WTT Blog

From the Cumbrian Lake District to Bear Island - Exploring the diversity and adaptability of Arctic charr

Posted on May 13, 2022

From the Cumbrian Lake District to Bear Island - Exploring the diversity and adaptability of Arctic charr

The Arctic charr holds some good titles to its name. It is the world’s most northerly distributed freshwater fish with a range extending from Ellesmere Island in Northern Canada (82°N) to high altitude lakes in the UK and central Europe. It is also commonly referred to as the world’s most diverse vertebrate and across its range, the Arctic charr is found to be highly polymorphic, often represented by several discrete ecotypes within a single lake.

We've given the blog over to Ellie Ward, a PhD student at Durham University, to tell us more about these enigmatic fish.....

Natural Flood Management volunteering inspired my academic research career path

Posted on April 05, 2022

Natural Flood Management volunteering inspired my academic research career path

At a recent virtual conference hosted by Colne & Calder Rivers Trust, our Prof In Practice, Jonny Grey, crossed paths with Sam Townsend, a final year undergraduate in Geography at the University of Huddersfield. His interests revolve around aquatic macroinvertebrates and Natural Flood Management, which may well strike a chord with many of our members too. So, we’ve opened the WTT blog to Sam as our earliest Early Career Researcher to date.

At Home With the Mayflies

Posted on March 21, 2022

At Home With the Mayflies

“No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy”

…paraphrased from Helmuth von Moltke, 1900

Since beginning to play with the Mayfly in the Classroom (MIC) idea in 2008, many instances of “contact” between the concept, associated apparatus and its users have occurred. Arising feedback from schools (teachers & pupils) as well as delivery partners (Rivers Trusts & Friends-of groups) is continually used to shape and tweak the resources and methods.

Is habitat restoration effective for brown trout and Atlantic salmon populations?

Posted on March 09, 2022

Is habitat restoration effective for brown trout and Atlantic salmon populations?

A part of Jonny Grey's role as a Professor in Practice is to forge links with the academic community and facilitate research projects. It was serendipitous timing last year when Lizzie Thomas contacted WTT, asking if we had any data relating to our numerous restorations - Jonny's 'TROUT project, Tackling Resilience On Underperforming Tributaries, was just beginning to bear fruit. Lizzie is a Zoology graduate from the University of Southampton and has just completed her MSc research in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation at Imperial College, London. She was particularly interested in understanding the effects of habitat restoration on salmonids given their ecological and economic value and, here, summarises the findings from her thesis.

Sewage in rivers - update

Posted on February 23, 2022

Update June 2022

Not sewage this time but agricultural pollution. The Farming Rules for Water were the subject of 'guidance' issued by Defra in March 2022. The guidance was challenged by S&TC and revised in June 2022. More details in our news item. 

The end of an era in Bakewell

Posted on December 20, 2021

The end of an era in Bakewell

David Marriott marks the end of an era in Bakewell, with the closure of the Bakewell Fly Shop on Christmas Eve.

We are in the heart of the Peak District. A warm July evening, the sun setting on the mellow limestone walls of an old cobbled courtyard. Fly fishing friends are foregathered in expectation of an eagerly awaited annual event - the emergence of the Sage of Bakewell on the occasion of his birthday. There is an anticipatory murmur as the appointed hour approaches.

The Legendary Mr. Foot

Posted on November 24, 2021

The Legendary Mr. Foot

Many fly anglers will have known Vic Foot, erstwhile and legendary keeper on the River Test at Testwood and Nursling, who sadly died last week, at 93 years of age. Vic was instrumental in bringing through many of today’s riverkeepers, including great WTT friend, Donny Donovan, who’s written these touching words about his friend, THE LEGENDARY MR FOOT.

What's in a name? The Afan Valley Angling and Conservation Club

Posted on November 17, 2021

What's in a name? The Afan Valley Angling and Conservation Club

A guest blog post from Lennard Powell of the Afan Valley Angling and Conservation Club, South Wales.

