Fishery upkeep

I am looking to talk to anyone who is a bailiff or club official who has under taken improvements on their stretches of river as i and a few mates are looking to undertake some work on one of our club stretches to reclaim the many lost swims which have disappeared through neglect. I am keen to learn the do's and do not's that people have come across? we have many mature trees which need attention and wish to keep the features which encourage wildlife and areas for the fish to spawn and flourish. One of the biggest problems is the now excessive weed growth which totally covers the beautiful gravel runs. i would also value any advice on how to construct a few fishing platforms as the ones we had have now rotted away and disappeared which leave some great swims totally unfishable. Any advice would be gratefully received. I have already run in to plenty of negativity and heard that the environment agency who now totally ignore the venue can make life difficult? Any tips on breeding areas for the coarse fish would be great. I have been a long term fan of the Avon Roach project and although the Roach population is holding its own it has declined so any advice on this front would be great.
 

john step

Well-known member
I cannot say about rivers but if you have willows I would say keep at them as they get too big very quickly. On our lake they are a pain as they overhang the water which makes maintenance awkward. When the limbs come down in the wind its dangerous. Its a constant battle.
Do you need platforms? Would bank repair and re seeding not suffice ?
 

markcw

Well-known member
First off, make sure you have adequate insurance cover for any work you may do, I would think platforms would be a major concern, A lot of platforms use scaffolding pipes sunk into the ground and a platform built around them jutting into the water, As john said do you need platforms on a river, ? A simple way of doing pegs on any water is to level the bankside and put a few 3x2 paving slabs down, Contact the Angling Trust or the canal and Rivers trust they should be able to offer some advice,
 

sam vimes

Well-known member
When it comes to a river, I'd urge you to attempt some dialogue with the EA before starting anything that involves significant effort or financial outlay. You may find yourself in trouble if you do anything without talking to them. I've heard of clubs getting into bother for clearing trees and others getting into bother for planting them. The most ridiculous anecdote was about a club that was being whinged at for clearing a few pegs amongst juvenile willow only to find an EA contractor cleared the whole lot. I do take such tales with a pinch of salt, but I don't think it's worth taking chances that could possibly cause trouble for the club. Things were significantly different a few years back, no one seemed to care much what happened. However, since some of the recent major flood events, the EA has taken more interest in the vegetation on our river banks.
 

The bad one

Well-known member
Given the comments made already you may have to consider these as well, is there any type of protections on the the River and or it's environs?
Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat (
RAMSAR site)
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Site of Biological Importance (SBI)
Local Nature Reserve (LNR)
National Nature Reserve (NNR)
All or any will restrict what you can or can't do.
Are There any Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) on any or all the trees on the River Bank.
Do you have the landowners consent in writing to carry the work you are planning on his/her land?

Here's something that may be of interest to you
[h=3]Environment Agency The Middle and Lower Stour and Moors River[/h][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
 
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keora

Well-known member
I am looking to talk to anyone who is a bailiff or club official who has under taken improvements on their stretches of river as i and a few mates are looking to undertake some work on one of our club stretches to reclaim the many lost swims which have disappeared through neglect. I am keen to learn the do's and do not's that people have come across? we have many mature trees which need attention and wish to keep the features which encourage wildlife and areas for the fish to spawn and flourish. One of the biggest problems is the now excessive weed growth which totally covers the beautiful gravel runs. i would also value any advice on how to construct a few fishing platforms as the ones we had have now rotted away and disappeared which leave some great swims totally unfishable. Any advice would be gratefully received. I have already run in to plenty of negativity and heard that the environment agency who now totally ignore the venue can make life difficult? Any tips on breeding areas for the coarse fish would be great. I have been a long term fan of the Avon Roach project and although the Roach population is holding its own it has declined so any advice on this front would be great.
The Environment Agency will give you advice, a few times a Fisheries Representative has visited one of the waters I fish.

I've checked the EA and Angling Trust sites to see if there's any publications on river improvements. Couldn't find any, although there's so much information on the EA site that it's hard to find what you want.

This report might be useful

http://www.heathlandaquaticengineering.co.uk/article/aquatic-habitat-improvement-for-rivers-/

The Wild Trout Trust has some good advice on river improvements related to trout, but they are also applicable to coarse fish in rivers. See this:


Wild Trout projects, rivers, fishing, advice in UK and Ireland. WTT | The Wild Trout Trust



The Trust also sells leaflets on river improvements and you can read reports on surveys of many rivers in the Uk - but I couldn't find any for the Dorset Stour.

