16th December 2015
With all the water from the recent heavy rains, it is not only the river courses and river beds that have changed. I have just returned from a meeting of the Northumbrian Anglers Federation Trustees where many items were discussed.
Following the decision last year not to stock the river in the Rothbury area with Brown Trout the trustees have decided not to stock any Brown Trout for the foreseeable future. This follows advice from the Wild Trout Trust who have done a great deal of work on many rivers. The scientific evidence shows that rivers who stopped stocking, but improved the rivers surrounding environment, showed marked improvement in Brown Trout numbers. The improvements on rivers such as the Eden, I understand, take somewhere in the region of five to eight years!
The suggestion is that fences are constructed to protect the river banks from farm animals and vegetation is planned to stabilise banks, improve the habitat from insects and to provide shelter for the trout.
Many trout anglers will be really disappointed with the decision to stop stocking, but everything points to this policy improving the wild stock over a period of time. At the moment breeding trout are not allowed to be stocked in any river by the Environment Agency. Very few rivers are now stocked with Brown Trout, even the River Aln will no longer be stocked this coming season,I believe.
As the Coquet will no longer be stocked with Brown Trout and only wild trout will be available, the Trustees have reduced the cost of the Coquet Trout Permit. For the 2016 season the annual permit will be reduced from £70 to £50. The Concessionary trout permit will be reduced from £50 to £30.
Other news on the Federation scene will be forthcoming early in the New Year.
The recent heavy rain and the early morning frosts have had an effect on the still waters too. With the rain, the water clarity changed and visibility in the water was greatly reduced. I cancelled one coaching session because the weather that day was wet and decidedly cold. It would not have been much fun experiencing a first fly fishing experience in those conditions. I did fish for a short period myself. My small flies did not attract any attention, probably because the trout could not see them. To be fair some anglers were catching trout by using sinking lines to get their large bright lures down to the depth where the trout were. Bright Yellow Dancer lures, bright green and white Cats Whiskers and red Bloodworms all caught fish.
This weeks report from Chatton fishery tells that the trout are deeper in the water and lures are the most effective flies. The a Ladies Club is meeting this Sunday, 20th, when the large box of flies, along with other prizes will be raffled. All proceeds will be donated to the Great Air Ambulance. Mulled wine and mince pies will be available on the day. Over the festive season Chatton will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The fishery will also be closed on New Years Eve and New Years Day. No doubt there will be plenty anglers out on Boxing Day getting some fresh air and trying out presents received the previous day. It’s always good to be fishing on Boxing Day as the atmosphere and banter is terrific. Brand new, gleaming rods and reels are given their first chance to prove themselves too! Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t!!
Thrunton Long Crag reports some of their larger trout have been showing themselves these last seven days. A ten pound Brown Trout was landed and returned safely. A rainbow of twelve pounds and a real heavyweight of nineteen pounds were netted. Some big bags were reported too, one anglers returning sixteen trout. Considering the weather and the conditions this is a remarkable achievement, well done that angler!! Thrunton is closed on the same days as Chatton over Christmas and the New Year, except they are also closed on Boxing Day. It is always best to check the fishery websites to confirm which days any fishery is closed over the festive period!!
I am not sure if this is the last edition before Christmas, so just incase I would just like to wish everyone who reads my article, everything you wish for yourselves. Be a ‘little’ wild and enjoy 2016.