DEALING WITH LITTER
We have all seen footage of our polluted oceans: marine life trapped in discarded fishing nets and aquatic animals wedged inside plastic containers. It would be easy to assume that this waste comes from shipping, coastal communities and the commercial fishing industry, but it is estimated that approximately 80% of marine litter actually originates from land-based sources, including rivers. The Canal and River Trust estimates that some 14 million pieces of plastic litter end up in our rivers and canals each year, of which 500,000 are carried into the ocean.
Plastic bottles and food packaging are among the most common items found in rivers. In fact, a study found that 6.9% of all used plastic bottles are littered in rivers, making it the largest source of plastic pollution (source: www.wastemanaged.co.uk).
The impact of this pollution cannot be overstated. It can lead to injury to wildlife, damage to, or destruction of habitat, detrimental impact on water quality, and when broken down into microplastics can end up in the food chain.
We as anglers can and should play our part in keeping our waterways as clear of litter as possible. RADAS plans to organise two litter picks each year, which the Angling Trust has supported by giving the club litter picking equipment. However, two days each year will only have a very limited impact. The Angling Trust is also running an initiative called “Just Take 5”, where anglers pledge to either collect five pieces of litter, or to spend five minutes picking litter, at the end of each fishing session. A spare carrier bag adds no weight to a fishing bag, and there is no better way of recycling a plastic bag than to fill it with plastic which can be recycled! Also, if anglers share their litter picking exploits on social media, an exclusive Shimano baseball cap can be won. Details are on the Angling Trust website.
There is an elephant in the room for us anglers. In all disciplines of fishing, UK anglers alone are estimated to use 1.25 million kilometers of line per year, the vast majority of which ends up littered or in landfill. The Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme has been set up to address this. The scheme will accept line and empty plastic spools, which will be recycled into new plastic products. Recycling bins can be found in many local tackle shops, or waste can be sent to the scheme directly by post. Details are available at www.anglers-nlrs.co.uk.
Steve Plumb, Development Officer
“No person ever steps into the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and they’re not the same person.”
With apologies to Heraclitus
My very first fishing trip was a dream, one September I had the chance to spend two days fishing Salmon on the Dalmarnock Beat on the Tay. Fishing was never something I had considered before, and I jumped at the chance. I had no idea about what fishing entailed and honestly there are some days when I’m still pretty clueless. That first experience is one I’ll never forget, I didn’t catch, it didn’t matter, even though there were friends close by, there was a sense of calm as I stood in deep water watching salmon leap around me, one so close I could have almost snatched it into my hand. As the saying goes, I was caught hook line, and you know the rest.
A good friend gave me advice, showed me some rock-solid basics, lessons on casting, tips on reading the water and how to take care in it. If I was going to do it at least I was going to be prepared. Then everything fell apart, the Pandemic took hold and in March 2021 I was diagnosed with cancer. Of course, I read all the information about what would happen and what to expect, or rather I flicked through it then threw it all in a drawer, because of course none of that would apply to me, I was going to sail through it. I was wrong; nothing prepared me for how much I would struggle. Particularly as in the first year of recovery I contracted Covid.
Wellness, well-being and self-care are words we hear regularly these days in relation to physical and mental health. The BMA talks of a rise of 22% in referred mental health cases between 2019 and 2022, over the same period NHS has logged significant rises amongst children and young people particularly amongst those aged between 17 and 19 where they have calculated that 1 in 4 now suffer from some kind of disorder.
There are so many factors and pressures which can affect a person's mental health; financial worries, social media pressure, school or work worries and illness. I can of course, only write about my own experience and I hope it will help others see the benefits that fishing has to offer.
It took almost 18 months before I was back at the river. I felt as if I had completely lost control of my life and I had to come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t the same person either physically or mentally. I don’t do “ill”, but my body had other ideas, even now medication affects my concentration, my thought processes and my balance, not great when I was already more Mortimer than Whitehouse in the water.
But gradually with the help of Tim and my trusty wading stick, I’m regaining that confidence and relishing the achievement. Because of a creaky shoulder my cast is still dodgy, so it’s always a plus not to snag a tree, the bank-side grass or a rock and to offset that I’m learning to cast with my other hand. Catching a fish is a bonus; but for me it’s the “lift” of being outside, the satisfaction of having made the effort to get myself out there. I go the the river, to enjoy the fresh air, the peace, the scenery as it changes, to watch the wildlife, to just think about fishing. I wonder how many people have seen an erythristic badger come down to the water's edge or have seen swallows flying low to drink on the wing. Egrets and Herons standing statue still and giving me the stink eye, Kingfishers so fast you only see that flash of metallic blue. There are times when before I even get my rod out of the case, I’ll sit on the bank with a flask of coffee, watching the water, the wildlife and the hatch.
For me fishing is much more than just casting a line tipped with metal and feathers into water, it’s my rescue remedy, my go to for the rotten days and definitely for the good days because it only makes them better.
For anyone thinking of taking up fishing for whatever reason, my advice is do it. Life is made better by injecting a little calm, and we all need to step away from everyday pressures. Whatever angling discipline you chose, if you need advice, please ask the members of RADAS, they have a wealth of experience and there’s always someone to help you. Do it, because I doubt, you’ll regret that you took the chance.
“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.”
NORTH YORKSHIRE COUNCIL
15 NOVEMBER 2023
Motion regarding water quality for improvements in, health, wildlife, biodiversity and economy – amended motion as recommended by the Transport, Economy, Environment and Enterprise Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Agenda item 19).
