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  1. #41

    Default Re: River fishing for brown trout 2019

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnH View Post
    K, you have repeated this assertion;


    I don't know where you got the information, but this is a straight lift from the EA's website about the current consultation;

    ...ie a majority of very nearly 2 to 1 among those who expressed an opinion wanted to keep a close season that is the same or near to what we already have.

    A close season to allow the quarry species time to breed in peace and to allow the countryside to recover has long been a feature of fishing, game shooting and deer stalking.

    I got the 71% from this blog site: Coarse fishing close season – the debate - Fishing Bait World

    Maybe one shouldn't believe everything one reads on the internet?

  2. #42
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: River fishing for brown trout 2019

    Quite possibly the universe that was polled was different, K. I believe a fair number of pure game fishers and all-rounders who mix game and coarse favour leaving the close season as it is, to protect both grayling, that spawn early in the current close season, and trout and salmon parr.
    "In wine there is wisdom. In beer there is strength. In water there is bacteria." - German proverb
    JH based near Southampton

  3. #43

    Default Re: River fishing for brown trout 2019

    I'm quite happy with whatever the majority of anglers believe is the correct decision, as it will make little difference either way on the mixed fisheries that I use. If we are serious about protecting grayling stocks, we should ban wading during the early part of the trout season, at the very least in those areas of the river where the grayling spawn. I know of at least one club that does that, the LDAA on the Wharfe, which does not allow wading until June, and many clubs do not allow wading at all. But I'm not sure how well that would go down with the majority of trout anglers on freestone rivers, where wading is often necessary as fishing from the bank can be difficult, or even impossible. To protect trout stocks, wading, presumably would have to be banned from October onwards? However, I still think it is ridiculous that we fish in trout/grayling waters throughout almost all of the trout and grayling close seasons. We are just kidding ourselves. Some may be skilled enough to be able to avoid o/s fish, but I don't believe the majority of anglers can. I admit that I cannot with any certainty. I'm sure some of you will say that I should be banned from fishing, but if that was applied universally, there wouldn't be many fly fishers left unbanned.

  4. #44

    Default Re: River fishing for brown trout 2019

    Quote Originally Posted by BobP View Post
    Well, you're certainly vociferous in your hatred of the EA which is typical of someone who knows absolutely nothing about the work they do - from the inside.

    The close season dates was based upon such evidence as out Victorian forebears had at their disposal which probably was not very much. So they made a close season for the various fish species based upon that evidence plus taking into account local variations and traditions. On the whole they did a reasonable job as it has stood for 140 years or so.

    What scientific evidence have you that the lifting of the close season on lakes and SOME canals has had no adverse effect on fish numbers? How would you go about obtaining such evidence? Just saying there aren't as many fish as there used to be doesn't cut it. I heard that far too often when I worked in fisheries from local "experts" who were invariably proved wrong. There are a huge number of factors involved here, not least of all that most clubs with stillwater fisheries re-stock on a frequent and regular basis and THAT makes it totally impossible to say whether or not the fish population has increased or decreased and therefore has absolutely nothing to do with the close season or lack of it. So, you have no scientific evidence because it is next to impossible to obtain.

    We had a long hot summer in 2018, and I can almost guarantee that will show up in fish population surveys for the next fifteen years. 1976 did. Hot summer and low flows are beneficial for many fish species, but when looking at fish population stats in years to come that has to be remembered and factored in.

    As far as I am aware there has been concern over the low numbers of some species in some area for a considerable time. Certainly well before I retired which was 6 years ago near enough and therefore well before any suggestion of removing the close season on rivers. If there is any doubt that a course of action might have a deleterious effect on fish populations then a precautionary approach is certainly the right and proper thing to do. You would undoubtedly be leading the pack of complainers and critics if the EA just plunged ahead and three years down the line there was a catastrophic problem.

    Where all these anglers are I'm b*ggered if I know. I have frequently walked considerable distances along the Kennet & Avon Canal during this winter on sections where it is open all year to anglers and have not seen a single angler and only in one area have I seen signs that a few anglers may have fished there. Lining the banks they are not.

