points (3 points x 3lb = 9),a 3lb fish caught with a pheasant tail would score 3 points (1 point x 3lb = 3) etc.If you would like to attend you will be helping the Wild Trout Trust. Tickets cost £110 including breakfast, cooked lunch, a 4-fish ticket and flies.Book online at

Restoring the Great Ouse at Rectory Farm, upstream of Buckingham

Posted on June 18, 2020

Restoring the Great Ouse at Rectory Farm, upstream of Buckingham

Delivery of a cracking little project at Rectory Farm is a result of a partnership between the landowners, George and Ann Eaton, the Wild Trout Trust and the Environment Agency. Following two devastating pollution events in 2017 and 2018, the local community were keen to see the river brought back to health. Simply re-stocking the river is rarely the right approach, so a programme of habitat improvement work was agreed to restore the river from the ‘bottom-up’. It is anticipated that existing wild trout populations above the source of the pollutions will recolonise the area, taking advantage of the habitat improvements.

Six gravel riffles were created in autumn 2019 to provide new spawning habitat from brown trout, chub, dace and minnow. Bank re-grading work was set to follow but the floods of winter 2019-20 prevented river access. Spring came and the ground dried out, but then COVID19 restrictions prevented any work. The relaxing of movement restrictions allowed a small but effective delivery team coordinated by Rob Mungovan to complete the work in June 2020. The photos below tell some of the story…

Mending the Mel

Posted on June 05, 2020

Mending the Mel

WTT Conservation Officer, Rob Mungovan, just back from furlough, has got straight to work restoring a reach of a little river close to his heart.

Asian Hornets

Posted on June 05, 2020

Asian Hornets

Many of us already spend time battling against other non-native invaders like signal crayfish and various alien plants. So, with the Asian hornet in the news again as a threat to our honey bee, we thought a quick swat-up might be appropriate for interested WTT supporters.

Introducing TROUT...

Posted on June 04, 2020

Introducing TROUT...

WTT has been successful in securing money from the latest Yorkshire Water Biodiversity Enhancement Fund. Our Research & Conservation Officer, Jonny Grey, put together an application entitled ‘Tackling Resilience On Under-performing Tributaries (TROUT)’.

Life is cheap when you are a fish

Posted on May 20, 2020

A thought provoking blog post from Andrew Griffiths on the difference in attitudes to fish and birds, with comments from WTT Director Shaun Leonard. Andrew is a journalist who writes for a number of publications including Grays Sporting Journal, BBC Wildlife Magazine, The Field, Fly Fishing and Fly Tying and the Sunday Telegraph.