Theo on March 5 2014
It’s hard to believe a whole year has rolled round since last year’s Wild Trout Trust auction… but here we are again, with another highly tempting selection of lots for would-be urban anglers.
Whether you’re already a dyed-in-the-wool post-industrial fly-fisher, or you’ve recently discovered our
dirty little secret and want to find out more, we’re almost certain there’s something here for you:
- Lot 62: 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 102: Presented by Ffynnon Taff Angling Club, 1 day for 1 rod on the legendary post-industrial River Taff guided by Nicholas Steedman. Hit this one right, and you may find huge trout and grayling rising freely to exceptional hatches…
- Lot 182: Stuart Crofts’ annual challenge: fish for 1 hour on each of 5 different urban rivers within 15 miles of Sheffield, 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 196: A day’s fishing for 2 rods on West Yorkshire’s urban Calder or Colne, guided by local expert Gary Hyde. As a stalwart supporter of his local rivers trust, what Gary doesn’t know about these rivers isn’t worth knowing…
- Lot 216: 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 of hooking a trophy trout somewhere in south London!
- Lot 241: Guided by 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)
This year’s Wild Trout Trust auction aims to raise more than £50,000 of unrestricted funds for the WTT’s excellent charitable work and partnership projects to improve habitat for wild trout and many other species. Bids can be placed online between now and the evening of Thursday 13 March: you can also send sealed postal bids which will be logged online on your behalf.
Bid early, bid often in aid of this exceptional cause… and we’ll see you out there on one of our urban rivers!
Theo on February 17 2014
As regular readers of this blog will know, post-industrial rivers really do come in all shapes, sizes and conditions (and not all of them now as urban as you might think).
To us, there’s no better proof of this maxim than the otherwise idyllic upper Lathkill, part of the headwaters of the mighty Trent.
However rural the Peak District’s limestone landscape looks at first glance, it’s an area of Derbyshire that’s been intensively lead-mined for centuries.
As this film explains, Magpie Sough was constructed between 1873 and 1881 to drain groundwater out of the Magpie Mine workings and make it possible for the miners to dig for even deeper deposits of lead.
Unfortunately, Magpie Sough taps the little River Lathkill’s aquifer and diverts late-season base flows into the Wye instead… which means it’s necessary for local riverkeepers and EA staff to rescue trout from the upper Lathkill, at least twice or three times every year, before the river bed dries out completely.
There’s a discussion and updates thread here on the Fly Fishing Forums, and we’ll be watching this potential HLF project with the greatest interest.
Theo on January 27 2014
New results from a 5-year research project carried out by the University of Exeter show that moving to greener spaces in towns and cities can have positive, lasting health benefits.
From a summary in a property feature in last week’s Metro:
The study traced 1,000 people living in British cities for 5 years and found those living in greener surroundings reported less mental distress and higher life satisfaction, even after taking into account income, employment, marital status, physical health and housing type.
The research showed that living close to green space positively impacts upon mental health, and the effects can continue long after the initial move, suggesting long-term and sustained benefits for local communities.
Given this solid baseline of data, is it too much of a stretch to voice what most readers of this blog must already be thinking: does having access to green urban space with a river running through it, and then being able to fish where you live, bring even bigger benefits in health and wellbeing?
More research needed has got to be our ongoing excuse… but we strongly suspect we know the answer anyway?
Theo on January 16 2014
Urbantrout readers Simon Clarke and David Miller spent a sunny winter Saturday on RENEWAL‘s much-restored urban reaches of the River Lambourn in Newbury last weekend, and sent us a selection of photos via Simon’s Facebook page.
Like most of the southern chalkstreams at present, the river was running fast and high from lots of recent rain, so a little extra weight was needed to get down to the grayling.
Maybe because half a dozen coarse anglers were also sharing the banks, pink bugs proved to be the dish of the day, tied on red Charles Jardine hooks by pro tyer Scott Kane for an extra kick of colour (hint: we’ve found matching the trotting hatch surprisingly successful elsewhere too!)
And we were also mightily impressed to see David rocking his Urbantrout digital camo cap, bought from us on the Wild Trout Trust stand at last year’s BFFI (hint number 2: there’s still a couple more where that came from!)
It’s winter, the urban grayling are biting… what are the rest of us waiting for?
(Photos: Simon Clarke and David Miller)
Theo on January 1 2014
Maybe it’s something in the water (or more probably the proximity of Glasgow’s ancient and world-famous School of Art) but the local graffiti on the Kelvin never fails to inspire us.
Take the example above, which recently appeared on Alistair Stewart’s Urban Fly Fisher blog… or the ones below, which we found whilst fishing and photographing for Trout in Dirty Places almost 3 years ago.
Could motivational tags for urban river restorationists get any more inspiring than these?
We suspect not, but send your favourites to us, and we might even start a gallery.
2014… bring it on!
(Photo 1: Alistair Stewart)
Theo on December 20 2013
As the great Brian Clarke once said, if there’s anything that can be picked up, carried and dropped, you’ll find it in the Wandle.
And so it was that in the last moments of December’s Wandle Trust community river cleanup, our good friend (and fellow fishing writer) Jason Hill spotted something in the water… and pulled out old Saint Nick himself.
We’ve appreciated plenty of Christmas-themed urban river images in our time, but maybe none that captured the moment quite like this.
Many thanks to everyone who’s read and supported Urbantrout this year, a very Merry Christmas to you all… and we’ll see you in 2014!
Theo on December 10 2013
This is the time of year which often shows even the best angler exactly what he’s been failing to catch all season…
When I walked downriver the following afternoon, the trout were still there: two big fish cruising the daylight shallows like nuclear submarines, with their grey backs half out of water and clear wakes veeing off their dorsal and adipose fins…
Under an arc-chrome shower of birch leaves, out there on the shallows, the early stages of a clean gravel redd were already plain to see. A three- or four-pound hen trout can shift an impressive mound of flints, eroded knobs of slag, even half bricks or lumps of concrete, several feet downstream, and since watching this happen for the first time, I’ve speculated whether our platonic ideal of a feature-filled humped-and-hollowed river bed is partly created by salmonids at spawning time.
Our latest instalment of The Urbantrout Diaries has just been published in collaboration with Flyfishing.co.uk: please click through to read and enjoy!
(Photo: Lysanne Horrox)
Theo on November 20 2013
Urbantrout aficionado Spencer Clayton spent yesterday afternoon on Shrewsbury’s Rea Brook, and sent us this thoughtful late-season update, right from the banks of another of our favourite urban fisheries:
Fished the Rea Brook this afternoon, well to be honest I’m still here, walking along the Rea Valley trail back to town alongside the river. Had several small grayling, 20 branches and a few leaves. Enjoyed my short visit though!
I’ll be back on site tomorrow, cold and wet, getting the bricks and blocks down for Morris Homes. Nice gap between sites so I refreshed myself on the stream.
Great job, Spencer… this vicarious fishing trip to the edgelands has refreshed us too…
(All photos: Spencer Clayton)