Photograph by Steve Barnett

Monday, 25 February 2013

A Lucky Escape...

...for NOW!

It has been a regular subject of contemplation for your faithful blogger that his Mother river, the Derbyshire Wye, is alive and well but like any living thing it is hanging by a thread.  That thread can be snapped at anytime.  A serpentine ribbon of slippery road, the A6, runs down the valley by the side of this river for much of its length.  All it would take is for one of the many trucks that run the A6, hauling oil or chemicals, to have a mishap and roll over into the river and that will be that for decades.  There would be no quick fix.  It would take a very long time for the river to recover and many of us would lose the bulk of our dry fly fishing, in some cases for the rest of our lives.

Another weighty threat that could easily snap the thread is lurking in the many farms that are to be found all along the catchment.  Wise advice written 2,000 years ago tells us to judge folk by their actions and not their words.  Much is made of the farmers' bond with the English countryside and how we would lose most of it if the honest sons of the soil were not here to farm it.  However, actions speak louder than all the nice words we hear and those actions can be pretty harmful.  The tragedy waiting to happen, when it comes, will most likely be the result of neglect, idleness, a blatant disregard of the law and dereliction of duty by the regulating authority, the Environment Agency (EA), in not enforcing the regulations governing the storage of slurry.  Here is an unvarnished account of something that happened on Friday 22nd February 2013...

Pig Slurry!

Pure luck and nothing else seems to have saved the fish for now, we will have to see what the algal blooms are like later this year thanks to this massive influx of eutrophicating material.  If this discharge had happened in summer, during drought conditions.  That would have been that and all the mountains of work done by the keepers over the years to make the Derbyshire Wye the glorious river it is and should be, would be snuffed out in one gruesome, grey, stenching mess that would take a lifetime to recover from, if indeed it ever did recover.  This was not an accident!  It was bound to happen, but it should have been impossible for it to happen

What can be done to make the river a little safer? 

The EA officers should be out there tomorrow morning, visiting every farm within the catchment to conduct surveys and risk assessments at each site and enforcing the law as they should already have done before now.  There was no need for this slurry tank to have failed so catastrophically, if it had been constructed in accordance with the law and if the site was properly bunded sufficiently well to have contained at least 120% of the slurry tank's contents, again in accordance with the law! 

Here's another Gateway to Heaven.  Let's hope that it is never turned into the gates of Hell...

Regular Rod

Friday, 22 February 2013

Please watch this video!

Biosecurity should be a serious concern for anglers in the UK.  This is not closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.  Yes the invasive shrimps are now here, estimated to have been imported in the bilges of sailing craft after trips to Europe.  There are dangerous vectors, which distribute these aliens, such as pleasure craft, including yachts and canoes; fish farmers, as they distribute stock fish; and...  anglers!  Yes anglers.  We can spread disease and pestilence just as these other folk can.  The big differences between us and the other folk are, first of all we actually give a damn my Dear, and secondly we can do something about it.  We might not stop the other water users from distributing these unwanted visitors but we can stop ourselves and we can do this easily.

Stuart Crofts is a fellow Yorkshireman and, like your faithfull blogger, has a strong Yorkshire accent. However, I'm sure you will be able to follow what he says here...

Stuart shows us here that there is no need to use strong chemicals to clean up our gear after a day's fishing and before we go anywhere else to fish.  The remedy uses tap water!  In fact it only needs water from the hot tap to be completely effective.  We really do need to follow Stuart's timely advice.  Will you join me in so doing?  Please?


Monday, 18 February 2013


... is the greater part of pleasure"

Derbyshire Wye - Reed Mace Bed - Below Meaden

By the time it is once more high summer, new reed mace stems will be head height along here.  The angler will be able to crouch and hide on the wet ground, today under water but by summer it will just be a bit boggy, and quietly ambush the whoppers that come out from under the trees on the other bank to intercept the Sherry Spinners...

Regular Rod

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Pilgrimage and Plenary Indulgences...

You may remember a series of posts on this blog that followed words from Izaak Walton's and Charles Cotton's The Complete Angler as the two fly fishers worked their way up the river Dove in Derbyshire.

Well the tireless work of bringing the river back from the dead (literally dead) by the young, professional and dedicated river keeper, Andrew Heath, has borne fruit.  A lot of fruit in fact and now the fishery is ready for anglers to delight again in this lovely little river's twists and turns and, of course, the wild brown trout and grayling that once more live and breed herein.

To quote Andrew:
"Season rods are now available for the Temple beat of the Beresford Fishery, on the River Dove in the Derbyshire Dales. They are reasonably priced, and come with a key to the Fishing House, where an open fire and hot drinks await. Anyone familiar with the Compleat Angler (Izaak Walton) will be aware of the historical significance of this stretch of river. The fishing is for wild Brown Trout which run to 3lb+ in size, and Grayling. The beat is not stocked."

He continues:
"Managed to maintain its orginal features and atmosphere, and its butter-bellied wild Trout, the Fishery will be especially attractive to those with an affinity for angling history, or with a desire to experience England as it once was."

For further information or to arrange a viewing, contact Andrew Heath at

All well and good for the angler ready to take on a season ticket but what about the visitor?

Good news!

Day ticket fishing is also available, so if you are in England's green and pleasant land this season you could make a day or two of it and discover why Charles Cotton and Izaak Walton loved this place. 

If you are a visitor from overseas to England and fancy working in a few days fishing holiday after the Peak District wild trout and grayling, let Andrew know as there are opportunities to stay here and fish the Dove, the Derwent, the Wye and the Lathkill (In 1676 Charles Cotton wrote about the Lathkill as being "by many degrees, the purest and most transparent stream that I ever saw, either at home or abroad; and breeds, 'tis said, the reddest and the best trouts in England" your faithful blogger can vouch that Cotton's words are still true to this day).

A Brown Trout of the Lathkill
Well?  What are you waiting for? is the place to click...

See you by the water perhaps this year?

Regular Rod

Friday, 8 February 2013

Only 7 weeks to go...

Here is one of the loveliest parts of our local river as it is now...

And here is how it will look a few weeks into the season!

To say opening day is being looked forward to would be something of an understatement.

Regular Rod