As I sit writing this, I recall my early days as a boy fishing the River Afan which join the sea at Port Talbot in South Wales. I did not give my surroundings much thought then: the trees, the birds and the other wildlife. The lack of fish in the river wasn’t uppermost in my mind or even, on occasions, how black or orange the water was, depending on what the pollutant was on that particular day, either coal dust or mine water. I was totally absorbed in the pursuit of the trout that I was going to catch and have my mother cook for my tea.

Hatch Mayflies, Olives, Brook Duns & More with a New Print-on-Demand Guidebook

Posted on October 19, 2021

Hatch Mayflies, Olives, Brook Duns & More with a New Print-on-Demand Guidebook

Did you know that when an emerging mayfly pushes through the surface-film of water to hatch, it's demonstrating a physical feat equivalent to a human breaking through a kitchen table-top?

Having kids and teachers witness this feat - and exactly HOW they do it (along with the strange transformation from "dun" to "spinner") in any of our upwing riverflies are key experiences within "Mayfly in the Classroom" - now available in full-colour guidebook form.

You can click here to order a copy

Newfield Bridge weir no more....

Posted on October 19, 2021

Newfield Bridge weir no more....

Twenty-five years ago, I walked the Pennine Way parallel to the River Aire and stopped below Newfield Bridge for lunch. I imagine my casting arm was twitching slightly at the sight of the limestone stream with its clear water, mossy stones, and marsh marigold fringe. The white-water cascading over the weir was framed neatly through the arch of the road bridge, picturesque yes, but certainly not natural….

Almost 20 years later and I returned to that very spot with local EA Fisheries Officer, Pete Turner. I’d not long arrived in Yorkshire with my WTT cap on, and he was giving me a whistle stop tour and introduction to the Upper Aire Project (more of which, later). I looked at it then objectively with my fish passage polaroids on. We both agreed it was one for the wish list of removals....

Riverfly monitoring with a TWIST!

Posted on August 04, 2021

Riverfly monitoring with a TWIST!

Thanks to the enthusiasm of local volunteers, the urban areas of Somerset’s Axe and Sheppey river catchments now have 16 newly-trained riverfly monitors to look after them, as part of our Trout in the Town TWIST (Transforming Waterways in Somerset’s Towns) project.

Nant Clais sewage pollution

Posted on June 17, 2021

Nant Clais sewage pollution

A guest blog post from Lennard Powell of the Afan Valley Angling Club near Neath in South Wales. The Afon Afan and the Nant Clais, like too many rivers across the UK, suffers from sewage pollution and excess sedimentation. Lennard and his fellow members have carried out a detailed investigation and the resulting report has been passed to Dwyr Cymru Welsh Water ( who are a ‘not for profit’ water company) and the regulator in Wales, National Resources Wales. Receipt of the report has been acknowledged and we await with interest to see what action will result. This map on the Rivers Trust website identifies where the sewerage network discharges and overflows into rivers in England and Wales. Andy Thomas of the Wild Trout Trust carried out an Advisory Visit to the club’s 17 miles of water in 2010. Lennard can be contacted at lennard.powell@ntlworld.com

Trout in the Town: A New Chapter for Pewsey

Posted on June 15, 2021

Trout in the Town: A New Chapter for Pewsey

We’re delighted to announce that PARR (Pewsey Avon River Restoration) is the latest urban river restoration group to become an accredited Trout in the Town chapter.

When Theo Pike, our Trout in the Town officer for the south of England, undertook an Advisory Visit for the upper Avon in Pewsey (Wiltshire) recently, he identified a number of important improvements that a motivated community group could make to boost the health of the river for fish, insects, birds – and local people too.

Sea trout smolt migrations

Posted on May 10, 2021

Sea trout smolt migrations

April and May are the peak time for sea trout smolt migration, when some young brown trout decide it is time to leave the river and go to sea. But what is a smolt? Denise Ashton explains.