Just what has happened to the specimen river roach?

Michael Townsend 3

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I know Stuart down at Britford also does a fantastic job on the Avon Peter. He's there at the crack of dawn every day, with his cormorant repellant cocked under his arm!
Last season on that stretch there were a lot of pristine roach caught in the 1lb to 1lb 12oz category, a great sign for some future biggies.
The side streams and carriers have had a good clearing out there too, a definate advantage for any roach in winter floods.
 

Matt Brown

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I've been doing a lot of roach fishing of late and my lack of success has had me thinking about this a lot.

I can't say for sure, but in addition to cormorants, clearer rivers and abstraction, my gut feeling is that the chemicals (estrogens) from the contraceptive pill is possibly the largest issue with regard to roach stocks.

There's loads of bumf on the 'net about this, the upshot being that the EA have the technology to filter out the damaging chemicals but not the funding or focus to do so.
 

dezza

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Talk to me about this matt.

from 2000 to 2006 I was involved with not one but two USA filtration companies that manufactured low cost media to remove a large percentage of the hormone contraceptive material found in treated sewage. These materials are used in Australia.

I also was discussing with the EA the possibility of filtering the hydrocarbons out of effluent water from roadways and aircraft runways.

This is done AS A MATTER OF COURSE IN MOST STATES OF THE USA.

But not here, the reason given to me was that the UK is not much more than a third world country and cannot afford such luxuries. We cannot be compared with countries such as Australia or the USA.
 

Bob Roberts

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If chemicals are preventing roach from breeding how come other species like barbel, chub, pike and perch, not to mention zander, are managing so well?

Hang on, they are probably too big to be eaten by cormorants.

Unlike the cigar sized chub, dace and roach which are all silver...

Odd that.

Doesn't explain the lack of gudgeon, mind.
 

dezza

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Yes Bob this business of the apparent disappearance of gudgeon needs looking into. I was told many years ago that the presence of gudgeon are an indicator of the healthy state of the water.

As regards zander, I treat those things as human food.

Must get out and catch a couple, you can't beat zander, chips and mushy peas, they are more tasty than cod.
 

Bluenose

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Food chains can and will change. If, for example, the Trent was a dirtier, more 'polluted', more coloured river x number of years ago, then the food chain, especially at the lower end will have been very much different than today. These conditions almost certainly favoured the roach and allowed them to thrive. Subsequent changes have altered whatever balance was there then and allowed other species to thrive more so now instead.

On a similar note the Mersey in the 70's was incredibly polluted, in part due to the heavy industry around Ellesmere Port and Runcorn. The advice for a time was not to eat the resident shellfish and non migratory species. My memory may be failing me a little but as an 8year old whose elder brothers went fishing, their quarry (our food) was in the main, dabs, some plaice and eels in the summer, with dabs, whiting and codling in the winter. Sure a few other species would make an appearance but that was mainly it.

Now the river is much much cleaner, every summer sees the sorts of species caught they could never have dreamed of. A run of smoothound which can be caught from the beach, bull huss and thornback rays are also landed from the prom and good sized bass appear every summer also. However 'our kid' and his mates will say despite the new diversity of species on offer, the numbers of the old favourites caught is now nowhere near what it was.

My guess it is that like with the Trent roach, there are a combination of factors responsible, including all of the above and many many more. Food chains are subtle things, change one little thing at the bottom end and all manner of changes can and will take place further on up. However as ever in nature, the demise in one species leaves a gap for another to exploit.
 
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maciukrk

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I know a few fisheries where cormorants are no longer a problem ;) they have done what was necessary to protect their investment and I do not blame them in any way whatsoever. Only last week some busybody reported a local angling club to the EA and notified those doolally bird watchers that because he hadn't seen a cormorant on the water for a month he ASSUMED that a member of said angling club had shot them. No dead birds were found either by him or anyone else and he had no proof whatsover that they had even been shot but still the authorities saw fit to issue a warning to the club on his say so - daft or what.

Did they shoot them? I know nussink but I fervantly hope they did :rolleyes:
I read in an article by John Wilson some years ago that if you left a dead fish on the bank with an aspirin inside it would kill any cormorant that ate it. I don't know if this is true, but if so it's surprising more people don't do it?

John
 

dezza

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Many years ago an acquaintance of mine "did for" a large cob swan that was causing him grief on the River Swale in Yorkshire.

He fed the swan a couple of slices of bread which had been mixed with aspirin.
 
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you can't beat zander, chips and mushy peas, they are more tasty than cod.
Quite agree Ron. It is ubiquitous on menus in Central and Southern France. Had a fabulous dish of a simply cooked zander with a tapinade crust from the indoor market cafe in Albi t'other year. One of the major targets of French anglers.

Could the numbers of other water-birds also affect roach populations?

I'm thinking of a couple of pools of a local club of which I was a member . There were never huge numbers but a good number of quality roach (c 1lb - 1.5lb) which regularly turned up. (!970's -1980's). There was also the occasional quality rudd.

No longer member of club but talking to old mates as I walk around the ponds the roach seem to have significantly diminished in numbers. Both ponds were significantly "improved" working with local council - part of the deal being one pond was open access to the public. It had previously been located in a factory grounds..which had become a "prestige housing development". The revenues from the public pond being shared by club and council. Consequent to public access the number of Canada geese rapidly increased...I have counted over 60 geese on the pond which is about 1.5 acres. I wonder if these numbers could affect breeding conditions of roach in terms of eating spawn when rooting through weeds. Even the geese like a bit of variety in their diet. a goose cannot survive on Morrisons Economy loaf alone!

It may be cyclical...in the 70's and 80's there were huge shoals of perch averaging well over 4oz...the perch are still there but not in those numbers.
 
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