Paul Gaskell of the WTT interviewed for ‘Eat-Sleep-Fish' magazine

Posted on May 02, 2012

Paul Gaskell, programme manager for Trout in the Town is interviewed for the online fishing magazine ‘Eat-Sleep-Fish’.

The topics are wide ranging and include the big issues facing our rivers, Paul’s background as a freshwater ecologist , the WTT and Trout in the Town  – and fishing !

Click here to access the magazine.  The interview with Paul is item  6.

Huge Trout Landed

Posted on April 25, 2012

Huge Trout Landed

Alan Kettle-White, Senior Fisheries Biologist at the Argyll Fisheries Trust, recently took a 30lbs 10ozs wild brown trout from Loch Awe, Scotland. This incredible fish was just (!) 95cm long – the photos below demonstrate how its vast weight is in its depth and breadth. The fish is thought to be the third largest wild brown trout caught in the UK. The fish was returned to the Loch carrying a radio tag; it is one of four fish tagged this year by Alan in a study to identify ferox spawning sites around Awe. The Trust can then work to ensure access to these sites is kept open and protect the habitat of these extraordinary trout populations. A day on Awe with Alan also featured in the WTT 2012 auction – could that lucky lot winner see a fish like this…?

Pickering Beck Practical Visit

Posted on April 18, 2012

Pickering Beck Practical Visit

March  2012 saw a WTT team (Tim, Paul and Gareth) heading to the Duchy of Lancaster water on the Pickering Beck. We were there at the request of Tony Walsh and Dave Southall of Pickering Fisheries Association and we also had a fully-laden camera crew in tow (Dean Hodson and John Pearson of Fish On Productions). The aim was to train local fishing club members in techniques of improving the prospects for both trout and grayling populations in their stretch of water – and to simultaneously use this exercise to produce training videos so that a much wider audience could benefit from the work done over two days. We also had the exciting and unusual prospect of using heavy horses to manoeuvre felled timber as, apart from the lowest field, much of the bankside terrain can be very difficult to access with petrol-driven machinery. These works were generously funded by the Environment Agency (North East Fisheries department), The Grayling Society as well as drawing on Wild Trout Trust resources.

The works within the river channel itself concentrated on augmenting some nice existing juvenile habitat by adding structures that were targeted at two additional life stages of trout and grayling: adult holding habitat and clean, size-sorted spawning gravels. We also made sure to provide some more substantial refuge areas for young fish to escape the worst of the spate flows that often pour down this river – as well as sheltering them from predators.

Another theme that we were keen to impress upon the club members is the importance of how the surrounding land is used – and the effect of such land use on the fish and invertebrate populations of their river. In order for the club to get the best benefit from the labours of installing structures within the channel – they are going to have to bring about a change to the dense coniferous forestry that is planted right up to the top of the bank for a large proportion of the Duchy water.

I look forward to returning to this section of river in a couple of years’ time with a fly rod in hand, and I hope that we will have won some converts within the fishing club membership by having a really positive impact on grayling and trout population numbers. The combination of reducing fine sediment input and increasing nutritious leaf fall by swapping from coniferous to deciduous forestry adjacent to the river – along with the increased spawning inputs, juvenile fish survival and adult pool habitat will be a great thing to see when it all comes together.

Paul Gaskell

Total Flyfisher articles

Posted on April 18, 2012

The WTT's Dr. Paul Gaskell is writing a series of articles for Total Flyfisher magazine, which is available from good newsagents or via subscription on their website.

Paul's articles will be available here to download in pdf format the month after publication in the magazine:

Drought Advice

Posted on April 10, 2012

A large part of the country is in drought and water levels in rivers and lakes are low even outside the drought areas. Low flows over the summer can also mean higher water temperatures, and warmer water holds less oxygen, putting fish under considerable stress. Lower water volumes also mean less dilution of pollutants and pathogens. The situation is likely to get worse as the year progresses, and it will be a difficult year for trout and other river wildlife in many areas.

 How can we help?

 First and foremost, reduce your own water use and encourage others to do so! Find top tips here.

 In terms of habitat management:

  • Allow trees, shrubs and bankside plants to grow and provide shade to keep water cool. Avoid cutting back vegetation to allow light in, especially on the deep pools which will be cool water refuges for trout.
  • Minimise cutting of in-channel weed, even if this interferes with your fishing!   Weed in the channel will help keep levels up, provide shady refuges for trout and places for them to avoid predation by birds.
  • Where in-channel weed and shade is lacking, consider making bundles of brash and pegging them into the channel to provide temporary cover, or create temporary shading over holding pools using cut trees, or branches spanning the channel, supported by posts and cable/wire.
  • Fish become stressed when water levels are low and the water is warm. Think carefully before fishing on hot days with low water levels. Don’t play fish for any more than absolutely necessary and release fish quickly and carefully.
  • ‘ Fish Rescues’ are a last  resort and must only be undertaken in consultation with the Environment Agency, or the relevant fishery authority in Ireland and Scotland. Make contact with your local Fisheries Officer and agree lines of communication and action if you think a fish rescue may be needed. Moving trout from drying sections into reaches further downstream is not always the best solution as it may put an even larger number of fish at risk by increasing the density of trout in the flowing sections. Be aware that unauthorised moving of fish may be an offence and could spread disease.

