Environment Agency officers have gained valuable insight into the health of Northumberland’s fisheries thanks to information gathered from hundreds of angling trips.

The fisheries team, based in Newcastle, set up a log book scheme for coarse anglers last year and asked participants to note down the location of their fishing trip, and the size and species of fish in their catch.

A total of 22 anglers returned their log books which showed that they made more than 300 coarse angling trips, and between them caught over 4,800 fish including dace, chub, carp and roach.

Northumberland fisheries specialist Phil Rippon said: “We have already found some interesting results. The log books have shown us that the best return rate for river fishers was the River Tyne with about 27 fish on average being caught per session.

“Anglers’ catches provide a wealth of information that can be missed using traditional methods, so this data will help us to assess fish populations much more accurately.”
The information is then used to identify priorities for fish conservation and help towards improving access and restocking programmes. It will also contribute to the Environment Agency’s continuing campaign to promote angling as a healthy and active pastime.

The log books showed that although the River Wear produced fewer fish on average, these were of a larger size.

Officers also found that larger numbers of juvenile roach than anticipated were recorded in the lower Tyne. This was reassuring for officers who thought the species was in serious decline, however this fear was confirmed for eels because anglers only recorded catching 19.

The log books also revealed that 39 per cent of participants travelled more than 20 miles to fish, and 81 per cent said that their trip was enjoyable or very enjoyable.

The full report will be sent to all anglers who returned their log books, and a copy will be posted on the websites of the Tyne Anglers Alliance and Durham City Angling Club.

Phil is now urging anglers who received a log book to send them into the Environment Agency’s Newcastle office so that he can build a better picture of the region’s fisheries.

Log books should be sent to Northumbria Fisheries Team, Environment Agency, Skinnerburn Road, Newcastle Business Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 7AR.

Anyone wanting a coarse fish log book for the 2007 season should contact Robbie Stevenson on 0191 2034266.