Rivers and lakes suffer quite a lot due to things that humans do. Humans pollute them, dump rubbish in them, straighten them, deepen them, concrete the banks, drive boats up and down them and generally abuse them. So it’s no wonder that sometimes, they struggle to support the healthy fish populations that we as anglers would like. The good news is that the UK is still blessed with many wonderful natural river and lake fisheries, and the even better news is that, those fisheries that do need improvement often benefit greatly from some fairly simple measures.
I was lucky enough to spend some time with Dr Mark Everard recently talking about some of the fairly simple measures that can be taken to improve habitat on rivers and thereby also improve fish stocks. Mark is very experienced in habitat improvement, particularly for coarse fish species so I took the opportunity to film some of his advice on my phone, so that I could pass it on to others. In fact it’s come out surprisingly well, so we have produced a nice little video, which is a great introduction to the subject and also talks about Mark’s book River Habitats for Coarse Fish.
So what do you do if you are keen to get involved in river or lake habitat improvement, but you aren’t sure where to start ?
If the river you want to work on is a trout stream then maybe the best place to start is by contacting your local Wild Trout Trust details for all of their regional contacts can be found on their website and they have some great videos to watch as well. The Rivers Trust are the umbrella body for over 40 Rivers Trusts that work right round the country, almost all of them have volunteering opportunities, which allow you to get involved with local river improvements. If you are a club or fishery owner, looking to improve the habitat on your waters then it would be a good idea to get in touch with your local Environment Agency Fisheries Team, who will be able to give advice on both stillwater and river habitats and may well be able to come out and visit your water to give advice and support. The best way to make contact it to ring the EA general Enquiry line 03708 506 506 and ask to speak to a Fisheries Officer in your local area.
John Cheyne – Angling Trust, National Regions manager