News

A tale of a fallen tree and spawning salmon

Posted on January 08, 2018

A tale of a fallen tree and spawning salmon

This picture is interesting for at least a couple of reasons. It’s a view of a short section of the Itchen Navigation Canal, a once-important trading route carrying coal from Southampton to Winchester. The canal became defunct around 140 years ago, but it’s apparent from this photograph that, despite the confines of housing on its right bank, benign neglect is mending the canal, in some places helping it to become reasonable habitat for wildlife, including trout.

Testament to that habitat improvement (and the second interesting bit in the photo) is that the Navigation has some really good areas for spawning for trout and salmon. In this place, a tree has fallen across, then settled, in the river, doing great work at deflecting the flow and creating scours that have produced lovely, clean gravel downstream, of such quality that salmon have used this spot to dig the two huge redds, visible as clean gravel patches in the bottom left quarter of the photo. The hole scoured under that tree will also act as a great bolt-hole, helping the fish feel that bit more secure during spawning. These gravels are also littered with much smaller trout redds, not visible in the shot.

We at WTT bang on about the value of trees and wood in creating habitat in rivers; here’s proof indeed. The camera never lies. 

New guest blog on free radicals and trout migration

Posted on January 05, 2018

New guest blog on free radicals and trout migration

Yes, you read it correctly! Should I stay or should I go? is a fascinating new blog contribution from another early career researcher discussing how trout physiology may determine its ability to cope with migration.

If you take the occasional whirl around the Twittersphere and you like seeing the odd pic of brown trout, then you must surely follow Kim Birnie-Gauvin. Kim is currently a PhD student in the Section for Freshwater Fisheries and Ecology at DTU Aqua (Denmark), but completed her undergraduate degree in Animal Physiology at the University of Ottawa (Canada), and her M.Sc. in Biology at Carleton University (Canada). Her work has focused around brown trout migration. More specifically, she investigates the physiology of migration, and how fish respond to induced stressors, hence the title of her blog. Check it out, here.

The good work continues on the Lark

Posted on December 18, 2017

Working with local groups, whether they are angling clubs or conservation volunteers, is a critical part of our work. Building skills and enthusiasm in volunteers to improve river habitat means the work carries on long after we have moved to the next project.

Slowly but surely we are improving the River Lark in Suffolk so that it supports more trout and more wildlife generally. Some of our projects on the Lark have been large scale and professional, involving WTT Conservation Officers Andy Thomas or Rob Mungovan directing large machines and just a few volunteers (see 'The Lark Sings')

The most recent project was very much volunteer led-see video below with Rob Mungovan.And read the article in the local press here.

Cost of Permits for Habitat Work Set to Rocket?

Posted on December 18, 2017

The Environment Agency (England) make charges to review and approve applications to carry out most work in the river. This process, called Environmental Permitting, is something that WTT (and its partners such as rivers trusts and angling clubs) goes through for most projects that we deliver on a ‘main river’.

The principle of the Environmental Permitting Regulations (EPR) is good. Everyone – farmers, contractors, fishing clubs, charities - must ensure that the work that they are doing will improve the river and not cause any issues such as flooding.

However, the costs associated with this process are planned to increase substantially and will become a significant element in the types of habitat improvement projects that we deliver.  We operate with limited and fixed budgets for our projects, so in practice this means we will spend more on obtaining a permit and less on actually delivering the habitat improvement.In some cases, the cost of obtaining a permit will be prohibitive; clearly something we want to avoid.The proposed charging scheme is complex and we’re working our way through it, but, as an example, it seems that work to protect a piece of eroding bank, more than 10m in length, using brash (so-called ‘soft’ engineering) will incur a permit charge of over £1000.

Neonicotinoids and riverflies

Posted on December 18, 2017

You may have heard the controversy over the effect of neonicotinoids and bees.

Perhaps not surprisingly, these pesticides, which are used mainly in arable crops such as oil-seed rape, also get into our rivers and lakes and impact the fly life. There is now proof that this happening - see this article in the Guardian and more on the report instigated by BugLife, here.

 

Chalk film

Posted on December 17, 2017

Chalk is a full length documentary film about chalk streams and chalk stream fishing. It is a beautifully shot, lyrical and informative film with a great cast which features many Wild Trout Trust friends and supporters including WTT Director Shaun Leonard and WTT Founder and Vice President, Charles Rangeley-Wilson.

The documentary covers many of the highlights of the chalkstreams and their history: the revered mayfly hatch, the dry fly revolution and the 'dark art' of nymphing, the weedcut, and the manicured estates of the Rivers Test and Itchen, but also draws attention to the wilder, less well-known, rivers of Yorkshire, Norfolk and Dorset and the uncertain futures of these iconic rivers.

You can watch Chalk on the Video on Demand platform ‘FishingTV which allows you to rent or buy the film.

