WTT Blog

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.



New Website for Sheffield Trout in the Town project

Posted on January 19, 2012

Check it out here:

http://www.sheffieldsprite.com

Please note the Calendar function in the "Events" pages that will keep everyone up to date with upcoming cool stuff.

Also note our exciting plans for a new initiative using simplified fly-fishing (Japanese Tenkara) to engage kids and adults with the conservation of their local urban rivers. We will be piloting this in Sheffield and then helping other groups to set up their own projects.

Finally, although it is not yet "live" there will be a Donate button so that people who would like to help to protect and restore the urban Don (but who find it difficult to attend working parties) can make discretionary contributions via Paypal.

Enjoy and please feel free to comment via p.gaskell8@googlemail.com

Massive thanks to

Posted on December 24, 2011



Massive thanks to all the volunteers who put themselves forward in some difficult times for myself and, potentially, the group. Here is a short video put together from the few clips I've taken over two recent working parties (when I've remembered my camera!). Of course there have been many more events, and please see my older blog entries for some of these.

The raw materials for works towards specific conservation objectives were paid for, in the main, by a grant that the WTT successfully won from the Esmee Fairbairn foundation.

Extra special thanks to the volunteers who just put themselves forward to find out what needed to be done to tackle our challenges; a few that stand out are
Danny G, Paul H, Roger R, Nick J, Gerry C, Steve W, Simon F, Richard C, Dave W, Kate Q, Craig O, Gareth E - As well as the general supporting membership!

Big thanks to those businesses that have taken a hit in order to put something back in to the river that they value so highly:

Paul Hughes/Greentree landscaping (Kit donation/use, around 100 hours of voluntary time contributed for free in 2011 along with...

Latest TinTT/Wandle Trust Partnership works

Posted on October 24, 2011

As regular readers will know, there is a long-running collaboration between the Wild Trout Trust (most recently via the Trout in the Town project) and the Wandle Trust. This September I had the honour of doing some further consultancy on how best to carry out parts of their ongoing in-stream habitat restoration project.

The programme of in-channel works on the Carshalton arm was initiated as part of the WTT Practical visit in February 2011 and is also part of the overall strategy for this section of the river. The strategy was driven by the findings of numerous site visits technical guidance documents that the WTT prepared for the Wandle Trust for use in negotiations with the local Environment Agency representatives. Through this process the E.A. and the Wandle Trust were able to lower/remove a number of weirs as well as to fit a fish pass to a weir that could not be removed. The fish pass and its installation were generously paid for and carried out by the Environment Agency. The strategy documents and the attendant detailed technical guidance notes allowed, following a very long negotiation process of around 24 months, the quality of the habitat between the sites...

Colne habitat works revisited

Posted on October 04, 2011

I had a really lovely trip up to East Lancashire to meet with Graham Counsell (who had kindly sourced some very useful pieces of metalwork for driving rebar pins into submerged logs; thanks Graham). We took the opportunity to fish up along the section of river that the Trout in the Town branch run out of Colne Water Angling Club have been restoring and protecting over the last few years Colne Habitat restoration video.
I am really glad that I did because we were privileged to encounter a large number of super-healthy, totally wild brownies from tight up against the superb overhead cover provided by the log and brash bank revetments. These soft revetments are structures that the club have installed to slow the "too rapid" rate of erosion in grazed sections of their river. The brashy margins have re-vegetated really well, providing additional bugs for the trout to feed on. Not only that, the trout have a plethora of new and very secure lies beneath the bankside logs and shaggy vegetation.
Sadly, I could only manage about an hour and a half of actual fishing before returning home to the office. However, in that time I contacted 2...

SPRITE Winter events

Posted on September 19, 2011

Hi everyone,

I have a few dates for your diaries for some of the SPRITE winter work schedule.

2nd Oct 2011– wild flower and grass seeding

This is a really important job for a number of reasons. The root structure of grasses and plants stabilises soil banks reducing erosion, so preventing silt entering the water course. It also greatly increases diversity of the riparian habitat which will have a knock on benefit for all flora and fauna. I particularly want to try some seeding in the areas where the EA has previously stem injected the Japanese Knotweed. These bankside areas may well be vulnerable to winter floods, so it is vital that we stabilise these areas.

Meet 9.30 – 12.30 by the Farfield Hotel, town end of Club Mill Roa.


30th Oct – general litter pick,

The first of this winter's litter clean ups.

PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF VENUE NOW Meet 9.30 – 12.30 AT LIVESEY STREET BRIDGE.



27th Nov – bird & bat box painting and installation

We still have a number of bird and...

Astounding events on new TinTT affiliated river

Posted on September 12, 2011

Two of the new attendees at our "urban conclave" in February this year invited me back to their own urban river recently. The purpose of the visit was two-fold; first of all to do some "mayfly in the classroom" training and also to do a revisit to the site that I had provided a habitat report on last winter. As well as exploring opportunities for access to spawning tributaries, my hosts also kindly allowed me to fish their privately owned section. Sadly this piece of river suffers serious pollution spills every few years. These have included incidents that have wiped out all fish - including thousands of eels. In fact, the only fish to survive one such incident in 2009 were the handful of eels that managed to CLIMB OUT ONTO THE RIVERBANK and ball up in tree roots. Therefore, it was more an act of defiance to make our way up the river with fully rigged fly rods casting into numerous likely-looking spots in the vain hope of proving the water chemistry data wrong. And let's be clear here; there was absolutely no shortage of fantastic looking holding water in the quarter mile or so that we...