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Old 11th June 2010, 09:03
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Default river torridge: update friday 11th June

I think my last blog went missing. The recent rains have not helped the river which is still down to its bones. Plenty of salmon waiting in the estuary and the school peal have started to show in the lower beats. At long last the trout fishing is improving with plenty of good fish coming to a dry fly. I' ve received an interesting letter from a very experienced Torridge sea trout angler who does not agree with the Association recommendation that the large sea trout should be released. His main arguments are that there is no shortage anyway and perhaps they do more harm than good as predators of fry and parr. I would be interested what other sea trout anglers views are. Keep fishing. Watch England stuff the USA and then pop down to your favoiurite pool and catch a sea trout. Charles.
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Old 11th June 2010, 16:55
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Angry

In reply to the proposal or recomendation to return any larger sea trout may I ask the following questions.
1) On what scientific basis has the Association concluded that by returning larger sea trout (if lucky or good enough to catch one) would have any impact on sea trout stocks, remembering that in comparison to, that the nets are back on from the 1st June.
2) Is the Torridge to become a total catch and release river rather than a sporting river?
3) Why are all the larger sea trout now trapped after the season has finished (or are the larger fish now running later in the year)?

Interested to know any answers especially as this subject has now been raised on this site.
Regards
Amorphous
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Old 11th June 2010, 19:27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amorphous View Post
Is the Torridge to become a total catch and release river rather than a sporting river?
I'm not sure what you mean by this but having the skill to hook a sea trout with rod and line is the sporting bit - killing one is not.

Colin
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Old 11th June 2010, 23:48
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I think what Charles is asking for from Torridge sea trout anglers is in their opinion, are recent stocks at a level acceptable for a river such as the Torridge?

Secondly, what are people's views on the theory that large sea trout could possibly take a great toll on salmon and sea trout fry.

For what its worth, I think the Torridge is very lucky to have such a good run of sea trout, both peal and larger fish.

On the subject of large sea trout taking fry, I have personally witnessed, many times, large fish attacking shoals of fry in the shallows after dark.

On the very emotive subject of catch and release, I think with strict bag limits in place this should be left to the individual, as educated and responsible sportsmen, I am quite sure no one would abuse this privilege.
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Old 12th June 2010, 09:07
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Firstly, thanks for focusing the debate fish 21, as I think this is an important issue!

The topic of sea trout feeding has been well discussed on other forums, whereby the general consensus is that the feeding instinct is not an on/off switch and fish will continue to feed, perhaps on fry, in the river. With increasing time in freshwater this instinct surely fades; hence becoming more difficult to catch?? So this applies to sea trout of all sizes.
I personally have never come across large sea trout targeting fry/par, it may occur in isolation, but if it were detrimental to fry/par stocks, then would it not occur more regularly, and be seen by more anglers? Fish 21 are you sure it was sea trout and not large brown trout?

I think the Torridge currently has a good run of sea trout, but surely it has the potential to produce a larger population, shown by the numbers of fish that used to run the river. (before my time!). Therefore conservation is very important, especially as their appears to be a national decline in stocks, hence the formation of various sea trout monitoring projects like the Celtic Sea Trout project.

The following is a quote from a Salmon and Trout Association leaflet, titled Sea Trout, Protection and Preservation. This can be found on their website at News - The Salmon & Trout Association (see the 7th in the list).

"Larger female sea trout are often multiple repeat spawners with a potential to deposit many eggs over their lifetime, so maximising their contribution to local stocks. They have proven their fitness to survive in both the river and the sea and so contain important genes to pass on to their progeny. Protection of larger fish is therefore vital"

In my opinion this explains the importance of returning larger fish, which I think applies to both male and female sea trout. Especially as male sea trout seem to be very rare?

The leaflet also goes on to say that anglers can help preserve stocks by returning all sea trout over 5lbs, and this is in line with the recommendations of the Torridge Fishery Association.

To answer your points Amorphous, I think the above answers point 1 as the Salmon and Trout Association will have consulted scientists and relevant professionals in the production of this advice. Point 2, if I understand it correctly appears to show you don't have the good of the river in mind! Point 3, if you are referring to the trapping for broodstock for the hatchery, the sea trout are a by catch and released back into the river.

Also I would like to say that large fish are very difficult to cook properly, and therefore a 1 to 3lb fish is far better for the table.

Duncan Betts

Last edited by torridge peal; 12th June 2010 at 09:23.
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Old 12th June 2010, 10:29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Editor View Post
I'm not sure what you mean by this but having the skill to hook a sea trout with rod and line is the sporting bit - killing one is not.

Colin
I would agree that the sporting bit is hooking and landing the fish, however I think the point being made is there any reason for asking people to return fish over a certain size.

I am not sure of your fishing experiance on the river Torridge Colin, but I have been fishing the river now for 14 years and at night and I don't mean for an hour after dark then rushing back to prop the bar up, but actually staying out all night.

During the course of these lengthy nights I can assure you that you get to see an awfull lot and learn a little too, and there is no need for there to be any intruduction of people returning fish over a certain size as the see trout stocks in the river are very healthy, as confirmed by the fish trap for salmon last year, in the two hours it was in the river 10 double figure sea trout were caught.

Also with regards to larger fish depleating fry and egg stocks, I would direct readers to the April edition of the Trout and Salmon where there is a photo of one Mr Mark Surman a PIKE! fisherman who caught a 7lb Sea Trout on a dead bait, mmm food for thought no need for any scientific theory on that one.

