Reasonable

Catches

Members have had some reasonable success on our various rivers last week. Several salmon have been caught on the Till with both Fenton and Ford beats producing fish with the best at 12lb coming off the Ford beat. Several salmon have also been caught on the Coquet with again the best coming in at 12lb. The Wear has also produced both salmon and sea trout with, believe it or not, again the best salmon at 12lb. Only a report of one salmon from our Tweed beat with a fish at 6lb. And the Tyne has also produced both salmon and sea trout with the best salmon at 10lb. TAS members have also had several salmon and a sea trout from our Low Grange beat on the Wear. Surprised not to hear of any fish from our Shellacres beat last week. As always it would be nice to hear from more members with results of any catches being made so we can keep all members informed of which rivers are producing fish. Rain yesterday and today wil keep the rivers topped up and hopefully keep members out on the rivers.

Closing date

For Interim Catch Returns

The club have to provide interim catch returns from members for any salmon or sea trout caught on the rivers Tweed and Till by 27th July.

To date secretary Dave Wilson has received returns for 4 sea trout caught on the river Till. We know this figure is short because on one day six sea trout were caught in the month of June On the Fenton beat. We have issued catch returns to members and ark that yiu send in your returns ASAP. If you wish to send you'd return in by email then this is totally acceptable. Please keep us in the good books with our riparian owners and the Tweed Commision.

June 2017 fish counts

The fish count runs for our major rivers fir June have been added to the fish count figures. Pleasing to see all three rivers are slightly up on 2016 and the Wear is one of the best over the last 10 years.

Prospects are

Improving

The rains last week produced some good sport with salmon being caught on our Tyne beats and some good sea trout being caught on our Wear beats and Till beats. Just as things continued to improve further heavy rain on Tuesday has put the rivers in spate conditions again. Today the rivers are dropping nicely and sport should be good over the weekend from Friday onwards. Whilst the rains may have spoiled fishing for a few members of late we should not really be complaining because the last two summers produced no rain and even worse no fishing for members on the rivers. Head bailiff has been one of the recipients of a good sea trout from the river Wear last week when out night fishing he caught a super fresh run fish of 8lb on the fly. His success regretfully came at a cost. Whilst playing the fish he took one step too many and ended up getting soaked from head to foot after falling into the river. To make matters worse he badly sprained his left wrist. Thankfully another member was on hand to assist him to safety. So, for those members that love their night fishing, be careful And enjoy your fishing.

Coincidence

Or Not

Our club are members of the Wear Anglers Association (WAA) which is a body formed by various angling clubs that have angling rights on the river Wear and try to look after the interests of these clubs and their members.

In September of 2016 a number of dead salmon and sea trout where found below the weir at Durham. The WAA contacted the EA expressing their concerns about the dead fish. The EA visited the area and their reply was that the fish were dead kelts.. Remember this is in September.

In October 2016 a member of the WAA was having at close up look at the new Archimedes screw at Durham and was horrified at what he was watching as salmon and sea trout, instead of running either of the fish passes were actually ruuning up the archimedes screw and being killed in the process. Videos were taken of the horrific events and the WAA believed that some serious action needed to be taken.

All clubs being members of the Angling Trust/Fish legal contacted them in order to see what could be done about these horrific and needless death of fish. After lenghty discussions with their representatives over the following months formal notification has been sent to the EA. Below is the letter issued on behalf of the WAA. I am sorry but not able to re-produce the videos mentioned in the letter.

Award-winning Durham hydro being brought into question after video shows trapped salmon

Fish Legal has written to the Environment Agency highlighting local anglers’ concerns about potential over-abstraction and design flaws in a hydro-electric scheme on the River Wear resulting in fish deaths at Framwellgate weir in Durham city centre.

      

Enclosed with the letter are photographs and videos showing fish caught in the turbine chamber being hurled and battered, despite the hydro-electric scheme receiving the full approval of the Environment Agency at the time of construction as being in line with its own guidelines on hydro-electric scheme design. The letter in particular highlights a lack of adequate fish screens.