New guest blog on sea trout smolts

Posted on December 13, 2017

The most vulnerable stage within the life-cycle of salmonids is typically from swim-up fry through the earliest juvenile phase. Of course this is when it is also most difficult to keep track of them due to their small size. Add to that, the strategy in some populations to up-sticks and leave the natal river for the open sea... then the knowledge gap here is huge.

Thankfully, with advances in acoustic telemetry, scientists are learning more about where smolts go and at what rate. To tell us a little bit about this field, Isabel Moore from the University of Glasgow has contributed an overview of her PhD research on two sea lochs, one of which contains a fish farm. Check out her blog, here

Don't forget there is a wealth of information in the series of interesting contributions from Early Career Researchers, all in a readily digestible format, so please do have a trawl back through the blog pages and contact them if you have any questions.

WTT Christmas Raffle 2017

Posted on December 13, 2017

With very many thanks to all those who donated prizes or bought tickets, here are the winning ticket numbers and we will be in touch with the winners to organise the prizes:

1st Prize kindly donated by Sage - ticket number 3335

2nd Prize kindly donated by The Peacock at Rowsley - ticket number 3405

WTT Raffle Draw 12 December

Posted on December 11, 2017

Owing to staff illness, WTT’s 2017 raffle draw on 12 December will take place at the Trust’s registered office and not at the Thomas Lord pub, West Meon, as originally advertised. Please accept our apologies if this causes any issues for our members.

New book - Biology of Fly Fishing in collaboration with the WTT

Posted on December 06, 2017

The Wild Trout Trust is collaborating with Dr Axel Wessolowski to get his book translated into English and published in the UK by using ‘crowdfunding’.

His book is currently published in German and is called ‘Biology of Fly Fishing’.It is an unusual book, written by a scientist who is also a journalist, based on scientific papers but designed for the fly fisher. It includes fascinating insights into salmonid's sense of smell, taste, hearing, how they use their lateral line, how they see and many other topics.Lots of illustrations and photos bring the descriptions to life. The insights provided by this book will add a new dimension to your fishing.

WTT staff members Dr Tim Jacklin and Professor Jon Grey will edit the translation. Axel is donating a portion of the book sales to the WTT for practical in river habitat improvement projects.

Wessex Chalk Stream and Rivers Trust recruiting a new Director

Posted on December 05, 2017

Salary in the region of £44,000. Full time post.

The Wessex Chalk Stream and Rivers Trust is a charity dedicated to the protection of the chalk-based rivers and catchments of the Wessex region (East Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire). The Trust works in partnership with landowners and farmers, schools, wildlife trusts, fisheries and fishing clubs, water companies and government agencies to achieve our goal.

The Trust is seeking an experienced leader with a passion for rivers and the environment as well as skills in operational management, fundraising, education and partnership based projects. The Director will report to the Chairman and Trustees and manage the current team of four Project Officers. 

Following its success in delivering projects, securing funding and appointment as Catchment Partnership Lead, the Trust is well positioned to extend its work. The Director will have an outstanding opportunity to have a positive impact on the Wessex chalk rivers and their catchments.

For a role description and skills profile, go to the Wessex Chalk Stream and Rivers Trust’s website 

Location can be flexible within the catchment area.

Applicants are requested to submit a letter of application and CV by Friday 5 January to Lee Bush – Administrator for WCRST at admin@wcsrt.org.uk

New Farming Rules for Water

Posted on December 04, 2017

New Farming Rules for Water

New rules come into force in England from April 2018, laying out how farmers should manage their land to protect inland waters. The eight rules lay out, for example, that manure should not be stored or applied on land within 10m of a river, that land within 5m of a river must be protected from livestock poaching and that feeders must not be placed within 10m of a river.

Click here for more details.

The rules are to be policed by the Environment Agency, but crucial to that policing is that the Agency is informed of transgressions and that’s where those of us that spend lots of time on our rivers can help.

Masters Research on Charr

Posted on December 01, 2017

Bangor University is looking for a MRes student for a project on Arctic charr in Llyn Padarn, N Wales, where the species has been heavily impacted by a range of factors, including the Llanberis Hydro scheme. More information is here

Closing date imminent, 4 December.

Great Job at SE Rivers Trust

Posted on November 27, 2017

Our friends at the South East Rivers Trust are seeking a Project Development Officer/Team Manager (depending on experience) to progress detailed design of river catchment restoration projects, primarily using nature-based solutions, so that they are ready for delivery by Trust staff, partners or contractors.

This is a great opportunity to join one of the most dynamic rivers’ trusts, working in a heavily urbanised part of the country, based in SERT’s offices at Carshalton. More details here  ahead of a closing date of 13 December.

Windermere charr video

Posted on November 26, 2017

This is a beautifully shot, lyrical video about charr in Lake Windermere, one of the few remaining populations of arctic charr in the UK.

(The fish cooked in the video is farmed Norwegian, not Windermere charr).

Click here for more information about arctic charr.