WTT Blog

Salford's Friendly Anglers and their Community

Posted on May 14, 2013

Last year key people from SUBSTANCE social research co-operative: http://www.substance.coop/ and the Get Hooked On Fishing project: http://www.ghof.org.uk/ and myself put a LOT of work into an extensive funding bid to the Big Lottery Fund. The idea behind it was to generate interest, interaction and greater care of urban river corridors in the communities living close to them.

This expands upon the excellent achievements of GHOF that uses coarse fishing activities to train up "peer mentors" who then coach people their own age in angling skills and achieve accreditation that helps them into careers in angling. They have been able to report significant successes in reduction of antisocial behaviour and many benefits to the life-choices made by participants in the scheme. Some of the most comprehensive evidence for these successes was gathered through the involvement of SUBSTANCE as part of their huge research project covering "The Social and Community Benefits of Angling".

Part of my input into the new bid was to propose the use of fly fishing as an engagement tool - since it has the added dimension of requiring anglers to acknowledge and understand the whole foodweb and habitat quality that their...

Wigan Trout in the Town River Habitat works at last

Posted on April 26, 2013


Following my initial Advisory Visit on 8th December 2010 we were finally allowed to get our wellies on and make some habitat improvements to a stream in the Wigan area (close to where I partially mis-spent my youth!). So in March 2013 an intrepid band of local volunteers were led by Paul Kenyon, whose house backs onto the river, to participate in a WTT Trout in the Town habitat Practical Visit. We were also joined by local landowner Ian Parker who got firmly stuck into the labour – and is interested in additional works on his section of river just upstream.
The presence of a few wild trout in the reach shows the potential of this river – although it is currently periodically struck by serious pollution incidents that have emanated from a Victorian-era dye works upstream as well as Combined Sewer Outfall discharges. The provision of improved habitat in this reach is hoped to provide opportunities for generations of fish to thrive and reproduce in-between pollution incidents on the main river. It will also act to improve the resilience of fish populations using the (non-polluted) tributaries to spawn by improving survival prospects for juvenile and young...

Don't get Ticked Off if you venture away from your favourite Urban river

Posted on March 28, 2013

Although the weather shows no signs of warming up just yet, do check out the writings of Kathryn Maroun - previously a very active angler and now battling with stage 3 Lyme disease that is transferred via tick bites and, improperly treated, kills you by attacking the body's organs (including the brain).

Kathryn Maroun is one of a handful of Canadian women to be certified as an FFF casting instructor. She is the award winning executive producer of What A Catch Productions. The 52 show series highlights Kathryn's fishing adventures from around the world. Kathryn exposes never talked about hazards of the sport, conservation, culture, as well as showcasing exotic game fish in her series. Her show first aired in the US before being internationally distributed.
Kathryn is featured in the collection of two prominent museums for her significant contribution to the sport of fly fishing.
Kathryn Maroun is the president and founder of Casting for Recovery Canada, past director of Trout Unlimited Canada and past member of the Canadian World Fly Fishing team. Along with creating a line of clothing for women at work in the outdoors, Kathryn has fished around the world and has a number of...

Local groups tackling invasive species CAN help global biodiversity

Posted on January 28, 2013

We trout in the town types occasionally come in for some snide comments regarding playing round the edges of things at a local scale when we do volunteer balsam bashes and contract knotweed stem injection work. Well, as our own experiences with recovery of native seedbank plant species following the removal of Himalayan balsam concur, there is also now peer reviewed published science that indicates Global plant diversity can hinge on local battles against invasive species. It also explains why some of the previous literature can, sometimes, give conflicting conclusions depending upon the scale at which studies measured diversity.

RT @bes_invasive: Global plant diversity hinges on local battles against #invasivespecies ow.ly/h7myP and ow.ly/h7ngR

— BES (@BritishEcolSoc) January 25, 2013

Bringing urban rivers back to the surface

Posted on January 24, 2013

A number of projects that I am involved with in the UK have ambitions towards "daylighting" sections of urban rivers. I eagerly look forward to the full production of the film whose trailer appears below. There will always be sections of river that cannot be brought back up out of the underground tunnels. However, I hope that we will be able to witness more and more sections of river as they get their first glimpse of daylight in over a century...

Lost Rivers - OFFICIAL TRAILER from Catbird Productions on Vimeo.

This Nails it - teaching people how to sustainably use a wild urban resource

Posted on January 18, 2013

I saw that Theo Pike had posted this in his urban trout blog (http://www.urbantrout.net/film-night-fly-fishing-the-urban-potomac/)and just think that the film and Theo's synopsis nails it.

This is the underlying passion that Trout in the Town needs to kindle and ignite in communities that live around some of the best, most valuable and most un-loved wild trout and grayling populations in the UK.

Life in between the gravel grains

Posted on January 08, 2013

 

So, at this time of year, trout streams across the UK will play host to some genuine - and almost entirely hidden - miracles. Much of this will be played out in the microcosmos found in the tiny breathing spaces between irregularly-shaped gravel chips. It doesn't matter whether the trout stream is in the middle of a busy city or in pristine countryside - new life is currently finding a way. In fact, I can think of a bus stop only a few hundred meters from where I currently sit that the queues of passengers will be standing almost within touching distance of a new generation of tiny trout. Each occupying parallel but completely separate universes.

Our (largely) warm and wet winter of 2012 will mean that lots of streams would have seen spawning efforts starting perhaps in November. The males chasing rivals away from prime spawning sites and the females fluttering their bodies sideways to thrash and scrape small depressions in the gravel bed.