Last edited by mailey; 12th June 2010 at 21:59.
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Old 12th June 2010, 14:29
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Thank you for your reply Mr.Betts I must congratulate you on your foresight and understanding of my personal situation to deduce from three simple questions my level of intent for the well being of the Torridge.
As someone who has fished the Torridge for over 22 years through the good years and the bad, been involved in fund raising for the Association, spent thousands of pounds at the Half Moon and surrounding businesses I would like to think that I qualify for more than a flippant remark as per your answer to question 2.
I will therefore ask the simple question again is the future of the Torridge to become a total catch and release river?
In response to your answer to question 3, I’m fully aware that all fish are returned after trapping for the brood stock at the hatchery and as for sea trout being a by product as you call them if memory serves me correctly only a year or so ago sea trout fry were brought on as well as salmon. My observation has been, and this was the question being asked in my original post is the fact that larger sea trout are being trapped for the hatchery later in the year and out of season is this proof that the larger strain are running out of season anyway. A pattern must have been established now after a few years of the hatchery being in operation, and all I require is some straight and honest answers.
Whilst openly admitting that my cooking skills amount to being able to open a can of beans at best, again the choice of taste or size of fish best for cooking should be left to the individual and again not be dictated to by others and certainly not be used as an arguement for returning larger fish, its called freedom of choice.
We the anglers are best placed and positioned to be responsible enough for conservation as previously mentioned in another post.
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Old 12th June 2010, 14:49
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Default To open a can of worms... Not allowed on Torridge!

While on the debate of catch and release and what is "sporting"...
I think it is somewhat a personal choice as to whether you agree in "catch and release", by that I mean the catch part..
I personally like to fish for the pot, whereas fish may not feel pain and might not have the ability to have the concept of fear, they do exhibit some sort of "fight or flight" instinct, and in my mind to catch a fish purely for the "sport" rather than the pot is questionable, there is allways the risk of infection or mortality post release.
I personally am not comfortable fishing for salmon or sea trout while there is a mandatory catch and release, I feel it is not justified on a scientific basis but is implemented for political reasons.
In a responsible society bag limits should be sufficient and your own personal judgement, the nanny state just doesn't trust us these days!

While on the subject of sporting, can someone tell my why there is a byelaw of fly only on the Taw and Torridge..
It appears purely, as on the chalk streams some form of subjective snobbery and to discriminate against the visiting angler (to limit their chances of catching a fish, keeping more for the locals, given that the visiting angler has to take the conditions given to him).
If one fishes for the pot why should other methods not be open to you? Given that there are now national laws regarding salmon catch and release, bag limits on the Taw and Torridge and that fishery owners could still choose what methods they will permit given the then prevailing conditions? If you fish for the pot and have travelled a long way, why should you not have the chance and ability to use other methods where the conditions dictate or if one fancies to use a more skillful method.
It is appears not for conservation or about skill, but based on an historic idea that the ONLY gentlemanly way to catch a salmon or sea trout was and is by fly. One gets this impression in Lemon Grey's.
Even the rules are not enforced for this metod.. I would imagine nearly every angler has used an ally's shrimp or pot bellied pig or cascade yet they are an attempt to use a (banned) "shrimp or prawn" imitation..
Should these byelaws not be consigned to the bin of history? Who decided that they were necessary on on what basis where and are they still being implemented?
I wonder what others think?!
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Old 12th June 2010, 18:13
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Duncan,


let me explain how I have formed my opinion that large sea trout do indeed prey on fry, and more frequenntly than most anglers realize, we have all seen how predatory fish stun shoals of smaller fish by lunging into them. How many times do we see large sea trout take to the air and slap down, in water a few inches deep? These fish will often take a fly at the first offering, thus proving that it is large sea trout (not brown trout). That is not to say that all fish that behave like this are attacking shoals of fry, if we pack up and go home we are none the wiser to what has actually happened, but quite often on a closer inspection at first light will reveal dead fry. If my memory serves me correctly, Charles has experienced this first hand. Let me clarify the point I am trying to make regarding larger sea trout, I am not saying we should remove all larger sea trout, what I am in fact saying, is that the retention of a minimal amount of large fish cannot possibly be detremental to the future stocks, if this was the case with the amount of netting that has taken place in the past, there surely wouldn't be a fish in the river. On the cullinerey front, large sea trout are indeed difficult to cook, but a well prepared fish cooked in a fish kettle, dressed for the table, is in fact a very desirable dish.
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Old 12th June 2010, 21:28
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Default How the worm turns!

A few years ago when catch and release was being proposed for Salmon, if my memory serves me correct, the Torridge Association called a public enquiry and hired solicitors and barristers to look into fighting the introduction of this rule.

Now a few years later some bright spark has thought it would be a good idea to make a recommendation that all sea trout above 5lbs should be returned, even though there are no legitimate reasons for this as the run of sea trout is very healthy.

So I would like to take you back to the Salmon catch and release debate, and one of the arguments at the time was that each river should be judged on an individual basis.

Now I am not advocating the blood lust that took place years ago, but in a world where common sense is rapidly evaporating, I do think that we are all far more conservationally aware and far more responsible, and therefore what fish the angler chooses to take for his table irrespective of size should be down to him or her.
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