London Rivers Week 2017 is here!

If you’re into urban rivers and everything about them (like we are) there’s no bigger or better event than London Rivers Week…

… which has just been launched on the banks of the Ravensbourne in Ladywell Fields in Lewisham.

As Thames21’s London Rivers Week web hub says:

London Rivers Week aims to inspire people like you to take pride in our waterways, understand the challenges they face and come together to create a healthy future for our rivers.

Catchment Partnerships and environmental organisations such as Thames21, ZSL, London Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency and the South East Rivers Trust are putting on public events, walks and talks at special river sites.

London Rivers Week is a chance to celebrate the capital’s many rivers, and all the work going on to rewild and restore them. This includes bringing them above ground (daylighting); creating or restoring new wetlands, or breaking them out of concrete channels. Londoners all across the city are helping reclaim, rescue and restore our rivers, and we urge you to join them!

London Rivers Week 2017 is sponsored by Thames Water (psst… the Thames Tideway Tunnel is on its way!) and there’s lots more information here to help you get involved…

(Photo: Thames21)

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Pic of the day: Fun in the sun, cleaning up the Frome

It’s fair to say that this photo caused a bit of unexpected kerfuffle when it appeared on Facebook a few days ago (Can you or can’t you legally pull shopping trolleys and other rubbish out of your local river? The authoritative answer: Yes, you can!)

We also say: Kudos to Dan, Simon and Richard and other Friends of the River Frome for clearing four full canoe loads of crap (including 5 shopping trolleys, 2 bicycles, a motor scooter and a huge industrial fan!) out of this lovely little urban river, and Frome Town Council for taking away the rubbish at the end.

Want to help out too? FORF’s next cleanup is scheduled for 10.00am on Saturday 3 June

(Photo: Friends of the River Frome)


Urbantrout sidecasts: Monday 15 May

(Photo: David James Bendle)

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Film night: Pollution hits the Irwell (again)

It’s a sickening experience to see your local river destroyed by pollution, but with the best will in the world there’s nothing very much for outside observers to say or do except sympathise deeply, offer any support that’s needed, and thank their lucky stars that it wasn’t their river… this time.

That’s why we’ve been slow to say much about the latest – and this time massive – pollution incidents to hit the magnificent River Irwell, wiping out invertebrates for at least 25 miles and putting the river’s recent recovery in real jeopardy.

Instead, we’ll let locals like Mike Duddy and David James Bendle do the talking, in film clips like the one above, and latest reports like these ones here, here and here.

As usual in such appalling incidents, once that first adrenaline hit of panic and fury has subsided a little, everything goes spookily quiet while the EA investigates (and pre-General Election purdah probably isn’t helping much at the moment either).

The rest of us can only watch and hope that the Agency’s efforts eventually produce something positive for the future of the Irwell, even if some past form may suggest unhappily otherwise. We’ll relay any updates when we hear them ourselves.

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Trout in Dirty Places: Now available as an ebook!

Five years (count ’em already!) since this groundbreaking urban fishing and river-mending title was published in 2012

… publishers Merlin Unwin Books have now released Trout in Dirty Places in ebook format.

Available from Amazon, iBooks and Kobo, it’s priced at £10.00 or less.

So, if you’ve been reading this site, but haven’t fully come over to the dark side of urban fishing yet, maybe now’s your chance.

Click here to grab your copy today!

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Urbantrout sidecasts: Monday 3 April

(Photo: Damon Valentine / The Telegraph)

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The Fly Fisher: Bringing urban fishing to a global lifestyle audience

Urban fly-fishing has had an underground vibe for as long as we can remember. Sure, it’s featured on plenty of blogs and charity auction listings, and even some memorable magazine interviews, as well as the book that launched a thousand urban fishing adventures, Trout in Dirty Places

… but we reckon this might be the first time our little niche-within-a-niche has made it into the pages of a proper, full-sized, global creative lifestyle coffee table book.

