Photograph by Steve Barnett

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


By any clean river or silvery stream
The Dipper bird is often seen.
He bobs and dips and dances jigs
On bankside stones and bankside twigs.
He can dance!
He can fly!
He can even swim!
And when he feels hungry, he just jumps in
To swim underwater among the reeds
And catch the small creatures on which he feeds.

Regular Rod

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Where the fish are again...

The bonny BBC put out a very misleading report recently about how wonderful hydropower is on the Derbyshire Wye and with a big fat slot dedicated to encouraging anyone to set up hydropower schemes of their own.  The spot made no real reference to the constant and enormous impact that turbines have on fish populations.  The debate is being weighted in the media for the schemes and how much money they can get for their owners with almost no account being made of the needs of the rivers and their inhabitants.  The attitude from the hydropower lobby is universally that the turbines have precedence and the rivers can have what little is left.

There is a voice crying in the wilderness that is trying to get some respite for the rivers and the creatures that depend on them.  It is the Angling Trust.  BUT the problems are enormous and the underfunded Angling Trust and its legal arm Fish Legal are engulfed in cases from all over the country.  The problem is widespread but anglers' support to the Angling Trust, for all sorts of reasons, is somewhat sparse.  There are reckoned to be around 4 million of us but even if that is a miscalculation there are certainly 2 million of us.  Imagine what could be done if 2 million anglers became individual members (not club members that's a cop out) and the Trust and Fish Legal were funded accordingly.  The team would have the resources to tackle this, the biggest threat to fisheries in the UK, and maybe we could get our governement to listen and realise that funding the grant rush for hydropower is a big, big mistake.

Hydro Power Perch Picture Courtesy of The Angling Trust

If you know of a hydropower scheme near you just count to ten - one, two , three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and TEN.  There you are!  A fish has just been killed in it...  Now count to ten again!  There you are another fish is dead...  Now consider this - that is going on all day and night! 

Fish move upstream to breed but they cannot if they follow their instincts and swim up the strongest flow because that instinct leads them to the turbine and not the spawning grounds upriver.  Combine this with the deaths of fish taking the easiest route down river from where they were born upriver and it is not hard to see how the dippers, dabchicks, herons, ospreys, otters and yes, we anglers too, are going to have a harder time of it thanks to the lunacy of the tax funded vandalism called hydropower.

If you want to do something about this, the first step is to write to your MP expressing your concerns.  The next is to join the Angling Trust and support Fish Legal so that a co-ordinated approach can be made to the government.  Whatever, please do something, anything, if you think it might help.

Regular Rod

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Money, money, money...

A very important aspect of our glorious Sport is what the old Victorian anglers used to call "Gaining leave to fish" they meant getting your fishing permissions organised for the future season(s).  It can be expensive but it all depends on what your priorities are just how much you are prepared to set aside for your dry fly fishing.

"That Excellent Inn the Peacock, Rowsley Bridge" circa 1879

My first outlay, for membership of the Peacock Fly Fishing Club, in readiness for next season has just been dealt with and, frankly, although it has gone up 5% compared with this last season, I believe it will be worth it.  The water is superb and the river keepers are second to none in the country.  The "wild fish only" policy is a massive success with more fish in the river than ever before (at least since I started fishing there in 1969) and they are in a greater variety of sizes from little to enormous and everything in between.  The water is beautifully kept without turning the place into a theme park or worse still a "garden" and the wildlife abounds, thanks to the diversity of habitats created by the keepers.

There will be other, greater outlays to come but that will be in Q1 next year!

You may have similar outlays to make, so a good mission during this close season is to make sure to set aside enough money, money money...

Regular Rod