Film night: Thanks from the Wandle!

When you’ve spent a decade (or more) steadily working away at mending the headwaters of an urban river…

you end up with lots of friends to thank.

So the team at the Wandle Trust (now grown up into the South East Rivers Trust) made this video to celebrate the upper Wandle project’s success at this year’s UK River Prize, and drop some hat tips to everyone who helped along the way…

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UK River Prize 2016: Wandle wins urban category

Before and after - upper Wandle - SERT

Here at Urbantrout, it’s no secret that the River Wandle is very close to our hearts (in fact it’s right across the road from where we’re tapping out this blog post in the depths of south London).

So it’s been quite a buzz to hear that the Wandle Trust’s work on the Carshalton arm of the river has just won the urban project category of the River Restoration Centre’s UK River Prize 2016… putting this little south London stream up against heavy hitters like the Derwent, Eden and Kent for the full national award (and the Nigel Holmes trophy) at the end of this month.

While we’re waiting for the final results, here’s a flashback to all the different elements involved over many years to deliver the upper Wandle project so far…

Thanks to all these works, as the RESTORE database reports, the number of wild-spawned juvenile trout in this stretch has already leapt from 3 or 4 to 67 in a single year, and it’s also thought that the Carshalton arm of the Wandle will be the first urban heavily modified water body in the UK to reach ‘good ecological potential’ (GEP) for the purposes of the EU’s Water Framework Directive.

Whether or not the big prize comes the Wandle’s way… we reckon the river’s already a winner.

(Image: South East Rivers Trust)

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New black stripe Urbantrout beanie hats… and what our customers have said!

Black stripe Urbantrout beanie hat

For the start of the new trout season, we’re shaking up our famous range of urban steelheader beanies – adding a new black-based colourway to our classic olive stripe.

So, whether you’re dropping into the concrete canyons of the Trent and Tame, or stalking the dry fly flats of the Taff or Irwell, we reckon those blue-grey stripes on a double-thick knitted black background will blend perfectly with the early season clouds…

… helping you get closer to the fish, and keeping your concentration (and your ears) warm too.

Here’s what some of our happy customers have told us about wearing their Urbantrout beanie hats:

Kevin Knight: Best hat I’ve ever had!

Dom Garnett: I will second that… every fisherman needs a decent hat!

Tankred Rinder: One of my best clothes purchases

John O’Brien: I’m glad I bought one!

As usual, 10% of profits on these hats will go direct to help fund urban river restoration projects – maybe even in your area.

Visit the Urbantrout store to pick up your new fishing hat today!

Olive, black stripe Urbantrout beanie hats



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Pics of the day: Starting trout time in Andorra

Andorra 1 - Lucas Hasan Hadid Nunez

Mid-March means the Wild Trout Trust charity auction is done, and trout season is starting all over. So we thought we’d go a little further afield than usual for our latest pics of the day…

… all the way, in fact, to the Riú Gran Valira in Andorra la Vella, where the Pescadors D’Andorra have clearly been celebrating a highly successful start to their season in low water conditions before all that snow melts off the high Pyrenees and sends the river into runoff.

While we were working out permissions for using these shots, photographer Lucas Hasan Hadid Nuñez asked us to be very clear that the Pescadors D’Andorra are all about responsible pesca sin muerte – catch and release.

Which of course we’re more than delighted to do, because the more we hear those 3 magic words from mainland Europe, the really, really happier it makes us…

… and since one of the Urbantrout team has a family apartment in Andorra, we’re thinking let’s jump on a plane to those wonderful concrete canyons as soon as we can!

Andorra 3 - Lucas Hasan Hadid Nunez

Andorra 2 - Lucas Hasan Hadid Nunez

(Photos: Lucas Hasan Hadid Nuñez)

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The Wild Trout Trust charity auction 2016: See what all this urban fishing fuss is about!

Wandle trout - Theo Pike

It’s early March already… and that can only mean one thing: the time has come for the Wild Trout Trust’s famous annual charity auction.

Whether you’re a hardened connoisseur of urban fishing, or you just finally want to see what the fuss is about, we highly recommend reading through all 298 lots in the auction catalogue (trust us, it’s worth it!)