      

In addition, Fish Legal has raised concerns that the Environment Agency does not measure the adequacy of the flows in the River Wear, from which the hydro-electric scheme takes water to generate power, next to the hydro-electric scheme in Durham but instead takes measurements at Chester-le-Street some five miles or so downstream, where flow is enhanced by a number of tributaries. This casts great doubt over the accuracy of monitoring the sustainability of operation of the scheme at times of low flow. In addition, a gauge-board, designs of which were included in the licence conditions to show the public the river levels adjacent to the scheme, has not been installed.

  

Geoff Hardy, Solicitor for Fish Legal, said: “We consider there are some big questions about why this hydro-electric scheme is allowed to continue operating when it is damaging salmon and sea trout and licence conditions have not been met.

  

"Our letter to the Environment Agency makes it clear that we expect answers and modifications to the way the hydro is monitored and operated. At the moment, as video footage that we have provided to the Environment Agency shows, salmon and sea trout are being damaged and killed as they travel upstream and downstream of the generating equipment.”

      

The Wear Anglers Association (WAA) represents several clubs who are Fish Legal members. One of their spokesmen explained: “Following an invitation by the Environment Agency, members of the WAA visited the hydro scheme and identified areas of concern. Unfortunately, those concerns were dismissed or not followed up.

"One of our concerns was that the gaps between the bars on the screens that should protect migratory fish from entering the Archimedes screw are too wide to prevent migratory fish accessing the turbine. This concern has now been realised with video footage showing salmon and sea trout trapped in the hydro scheme chamber, resulting in damage and mortalities. We believe this could and should have been avoided had the EA sat down with the WAA and listened more and corrected this problem.”

      

He continued: “The WAA are very disheartened to see the needless mortalities of salmon and sea trout by the hydro scheme at Durham. We are in principle not opposed to hydro power but we would question whether hydro should be installed in a major salmon and sea trout river such as the Wear.”

      

The Angling Trust is currently spearheading a ‘Save Our Salmon’ campaign, and the Environment Agency has developed a Five Point Approach in response, which includes easing barriers to fish migration.

      

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust & Fish Legal, said: “The continued operation of this scheme under licence from the Environment Agency, which has been shown to kill and damage fish, is inexplicable considering the serious national decline of salmon stocks.”  [Note 6 in editor’s notes]

Please note: Video is a compilation of footage shot over two days.

Editor's Notes:

   

1. Fish Legal’s letter to the Deputy Director of Operations at the Environment Agency, dated 12th June 2017, is available here.

             

2. Stills from video footage showing salmon caught in the hydropower turbines at Framwellgate weir are available here.

             

3. The Wear Anglers' Association was formed four years ago from angling clubs and syndicates distributed about the whole length of the river Wear.  It is dedicated to protecting the habitat of all animals as well as the flora and fauna including the wellbeing of coarse and migratory fish. As an example, last year, with the backing of various organisations in Durham city, the area immediately below the hydro scheme was identified as a serious threat to migratory fish due to poaching and was declared a conservation area banning all fishing.

             

4. Fish Legal is a membership association using the law to protect fish stocks and the rights of its members throughout the UK. It is united in a collaborative relationship with the Angling Trust, the national representative and governing body for angling in England. Joint membership packages with the Angling Trust are available for individuals, clubs, fisheries and other categories.

             

5. For more information on Fish Legal please visit the Fish Legal website.

             

6. More information on the Angling Trust’s ‘Save our Salmon’ campaign

             

Media enquiries:

   

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Good River heights

Following the rains from Tuesday to Thursday last week our rivers burt  into spate conditions and hopefully began bringing more fish into our sytems for our members to get out and wet a line. As of today all of our rivers are in fine fettle apart from the river Till which should be fishable from Tuesday or Wednesday. It is also good to see members on our club forum helping other members with updates on river levels along with the odd picture or two to give members an insight into the river conditions.

Interim Returns

As required by the Tweeed Commision members should by now have sent in the interim catch returns to Secretary Dave Wilson for the rivers Tweed and Till. If you have not already sent in your returns then plaese take this as a gentle reminder to send them in asap.

 

Fish on all fronts

Up and Running

We now have confirmation that migratory fish have been caught on ALL of our river beats. A member has confirmed catching a sea trout from our Coquet beat last week. 

It is that time of the season when more sea trout start to enter our rivers and a member had two off one of our Till beats on Monday. Rain is forecast today and depending on how much could again improve the numbers of fish coming into the rivers and further improving the chance of catching a fish.

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