A founder member of the Wild Trout Society, I remain a devotee in its, now, more tax efficient charitable status as the Wild Trout Trust, and bid for several lots in this year’s auction.
Securing Lot # 171 in March, I welcomed the opportunity to fish with Paul Gaskell,
of whom more later, in June, because this might have enabled me to fish and ’net’ South Yorkshire. But before this means was even a possible, I was already there, as My Readers will know! [see April 2011]
But a note to Paul enquiring whether I could parlay his guiding in the South Riding, to some time in West Yorkshire, produced a positive response for which I was grateful, and entirely, it seemed, within the spirit of how we fly fishers behave.
Paul is one the small full time team of five (now, six) which does the work of which we are all proud, and testified to, by the enormous sum which was generated from members in this year’s Auction, and was of the order of £50000. He, is a passionate outdoorsman and intellect, and the WTT, and therefore, we too as members , are lucky to have him. A PhD, and father to a handsome young son with his PhD-ed partner , he/they (and their energetic greyhound!) live a lovely life together, and I wish them happiness…he is great company, and our chatting during the ride to Huddersfield was illuminated by his love for his work and his care for the environment. Some conversations of this type can veer toward the negative, the concern voiced in dire terms…but his tone was positive, but realistic, and constructive…he is a ‘builder’, and I was energised by his enthusiasm.
The WTT Newsletters chronicle the activities it conducts….if you are not a member, please JOIN…and you will find there is fishing to be found which remains ‘free’, and of this, much is in urban areas, where programmes have been devised to seek to improve the water quality by the removal of detritus,
and more, to encourage the next generation, to understanding the value and vitality of our streams. The early work of the Wandle Trust is to some, an example of what can be achieved. And it is working, and the WTT’s ‘Trout in the Town’ shows just how well, but so much more has to be done. But without wishing to sound negative, no one, reading of the joy of finding trout fry in Carshalton earlier this year, cannot have felt pride for the efforts of Theo Pike and Will Tall, and their group. And all of they who are so committed to such programmes, share their learnings and give of their time, as does Paul…but it’s tough. Just how many tyres and supermarket trolleys are there subsurface in trout waters? Far too many is the answer, and we saw them this day on our first river –
August 2011 – the Colne, then the Holme.
My ‘quest’ has taken me to lovely places. I have discovered that wild trout can be found throughout England. Many of my days have been spent in tiny rural streams, and there are more trout in these, because there are more of them, than in the rivers which are written up in the fishing press, which one imagines are because these are more easily accessed. Overlooked, are the streams which flow through busy places.
And I understand this. We fishers enjoy solitude, for all the benefits which counterbalance our busy lives. So who wants to fish in sight of a bus garage, anyway? [see Greater London!] But…and this closes the loop, so to speak, as to why the WTT focuses its education programmes in towns where it can, hopefully, influence more effectively, at least as far as numbers are concerned.
Whatever my first thoughts about the river flowing through Huddersfield were, after observing the obligatory traffic cone or two, I was thrilled to see the spreading rings of rising fish. And in the heat of an August afternoon, and in its brightness, I knew with Paul’s thoughtful guiding, it should be possible to net another county. And if my first fish, caught on his rod, rigged with two weighted nymphs, cast to run along a fast run only a couple of feet deep, produced snags and misses then a grayling, I registered the key point about the grayling need for good water!
So whilst traffic cones are artistically disgusting in trout streams, presumably they are not contaminants! A wade back to the town bridge, under which we had seen a golloping rise earlier, produced, after just two casts, a lovely trout of ten ounces or so, to a CdC olive.
Forget the ‘county’, or rather my ‘netting’ of another…this trout was a tribute to cleanliness, and to the efforts of all those who believe in restoration of our wonderful waters. And especially to Beth Allcock and her team at Greenstreams who have achieved so much in improving the Huddersfield rivers.
We walked upstream awhile, and cast into a tributary of the Colne, almost alliteratively named, the Holme
and, together, caught half a dozen or so wild trout, and right up to Bridge Street, and even if the felt sole of my left wading boot did fall off, (and all credit and thanks to Orvis for replacing them very quickly!)my memories of a lovely afternoon with Paul, live on. For me four trout from urban streams…all of them on dry fly. The rather pale worm on a hook at the end of a static line tied to a stick wedged between rocks sometime ago, opposite an old mill…just reminded me…I am not sure, of what. But this is an urban stream!