Urban river restoration: New strength in numbers for grayling in Chesterfield’s Rother

Grayling News - Autumn 2015

For those of us who like to make a note of future fishing prospects on our urban rivers (not to mention small but significant rewilding stories for our favourite inner city ecosystems!) here’s a good one for the diary.

On 25 June this year, according to Brian Clarke in the Grayling Society’s latest newsletter…

… the Environment Agency stocked 3,000 0+ to 1+ year class grayling in the River Rother in Chesterfield. This was the first of three stockings planned (3,000 in 2016 and 3,000 more in 2017). 

Grayling have for several years been caught by local anglers in small numbers, but this stocking programme by the EA will add to the existing small population, and also shows the EA’s confidence in the improving quality of the river.

Partly because of the very small and tenuous (and highly pollution-sensitive) grayling population that Brian mentions, Chesterfield and the Rother never quite made it into Trout in Dirty Places. But the story of the Yorkshire Colne shows how a little judicious stocking from the EA’s fish farm at Calverton can sometimes make all the difference, when once-great rivers have been almost completely wiped out by industrial and post-industrial pollution, and a new kick-start is all they need.

Sometime around 2017-18, somewhere in the Rother’s rusty canyons, you’ll probably find the Urbantrout team doing a little careful rod-and-line sampling…

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