Invertebrate destruction

rusty

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I was recently talking to a local fishing bum, who turned out to be an active qualified kick sampler.
We discussed numbers of invertbrates per cubic metre of gravel. He thought a good figure might be 3000 creatures.
We considered how many invertebrates are killed or maimed by wading anglers. We concluded it might be a considerable number.
After all we are about a million times heavier than an invertibrate. To them it must be like a ten ton truck driving over your sleeping bag.
Wading is on the increase and invertebrates are in decline
Do many anglers give it a thought?

Rusty
 

boisker

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Can’t say I’ve noticed any increase in wading on any of my local rivers

it’s not something that will keep me awake at night... you’d be surprised how tough inverts are.... ‘standing on them’ in a river substrate isn’t the same as standing on them on concrete... if the impact of people wading in my local rivers is significant enough to affect invert populations then the river ecology is already screwed beyond help...
 

ejw

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Our river is difficult, if not impossible to fish without wading, we sample in 5 different locations, NO issues.
The biggest problem is flooding.
Since 2000 we have had "several" once in a lifetime floods !!
We have worked on the river for 20 years + to get the "Habitat" right, it needs work each year, but all is good !! Long may it continue.
 

bonefishblues

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Our river is difficult, if not impossible to fish without wading, we sample in 5 different locations, NO issues.
The biggest problem is flooding.
Since 2000 we have had "several" once in a lifetime floods !!
We have worked on the river for 20 years + to get the "Habitat" right, it needs work each year, but all is good !! Long may it continue.
How do you benchmark invertebrate life to be able to tell that there are no issues - are there available stats?
 
D

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How do you benchmark invertebrate life to be able to tell that there are no issues - are there available stats?
Generally after kick sampling a biotic index is the next step in determining the water quality. Children can calculate it based on the numbers of different invertebrates collected and simplified value tables. The family biotic index is a reliable indicator to start with.

 

Mr Notherone

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I'm not sure of the increase in river fly fishing and whether wading is increasing as a result - I've certainly not observed it.

I strongly suspect that pesticides, climate change (including more flooding), agricultural runoff, the frequent release of untreated and partially treated sewage, plus any number of other pollutants are far more impactful than me tip-toeing up the river.
 

ejw

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Bonefishblues
Our Club has been part of the Riverfly Survey for many years (late 1990's)and we have a group of "qualified" kick samplers that check the river bi monthly. All results are logged by our co-ordinator
Habitat improvement is the key to invertebrate numbers and to good numbers of wild fish.
 

ohanzee

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I think if you asked insects which they feared most it would be water quality before wading.
 

Vintage Badger

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I'm not sure of the increase in river fly fishing and whether wading is increasing as a result - I've certainly not observed it.

I strongly suspect that pesticides, climate change (including more flooding), agricultural runoff, the frequent release of untreated and partially treated sewage, plus any number of other pollutants are far more impactful than me tip-toeing up the river.
And don't forget your car journey to the river (or anywhere else for that matter)! Has anyone counted how many dead invertebrates are plastered all over the windscreen, front grill, bumper and numberplate of their car, let alone spared a care for the occasional small bird, mammal or domestic pet they may terminate the life of during their time at the controls of a motor vehile?

As Mr Notherone indicates, I strongly suspect that being trodden on by a wading angler is currently the least of a riparian invtebrates worries. I'd be far more concerned about whether or not the angler (and kick sampler, for that matter) had properly sterilised and decontaminated their footwear, clothing and equipment between different waterbodies before entering them, so as to prevent spreading disease and invasive non-native species (plant and animal).
 
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BobP

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Not many beats on the chalkstream are wadeable or allow wading in the first place. I think that in 7 seasons of guiding I've had to wade three times, and then only for part of the day.

It is basically a cost benefit analysis. To monitor invert populations it is necessary to kick sample during which a tiny percentage of the inverts will die. To monitor a fish population with confidence in the results it is necessary to wade with electric fishing gear, and occasionally a few fish will die as a result. That is the cost.

The benefits will be an ongoing picture of the fish or invert populations in which changes can be seen and, if necessary, further investigations can be made.
 

Overmiwadrers

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I do the kick sampling on local streams , I did my riverfly training maybe ten years ago , It was with the Stu Croft and Dave Southall double act so was one one of the most enjoyable days I have had that wasnt actually fishing . Anyway the cubic metre analogy is strange as most inverts are within the top couple of inches. I am not saying that wading doesnt ever kill any but I agree it will disturb a lot . When all fifteen stone of me does my foot shuffle to release inverts to catch in the net when I do the monitoring I can report that the huge majority are fit and well when in the sampling tray . biggest Issue I have with many wading anglers on rivers is that some cant recognise a spawning redd from a hole in the ground..

O M W
 
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eddleston123

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With regard to the Tweed, I suspect that there has been an increase in wading activity over the past years.

What has changed is that anglers are wading in many different parts of the river. Particularly in deeper water, to accommodate 'Euro nymphing' techniques, to enable them to cover water that would have been covered by traditional fly casting methods in the past.

Nobody seems to wear thigh waders anymore. Every angler seems to have chesties, which gives them a wider range of water to fish.

Just how much this has affected invertebrate numbers (if at all) I really don't know.

Just my observations.



Douglas
 

Vintage Badger

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Good point. I have been struck by how much the freshwater anglers' outfit has changed. Waders are also worn even if not wading, it seems.
Usually along with a waistcoat that makes them look like they belong to a tactical armed response unit! ;)

While waders can make kneeling down on wet banks more pleasant, I can see no other point in wearing them if wading is not permitted or genuinely required. I had this conversation over 10 years ago with a well-known fly fisher and magazine article writer. We both wondered if chest waders were now being worn unnecessarily and joked that they were probably only needed on medium to smaller sized rivers because the angler had frightened the fish into deeper water through wading in the first place!
 
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