Tees Barrage!

12 Oct

In 1995 a barrage was installed on the River Tees to combat industrial pollution and to also control flooding. However, for all the good the Tees Barrage has done in helping clean the river up and reducing flooding. The barrage causes a significant barrier to Atlantic Salmon & Sea trout from reaching their spawning grounds. Due to the design of the barrage gates this also creates a catastrophic amount of predation below the barrage as the migratory fish do not have a free flowing passage through the barrage.

There is currently a fish pass installed at the barrage, but this was an after thought during the initial design as the designers were led to believe there were no migratory fish in the Tees due to the pollution having killed of the majority of aquatic life.

A petition has been set up to have a fully functioning fish pass installed on Gate 1 that is available for 24 hrs a day, everyday, to allow the free movement of fish both upstream and downstream. Currently fish can only pass at very specific tide times and if they miss this window of opportunity they are then at extreme risk of predation.

The Tees is categorised by the Environment Agency as “at risk” due to it’s low returns. If nothing is done and done soon, we could loose this iconic species from the Tees altogether.

Please support the campaign to get the Tees back to the once great salmon river it used to be.

The petition link is :- http://chng.it/ZcH9z9s9yN

Storm Desmond?

11 Oct

Season 2019

There are conflicting views as to whether or not 2019 has been a good or a poor season. Although it is not yet over most anglers seem to be having mixed fortunes with some scoring at the right time and yet others claiming there are no fish in the rivers. Presumably the truth is some where in between. All rivers seem to have fish but not many.

One theory going the rounds that also seems to be the official Environment Agency view is that ‘Storm Desmond’ destroyed a considerable number of ‘redds’ during the 2015 spawning period and this has led to a dearth of migratory fish both in 2018/2019.

To refresh your memory on the 5th – 6th December 2015 – Storm Desmond brought strong winds and heavy rainfall to most of the north.

Storm Desmond was an extratropical cyclone and fourth named storm of the 2015–16 UK and Ireland windstorm season, notable for directing a plume of moist air, known as an atmospheric river, which brought record amounts of orographic rainfall to upland areas of northern Atlantic Europe.
In the United Kingdom the worst affected areas were centred on Cumbria, parts of Lancashire and the Scottish Borders.

Storm Desmond was the fourth named storm of the season and brought severe gales with gusts up to 81 mph.  This was accompanied by record-breaking rainfall which brought flooding to areas across the north of England. On some rivers floods of 5 meters plus were recorded.

Honister Pass in Cumbria recorded 341.4 mm of rainfall in the 24-hours up to 1800 GMT on 5 December 2015 making a new UK record.

The same period of rainfall also set a new 48-hour record (from 0900 to 0900 hrs) with 405 mm rainfall recorded at Thirlmere in Cumbria in just 38 hours.

Site Name

Area

Rainfall Total mm

Thirlmere

Cumbria

405

Shap

Cumbria

262.6

Keswick

Cumbria

178.4

Blencathra

Cumbria

174.8

Capel Curig

Gwynedd

170.6

Tyndrum

Perthshire

141

Eskdalemuir

Dumfriesshire

139.2

Bainbridge

North Yorkshire

136

Cluanie Inn

Ross & Cromarty

132.8

The record-breaking rainfall associated with Storm Desmond caused severe disruption, flooding 5,200 homes across Lancashire and Cumbria. Several major roads across the north of England and Scotland were flooded and there was major disruption to rail services in the north of England while a landslide closed a section of the West Coast mainline between Preston and Carlisle.

If this theory is true then no doubt it will be some time before migratory fish stocks recover. It maybe 2021/22 before any significant improvement is recorded. So what future for the remaining north east net fishery? Commercial netting is simply not sustainable in such circumstances. And surely compulsory catch and release now seems inevitable.

Important Meeting.

3 Oct

The Angling Trust in conjunction with the Environment Agency will be holding a North East Fisheries Forum on Wednesday 23rd October at The Comrades Club, Sanderson Arcade, 4C Market Place, Morpeth. NE61 1HG. The meeting starts at 7:15pm.

The agenda includes:-

T & J Net Trials: Preliminary results.

Angling Trust News

Catch & Release Guidelines

Local Environment Agency Fisheries Team Updates.

What should be of interest to all anglers is not whether the net trial has been a success but more importantly how many fish the nets have intercepted, particularly salmon. Reports from all north east rivers suggest that the number of migratory fish in the system is low, this is particularly relevant to the River Wear as numbers reported as passing through the Durham fish passes at the end of August were 15% below the 2018 figure which as all Wear anglers know was the lowest ever recorded. The River Tyne has to a certain extent held its own with a 7% reduction. Although reports from the upper reaches suggest that the number of fish visible is worryingly low.

The situation is not good and perhaps the inclusion on the agenda of ‘Catch and Release Guidelines’ is an omen for the future.

‘T Net’ Trials – Further Information.

18 Sep
The Environment Agency have released a further updated on the ‘T net’ trials:-
To-date there have been 91 separate netting events. Logbook records collected in NE area so far provide the following results:-
Month
Hrs
ST
SA
ST:SA
June
160
566
8
70.75
July
485
2673
26
102.81
August
64
116
6
19.33
All months
709
3355
40
83.88
These figures cover 11 of the 12 week trial period and therefore not complete.
During this period there have been 29 separate patrols, which has culminated in 96.16 hours of observations. The net trial in Yorkshire is not included in these figures
Throughout the trial the EA has taken underwater and surface footage using GoPro cameras to better record fish interacting with the net and being released.
What is interesting and at the same time very worrying is the small number of fish caught during the August period, particularly salmon. In fact the number of salmon caught during the 11 week trial period at 40 is shocking!
This to some extent mirror’s the situation in most northern rivers where some fish are being reported but only in very small numbers. Numbers in the Wear in particular appear to be very low and unless there is a significant improvement could be worse than the lowest ever figure recorded in 2018.
These figures can only lead to the introduction of compulsory catch and release and further angling restrictions.