But if you just want to cut to the chase, here for the 4th year running is our shortlist of all the urban lots, ready picked out for your bidding pleasure…

  • Lots 69 and 70: 2 chances to win a week’s permit for 2 rods on the Town Waters of the River Ness in Inverness, presented by the Inverness Angling Club. This beat runs right through the Scottish Highland capital, and is best fished for salmon with a fly.
  • Lot 101: Presented by Ffynnon Taff Angling Club and Nicholas Steedman: 1 day for 1 rod on the legendary River Taff guided by Nicholas Steedman. The Taff is a big post-industrial river with some difficult wading, but hit it one right, and you may find huge trout and grayling rising freely to exceptional hatches…
  • Lots 112 and 113: 2 opportunities to bid for a full season permit to fish the waters of Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association, which controls not just the Taf Fechan and urban upper Taff, but also beats on the Tarrell and Usk.
  • Lots 120 and 121: As above… but if you can’t commit to a whole season on Merthyr Tydfil AA’s waters, why not fish them with a friend for just 2 days instead?
  • Lot 156: Guided by former WTT officer Ben Tyser, 1 day for 1 rod on the urban River Allen in Wimborne Minster (as featured in Trout in Dirty Places and Hugh Miles’ film Liquid Gold: A Celebration of Chalk Streams)
  • Lot 208: Wander up the Wandle for the day with this blog’s very own Theo Pike, getting the latest news on this inner-city chalkstream’s rollercoaster recovery – and a chance to meet other Wandle Piscators and hook a trophy trout somewhere in south London!
  • Lot 266: Mission Impossible(?) with Stuart Crofts is to fish for 1 hour on each of 4 different urban rivers within 15 miles of Sheffield, on Tuesday 3 May 2016, with the aim of catching a wild trout from each. If you complete your mission successfully, Stuart will buy you a pint of Yorkshire ale. If not, it’s your round…
  • Lot 272: One day’s fishing with Philippa Hake on Yorkshire’s River Calder, targeting trout and grayling with simple dry fly and nymph tactics. Philippa is a member of the England Ladies’ Flyfishing team, and the urban Calder is her home water.
  • Lot 291: Shrouded in mystery (likely for a very good reason – and you’ll be sworn to secrecy too), this is 1 day for 1 rod somewhere on west Yorkshire’s urban free-fishing trout and grayling rivers with local expert Dave Hudson.
  • Lot 292: From urban to unspoilt, 1 day for 1 rod on a north Yorkshire beck with the Wild Trout Trust’s newest recruit, Prof Jon Grey. Fish through the dilapidated infrastructure of an old mill stream to more natural water higher up the system, all of it rarely fished, with a good chance of a 2lb wild trout.
  • Lot 294: Presented by Slaithwaite and District Angling Club, this is your opportunity to explore the River Colne near Huddersfield with local guide Mick Pogson sometime between 21 April and 30 September 2016.

Once again the Wild Trout Trust is hoping to raise more than £50,000 in unrestricted funds from this charity auction.

Because it’s not linked to any particular project, the money from your successful bid(s) can be used for a range of purposes including basic project delivery tools like chainsaws and waders, match funding for other sources of funds like charitable trusts, and even bursaries for local groups who may need just a bit of kick-start funding for their own projects. (Who knows, it might even be your very own urban river that benefits!)

Bids can be placed online between now and the evening of Sunday 13 March: you can also send sealed postal bids which will be logged online on your behalf.

Bid early, bid often… and we’ll see you out there on one of our urban rivers!

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Urbantrout Kryptek Highlander camouflage fishing caps are here!

Urbantrout Kryptek Highlander cap

This is one we’ve been waiting to bring to Europe, the UK and the Urbantrout store for more than a year: a fishing cap in hands-down the most outrageously funky camo pattern we’ve ever seen.

According to the ‘battlefield to back country’ developers’ notes, Kryptek’s crisp, graphic camouflage has been blended from a combination of bi-level layering, transitional shading and sharp random geometrical foregrounds that create a three-dimensional effect for ultimate levels of concealment at long and short range.

Not surprisingly, Kryptek is one of three patterns currently shortlisted for the US Army’s Future Soldier programme.

Better still, the latest Highlander blend of colours has been optimised for just the kind of varied terrain where we’re fishing today – from remote hills and woods to concrete edgelands and our favourite urban jungles.

What does all this mean? In summary, you’re looking at the world’s most cutting-edge camo for the truly hyper-stealthy fish hunters among us. (Even the US Army hasn’t got this stuff yet!)