    Before I retired I did a major desk-top survey of angler match catches supplied by one of the biggest angling clubs in the south of England. They provided records of matches on their river fisheries going back 20 years. Anglers taking part in matches were down to around 25% of those fishing 20 years ago. The statistics were very interesting. The winning weight was within 10% the same year on year; the catch per angler was within the same 10% in both weight and number of fish caught. Those fisheries that performed well 20 years ago still did well 20 years later, and those that did poorly still did poorly. Roach was still the most sought after species with broadly similar catches across the board. Perch numbers had increased demonstrating that species continued recovery from the disease that decimated the population back in the 1960's; Chub were more prolific but not by a huge amount. Gudgeon, once the winter species when nothing else was feeding, had declined by 90%. This could be accounted for by changes in angling methods - no-one fished for gudgeon so naturally enough not many were caught. Barbel catches had declined hugely and in the last year I had data for only 7 were caught in matches whereas in the 1970's catches could be counted in three figures. Those that were caught were big fish but numbers were down as confirmed by the surveys we carried out on the Kennet in particular.

    Fewer anglers are catching pretty much the same numbers, weights and range of species across two dozen fisheries on rivers and canal as were being caught twenty years before. No massive decline apart from the barbel which was a concern. I suspected at the time that signal crayfish had a part to play in this seeing as both the Kennet and Thames were basically signal crayfish carpets. And before you point the finger the EA had nothing to do with their introduction which happened long before the EA was born. I'll be interested to see what stunning plan you can come up with to sort THAT problem out.

    Whether or not there will be a majority one way of the other remains to be seen.

    I can't comment on either the Costa Beck of the Wensum as neither was in my area, However, the EA did no dredging for at least ten years before I retired and got savaged by people for NOT doing it when we had some rain. Abstraction has been a major issue for the EA for many years. With abstraction goes development - people need houses and those houses have to have water and the waste disposed of. Until about a dozen years ago the EA and its predecessors were not permitted under the planning laws to object to housing developments on the basis of there being insufficient water resources. We couldn't even object to development in the floodplain. All we could do was make standard comments which were ignored by the developers and never followed up on the the planning authorities. Finally the law was changed and now things are a lot tighter.

    I now eagerly await your cure for signal crayfish and your methodology for demonstrating that stillwater fish populations have improved due to the lifting of the closed season.
    I have re-read the EA documentation. As you are so keen on quoting the EA, they say "A study on the status of River Dee (UK) grayling population concluded that angling had not affected the grayling population, as a high level of catch and release (98%) was practised". So some directly relevant scientific evidence that angling in the close season has no effect, with the given provision. They also say that, at the time the close season was introduced in 1878, most of the coarse fish caught were killed. One intention was, therefore, to prevent anglers from killing and eating spawning fish. We now have the situation where virtually all of the (legal) coarse fishing is C&R, so this reason is no longer applicable. As with any referendum, how many people who voted actually read all of the EA documentation and assessed the evidence, and therefore really knew what they were voting for?

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Wiltshire
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    Default Re: River fishing for brown trout 2019

    Quote Originally Posted by kingf000 View Post
    I have re-read the EA documentation. As you are so keen on quoting the EA, they say "A study on the status of River Dee (UK) grayling population concluded that angling had not affected the grayling population, as a high level of catch and release (98%) was practised". So some directly relevant scientific evidence that angling in the close season has no effect, with the given provision. They also say that, at the time the close season was introduced in 1878, most of the coarse fish caught were killed. One intention was, therefore, to prevent anglers from killing and eating spawning fish. We now have the situation where virtually all of the (legal) coarse fishing is C&R, so this reason is no longer applicable. As with any referendum, how many people who voted actually read all of the EA documentation and assessed the evidence, and therefore really knew what they were voting for?
    With all due respect to my erstwhile colleagues I'd be a trifle wary about the assessment of grayling populations as they are very prone to boom and bust situations. Lots of them one year and very few the next depending on size. A study or survey is A) only as good as the people doing it, and B) a snapshot of what is there then, at the time. Not what was there yesterday or what might be there tomorrow.

    And as far as referendums go, I think people DO know what they are voting for. Don't fall into the trap so many of our politicians have of assuming that the voters are stupid and ignorant. They aren't as those self-same politicians are likely to find out in a couple of years.