The eggs shed and fertilised by the most persistent (or sneaky!) males in these depressions have then been buried by further thrashing. The resultant mounds of gravel covering the scooped out nests containing the fertilised...

Tenkara day rewarding SPRITE volunteers

Posted on December 04, 2012

Three local guides - Paul Gaskell and John Pearson (both of SPRITE and Discover Tenkara) along with Orvis guide Stuart Crofts - gave a free guided tenkara experience valued at over £500 on Saturday. The event was run as a thank-you to people who have supported SPRITE over the last few years. We were delighted to receive very generous donations direct to SPRITE charitable funds from two attendees (one a brand new member and one existing member) that totaled almost £100. Very many thanks for such generous donations (whether volunteering "in kind" or in cash) as all will be focused on continuing to look after the river and educate people in the value of their urban rivers and wildlife.

Some selected quotes from attendees include:

"I've learned more this morning than in the last 5 years of fishing"

"Just wanted to thank you for a fantastic 'Tenkara Day' on Saturday. I had a great time, learnt masses and masses and I was really touched by how generous everyone was with their time and knowledge – regardless of how many questions that I asked!!"

"Hi Guys, Just a note to say I really enjoyed the Tenkara day...

Riverlution Festival and SPRITE Tenkara in the Town

Posted on September 25, 2012

Sunday the 23rd September saw the first "Riverlution" festival for a whole collection of local river users and interest groups including local rivers trust members, kayakers, cyclists, river stewards, breweries, traders and more.

SPRITE (Sheffield Trout in the Town group) teamed up with Discover Tenkara to offer kids (and their parents or guardians!) the chance to try traditional Japanese style fly fishing known as "tenkara".

The starting point was looking in the bug sample tray to see the kinds of wriggly things that lived in the river in the city centre. This lead straight on into learning how to tie an artificial fly with SPRITE and Fly Dresser's Guild members:


Not bad at all for a first effort!



This entitled participants to get a sticker on their certificate:


Next (for another sticker) came the "on the street" casting lesson:


Then, once togged up in thigh waders, safety sun glasses, buoyancy aid and armed with tenkara rod, line and landing net (all bought and provided by SPRITE), it was into the river for a practice at playing fish with...

Oban Trout in the Town and Argyll Fisheries Trust

Posted on June 27, 2012

It was my great pleasure to travel up to the west coast of Scotland on Sunday (24th June)to meet up with Alan Kettle-White and Daniel Brazier of Argyll Fisheries Trust . Staying over until Tuesday enabled me to get in a habitat survey of the Black Lynn Burn in Oban on the Monday as well as meeting local stakeholders such as businessman Graham MacQueen of MacQueen Brothers who are keen to have local community members discover, re-engage and value their local urban river. Hopping into the river to walk along the riverbed was the best way to get to know the burn.
It didn't take long to find signs of life:


In fact, away from prying eyes, there was some very good habitat- particularly for juvenile trout (although also a lot of Himalayan balsam and Japanese knotweed also in evidence!)



As long as this small structure does not conceal services (such as sewage/gas pipes or electrical cables) and appropriate permission can be gained, the variety in depth and flow upstream of this low weir can be improved. This would be a simple case of removing part of...

This Year's Auction Lot with Kris

Posted on June 21, 2012

The old adage about pictures and thousands of words probably applies here. The following small selection of moments from a great day out. Many thanks Kris for purchasing the lot and supporting the WTT (yet again!). Click on each picture to view full size. And if still pictures are worth a thousand, then I'm not sure what those new fangled moving pictures translate to:

Mayfly Tenkara: Missed opportunity from Paul Gaskell on Vimeo.

Marlborough Mayfly In the Classroom Training for ARK

Posted on April 30, 2012

March 12th saw me heading down to Ramsbury, near Marlborough in Wiltshire to meet with “Action for the River Kennet” group (ARK: http://www.riverkennet.org/ ) on the invitation of Jenny Harker who had also organised for Charlotte Hitchmough (ARK director) and Eddie Starr (local river keeper) to attend. Along with able assistance from the young Riverfly Partnership monitoring volunteers (http://www.riverflies.org/ ) we set about constructing the apparatus in Jenny’s kitchen. After taking an hour or so to go through all of the detailed construction stages from scratch, we headed down the lane to sample some of the local upwing riverflies (Ephemeroptera: http://www.ephemeroptera.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/ ). On the way we passed the amazing relic on Jenny’s wall which was the fragment of propeller from her great grandfather’s plane – salvaged after he was shot down by the Red Baron (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manfred_von_Richthofen) during the first World War. Jenny emailed me a week ago to say that the first schools in the large programme of Mayfly in the Classroom projects were just about to start – so here is wishing them all the best of luck and many thanks for the invitation to come down...

Stamping out poor angling practice on SPRITE waters

Posted on March 02, 2012

Thanks to great ideas from Martin Kowalski and Danny Gill, SPRITE have now had some handy guidance cards printed up (cheers to Nick James for printing and laminating!) to help reduce the avoidable mortality of fish (particularly grayling) due to poor practice. The guidance cards come with a free disgorger and free packet of hooks on a chord so that all three are to hand when needed. This way, SPRITE members can help anglers in a friendly way and get away from the avoidable losses of all fish from the river.

The cards are double sided and cover everything from handling, making sure to return trout (both unfit to eat and also not sustainable to remove wild fish), what to do if a bait is taken deeply and also E.A. phone numbers.