And best of all, for the first time in Britain and Europe, Kryptek’s authentic Highlander pattern is now available as a trucker-style fishing cap right here in the Urbantrout store – with free UK shipping and 10% of profits going to help fund urban river restoration projects.

By now you’ll know stealth is important, wherever you fish…

Click here to grab your Urbantrout Kryptek cap today!

Urbantrout Kryptek Highlander caps 2

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Pic of the day: Pre-season horse-hunting

Horse hunting - Glen Pointon

Team Wychwood consultant and podcaster Glen Pointon is widely known for his frankly revolutionary floating C&R net and his semi-legendary horse-hunting escapades – catching big trout from notoriously Dirty Places like the upper Trent – and social media tells us he’s not resting on his laurels from previous seasons.

Nope, he’s already out there on his local rivers, checking out the approaches for those early-season LDO stalks.

“It don’t just happen,” he says, “there’s serious homework involved”.

We’ve even heard talk of a film with Matt Dunkinson. Watch this space…

(Photo: Glen Pointon)

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Film night: Urban fishing (Norwegian winter edition)

From Dry Fly Living via the most-excellent-for-long-dark-evenings Orvis film site comes this fabulous little vignette of a group of Norwegian anglers getting their winter fly-fishing fix.

To those of us watching from the UK… how much does this look like winter grayling fishing on some of our own favourite city streams in Sheffield, Huddersfield and the eastern edgelands of Manchester?

Brrr… it’s still beanie time out there too

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Urbantrout beanies: Made for keeping the cold out (and still with FREE P&P!)

Urbantrout beanie hats 3

It’s been a weird (and mostly very wet) winter so far in the UK. But on the off-chance that you can ever actually make it onto the water, Urbantrout’s famous beanie hats are here to keep the weather right outside where it belongs.

They’re double-layered, cable-knit, and made with a short front peak to shield your eyes from the worst of the rain, show and sleet.

Best of all, there’s a heavy double fold of fabric that pulls right down to keep your ears warm (read: not just grayling or pike fishing gear, but perfect for LDO and March Brown season too!)

As usual, P&P comes completely free, and 10% of profits from these steelheader street-style hats will go straight to fund urban river projects.

Click here to visit the Urbantrout shop and grab yours today!

Urbantrout beanie on the river

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Urban fishing: Rules change on Durham’s River Wear

Durham fishing

Since Trout in Dirty Places was published in 2012, we’ve noticed virtually no changes to the fishing regulations on any of the featured 50 urban rivers across the UK.

Naturally, the real world had to catch up with the printed page at some point (after all, working as a kind of continuity blog for the book was one of our original reasons for setting up this site!)

So now we’ve noticed the January 2016 issue of Trout & Salmon carrying the following announcement from David Carrick about a stretch of the River Wear in Durham which has always been vulnerable to salmon and sea-trout poaching:

The ‘Free Stretch’ in Durham City is to be closed for fishing for the 2016 season and beyond. The area at Framwellgate Waterside is already closed for fishing on the north bank; now the right bank is to be closed from the weirs down to the western area of the Sands.

Conservationists have condemned this area as ‘salmon and sea-trout poaching on an industrial scale’. A new bylaw is being sought that will ban all types of fishing in this area. The move is backed by the trustees of the City of Durham Freemen, who control riverbank access, and is supported by the Durham Constabulary, Durham County Council, the Environment Agency and the Wear Anglers’ Association.

In the area concerned, salmon and sea-trout are held up by the weirs at Framwellgate, making them vulnerable to poachers, some of whom have refrigerated vehicles to take their haul away.

The Freemen’s trustees have set aside 350 yards of the south bank, well away from the poaching hotspot, which will remain free fishing for law-abiding anglers. ‘No Fishing’ signs will be erected, giving both police and Environment Agency powers to arrest anyone contravening the new banning order.

A spokesman for the Wear Anglers’ Association’s members said: ‘Conservation of wild salmon and sea-trout stocks is vitally important to the future of the River Wear. Numbers of these precious fish have been dwindling over the years. The indiscriminate plunder of the river’s migratory fish at Freemen’s Reach must stop’.

Since this announcement, there’s also been some interesting discussion over the Fly Forums (though we reckon confirmation of those 350 yards at the Sands remaining fishable by lawful urban anglers may go some way to defusing tensions).

If any fishing regulations have changed on your local urban river since the publication of Trout in Dirty Places, please let us know, and we’ll gladly provide an update here on


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