    People do not like change, and especially change for no good reason. I personally do not see the need for a change in the close season. Chub fishing in May? Trout in December? What for?
    Last edited by BobP; 14-03-2019 at 12:26 PM.

  6. #46

    Default Re: River fishing for brown trout 2019

    Whilst admitting to not having read all the posts, I hopefully got the gist enough to comment with this -
    - my river contains trout, grayling, pike, salmon, perch, Chubb and sea trout in largely equal quantities, and you would be hard pressed to fish any method, at any time of the year, and be able to say with even a vague idea what you would hook. Frankly, you largely trust to pot luck whether you catch a pike or salmon, trout or grayling, so I suspect I am not alone in taking a relaxed view (within reason).
    The coarse guys seem to catch a huge amount of trout on their maggots and worms, and I have caught more than a few salmon whilst genuinely after pike.
    I think, for my spot, a no take law is the only law one could really obey, and since we have a 'no take' rule on any and every species, throughout the whole year, you might as well just get on with it.
    Now, whilst I appreciate my stretch is not a typical river beat, it has given me ain insight into how tricky some other people find these legislations to comply with.

    On a slightly different but connected point - how awful is it that, whilst we at least try to offer some degree of protection and care of our fresh water fish, we offer so little to our salt water quarry. Indeed, we do quite the opposite, in purposefully commercially targetting them as they gather and shoal for spawning, and net them then?
    It is no wonder our sea stocks are so fragile and endangered, particularly our bass.
    Can you imagine farmers netting and killing whole flocks of sheep just before lambing time?
    It is a madness I, for one, would like to see ended with some immediacy.

  7. #47
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Near Southampton
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    Default Re: River fishing for brown trout 2019

    It is no wonder our sea stocks are so fragile and endangered, particularly our bass.
    Can you imagine farmers netting and killing whole flocks of sheep just before lambing time?
    It is a madness I, for one, would like to see ended with some immediacy.
    L, if you aren't a "Trout and Salmon" reader, it would be worth buying a copy of the April edition to read Simon Cooper's "Chalk Talk" column. He makes some of the same points as you, and draws some worrying conclusions.
    "In wine there is wisdom. In beer there is strength. In water there is bacteria." - German proverb
    JH based near Southampton

  8. #48

    Default Re: River fishing for brown trout 2019

    As the grayling survey was done by the EA, I assume it was done to the highest possible standards.

    Thinking about this issue further, I started fishing nearly 60 years ago and it seemed simple then. Venues were classified as game or coarse, and the appropriate close seasons were applied. This was widely accepted, based upon the premise that spawning fish needed protecting - perfectly reasonable. So if you had asked me 30 years ago - should the close season be abolished, then I would have said no. However, over the last 30 years things have made me question this. I couldn't get may head around why spawning coarse fish need protecting in rivers, but not in lakes or canals. Many rivers are canal-like yet still retain the close season. In the past 5 years I've been able to access mixed game/coarse rivers and again, I couldn't get my head around why I can fly fish for 350 days of the year throughout most of the trout and coarse close seasons. Surely if we wanted to protect the spawning fish, we would only be allowed to fish from 15th June to 30th September? These doubts were intensified on reading the EA documentation. I found out that the original reason for the introduction of the close season was to stop the catch, kill and eating of spawning coarse fish, no longer relevant in a mainly C&R environment. It was also clear that there was no scientific evidence behind the belief that a close season protects spawning fish. There were a few studies from abroad on non-UK species that indicated a harmful effect, but that was highly dependent upon the species investigated and the angling techniques used, eg barbed triple hooks. So no firm conclusions could be drawn for UK species with primarily single, and often barbless hooks. In addition, the EA concluded that angling pressure was probably of a trivial significance compared with other environmental pressures. There is also no coarse close season in the whole of Ireland and in Scotland, two areas that probably are closest to the fishing philosophy of England and Wales why? Ireland operates a strict C&R policy for coarse fish which seems to me to offer more protection to the fish. The Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries act of 1975 appears to specifically protect all species of spawning fish from being deliberately targeted, so provides a legal framework for the better protection of fish than the close seasons.

