CHRISTMAS has come early this year for Lancashire anglers. Around 130,000 roach, dace and chub have been released into the rivers Alt, Lune, Douglas, Ribble, Darwen and Wyre as part of the EA’s fish stocking programme.

The stocking is being carried out to improve and maintain healthy fish populations in Lancashire’s rivers. The fish, bred at the Agency’s fish culture unit at Leyland, have been released at several different locations on the rivers and their tributaries.

In the case of the River Lune, a long-absent species has been reintroduced. The Agency, together with the Lune Habitat Group and the Lune and Wyre Fisheries Assocation, has released 10,000 dace into the river.

Although the Lune was once known for its shoals of dace, damage to their spawning beds caused them to die out. Now that the spawning areas have been cleared it is hoped that dace will start to breed in the Lune for the first time in many years.

The work on all the rivers will not only help boost the ecology in the river catchments, but stocking the rivers with more coarse fish will also make the region more attractive for anglers.

Steve Whittam, Fisheries Team Leader for the Environment Agency, said: ‘Projects like this one are funded by money raised from rod licence sales. Stocking rivers with coarse fish is one of many ways in which we’re reinvesting that income in improving Lancashire’s watercourses for anglers.’