Last year I rather rashly decided that I would start to compile an archive on the River Eden and its rich angling heritage, with the view of writing a book on the history of the fishery.
I have received information from a number of sources including a huge collection of newspaper reports from 1967 - 1980. I am also in receipt of the minute books of the then Eden Fishery Board from the period 1930 to 1951. A number of individuals and clubs have also provided some very interesting information, books and articles.
It's been an interesting read....and one thing for sure is there aren't that many new problems affecting the fishery. As far back as 1930 there were widespread concerns (and action) about the effects of cormorants roosting in the Solway Estuary! Pollution reared its ugly head all too often and the river board and fishermen seemed to have a real love hate relationship with coarse fish....from being classed as vermin in the 1930's to being promoted a worthy quarry in the 1960's. However only as far back as 1969 fishing clubs were still removing large numbers of dace 'at invitation' from various beats along the river.
I am still a long way short of enough material to start to compile the content of the book.
I am particularly interested in any catch records, photographs and stories of great fish hooked...lost or landed! The other gap I have surrounds some of the great characters and stories that must be associated with the Eden.
One chap I'm particularly interested in was a trout fisher called Ronald Mckillop who fished the river circa 1935-. In Carlisle AA's 150th Anniversary book there is a wonderful picture of young Ronald tying a fly by hand next to his beloved river....sadly Ronald was killed in a Spitfire in 1943. I plan to dedicate the book to the memory of this WW2 hero who made the ultimate sacrifice so that future generations of Eden fishers would continue to enjoy this wonderful fishery in freedom.
If you have any information on the Eden, including old photographs, etc...please do contact me at the Trust.
All proceeds from the book will be donated to both ERT and Combat Stress (an armed forces charity that looks after veterans with post traumatic stress disorder).
I only hope Ronald would approve?