    My view of the law is that we shouldn't have any laws that are unnecessary and unenforced. We are in a situation where we have an old law of the close season, a more modern law that duplicates and strengthens the original, and an EA/police who do not have the resources to enforce those laws. It would be much better if the 1975 law was strengthened to ban the catch and kill of all coarse species (especially those that are under threat) and for the government to provide sufficient resources to enforce this law, with more appropriate fines for felons. There would then be no need for a close season.

    In my own local river, fish numbers have declined not just because of catch and kill in the close season, but because of catch and kill throughout the year, taking away virtually all of the breeding age fish. We have also had to surround our lake with an 8 ft barbed wire fence to stop poaching. A sad situation.

  9. #49
    Join Date
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    Default Re: River fishing for brown trout 2019

    I have done many hundreds of electric fishing surveys in my 35 years with the Agency and its predecessors and I would consider that getting meaningful, statistically valid results on a river like the Welsh Dee is nigh on impossible even in low water. Certainly on the stretches I have fished there would need to be a team of at least 6 people with anodes and another 6 with hand nets. That means two full teams as each electric fishing control box can only accommodate three anodes. I'm not sure NRW would be willing to throw that amount of resources at something that is likely to produce the sketchiest of results.

    Then in order to isolate the survey site which is normally 100 metres long two stop nets are needed to stretch from bank to bank. It is hard enough securing these nets in slow moving rivers let alone the Welsh Dee and without stop nets it is not possible to get a valid catch depletion which means that it is not possible to get reasonably accurate population data.

    Then there is the actual topography of the river. The Dee has fast shallows and deep pools. The fast shallows are often too fast to stand in and even if the operators can stand the stunned fish will be whisked away before the nets can catch them. The deep water will be too deep to wade and H & S rules prohibit wading above hip deep apart from very short distances. Getting waist deep reduces the visibility under the water to the point at which no fish can be seen, or if seen cannot be caught without the netsman sticking his hands and arms well under the water. Doing that close to a switched on anode kicking out a couple of amps is not the sort of thing anyone does for fun!

    There may be stretches here and there where electric fishing might work, but the whole meaning of doing a survey is that the site should be representative of local environmental conditions. So, if the river has pools and riffles there should be at least one of each in the survey site.

    I've already tried to explain about lakes not needing a close season, that being that a totally enclosed lake into which and from which fish cannot normally swim is in the ownership of a club or farmer or whatever. He/they own the lake, the bed of the lake, the water above it and the fish that swim in it. The only person he/they will harm by continuing to fish all year is himself. A canal, by virtue of the locks is a series of elongated lakes and for the most part is owned by the Canal and Rivers Trust. A few miles from me if the Kennet & Avon Canal. The top reaches of the K & A are still open, but a few miles lower down a sidestream of the Kennet enters the canal and from there on down to Reading the canal is closed because riverine fish have access.

    A lake which is not totally enclosed, ie a water that fish can enter and leave is also closed as of midnight last night.

    Coarse fish can and do migrate freely within a river. So, you own a nice stretch of the River ... and choose to observe the close season for coarse fish because you feel it is the right thing to do. Your water isn't the best, but it produces some nice nets of roach and chub for those who know what they are doing. Your upstream neighbour's water is much nicer with some lovely weedy shallows where thousands of roach and chub spawn every year. He decides to make lots of money by allowing matches on his water two times a week. The fish his rods are catching come from your water. I can foresee someone being decidedly unhappy about this.

    Finally, why do we need a law to prohibit the catching and killing of coarse fish? I don't think too many people are THAT desperate for food that they would eat chub or bream. I know that some Eastern Europeans do but it is a cultural thing and not THAT many of them fish. bit like a minnow to catch a whale. I thought you wanted to get rid of the law altogether, not bring in another one?

    Finally, you can bleat and create all you like about the closed season. Whatever the result of the consultation the Government isn't going to do anything about such a minor matter for the foreseeable future. Too many much more important issues going on.
    Last edited by BobP; 15-03-2019 at 05:19 PM.

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
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    Yorkshire
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    Default Re: River fishing for brown trout 2019

    Looks like the weather might improve ,but no fishing here until the 25th.
    Ready aye ready!

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