Spring is springing in the urban edgelands, and Urbantrout correspondent Spencer Clayton has been celebrating May Day on Shrewsbury’s magical little Rea Brook…
I travelled light today, heading towards Shrewsbury by train from Wolverhampton station, reached Whitecroft Road at 11.30am and walked the banks, fishing upstream.
It was chilly and rained until 2pm, so I did expect to see a few rising fish and some fly life, but there were hardly any bugs hatching, and no rising fish.
So I fished an upstream Baetis nymph with 5 – 6ft of a used copolymer leader, extended with 2 – 3ft of 3.5lb fluorocarbon (Rio Fluoroflex Plus) tippet. This approach still didn’t bring me any trout, but I did catch a few out of season grayling, all quickly released, and some of a very good size.
I finished off at Meole Brace Bridge, then walked back along the A5191 back into Shrewsbury, and crossed the English Bridge over the River Severn. There are plenty of great buildings to have a look at, and lots of old pubs to get a refreshment or two!
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…
Understanding abstraction, low flows and the upper Wandle’s unique water recirculation system as part of the whole river’s community catchment plan for future resilience against climate change and other pressures
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!
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!
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 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.
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!
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.