Complete with photos from talented paparazzo Duncan Soar on an Urbantrout mission to Manchester, as well as Ole Ragowski and Simon Stablein of Flyrus on Berlin’s River Spree, our urban fishing and river mending philosophy gets a whole 8 pages in this amazing new publication, launched this week by Gestalten.

The Fly Fisher is packed with full-colour, full-bleed photography, so it’s utterly beautiful to look at, but there’s a progressive message in its text too.

Urban fly-fishing is just one of several strong environmental stories, alongside (for instance) Brothers on the Fly and their new-media promotion of environmental causes like catch and release, and the Leeway Collective’s efforts to save many Balkan rivers which are threatened by hydropower developments.

As the text says, “the idea that trout only live in beautiful places no longer applies to the modern breed of urban fly fishers – in the 21st century it’s much more accurate to argue that no place where trout live can ever be truly ugly”.

Click here to preview and order your copy today!

(Photo: Jan Blumentritt)

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The Wild Trout Trust charity auction 2017: Here’s where your next urban fishing season starts

As the whole concept of urban fly-fishing moves steadily into the mainstream, the Wild Trout Trust’s annual charity auction has become a regular feature of our publishing calendar here at Urbantrout.

For your usual bidding pleasure, this is the fifth time we’ve filleted out all the tastiest urban lots, and we reckon there’s no real need for more preamble except to say: the WTT hopes to raise tens of thousands of pounds in unrestricted funds from this legendary auction each year, and it’s an easy way to make a real difference to all our rivers, not just the urban ones, and get some really exceptional fishing as well as a nice warm glow of charitable satisfaction.

This year’s auction runs from Friday 3 March to Sunday 12 March. Go to it!

  • Lots 64 and 65: 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 94: Presented by Ffynnon Taff Angling Club and our good pal Nick Steedman: 1 day for 1 rod on the legendary River Taff guided by big trout hunter Nick. The Taff is an impressively large post-industrial river with some difficult wading, but hit this one right, and you may find huge trout and grayling rising freely to exceptional hatches…
  • Lots 107 and 108: 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 114 and 115: 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 179: If you’ve ever stood by the Old Barge water in Winchester and wondered what’s through the woods on the opposite bank, here’s your answer. One day’s fishing for 2 rods on the hallowed chalkstream Itchen through the grounds of Winchester College, where Skues, Grey and many others learned their trade. (Yes, it’s urban, though the college may not thank us for reminding you!)
  • Lot 212: Wander up the Wandle for the day with this blog’s very own Theo Pike, getting the latest news on this (now officially hipster) inner-city chalkstream’s rollercoaster recovery – and a chance of hooking a trophy trout somewhere in south London!
  • Lot 275: One day’s fishing with Phillippa Hake on Yorkshire’s River Calder, targeting trout and grayling with simple dry fly and nymph tactics. Phillippa is a member of the England Ladies’ Flyfishing team, and the urban Calder is her home water.
  • Lot 295: 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.

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

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Film night: A new kind of river management is coming! (Full English version)

It must have been some time around a year ago that we saw this brilliant little film for the first time in its original French version, and said to ourselves: This is only three and a half minutes long, but it’s utterly epic! When’s the English translation coming?

And just like that… here it is. (Thanks to CATCH and ARK for the heads up!)

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Pic of the day: Glen Pointon represents the Trent

Given a choice of home waters that includes the legendary Derbyshire Dove and Wye, you might expect occasional Urbantrout contributor Glen Pointon to pick one of those iconic limestone streams to represent the spirit of his fishing experience.

But challenged by fellow guide Lewis Hendrie to post a favourite fishing photo on Facebook (just one of several trending attempts to drown out some of the noise of political strife currently dominating social media) he’s only gone and posted a selfie from one of the River Trent’s most starkly brutalist stretches…

… complete, of course, with a trophy trout caught on a righteous dry fly.

Which also makes this photo a kind of memorial – recording as it does the recent glory days of yet another unsung urban river, just before it got wiped out in one of the worst pollution incidents we’ve known (and believe us, we’ve known a few).

And to Glen, for all of that, we say: Respect.

(Photo: Glen Pointon)

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