This Council resolves to:
1. Recognise it has a role and agrees to define its role to protect the rivers, watercourse and seas in North Yorkshire and precious habitats these support as far as possible from the cumulative impacts of pollution, including in line with its local planning policy and the National Planning Policy Framework.
2. Be aware that there is evidence of deterioration of water quality due to the cumulative impact of nitrates phosphates, micro-plastics, pharmaceuticals, historical metal mining, waste and minerals activities, rural diffuse pollution and multiple sewage discharge events from diffuse and point source pollution including private and statutory waste treatment systems to monitor, measure and seek to better understand the impact on our local rivers, wildlife and the health of our residents.
3.Draw on relevant evidence that assesses the cumulative impact of pollution so that this is appropriately factored into the emerging North Yorkshire plan, including the site specific level of future development.
4.Ask the Transport, Economy, Environment and Enterprise Overview and Scrutiny Committee to invite senior representatives from Yorkshire Water, the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Dales River Trust, Nidd Action Group, Natural England, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, the National Farmers’ Union and other interested groups to attend a meeting to allow for a better understanding of the current levels of pollution and remedial action being taken in this regard.
5.Ask all relevant water companies, from this date onwards, in its planning consultation responses for major developments, to clarify which treatment works will be managing the sewage; confirm that these treatment works have the additional capacity to take waste from agreed developments and whether it has the information available to assess the impact on the number or duration of sewage discharges into local rivers or seas, and if it does have this information to share it (noting that this can only be requested not required).
6. Ask the Leader and appropriate Executive Members to collaborate with other Local Authorities facing similar water quality problems in order to best understand how we can use our influence to reduce and mitigate the damage done to our watercourses.
7.This Council plays its part in supporting communities who wish to attain bathing water status
8.Planning policy should give specific weight and consideration to the potential impacts on watercourses and river waterbodies both in terms of contamination and health.
9. To ask the Leader of Council, if the motion is carried, to write to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to request that the policy issues raised in the Notice of Motion be included as part of the National Planning Policy Framework.
This motion has been endorsed by the: Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust; River Ure Conservation Trust and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.
Catch returns help to build up a picture of fish stocks in the river. The data collected allows us to monitor the health of the fish population and plan restocking. Nil returns are important because they give an indication on how the river is fishing. Although end of season catch returns are good, end of session returns are even better. Catch returns should indicate how many and what species of fish have been caught and from which locations.
When I first joined RADAS I was amazed that the society did not use catch returns. When I enquired about this I was told that historically information came in from the fishing matches which the society regularly organised. These competitions were very popular, often with large numbers of anglers taking part. The match results provided an insight into fish numbers and distribution. I have not seen any information from fishing matches held years ago and I don’t know how the results were recorded. If records exist they are probably in a document somewhere in the archives. I have never heard them referred to at committee meetings.
I am told that the fish stocks in the Swale have declined greatly from what they once were and yet we have no evidence to support this. All we have is here say from veteran anglers. I don’t dispute these accounts but we can’t have a discussion with the Environment Agency based on word of mouth. In order to properly manage the river and have meaningful conversations with the Environment Agency, The Rivers Trusts and others, we need data.
I have seen photos on Facebook of barbel and chub that have been caught in our waters. I have also seen photos of some very large trout. However I have no idea how many have been caught in total or indeed which other species are being caught. We need to know.
Before the internet catch returns would have to be submitted on paper. Anglers would return the forms by post and then a committee member would have to collate the information which is rather time consuming and laborious. Many clubs still follow this procedure. However an online form makes the process much easier. Software is available that can add the data to a spreadsheet instantly. Furthermore suitable user friendly software is available free of charge. A catch return form can easily be added to a website for members to use. We could set this up now.
Catch returns are important and it is in the interests of every angler to submit them. I hope that the RADAS committee will address this important matter and that catch returns will soon be introduced as part of our river management strategy.
Ron Wood TD
Get Fishing Fishing For Wellbeing
Gordon Alexander, a long-standing R&DAS member and trustee and a former committee member, compiled a history of R&DAS in 2004. Gordon has kindly agreed that it can be shared with our members.
The file has been compressed as it is very large (40MB) as the pages have been scanned. The file has been compressed to reduce size (to 24 MB).
In October 2020, Trout and Salmon ran an article featuring Stuart Wardle (England International and Durham Fly fishing Company owner) and Don Stazicker fishing Richmond & District Angling Society waters on the River Swale. This has been reproduced with the kind permission of Trout & Salmon, Bauer Media UK.
In September 2019, Trout Fisherman ran an article featuring Fred Bainbridge fishing Richmond & District Angling Society waters on the River Swale. This has been reproduced with the kind permission of Trout Fisherman, Bauer Media UK.
The three anglers referred to in this article had a great back end to their 2014 season. On a recent visit to Great Langton Bill and David caught 44 fish between them, all but two being grayling and all on dry fly. Reflecting on the day, Bill commented, “We have a wonderful river and better than all of the others I have fished, including ‘named’ rivers in Scotland”. The red letter day was followed by several other visits in which all three achieved double figures, including grayling up to 15 inches and a 2 ½ lb brown trout, again all on dry.
This is a Barbel Society article based on our waters at Easby Abbey. Although written a few years ago, the routes, swims and river are largely unchanged and gives a real feeling for the special atmosphere of an early morning start on the upper river Swale.