Passion For… Clean Rivers

Peter Jacobs

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Alistair Cook was indeed an excellent writer and reporter. His "Letters from America" were always factful, insightful and accurate .. . . sadly these days there are very few of the current crop who could hold a candle to Cook.
 

markg

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Journalism embraces far more than mere reportage. There are many wonderfully inciteful examples of journalists who transcend mere reportage , from Alastair Cook to Max Hastings via Hemingway to current writers like David Aaronovich . Just look at the op ed pieces in any decent newspaper - why sneer ? Can you do better ? Isn't the free expression of opinion a fundamental part of a democracy ?
I can't do better, I don't have the training or the time, if I had a week to write an article maybe and I could also craft it so carefully to persuade people that my opinion is right. On that basis I am less inclined to agree with them than someone who has written his opinion off the hoof on social media like I do, unsolicited, un-crafted, briefly edited and not passed by anyone than me or they as the case may be.

By the by, you like journalists that's fine by me, I am not saying your wrong if that's your thing but I tend to take some of them when they start pontificating with a pinch of salt and that is fine by you. I never liked Max Hastings his opinions on war and soldiers I found over bearing and too romantic; he lives in a bit of a dream world. Most of them become to grandiose and in love with themselves and confer great importance on what they write and how they write it far beyond what I do, I don't marvel at it. I would rather form my own opinions with my own brain and with what I know or learn, than theirs. They can report news and facts all day long. good and I find that useful in forming my own opinions but their opinions hardly matters to me.

Shame I don't have a week to write that with proof readers and an editor to agree with me so it gets published and it panders to a demography so it sells more papers, but then at least you know it is honest, right!
 
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grayson

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I respect good writing - which isn't the same as 'liking journalists ' at all. For example, I enjoy reading the very right wing Charles Moore even though I find his stance on most things archaic and often repellent . Hastings 'romantic' and 'living in a dream world ' ? Are we talking about the same person , the one who wrote such a blistering history of the Vietnam war and who is so critical of military policy ? Most of them grandiose ? For what - expressing an opinion in joined up writing? I form my own opinions too -helped by decent journalism .....
 

Molehill

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Journalists are trained and paid to report the news. Sadly many of them then think they are our great thinkers and philosophers so they get sneered at.

Sound remarkably like stars of the music industry and various "celebrities", there's some heavyweight thinkers and philosophers amongst them 🤔.
 

xenon

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I dare say that in time to come (50-100 years?) angling will look as barbaric as bear baiting looks to us now. However, there will need to be a paradigm shift in public opinion before that happens. Just as a straw poll, has anyone here ever received grief on the bank from an animal rights nutter? Or even heard of such?
 

Keith M

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If that were to happen in 50 to 100 years time then I don't think it would be very long before our rivers, lakes and canals were almost completely devoid of fish; once Anglers have disappeared off the scene.

I'm fairly sure that the bunny huggers wouldn't care less about what lives under the waters of their polluted canals and stagnant ponds etc.

Keith
 
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John Bailey

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Passion for Clean Rivers… Ranunculus​


I was delighted to spend today on the Wye with James Buckley and dad, Rob. If there is a nicer father/son team in fishing than these two I’d be baffled. I’ve known them both since James was my “Peter” in the TV series “Fishing In The Footsteps Of Mr Crabtree”, and he has gone on to forge a real career for himself in angling. He is now under-keeper on a top Test beat… not bad for a twenty year old not long out of college, where he studied river management. Which brings me to what I want to say.



To be honest, I was disappointed by the recent reaction to my laments over the decline of ranunculus, notably on the Wye. Yes, there were a few of you who took the issue seriously enough to join in but, by and large, we were content as a group to let the matter subside.

Wrong. James had not been to the Wye for perhaps three years, and he was shocked. I quote.



“Where has all the ranunculus gone, John?”, he asked. “This is terrible. It’s a weedless desert. No wonder there aren’t swans about. I can’t believe it. I remember the Wye a carpet of buttercups by now.”

We found a sad carpet of ranunculus in some shallows. Again, I quote.



“Look at this,” James said as he got into the river. “This is weed that is dying. The colour is wrong. The flower buds have come to nothing. Look at the roots. They are brown, it’s a sign of complete collapse. There are tiny bright white shoots that show the plant is trying to recover but just can’t do so properly. There’s no life in it, not a single food item for a fish to eat. How on earth has this been allowed to happen? This is an SSSI, surely? It’s a disgrace, every way you look at it.”

