Three Fly Challenge at Meon Springs raises £1,800 for the WTT

Posted on July 03, 2012

Three Fly Challenge at Meon Springs raises £1,800 for the WTT

Three Fly Challenge 2012, Meon Springs Trout Fishery, Hampshire

An extremely successful WTT fundraising event was held at Meon Springs Trout Fishery in June 2012, raising over £1800 for WTT practical projects. Eighteen anglers competed for the top prize of a Sage Z-Axis rod and a beautifully engraved glass tankard, with the eventual winner being Ron Wilder, a conservation volunteer on the Sussex Rother (and obviously top angler!). Ron’s final and winning fish was taken five minutes before that of runner-up, Steve Smith!

Three Fly Challenge 2012 winner Ron Wilder (middle) claims his top prize of a Sage rod and engraved glass tankard from Harriet Poland and WTT Director, Shaun Leonard.

The event was excellently organised again by WTT volunteer Neil Mundy and the fishery was in tip-top form, thanks to the work of the staff at Meon Springs. Prizes were presented by Mrs. Harriet Poland, mother of Pasco James, a twenty-two year-old, mad-keen trout fisher and conservationist who so tragically died in February 2010. The monies raised go into a Pasco James Fund, from which WTT can draw for practical projects on the Meon. Last year, in partnership with the Environment Agency and local residents, we completed some habitat enhancement work on the river in the village of Meonstoke, improving marginal habitat and opening access to several kilometres of river by installing an easement on a weir. More details of this project are available here.

Massive thanks to Neil Mundy, all at Meon Springs Trout Fishery, the anglers who supported the day and to Sage rods for the generous, ongoing sponsorship of WTT. The date for the 2013 Three Fly Challenge is already set for Saturday 22 June 2013 – watch the website or contact the WTT office for details.

If you would like to run a similar fundraising event in your patch, Neil Mundy has kindly produced for WTT a ‘how to’ guide – contact Denise Ashton on



The easement in Meonstoke, easing passage for fish to several kilometres of upstream habitat  – one product of funds raised in the Three Fly Challenge 2011.


British Fly Fair International

Posted on July 01, 2012

British Fly Fair International

The WTT enjoyed a successful British Fly Fair International at Staffordshire County Showground over the weekend of the 23rd and 24th June.  Some new members joined the Trust and old acqauintances were renewed, plus it was a great chance to stock up on all those bits of fly-tying and fishing equipment.  We had a joint stand with the Riverfly Partnership, manned by the irrepressible Stuart Crofts, whose infectious enthusiasm for aquatic bugs kept a steady stream of people enthralled.

New Job with WTT

Posted on May 25, 2012

We have a brilliant job opportunity and are seeking a dynamic, self-starter to join the team as a Conservation Engagement Officer.

See the advert HERE

and the job description HERE

WTT stocking position statement published

Posted on May 24, 2012

The Wild Trout Trust has published a position statement relating to the introduction of trout (stocking).  It sets out our understanding of the issues relating to stocking and its impacts upon wild trout populations, based upon a review of published scientific studies and consultation with our advisory panel of experts.  The statement also includes practical advice on stocking practices to minimise the risks to wild trout.

The document is available on our website in the Library section, on the trout stocking page.


EA South East fisheries newsletter

Posted on May 24, 2012

Residents of the area covered by the EA South East Region (broadly the Thames catchment, Hampshire, Sussex and Kent) will be interested in the recent newsletter from the EA Fisheries and Biodiversity team, which features a number of projects and acitivities that include the WTT. Click here for a PDF of the newsletter.

Passing of John Williams

Posted on May 16, 2012

Very sad news to report the passing of a great friend of WTT, John Williams.

John was a long-time servant on the Trust's Executive Committee, editor of our newsletter and former editor of the WTT annual magazine, Salmo trutta. In 2011, John was awarded the Bernard Venables Award for his work towards bringing sustainable fishery management to a number of rivers and their fishing clubs in the south-west of England, including the By Brook, the Frome and the Shreen. John is best described by his chums as a “proper gentleman” with a “heart and soul in wild trout conservation”.

John's funeral and a celebration of his life will take place at 2.30pm at St Michael and All Angel's Church, Kington St Michael, nr Chippenham on Tuesday 22 May 2012, with tea and buns in the village hall thereafter

Mike Blackmore joins as new Conservation Officer for the WTT

Posted on May 10, 2012

Mike Blackmore joins as new Conservation Officer for the WTT

Mike Blackmore will be joining the Wild trout Trust on June 25th as a Conservation Officer.  He will be working alongside Andy Thomas providing expert practical advice to fishing clubs, landowners, Rivers Trusts and Wildlife Trusts in southern England and Wales, including the delivery of the South Coast Sea Trout Action plan. His role is supported by the Environment Agency in South East Region as part of their commitment to the South Coast Sea Trout Project.

Mike joins the Wild Trout Trust from Cain Bio-Engineering Ltd, where he managed large scale river restoration projects.  He has a BSc in Environmental Science and has undertaken fieldwork from Dartmoor to the Malaysian rainforest, and voluntary work with endangered White-clawed crayfish. Mike is a big believer in ‘wild rivers for wild fish’. He is passionate about re-wilding the UK's long over industrialised rivers.


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.