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A good year for weed

It’s been a very good year for weed on the river so far. The hot weather and constant sunshine conspired to create ideal growing conditions for any plant with ready access to water, all of which meant that a massive amount of streamer weed had to be removed to keep the river fishable. A record number of club members volunteered to take part in the four day event which meant that most of the fishery is now clear and will be fishable once the water has settled down and the fish have recovered.

Talking of trout, members reported seeing large numbers of big trout cruising around the weed cutting boat and still rising, even though the activity had made the water cloudier than normal.


The Yarrow beat was badly affected by excess weed growth, but has now been cleared. This view was typical of all but the very deepest parts of the river.


The Yarrow beat upstream of Yarrow Bridge after cutting. The weed was cut using a specialist boat-mounted underwater weed cutter and allowed to float downstream to County School bridge where it was removed from the river.


Previous bank cut

A few days prior to the river weed cut the major bank cut of the season took place. This is usually necessary to enable members to walk along one of the banks and fish the river without having to fight their way through shoulder high (often hostile) vegetation. Because of the environmentally sensitive nature of the area all vegetation cutting has to be done carefully and with due consideration for the wildlife, particularly our high bank vole population who so far appear quite content with life on the river.

The river weed cutting was preceded by a major bank cut to maintain access to the water. There was a good supply of volunteers.




Our redoubtable river manage, Mark Williams has been in charge of the annual weed cut and the bank clearing that preceded it. This is Mark showing off one of the new benches on the Yarrow Farm beat.


Richard Nelson, club secretary, has also been very busy on the banks, as you can see!


Not all good news, though


It’s not all good news, though. No matter how industrious or ingenious our club members might be, we as all private individuals are helpless when confronted with the slow grinding pace of officialdom. It’s over a year now since we reported the major breach in the river bank above Bintry Mill and still nothing has been done. The club and the landowner offered to step in immediately to make emergency repairs, but were told in no uncertain terms by the Environment Agency that any attempt to tackle the problem without their permission would be regarded as a criminal act and punished accordingly. The resulting silt damage to downstream spawning redds has been massive, with whole gravel runs now covered with up to 40cm of sand and silt. We will be attempting to alleviate some of the damage by gravel jetting in the autumn, but once in the river, silt can mostly only be pushed further downstream.

When we suggested to the Environment Agency that the club would like to remove some of the silt from the river (at our own expense) we were told that we would require a ‘silt survey’ and if it turned out that the silt contained any nasty chemicals we would need pay for specialist removal to a ‘safe’ location.

In summary it seems everything is fine, as long as nobody does anything!


The Mill Strait had the head of the fishery was previously a delightful gravelly stretch of fast flowing water, full of young trout. Now there is no flow, a coating of foul brown weed and silt on the bottom and vegetation covering most of the surface. If we ever manage to clean this up it will cause massive silting downstream.
The mill race no longer exists. The mill pool is virtually stagnant and filling up with weed.