Advice and Practical Help | The Wild Trout Trust
 
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iain t

Well-known member
Personally as already said i would contact the EA for advice and also a site visit before any work takes place.
 

markcw

Well-known member
You say it is a stretch that a club you are in controls, Surely your clubs fishery manager or estates manager should have or be able to get the information required, ?
 
We are a small club and don't have anyone in that position as far as I know. The land is owned by a lord of the realm and his estate manager is as far as I am aware happy for us to undertake tree work and bank side management.
 

markcw

Well-known member
Richard, I would get that in writing off him/her, preferably on letter headed paper. and also involve him/her in any enquiries you have to make to various organizations.
 
The thing is we border a famous public school and half the stretch overlooks their ancient woodland. Sadly many of the trees are falling in due to bank side erosion as the stretch is also a flood plane. We currently have an enormous beach which when felled landed in the river blocking the river. Rather than extract the tree it was cut off at the bank side edge and has now been collecting weed and floating debris for 10 months making the stretch unfishable for 200 yards upstream. Now the school won't move it and the ea have done nothing despite numerous calls. This is my issue with the EA. It seems they just don't want to know.
 
We have huge poplar which constantly shed branches but it's such a beautiful feature no one in the town would ever want them removed so it's as you say a case of removing the wind low and keeping the tracks open. We have willows and aldees further down that have totally overtaken some lovely summer swims it is this issue we want to address
 
The reason platforms made from pallets were out in years ago was to aid bank side protection as the area is a town flood plane but they are now gone and some areas have been removed back to the farmers fencing so it's another platform or lose the swims for good. I am only talking about 4 or 5 along the stretch. But I will certainly take your point on board as some swims may be improved with weed cutting and shoring up.
 

keora

Well-known member
We have huge poplar which constantly shed branches but it's such a beautiful feature no one in the town would ever want them removed so it's as you say a case of removing the wind low and keeping the tracks open. We have willows and aldees further down that have totally overtaken some lovely summer swims it is this issue we want to address
If trees fall into the river, then depending on their position, it's usually better to leave them there rather than remove them. The reason is that the branches in the water form a good habitat for small fish, and even larger ones. If a fallen tree is completely blocking access to a swim you may have no option but to cut it down.

I know of swims on the river I fish which were improved by fallen trees. Usually after a few years they are swept away after a major flood, and then the swim isn't as good.

Read this advice from the Wild Trout Trust on the benefit of retaining trees for cover:

https://www.wildtrout.org/sites/default/files/staff/WTT River Habitat Workshops Reference Guide.pdf

This is one of the suggestions in the report:

Leaving fallen trees in place creates cover and natural scour, forming pools and clean gravel – good
habitat! Large fallen trees often find a stable resting point after the first flood. Large branches and trees can be secured to the river bed or banks to reduce the risk of them causing problems.


Here's a list of manuals available from the organisation:

WTT publications | The Wild Trout Trust
 
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I agree that trees play a huge part on any fishery in providing cover and excellent protection for the small fish in flood conditions and I have in the past built small temporary dams to clean the gravel bed of blanket weed. In fact the introduction of a small dam in a feeder stream and below the town wier have I believe played a big part in helping the wild brown trout make such a successful come back on the stretch. This year we have shoals of wild brown trout in the by pass stream and fish above 5lb are clearly visable in the wierpool and the stretch below. My worry is that the tree will end up smashing into the town bridge during the first spate of left to its own devices. I will look at the literature you have provided with interest and I thank you for posting them.
 

Jeff Woodhouse

Moaning Marlow Meldrew
As has already been said, get in contact with the EA and ask them to put you in touch with your local Fisheries Officer. Hopefully he'll be a fair minded soul and will give some good advice and maybe help you get Flood Risk permissions form the EA, maybe for free!
The other thing I would recommend is - educate yourself and a book to help you is Dr Mark Everard's brilliant book on River Habitats. This will tell you what features you need for good spawning habitats and what fish like best. Money well spent.


And for recycled plastic platforms I can recommend these people: Recycled Plastic Fishing Peg - Marmax Recycled Plastic Products
and these if you want a disabled one - Pond Dipping Platforms – Endorsed by the Angling Trust Archives - Marmax Recycled Plastic Products
We had some of their products installed in a weir stream. Excellent!

GOOD LUCK WITH THE AGENCY. There are some fuddy-duddy desk jockeys that hate doing any any work at all.


EDIT: you might also want to build a brash berm or two. This is a good film on how to do it...
YouTube
 
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