WTT Blog

Wild trout adventures in the hills

Posted on March 10, 2019

Wild trout adventures in the hills

Roaming the hills in search of wild trout is one of the quintessential adventures of any fishing season – and this year’s Wild Trout Trust Auction brings you a wide choice of chances to explore lochs, llyns and tarns all over Britain’s uplands.

Take your pick from Lyn Gwiddior or a mountain lake near Bala, tarns in England’s Lake District, or even Assynt’s primordial landscapes in the far north of Scotland – and start getting fit for a summer of long but satisfying hikes!

North Norfolk’s best kept chalk stream secrets

Posted on March 08, 2019

North Norfolk’s best kept chalk stream secrets

North Norfolk is still a mystery to many. But so many great anglers live there… that in the end we can’t believe it’s all completely coincidental.

From a unique three river chalk stream safari with Nick Zoll, to a day of adventures in the headwaters of the Wensum with author Terry Lawton, here’s your chance to explore those coincidences and start planning even more time on the water in one of England’s most secretive counties…

Fishing with the stars

Posted on March 05, 2019

Fishing with the stars

Most of us can only dream of meeting our musical, artistic or motor-racing heroes - so the Wild Trout Trust Auction is here to gives you the chance to share fishing adventures with Feargal Sharkey, Charles Jardine, Ross Brawn and many more.

If you’re lucky enough to win one of these lots, nothing else will even come close. Quite simply, it’ll be the highlight of your fishing season.

What have we contributed to the Blueprint for Yorkshire?

Posted on January 24, 2019

What have we contributed to the Blueprint for Yorkshire?

Back in 2016, WTT was one of the organisations to be awarded funding from Yorkshire Water’s Biodiversity Enhancement Fund as part of their Blueprint for Yorkshire. The idea was to organise a series of workshops around aspects of habitat improvement and tailored to issues found at specific sites, and any angling organisation across Yorkshire could register an interest in hosting one.

Three years downstream and it is possible to reflect on what has been achieved.

Plant invasions and trout rations: the sequel

Posted on January 07, 2019

Plant invasions and trout rations: the sequel

It's a great pleasure to welcome back Alex Seeney to the WTT Blog. Just over 18 months ago, he was one of the first of the early career researchers to contribute a post (The riparian invasion: salmonid friend or foe?) about their ongoing science. Well, Alex is now Dr Alex (congratulations) and has returned with an update which I have been eager to see. I well remember some work by Sally Hladyz on how invasive rhododendron can severely impair stream functioning; her work demonstrated that the plant supplied poor leaf litter quality and blocked out the sun, subsequently depressing decomposition rates and algal production rates meaning less food for inverts. Do balsam and knotweed exert similar influences? Over to (Dr) Alex.....

Invasions by non-native species are reported as one of the greatest threats to global biodiversity, and the invasion of riparian ecosystems by invasive non-native plants (INNP hereafter) presents a common and difficult challenge for river and fishery managers.

Improvise, adapt, and overcome...

Posted on December 12, 2018

Improvise, adapt, and overcome...

In a recent monthly staff update, Gareth Pedley shared his experience of rethinking and redesigning a relatively cheap (but hopefully incredibly cheerful) fish passage solution at a challenging structure.

The importance of fish passage on small watercourses is often overlooked, despite a wealth of electrofishing survey data and scientific literature to demonstrate their importance as salmonid spawning and juvenile nursery areas. Making obstructions passable....

Loopy carriers

Posted on November 26, 2018

Loopy carriers

Andy Thomas, WTT Conservation Officer for the South East shares some insights on chalkstream carriers: 

Although not exclusive to chalkstreams, man-made distributaries, loops or carriers pose many fishery owners and managers with difficult challenges, particularly when the flow into their particular system is controlled by a top-end hatch or weir. These challenges can be much more problematic when said hatch is owned by a third party.  If your club is lucky enough to have rights over the main channel, as well as the carrier, then great, but many do not and it’s always a surprise to me that so much harmony exits, particularly in the chalk stream valleys, where water is often split between two, three or even more parallel channels.

Habitat workshop on the Culdaff River, Ireland

Posted on November 08, 2018

Habitat workshop on the Culdaff River, Ireland

Gareth Pedley describes a workshop carried out with volunteers from the Culdaff River Community Angling Club, the Inishowen Rivers Trust and the Loughs Agency to learn about techniques for tackling excessive bank erosion - and does some valuable work too!

Developments on the Dove at Birdsgrove

Posted on October 03, 2018

Developments on the Dove at Birdsgrove

A WTT advisory visit in 2016 on behalf of Birdsgrove Fly Fishing Club (BFFC) to the River Dove, Derbyshire, identified seven weirs along the 5km length of river fished by the club. The impoundment of water by these structures is detrimental to river habitat, fly and fish populations,especially from a fish passage persepctive, and natural sediment transport. The advisory visit report stimulated a debate within the club about what could be done to improve the fishery and it was decided to work towards the removal of the two weirs that had been built by the club in the past.

The results are in: barriers down, fish up

Posted on September 07, 2018

The results are in: barriers down, fish up

I’ve been looking forward to this moment for quite some time now…..well, at least a year. The monitoring of my pet project from pre-intervention (weir notching and removal / partial demolition over six structures) to several years post is quite revealing, and I’ll let the data do the talking.

Now, as a scientist, I know there are a few caveats associated with the figure above. But as there was no specific funding pot for the monitoring of the works for this duration, I am making the best of the situation. So, all surveys were carried out in each of the years for roughly the same amount of time (effort), over similar distances, using similar kit, and roughly the same time of year (although 2018 was a little later because of the incredibly dry spring / summer we have just experienced). Ideally, all of these parameters would have been standardised; ie identical each time.

Goldilocks weather

Posted on September 03, 2018

Goldilocks weather

What has happened to our young trout during all the recent 'abnormal' weather? It's a question I have heard discussed and been asked directly quite regularly of late, and I intend to post a response with a relatively local flavour, here on the blog, in the not too distant future. However, to pre empt that, I thought I would post some thoughts from my colleague in the south, Andy Thomas. Glaciers were still retreating from Cumbria when Andy first started working on rivers, so he's seen a thing or two....

Please note that this article was originally published in the WTT Summer Newsletter (one of the perks of being a member), and hence was written prior to the extended warm & dry period that subsequently ensued! 

Connectivity at Coniston Cold

Posted on July 09, 2018

Connectivity at Coniston Cold

And so it comes to pass….Coniston Cold weir, which in various forms has been a man-made obstruction to fish passage on the R Aire in N Yorkshire for the past 180 years at least, is no more. Instead, there is now 20.4km of uninterrupted free passage along the Aire and a major tributary.... and all for less than £8k!

Coniston Cold Weir: 19m wide and 1.2m headloss, with a 4m horizontal block-stone apron

I will not reinvent the wheel and spend time here discussing how weirs cause environmental issues. The evidence is abundant and simple to find in the scientific literature, and my colleague Paul Gaskell has recently summarised much of that, here. Then there are global-local events like World Fish Migration Day to raise awareness and I would wager that almost every conservation body involved with river restoration has a hit-list of target weirs on their local patch.