And what are we doing about it? Or the RSPB, come to that? Whilst we don’t seem to care about our fish, they don’t seem bothered about the demise of Wye swans either. We should be shouting this from the roof tops, shouldn’t we? How can we lose the river’s crowning summer glory, and pretend nothing is happening to bother us?

The post Passion for Clean Rivers… Ranunculus first appeared on FishingMagic Magazine.

Continue reading...
 

Mark Wintle

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I've been on the banks of four local rivers this week; not a single strand of ranunculus in a mile of the Piddle at Wareham or the Royalty at Christchurch yet some healthy beds in both the Allen and Stour at Wimborne. Something's going on/in that is affecting it. Having said that about 15 years ago I was trying to catch a stone loach and bullhead from the Stour and for bait I shook out the ranunculus to easily find tiny bloodworm type lavae and lots of other life yet 3 years ago I did the same and absolutely nothing in the weed. I didn't see a single caddis in the Piddle this week either. I haven't had a chance to look at the Frome lately but must take a look soon.
 

steve2

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I was looking at a small stream not long ago, one where when we were kids we would catch fish for a jam jar, and I noticed that even the sticklebacks have disappeared and the stream now appeared to have no life in it. It was the same on a larger one nearly all the minnows have gone.

So it is not just the larger rivers that are dying it is the small ones as well.
 

grayson

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We have had an almost complete loss of ranunculus on the Rye in N Yorkshire and I am extremely concerned about it. Not only is it aesthtivlally pleasing , it offers vital habitat for fauna and cover from predators . In the way of things, everybody has their own simple , off pat little theory of why it has gone - 'It's them bloody swans , why isn't the keeper getting rid of them? , 'Trees are too big , takin' light away , we're going to cut 'em down' etc . Well , we've had the odd swan or two for years , there's plenty of light still getting in but hey, never let logic or science spoil a facile explanation , eh ? What is it about some anglers that they always, always know the exact cause of a problem even though they are just stabbing in the dark?

Truth is , I don't know why and I am happy to admit it . Of course I can speculate- Floods (never normally too bad here, and we had a giant flood in 2005 and that made no difference )? Climate change (it's happening , no doubt on that , but how does it effect weed )? Pollution - (invertebrate samples suggest healthy water but are we missing something? )? Can we reintroduce it ? How ? Is there even a point in doing so if we don't know what's causing the problem ?

I am pressing my club for expert help . Any informed ideas here please ?
 
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steve2

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What people seem to forget is that many rivers in the South get their flow from water released from sewer farms where the water is treated before being released. So that clean looking water could in fact in some cases even be too clean to support life.
 

LPP

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And what are we doing about it? Or the RSPB, come to that? Whilst we don’t seem to care about our fish, they don’t seem bothered about the demise of Wye swans either. We should be shouting this from the roof tops, shouldn’t we? How can we lose the river’s crowning summer glory, and pretend nothing is happening to bother us?

I think an earlier post advised taking the first of 1000 steps to help our rivers and environment.

I've taken some steps and most effective was spreading around my friends and contacts, anglers and non-anglers. As I saw last weekend in the press, the non-angling interest draws far more attention from journalists and my friends and their children are much the same, I guess but yesterday I was shown some "surfers against sewage" information. There are great efforts within our fishing community and many more outside too.

I will keep taking my steps. We must help our rivers
 
J

John Bailey

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Passion for Clean Rivers… Ranunculus (Part 2)​


I’m sorry if I have appeared to lay the law down over my ranunculus observations, on the Wye and tributaries in particular, and I am desperate to get as many thinking, concerned anglers on board with this one.

Have any of us not rejoiced over the sight of flowering ranunculus in high summer, garlanding our rivers in wedding-gown white? Okay, there are times there is too much of the bloody stuff for us, but I don’t hear the fish complaining, whether they be trout, grayling or coarse.

The decline in this king of water weed has been steady on my Norfolk love, the Wensum, but catastrophic on my home river now, the Wye. I’m aware that those who know the latter river better than I have been worrying about declining water quality for a while, but as far as I can see, the collapse of ranunculus has been gob-smackingly rapid.




Scraping the film of chicken deposit off the marginal rocks. Dried out, it stank

I wrote that river keeper James Buckley looked at the small patch of ranunculus we eventually found the other day, and pronounced it a disaster zone, a weed on the point of death. We examined it more deeply yesterday and realised there was a film of brown over every strand. As James explained, the weed was starved of both light and oxygen, and was drowning as a result.

