12 anglers (brave and true) met on a frosty Sunday morning this weekend. Their purpose? To seek out, catch and record the grayling living between Hillfoot Bridge and Winn Gardens on the urban river Don...The stakes were (not) high (£5) the rewards great (£40 for most fish and a tenner for the biggest fish). Oh - and we hoped to meet new angling friends as well as provide accurate records of the presence of different age-classes of game fish (in a section of river that is not monitored in conventional ways).
They came from far and near - with 3 raiding nomads heading down from East Lancashire to challenge the locals (in the event, fairness was ensured by fishing the event as pairs - one local paired with each visitor).
The proof that local Trout in the Town Group "SPRITE" are justified in their passion for clearing up and protecting their local urban river can be seen in the results:
102 grayling between 14 and 35cm in length were caught - with by far the most numerous category being the 27cm/2yr+ fish
Pink flies were the main winning medicine on the day and the winning pair of Andy Cliffe and Martin Introna took a cracking 37 fish between them and Andy also scooped the biggest fish prize at 35cm
Both Andy and Martin generously donated their prize money to the SPRITE project and both volunteer their time contributing to the care of the river.
Andy's winning fish
Getting the measurements for the biological records
Both Visitors (left) and locals (right) enjoyed terrific fishing with the grayling - a sensitive indicator of unpolluted waterways
The kind of surroundings that almost anyone would think would have a polluted fishless river running below (rather than a first class totally wild game fishery)
The all important post-match analysis and biological data collation (and fishy tales with a good pint)
A fantastic day out and another set of valuable data gathered for our local council ecologist Paula Lightfoot (do you know your own local ecologist??)that can be used to protect the Don from insensitive development. Big thanks for the support of the Travelling Colne Water AC TROUT IN THE TOWNers and the SPRITE chapter look forward to pitching in on your river in the future.