Trout in Dirty Places - A Modern Day Fly Fishing Success Story
Actually the title of this new book by well-known Fly Forums member and Chairman of the Wandle Trust, Theo Pike, is a bit of a misnomer perhaps. This is actually a celebration of urban fly fishing venues around the country where trout and graying are thriving thanks mainly to the efforts of local conservationists.
Here is the guide to the most exciting development in British angling for many years: fly-fishing for trout and grayling in the very centre of towns and cities throughout the United Kingdom.
From Sheffield to South London, from Merthyr Tydfil to Edinburgh, this is the cutting-edge of 21st century fishing. Nothing is more surreal yet exhilarating than casting a fly for iconic clean-water species in the historic surroundings of our most damaged riverscapes - centres of post-industrial decay, but now also of rediscovery and regeneration.
- Fishing-focused profiles of 50 selected rivers
- Interviews with local conservationists dedicated to restoring the urban rivers
- Local flies and emerging traditions, and
- Details of how to get involved and support this restoration work
This book guides readers towards relaxing, good-value fishing on their own doorsteps as a viable alternative to more costly (and carbon-intensive) destination angling: a more positive lifestyle choice in challenging moral and economic times.
The resurrection of South London's River Wandle has been a tremendous success story for all involved over recent years, with many hours of hard labour spent in the water removing debris and trash and setbacks caused by pollution incidents. Through all this the leading light has been Theo Pike, Chairman of the Wandle Trust and someone I have had the pleasure of meeting several times as he has also been a valued and popular contributor to our websites over the years as well as covering angling and environmental stories for the general and angling press.
His latest endeavour landed on my desk last week - Trout in Dirty Places published by Merlin Unwin Books, is a fascinating look at similar success stories across the UK chronicling the problems faced and overcome, the individuals and organisations responsible for these sterling efforts and how you can help continue the work as well as enjoy the fruits of their successes.
With 40 individual chapters covering various locations and rivers, it is truly heartening to read about so many projects and rivers being brought back from suffering at the hands of man to now benefitting from our helping hands.
Full of great colour photographs of the locations and the fish to be found in them, each chapter starts with the history of the stream or river in question, giving a fascinating insight into how we have allowed these waterways to suffer over the decades and then the work that has been carried out to date on them. The last page of each chapter is then set out with all the relevant information you need about who is looking after the river with their contact details, how you get to the general locale, local fishing tips and also some local highlights to visit while in the area.
In Theo's own words from the introduction - "Throughout these pages, I've tried to avoid giving too many detailed directions: partly to protect the rivers from too much casual pressure, partly to heighten your own sense of exploration and discovery in a post-industrial wilderness as unique as the hills of Assynt, Patagonia or the Kola Peninsula. This is truly a foreign country in your own backyard, a place where you can combine outstanding wild fishing with the deep satisfaction of getting involved in improving the ecosystem you live in. It's the cutting edge of twenty-first century fly-fishing, and the wild trout and grayling are closer than you think."
So the message is clear, use the locations included in this book as a starting place but also look to your own local area and don't be afraid to give a small overlooked and perhaps neglected stream a try sometime. You never know what you might find and also what journey it may take you on. Perhaps you will be responsible for the next great river restoration project and bring another of our waterways back from the brink.
The book retails at £20 with a proportion of the proceeds going to both the Wild Trout Trust and the Grayling Society.
Articles by the same author
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