We also scraped this film off the large rocks lying close around. We left it to dry in the sun and as it did so, it simply stank.

Further, we examined the bed for insect life, something I did habitually in the 90s. Thirty years later, we found barely anything but a pitiful few, small caddis.

Now, all this observation is well and good, and not original. The point has been made for over a year now that the Wye “is on its arse”, as it was put to me. There are terrific people on the case, charting this calamity. Yet has a single thing been done in anything like concrete terms? Has the EA even admitted there is a problem?


James Buckley fly fishing for barbel… these three swans were the ONLY ones
we saw on the beat, in the past often hosting up to fifty of the birds.
Surely the RSPB should be on our side over this battle at least?


This chub, weighing over five pounds, was the ONLY fish we caught that was not rake thin… predatorial perhaps?

Let me tell you where I come from. John Wilson was the first to see the Wensum was a slowly collapsing river, as early as 1976. Between then and 2021, endless numbers of vociferous anglers have reinforced the point. What has been done? In real terms, nothing. There has been hand-wringing aplenty, but the Wensum has deteriorated year upon year ’till it is now barely worth fishing, apart from a couple of unreliable “hot” spots.

Is the same scenario going to play out down here in the West, I ask?

Ranunculus is the canary in this particular cage, it seems to me. Its song is more a dirge than a ditty, and we surely cannot ignore it now? Or, tragically, can we?

The post Passion for Clean Rivers… Ranunculus (Part 2) first appeared on FishingMagic Magazine.

Continue reading...
 

grayson

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As said above , I am certainly not ignoring it but I am looking for information on causation. Our invertebrate population is excellent , and regularly monitored , our fish seem healthy (but I suspect slightly fewer in number) , there's no obvious pollution , the catchment is forest, moor and grazing , we don't have the horrid film/ scum shown on the Wye and yet the ranunculus has all but disappeared. Any informed ideas on why, anybody? Any chance of reinstating it ?
 

theartist

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The Severn has been devoid of ranunculus for the last two seasons, was lush now completely gone and the river as a result is a horrible brown colour even when low, and the fishing is poor in comparison. I put this initially down to the floods in March/April 2020 but can floods really remove EVERY bit of weed on an entire river?
 

Molehill

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Think it was prior just prior to 2000 when the big weed beds totally disappeared from the upper Severn over winter, they have never returned to those amounts.
Some seasons on the river are better than others and stretches better or worse, where I have fished this season (mid river) there is barely anything and if it does show it is eaten.
I cannot blame chicken farms for this. Are there ranunculus beds in the wye upstream of these farms or have they gone too? I don't recall seeing much weed around Builth Wells, I presume someone has travelled the river noting the weed beds or lack of them, historically how much weed there was and where the chicken farms are in relation. Seems an obvious place to start - a nice canoe trip over a few days?
 

steve2

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No one really knows what as been washed into the river systems after the flooding of the last few years. If it is killing the plants they wont grow back.
 

theartist

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I presume someone has travelled the river noting the weed beds or lack of them, historically how much weed there was and where the chicken farms are in relation. Seems an obvious place to start - a nice canoe trip over a few days?
Trouble is I doubt anyone has, half the anglers don't even notice when the weed has gone and a lot of them don't like the stuff as they 'lose barbel' in it. It's almost as if they sit behind two rods on the lead and don't even notice what's going on in the river, how it's changing. I know not all anglers are like this and maybe I'm being a bit unfair, but it's how it seems at times.
 

steve2

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You are right many anglers don't look at or even care about what is going on around them. Their answer to any catching problem is just to put more fish in the water and not to care about why the fish are no longer there. Trouble is even the EA seem to think the same way put in more fish without finding out why they are not there. If they looked after the rivers there would be no need to restock them.
 

mikench

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I have been saying for years that angling for sport in this country will end just like bear baiting, cock fighting and more recent fox hunting. We like to view angling is above all these but that is not how ours see us and the fact that we don't eat what we catch will be seen as a reason to stop doing it.

Angling is far above those blood sports and cannot be remotely compared. I dont know anyone who does. Bluntly the way we pollute our rivers and waterways will continue with or without angling. Rather more so imo if we anglers are not there to observe it , report it and on club stretches actually do something about it.

Instead of debating whether fish, slugs, greenfly, maggots, trees and gladioli have feelings, give consideration to humans and the environment in which we live.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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