The Welfare of Fish and Other Wildlife

We are very lucky to have access to a river and its banks that have almost twenty different species of fish, along with other wildlife including invertebrates, birds, reptiles and mammals. As an association we are committed to maintaining and improving the habitat for all of its occupants. We have therefore drawn up this short guide which hopefully will assist members to get the most out of their fishing and improve the welfare of the whole ecosystem.

 

If any members wish to raise any wildlife welfare issues, please contact the club secretary or the writer of this guide.

Wading

The Association does not prohibit wading, but we do ask that all anglers are careful to avoid causing damage to redds and spawning fish as both are an offence. Check for signs of redds and spawning fish before stepping into the river.

 

In addition, please don’t shuffle along the bottom as this can have an adverse effect on fry and aquatic invertebrates.

 

For your own safety we recommend that you look where you are putting your feet, or use a wading staff, as the bottom does alter from time to time, particularly after a flood.

 

If you are visiting other waters please check, clean and dry your waders before using them again in the River Teise.

Redds.tif

Angling Methods

Please ensure that you are complying with the Association’s rules concerning methods. Please note that these vary between different beats and at different times of the year.

 

Landing Nets

Please don’t use nets with knotted mesh. They have been illegal for a long time now.

 

Hooks and Leaders

If practising catch and release for trout you must use barbless hooks, or hooks with the barb crushed. If fishing for grayling or coarse fish, you must also use barbless hooks or hooks with the barb crushed.

 

Experience suggests that very few fish are lost due to using barbless hooks. They are also a lot easier to remove from your fingers (or other parts) if you have the misfortune to catch yourself.

 

Don’t use leaders that are too light. Modern leaders are, for the relevant breaking strain, roughly half the diameter of those used twenty years ago, so you don’t need to go too light and risk a broken leader. You will still catch plenty of fish. We would suggest a minimum breaking strain of 3lb.

 

Playing Fish

Play all fish, including trout and grayling firmly, and bring them to the net quickly, particularly if you intend to release them. If you overplay the fish it will quickly become exhausted.

 

Handling Fish

Always handle fish with wet hands. It may be cold for you, but the impact of a warm dry hand is detrimental to the fish. Keep the fish in the water as much as possible. Unhook and release the fish as quickly as you can, and with the minimum of handling. It is usually quicker to use forceps to remove the hook while the fish is still in the net.

 

Do not squeeze the fish or hold it over the gill covers; they can both cause injury.

 

If you want to photograph the occasional fish, keep the stress on the fish to a minimum. Photograph fish in the water, and not on the bank. Keep the fish as close to the water as possible and fully submerge it between photographs.

Returning Fish

Help fish to recover before releasing them. Hold the fish, in the net if possible, facing upstream in a reasonable flow until it is capable of swimming without keeling over and under its own steam. Never move any fish backwards and forwards in the water, as it can cause serious injury to the fish.

 

Keeping Trout

If you are going to keep a trout please dispatch it quickly using a priest, preferably before unhooking. Don’t use a rock or piece of debris. Respect the fish.

 

Litter

This includes leader material. Take it home with you. A very cheap and easy way to collect spare line is with an old nylon hair curler (try it).

Himalayan Balsam

There is a lot of Himalayan Balsam, an invasive species, along the River Teise. Where it flourishes, it crowds out other vegetation, and then dies back in the autumn. This results in greater erosion during the winter as there is no vegetation to protect the banks.

We will be holding a Balsam Bashing event in the summer. However, you can help by pulling up as much balsam by the roots as you can, for five or ten minutes prior to fishing, or as you go. Stack the debris at the top of the bank so that it rots and doesn’t get washed downstream.

Giant Hogweed

Unfortunately, we also have Giant hogweed along the River Teise. Please don’t confuse this with the Himalayan Balsam.

Leave the Giant Hogweed well alone as it can burn the skin causing serious injury. It is dealt with annually by specialists.

Giant Hogweed.jpg

Useful websites:

 

http://www.keepemwet.org

 

https://www.wildtrout.org/content/catch-and-release

 

http://www.nonnativespecies.org/checkcleandry/biosecurity-for-anglers.cfm

 

Respect the fish and the environment, and enjoy your fishing.

 

Tight lines,

 

Nigel Francis

nigelfrancis789@btinternet.com