 The Environment Agency website has up to date bulletins on the drought here.


Wild Trout Trust Get Together

Posted on April 03, 2012

Wild Trout Trust Get Together

The annual Wild Trout Trust Get Together will be held at the Tufton Arms in Cumbria on 2 and 3 June 2102.The talks on the 2 June are a mixture of fishing and habitat, fun and information. There will be a 'Wild Trout Question Time'- your chance for some answers on wild trout ecology, habitat work and and fishing.Speakers include Paul Procter, Stuart Crofts, Roger Smith, Will Cleasby, Simon Johnson and Shaun Leonard.

Click here for an agenda and details of how to book.

On Sunday 3rd we will disperse and take advantage of the excellent fishing on the Eden and its tributaries.Click here for a guide to the available fishing.

A typical Eden trout

Wild Trout Trust Auction 2012

Posted on March 20, 2012

The Wild Trout Trust would like to thank all the donors and bidders for making this an extremely successful auction raising £51,568 gross.

For details about our annual auction, including a copy of the 2012 catalogue, how to donate lots and how to bid, click here.

Our next auction will be in March 2013.

EA Report on Water Situation

Posted on March 20, 2012

 The EA have produced a really interesting but incredibly sobering report on the water situation in England & Wales: The Case for Change - Current and Future Water Availability The report indicates yet again but in stark terms what we think we know about the future for our environment: warmer with more frequent droughts, more people needing more water and big increases in pressure on our aquatic ecosystems. Click here for the report. 

New Native Crayfish Website

Posted on March 20, 2012

The UK Crayfish website, brings together up to date information about the UK’s only native crayfish, the White-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobuis pallipes) and its conservation. Also provided is a range of information about non-native crayfish species, their impacts and control. The website contains both professional and public channels to ensure that a wide variety of information is available on all aspects and issues relating to crayfish, regardless of what you know or what you want to know about crayfish, there will be something to interest you.

The professional channel contains a White-clawed crayfishconservation toolkit, it provides information on crayfish projects including ark sites and summarises crayfish research. The public channel provides an introduction to the different types of crayfish that occur in the UK, what to do if you find a crayfish and how you can help conserve our endangered White-clawed crayfish.

The website has been funded by the Environment Agency, with information compiled by Buglife, Stephanie Peay and the Environment Agency. For information regarding the website or if you would like to add a project or other information to the website, please contact Buglife on This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it . 

Catchment Restoration Fund Announced

Posted on March 20, 2012

The Environment Agency has today launched a fund of £28m over three years to:

• restore more natural features in and around waters;•  reduce the impact of man-made structures on wildlife in waters•  reduce the impact of diffuse pollution that arises from rural and urban land use.

Applications must come from a charity or charity type organisation and the WTT (as a registered charity) is very keen to support any groups who would like to apply for this funding.   Timing is very tight for thefirst round of funding, but it makes sense to register an expression of interest by the first deadline of February 29th.

More detail about the fund can be found here

Please contact Denise Ashton at This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it    if you would like to apply for funding with the WTT as a partner. 

WTT Photo Competition results announced

Posted on March 20, 2012

WTT Photo Competition results announced

In 2011 we held a photography competition in a bid to generate some high quality images for use in WTT publications.  The entries were judged by WTT President, Charles Rangeley-Wilson, who took the cover shot of last year’s Salmo Trutta magazine.Charles said “The winner was hard to pick, but bearing in mind the standard of his other pictures I'm picking Don Stazicker whose overall selection was the strongest. His winning picture is perfectly timed and I know myself how hard a shot that is to get.  Charles Carr's Mayfly is also fabulous and this is my choice as runner-up.”

“Honorary mentions should also go to Kevin Milner and Ian Ashton. A lovely shot of a stricken mayfly and a simple, but nevertheless very evocative riverscape that would make anyone want to go fishing.”

Congratulations to Don who wins a day’s wild trout fishing arranged by the WTT. Look out for the images from the competition throughout the upcoming Salmo Trutta magazine in April.

Don Stazicker's winning image of a rising trout



Charles Carr, Mayfly Silhouette

Ian Ashton 'Early May'



Kevin Milner, Stricken Mayfly


Memorial plaque to Pasco James unveiled at Meonstoke in Hampshire

Posted on January 22, 2012

Memorial plaque to Pasco James unveiled at Meonstoke in Hampshire

Following completion of a project to improve a short section of the Meon at Meonstoke in Hampshire, a plaque was unveiled on Saturday 14th January to the memory of Pasco James by his mother, Harriet Poland, and girlfriend Holly.

