Lunch at the Shard!

9 Sep

During a recent trip to London, my wife and I were invited for lunch at the Shard, currently London’s tallest building.  The restaurant on the 32nd floor is called ‘The Aqua’ and is well worth a visit if you are in that neck of the woods.The views are fantastic.

On opening the menu I was surprised to see one of the main dishes was not salmon as you usually might expect but Sea – trout and I am somewhat ashamed to say I tried it and it was very nice.  So has wild Sea – trout now become the fish to serve in posh restaurants and is this because of the dearth of wild salmon and perhaps changing attitudes to farmed salmon who knows, only time will tell?

On a slightly more intoxicating level after our second bottle of wine (shocking price!!) I felt in need of a trip to the loo for a ‘p’.  My word, the views from the urinal stall, overlooking London through the clear glass cladding were simply breathtaking, I don’t think I’ve ever taken so long to empty my bladder!

Three nights later we were at it again, on the razzle-dazzle in Wimbledon.  This time a slightly more low key affair in a local restaurant and guess what was on the menu? Salmon, no! Sea – trout yes! and was it as good as the Shard’s offering, unfortunately no.

Local anglers often question where the thousands of Sea – trout taken by the north east net fishery go? Now you know!

Of course the big danger is that Sea – trout will replace  the endangered wild salmon on restaurant menus causing even greater demand for the fish with severe consequences for yet another declining wild resource. The ‘Save our Salmon’ campaign rapidly needs to re-focus and become ‘Save our Sea-trout’ before it is too late.

On another more personal gloomy note, a trip to the local boozer one night cost me £11.95 for two pints. I.P.A was £6.00 a pint. Guess how many I had?

Great trip, but my word, bloody expensive!!!!


How’s it going?

7 Aug

What constitutes a good, bad or average season?

When trying to decide whether you are having a good bad or indifferent season, it is quite natural to quiz other anglers to try and determine how they are doing in terms of the number of fish caught/ killed or returned. Sometimes if you are doing really badly you begin to question your own ability, the methods you use and of course your luck. You then question whether or not there are actually any fish in the river, and believe quite naturally, if you are doing badly, that there are not,  so what chance have you got?

Of course any self respecting game angler knows very well that to be successful you have to be in the right place at the right time, or at the very least, try and be in the right place at the right time. But it doesn’t always work!

Confidence can be further undermined when the Environment Agency release figures showing that in the previous month when you caught 1, over 3,000 fish went through the counter, another body blow! But that’s the nature of game fishing, it’s never easy.

So for purely guidance purposes and as a measure for both your own and the rivers performance you may find the following useful.

Migratory Average Fish Counts on the River Wear.

The table below shows the combined average monthly counts for salmon and sea trout at the Environment Agency fish pass counter at Framwellgate Weir and Freemans Reach in Durham, between 1994 and 2017. The table excludes years-

1994; 2004; 2005; 2006; due to incomplete information. The Freemans Reach counter became operational in February 2015.



























The spring (Jan – May) run total average is 387 fish.

The summer (Jun – Aug) run total average is 9,807 fish.

The autumn/winter (Sept – Dec) run total average is 8,383 fish.

The yearly average is 18,577 fish.

Migratory Average Fish Counts on the River Tyne.

The table below shows the combined average monthly counts for salmon and sea trout at the Environment Agency fish counter at Riding Mill between 1997 and 2017.



























The spring (Jan – May) run total average is 900 fish.

The summer (Jun – Aug) run total average is 13,443 fish.

The autumn/winter (Sept – Dec) run total average is 17,734 fish.

The yearly average is 32,077 fish.

These figures are not totally accurate due to technical problems associated with either the malfunction or maintenance of the respective counters at various times. They are however the only figures available and do give a general picture of the average stocks for both rivers over the last 20 plus years on a month by month basis. Figures that may change substantially should the North East Net Fishery be finally closed.

Source: Environment Agency Fish Counter Information.

Sea Trout Net Trials

29 Jul
The Environment Agency have kindly provided an update on the progress of the revised ‘T’ net, trials. Below is a summary of progress, results to-date and a forward look to next week, as the EA begins (week 6) of the sea trout netting trial.
Trial activity
The trial commenced on Monday 17 June 2019 since which time there have been 31 fishing days available.
Over this period, there have been 65 separate netting events, of various durations. Logbook data from 41 netting days have been recovered and the EA have undertaken 19 fisheries observations by boat, totalling 63 hours of direct boat-based fisheries observations in the field.
The total hours fished by licensees in the trial to date is around 500 (estimated, as some recent logbook data remain to be collected).  The total hours of fisheries observations is 63, or about 12% of all time spent fishing. The EA have gathered good quality still photography and video (aerial, underwater & shot from boats) during the trials.
Catch data
From logbook data collected and fisheries observations made to-date, the nets intercept far more sea trout than salmon, with very few salmon being entangled. Data secured to-date provide the following results:
Of the 7 salmon observed by fisheries staff being released the majority had been lightly snagged, and all were released alive. Of the 18 fisheries observations made, salmon have been observed to become entangled on 3 occasions.
Forward look
The EA will continue the trial, closely monitoring the performance of the modified nets, and their mode of operation on salmon and sea trout.

Editors note

A preliminary assessment suggests that the nets appear to be working with netted salmon released and sea trout retained, which is good news if you are a salmon, and bad news if you are a sea trout or sea trout angler.
Further progress news will follow in due course.


Sea Trout Stocks

28 Jul

Many of you will be aware of previous articles on this site with regard to the decline of sea trout stocks in both the Northeast and Yorkshire rivers.

As part of the recent Salmon Exploitation Review conducted by the EA all salmon stocks in English rivers were categorised as either At Risk, Probably at Risk, Probably Not at Risk or Not at Risk. In the northeast a similar exercise has now been conducted by the EA for sea trout stocks. The results are as follows:-

River Salmon Sea Trout

Coquet Probably at Risk At Risk

Tyne Probably not at Risk Probably at Risk

Wear Probably not at Risk Probably at Risk

Tees Probably at Risk Probably at Risk

Yorkshire Esk Probably not at Risk Probably at Risk

As you can see the assessment of sea trout stocks is worse than that of salmon.

It is inevitable that this will lead to some organisations and individuals calling for compulsory Catch and Release (C&R). The Wear Anglers Association (a single voice for all  Wear Anglers) do not believe compulsory C&R is the best way forward and that voluntary C&R is a much better approach.

Rod anglers are not the problem here. Over recent years rod anglers have responded responsibly and rapidly to the EA and Angling Trust request to release more fish. Whereas at one time anglers might have been killing significant numbers of fish (although not in direct comparison to northeast nets men)  that is no longer the case with Wear Anglers safely releasing 81% of salmon and 78% of sea trout caught; this corresponds to zero fish being released by the offshore nets (2017 EA Statistics).

In 2017 all the nets in the North East Region caught over 35,000 sea trout whilst anglers caught less than 10% of this (3,200). Of these they safely released 2263. Only 1 in 7 of all migratory rod licence holders actually kept a single sea trout.

Nevertheless anglers’ C&R statistics could be improved and we would ask all anglers to help support the Wear Anglers Association argument that voluntary C&R is the way forward by safely releasing as many sea trout and salmon as possible. Please help demonstrate our responsibility as conservation minded anglers.

This should not be a political argument about the rights and wrongs of killing fish. This is about safe guarding the future of a natural phenomenon, one that has probably existed for millions of years. It’s time we all did our bit for their conservation!