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

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.

Weil’s Disease & Lyme Disease

Posted on November 21, 2017

WTT supporters should be interested in an excellent leaflet from Dorset Wildlife Trust on the perils of Lyme Disease and Weil’s Disease.

We as watery workers and fishers should be acutely aware of the risks, especially from Weil’s Disease and take precautions against it: hygiene measures before eating, smoking or drinking, good PPE such as gloves whilst working in water or on the bankside and cleaning and covering any cuts or abrasions on body parts that will get wet/muddy.

The leaflet, intended to be printed as a trifold, is HERE.

Chiltern Chalkstream Crisis

Posted on November 21, 2017

Chiltern Chalkstream Crisis

The parlous state of many of our chalkstreams and their aquifers has once again been highlighted by what is currently happening to those in the Chiltern Hills of SE England (and see some of our recent blog posts on relevant science, here).  The Chess at Chesham has been dry for a year (see photo below) and the EA report the lowest October groundwater levels on record for this catchment. Abstraction and relatively low rainfall are crippling the Chess and its neighbouring chalkstreams such as the Colne, Gade, Misbourne and Ver.

There’s more on this truly disturbing story on the website of the River Chess Association. The RCA Chairman and tireless campaigner for these rivers, Paul Jennings, says “In my view, permitted abstraction levels in the light of changed weather patterns are now unsustainable and if we want healthy chalk streams then water companies must be required to find alternative sources of water for their customers”.

If you haven’t read it yet, find Charles Rangeley-Wilson’s emotive piece for WWF, including a portfolio of photos that tell the story better than any words:

Barbless flies and the WTT

Posted on November 13, 2017

Barbless flies and the WTT

Barbless flies are now giving their customers an option to receive their flies with minimal packaging, rather than a plastic box. And they will be donating the 50p that they save on the plastic box to the WTT.

A great win for the environment in three ways – barbless flies makes catch and release faster and less damaging to the fish, lots of 50ps will help the WTT deliver more practical improvements to rivers, and less plastic is good for the global environment.

Thank you, Richard Fieldhouse of Barbless Flies.

Irish PhD research on river connectivity issues

Posted on November 13, 2017

Irish PhD research on river connectivity issues

Scan our news pages, keep abreast of the Conservation Officer Twitter feeds, and trawl back through the WTT Blog, and you will unearth much practical work to restore connectivity of river systems. We have a library page outlining some of the prominent issues that obstacles cause to all fish, not just the migratory superstars, sea trout and salmon.

But in an arena where funding for conservation is limited and managers are looking to proritise projects, then it helps to know, for example, where and how many barriers are on a given system, and how severe are the impacts of each. To help address this in Irish rivers, Siobhán Atkinson, a PhD student based in the School of Biology and Environmental Science in University College Dublin (UCD) is conducting research as part of an Environmental Protection Agency-funded project called Reconnect.

She has outlined her project for us as the latest guest researcher on the WTT Blog, and we look forward to updates from her as the work progresses.

Vote for CATCH

Posted on October 26, 2017

CATCH (Community Action to Transform the Cale Habitat) is a group of very effective and enthusiastic volunteers based in Wincanton on the River Cale.

The WTT has supported this group as part of our Trout in the Town Programme, and, with our help, they have applied for £10,000 from the Aviva Community Fund to link their local community to the river.

The money will pay for:  

-          A schools programme including Mayfly in the Classroom and Eels in the Classroom

-          Training and equipment to enable volunteers to carry out habitat improvement work

-          A Town Trail to encourage residents and visitors to Wincanton to value and protect their river.  

New guest blog on chalk stream fish communities, flow and habitat

Posted on October 04, 2017

New guest blog on chalk stream fish communities, flow and habitat

With abstraction pressures on chalkstreams regularly hitting the headlines over the past year, spear-headed often by former WTT President Charles Rangeley-Wilson, we have a new contribution from another young researcher to add to the WTT blog.

Mickaël Dubois is a PhD student, sponsored by Affinity Water and the Environment Agency, and based in the School of Water, Energy and Environment at Cranfield University. He first conducted a bachelor degree in Biology at the University of Namur, and then a two years MSc in Biology of Organisms and Ecology, during which he studied on the Campus of the University of Namur and of the Catholic University of Louvain.

His MSc thesis involved the biological and hydromorphological monitoring of the Petit Bocq River after restoration by the LIFE Walphy project. Following an Internship in Wales at Cardiff University on another project related to freshwater ecosystems (epilithic community diversity and the nitrogen cycling) and fully embracing British culture led him to his current position at Cranfield. This is all rather neatly summarised below!

Woody debris rewilding paper backs up WTT approaches

Posted on October 03, 2017

Woody debris rewilding paper backs up WTT approaches

Around the globe, the reintroduction of large woody debris / material is a common tool for river restoration schemes in an effort to promote biodiversity and enhance natural flood protection. Several reviews of the scientific literature have concluded that it is generally considered as good practice, yet results do vary (e.g. it is often difficult to demonstrate an increase in fish which is what most anglers want), and it is difficult to compare across studies because of the various ways restorations have been carried out. A new study by Murray Thompson and colleagues provides valuable new insights, critically using a ‘multiple before-after control-impact’ study design to allow such comparisons across different rivers.

They carried out biological, physical and chemical surveys of five UK rivers in the months before and after the addition of large woody debris: on the Bure, Loddon, Lyde, Test and Wensum. Three stretches were sampled on each river: a ‘restored’ stretch where a large willow or alder tree was felled and tethered to the river bed; a ‘control’ stretch which resembled the ‘restored’ stretch before tree-felling; and a ‘target’ stretch which contained a substantial tree which had fallen 3 to 5 years earlier.

Murray says: "Restoration of woody debris has been used to enhance in-river habitat throughout the world for over a century in tens of thousands of projects. Woody debris is increasingly used to reinstate natural processes, restore biodiversity and thus recover degraded river ecosystems. Yet, there is a striking lack of causal evidence to support this approach.

In the first experiment of its kind conducted across multiple rivers, we set out to test if, by felling trees in-river, biodiversity and food web metrics were restored relative to 'control' (i.e. unrestored) and ‘target’ conditions where naturally fallen trees were already in place. We were able to demonstrate causal links between habitat restoration, biodiversity restoration and food-web responses. For instance, elevated species richness in restored areas relative to controls was primarily driven by the repopulation of rare invertebrate taxa which also had many potential predators.