Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Felt Soled Waders - Update from Alaska

The Alaska Board of Fisheries voted unanimously last week to ban felt-soled waders in Alaska freshwaters effective Jan. 1, 2012, out of concern they could transport invasive aquatic species between water bodies.

Trout Unlimited, a national fisheries conservation group, made the push for the ban, arguing that felt stays wet longer than rubber boots and can carry more sediment.

Felt-soled waders were due to be banned the beginning of 2011 in Southeast, however that change will now occur at a later date.The ban will only apply to anglers. Duck hunters for example, who also use waders, will not be subject to the ruling.

Local angler advocacy groups were tacit on the issue.

Ricky Gease, executive director of the Kenai River Sport Fishing Association in Soldotna offered no comment on the ruling as did Dwight Kramer, chairman of the Kenai Area Fishermen's Coalition.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Will You Rise To The Challenge?

The Anglers Monitoring Initiative presents anglers with a fantastic opportunity to back up our claims about being the guardians and the eyes and ears of our waterways.
The initiative comes from The Riverfly Partnership, an organisation which enables anglers to take action that will help conserve the river environment. This initiative provides a simple monitoring technique which anglers can use to detect any severe problems in river water quality and puts them in direct communication with the Environment Agency.
This anglers monitoring scheme, used alongside routine monitoring by the Environment Agency, will ensure that water quality is checked more widely and action taken at the earliest opportunity should any severe problems be detected.

We have arranged the next Riverfly Training date for 22nd May. To date we only have four bookings out of a total of 12 vacancies. This concerns me greatly. I think it would be a terrible demonstration of angler apathy if we are not able to fill this course and have a healthy waiting list too.

The cost is £35 which includes training and all the equipment you'll need. Clubs should not even have to think twice about paying or should I say 'investing' in keen members to attend. If you are member of a fishing association or club on the river contact your committee to see if they will fund a place for you. As anglers we have a moral duty to rise to this challenge. If we do not I fear we may as well switch the lights of and go home as rarely has there been such a golden opportunity for anglers to monitor the resource they are so reliant on to provide their sport.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to contribute towards an invaluable initiative...lets not squander it. If we do perhaps our claims regarding those eyes, ears and guardianship may just start to sound a little hollow?

Booking forms are available by contact Education Officer, Becky Helm:

Please..............Get Involved!

Monday, 10 May 2010

North Country Spiders

A week or so back I fished on a section of lower river with two good friends. Despite my best efforts I struggled to make contact with some very fussy wild trout. On return to the hut for lunch I enquired how my two fellow piscators had fared. Vaughan had struggled for two small browns on a dry fly and Tim had had fourteen...yes fourteen!..... to North Country Spiders.

Up until this point I had always discounted this style of fishing as a bit dated and traditional for my liking. After lunch I accompanied Tim down a through a fantastic boulder strewn run which had pocket water to die for. He on the spiders and me on the dry fly. Despite a good hatch and many rising fish I came away with one and Tim about half a dozen. I had seen enough.

On my return home I hastily looked up Tims patterns, A Water Hen Bloa and a Partridge and Orange. Materials were sourced (very precisely) from Steve Cooper at Cookshill Flytying and Phil Holding at Spiders Plus and I set to work tying-up a few of my own.

The patterns are simple and even someone with my agricultural tying skills soon had a few tied-up and ready to go. The trick is to dub the body very sparsely (with water rat substitute!) and not to overdo it on the hackle (two turns maximum!).

On Saturday I returned to the same beat of lower river and for the sake of scientific rigour, I fished the exactly those runs as I had with Tim. After what seemed like an age (5 mins!) I had a very positive take which resulted in a 'bonnie wildie' of about half a pound....and they kept coming too. I finished the afternoon with fourteen fish. I'm also encouraged to report I also caught a few sea trout smolts, which were as silvery as new Christmas decorations. One of the smolts was also intercepted by a very large brown trout, who let go when all didn't quite feel right!

There will be no prizes for guessing that I am now convert to this historic method of fishing. As Oliver Edwards puts it "anyone who fishes upstream North Country Spiders is helping to uphold a dying angling tradition" As I wandered back to the hut I pondered over a hundred and fifty years of spider tradition that in my eyes is as relevant today as it was when described by Pritt in his book North Country Flies, printed in 1886. That evening I raised a glass of something strong, golden brown and smokey to that great angler of the Eden, William Nelson who fished these very same methods, in the later part of the nineteenth century...I only hope he would have approved!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

How Good Was The Eden?

Trout too numerous to count and salmon too heavy to lift are the wistful memories of anglers who have fished the beautiful River Eden in the past. Here at Eden Rivers Trust we are looking for any recollections about fishing on the River Eden for a new book on the history of the Eden. This will cover its fisheries, fishermen, great captures and the changing ecology and land use of the river.

If there is anyone out there with old diaries, articles, photos or club records specific to the Eden area, we would love to hear from you! We need as much information as possible to help us produce what we hope will turn out to be the definitive work on this iconic river.

Sadly fishing on the Eden is not now what it used to be, as we heard at a recent event called “How good was the River Eden” at the Tufton Arms Hotel, Appleby. Fifty local anglers, keepers, ghillies and land owners who have fished the Eden over the past 70 years were invited to share their recollections, memories and historical records about this special river; it's fish, flylife, habitat and fishing. Their contributions were fascinating.

Although we still have a great fishery, we have heard firsthand about the truly wonderful river the Eden once was. I tried to visualise the halcyon days of the 1950's and 60's when a good day’s dry fly fishing for trout was measured in the scores of fish with hatches of fly to die for. Some of the captures of salmon in the early part of the 20th century are the fishing days that we can only dream about today, with many beats recording several fish in the 30-50lb bracket each season!

Many of those present at the event have promised to hunt out historical records that will help us to build up a picture of how the Eden has changed over the decades. This ‘anecdotal’ information is seldom captured by organisations responsible for fisheries management and can be extremely important when setting objectives for the restoration of a fishery - especially if historical monitoring information on the fish populations is absent.

A summary of discussions at the “How good was the River Eden” event is available on the Eden Rivers Trust website It will be used to help guide the Trust’s conservation work on the Eden and its tributaries. This approach could form the basis of a blueprint for other Rivers Trusts and managers to use in their areas.

We can be contacted at Eden Rivers Trust, Unit’s O & Q, Skirsgill Business Park, Penrith, CA11 0FA, tel. no 01768 866788 or email

Photos: Robert Strong with 31lb salmon caught at Rickerby Park and Ron Mckillop with catch of trout, both pictures circa 1935. (Photos courtesy of Carlisle Angling Association)