Pasco was a keen fisherman and loved the Meon. He died in 2010 at the age of 22, and his friends and family made donations to the Wild Trout Trust in his memory. The WTT looked for a project that would be a suitable memorial for Pasco - one that was publicly accessible and reflected his love of the river, its trout and all the wildlife that makes the river so special. The Churchwardens from St Andrew’s were delighted to help by giving access from ‘The Green’.

Pasco’s mother Harriet says; “The River Meon was always special to Pasco. As a young teenager, he slaved away one summer holidays on his own to clear a neglected upper reach between East and West Meon. He later worked at Meon Springs Fishery. So he would be delighted with all these improvements at Meonstoke; especially since they will benefit the wild brown trout that he loved so much.”

Have trees fallen into your river in the recent storms?

Posted on January 20, 2012

Have trees fallen into your river in the recent storms?

The recent high winds that have swept across the country have caused a lot of damage and inconvenienced many. Many trees have been blown over and quite a few of these will have ended up in rivers.  The first reaction of many will be "we'll have to get that out", but before jumping to that conclusion - stop and think.

A recent tree-fall on the River Dove in Derbyshire

Here at the Wild Trout Trust, we're always banging on about large woody debris (LWD) and its benefits for in-river habitat. In fact we spend an awful lot of time working on projects to introduce LWD to rivers.  It could just be that the recent weather has saved an awful lot of leg-work by introducing LWD for you, without the need for lengthy consultations, consent applications and considerable expense!

Of course, some of the recent tree falls may have the potential to cause problems, for example by increasing flood risk if they are upstream of bridges and likely to break loose in floods. Many however will be firmly attached to the bank by root systems and remain stable during high water; these are some of the most valuable habitat features to be found on rivers.  Trees which genuinely increase flood risk are likely to be assessed and removed by the Environment Agency, but those which are low risk or in waterourses not designated as "main river" will be the responsibility of the landowner.  This provides a great opportunity to maximise the benefits for fish habitat by taking a hands-off approach.

The various WTT habitat manuals contain guidance on managing LWD in your river, orginally derived from the West Country Rivers Trust.  It's worth re-iterating here:

  1. Is the debris fixed? If yes then continue to 2, if not continue to 5.
  2. Is the debris causing excess erosion by redirecting the current into a vulnerable bank? If yes then go to 5 if not then go to 3.
  3. Would fish be able to migrate past it (if the head difference across the LWD is greater than 0.4m or if the LWD appears ‘sealed’ then migration is unlikely to be possible). If yes got to 4, if no go to 5.
  4. Retain the woody debris in the river.
  5. Re-position securely using appropriate techniques, or extract the debris

Guidance on fixing LWD securely can be found in the WTT habitat manuals or by contacting our conservation officers.  Remember, there are multiple benefits of having LWD in your river: cover for fish from predators, local scour which improves depth variety and cleans spawning gravel and retention of leaf litter which supports fly-life and improves trout food, to name but a few.  So even if the newly fallen tree does cause a bit of inconvenience from an angling perspective, think long and hard before reaching for the chainsaw and winch!

Director's Christmas Message

Posted on January 20, 2012

2011 highlights for me? The meeting of the Trout in the Town groups on the Wandle in February, the e-bay and Flyfishers Club auctions, the brilliant WTT annual gathering on the Monnow, some really good collaborative work with the Angling Trust, Atlantic Salmon Trust, Fishmongers Company, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust and Salmon & Trout Association, agreeing three more years of AVs & PVs funded by EA, getting Gareth Pedley as a Conservation Officer in a really neat collaboration with Eden Rivers Trust, the Game Fair at Blenheim, the 2011 WTT Conservation Awards, Simon Johnson returning and Gary Mantle joining as WTT trustees and so much day-to-day contact with existing and prospective WTT members.

This bit of feedback from a recipient of a Practical Visit last week on the Gloucestershire Coln says a great deal of what WTT is about:I had not appreciated what the Wild Trout Trust was capable of but now know that there is a professional and expert body which one can turn to for both advice and practical assistance. If only I had known this years earlier then the river might not have slipped into such a bad state.

What's maybe even more exciting is what 2012 holds for us. We'll launch a really fresh-looking Wild Trout Survival Guide penned by Vaughan Lewis, the habitat film starring WTT Vice President Jon Beer, a series of short, hugely practical "how to" videos (made with Fish On Productions) and advisory sheets on river habitat enhancement and, as a hub for all this and a wealth of other info on wild trout and river conservation, we will (finally) have our new website. All this is icing on the cake that is the Conservation Officers continuing to get out there and working with clubs and landowners to make life better for our wild trout. There will be plenty more, so watch our various WTT spaces in the ether. Can't wait.

WTT Trout & Salmon magazine articles

Posted on January 15, 2012

If you missed the recent Trout Talk series of articles in Trout and Salmon magazine written by the WTT's own Dr. Paul Gaskell, you can read them here.  Click on the links below to see the articles in pdf format (Adobe Acrobat Reader required):