Just a quick reminder that it’s the Derwent Angling Association AGM this coming Saturday 12 February, upstairs at the Crown and Crossed Swords, Shotley Bridge. Proceedings start at 7pm and all members are welcome to attend.

See you there.

Northumbrian Water pays bill for Derwent pollution

This is the press release that has just been put out by Fish Legal, who acted as our solicitors in our recent case against Northumbrian Water following the pollution incident in 2009 which did so much damage to the river. We’d particularly like to thank Will Rundle for all his hard work and determination in what turned out to be such a long drawn out case and look forward to seeing him on the Derwent when he can spare a day!

Fish Legal secures £20,000 compensation for anglers following River Derwent pollution

The Angling Trust’s legal arm Fish Legal has kicked off the New Year with a £19,632 settlement for one of its member clubs – the Derwent Angling Association – whose fishing in the upper reaches of the River Derwent in Northumberland and County Durham was wiped out in February 2009 when sodium hydroxide escaped from a bank-side water treatment works operated by Northumbrian Water Ltd.

Sodium hydroxide (commonly known as caustic soda) is used as a chemical base in many industrial processes, but is also used domestically to strip paint and clear drains. Exposure to it can quite literally ‘burn’ fish tissue.

The pollution occurred when a delivery of the chemical was pumped into a damaged plastic storage tank at the Mosside Water Treatment Works from which an estimated 3,200 litres escaped whilst the tank was being filled. The bunding around the tank which is a first line of defence in the event of a spill, had a loose cover on its man-hatch that not been replaced properly following maintenance work in January 2009. Incredibly, the chemical was stored next to a surface water drain, down which it promptly flowed straight into a tributary of the Derwent, raising the pH of the river to lethal levels and killing thousands of fish.

Fish Legal claimed for a loss of amenity when the club’s resident wild brown trout and grayling populations were decimated over a 13 km stretch between Ebchester and Blackhall Mill, near Consett, to the northwest of Durham. In addition to the financial settlement, a further programme to restock the river with grayling and trout has also been successfully negotiated.

William Rundle, Fish Legal Solicitor, said:
“Negotiating this settlement was difficult at times because Northumbrian Water was reluctant to agree a reasonable amount for the ecological devastation they brought to the Derwent. This was particularly hard to stomach given the extreme carelessness that was the root cause, but we were determined not to let them off the hook.

“We are relatively pleased that following protracted discussions the utility took full responsibility and agreed to a sum that better represents the cost of restoring the river. Whilst never truly compensating for the damage to the environment, it will help Derwent Angling Association enhance the river for future years, and go some way to making good the distress caused.

“The overall bill footed by Northumbrian Water for polluting the Derwent – which includes legal fees and EA fines – is likely to be in excess of £38,500. £28,132 of this bill was recovered by Fish Legal – well over twice that which the EA secured in fines and costs during their prosecution. This demonstrates the invaluable role of our work in punishing and deterring polluters.”

Alan Farbridge, Secretary of the Derwent AA explained how the club intend to use the settlement money:
“We’re going to ring-fence the compensation Fish Legal has won for us to do habitat work when the weather warms up. We’re hoping to train up one of our members to use a chainsaw to cut-back some of the overhanging trees which shade the river in the damaged stretch. We also plan to do some fencing to protect the banks. The area that was polluted used to offer some beautiful fly fishing and although we don’t expect the river to fully recover for about four or five years we’re going to do all we can to make sure it’s in the best possible condition when it does.”

He added:
“Fish Legal was absolutely fantastic throughout. They kept us motivated even though at some points the struggle seemed pretty hopeless. We wouldn’t have this money without them”.

Nissan North of England Fly Fishing Show

To all members wishing to attend the Nissan North of England Fly Fishing Show, here is all the information for the 2011:

Sunday 6 February 2011
Time: 10am-3pm
Admission: Adults: £4 / Juniors (under 16): Free
Parking free

Nissan Sports & Social Club
Washington Road
(Inside the Nissan car plant itself)

The North of England Fly Fishing Show is the only show of its kind in north east England. Trout and salmon anglers from the North East and further afield have the opportunity to view, try and buy, in one location, a massive selection of rods, reels, fly lines, fly tying materials and equipment, flies, hooks, tippet materials, sports clothing, etc, in anticipation of the coming season.

The 2011 show will see more new attractions following on from last year’s successful show including many new fly tying demonstrations projected onto display screens, allowing you to see all those skills in more detail, with plenty of question and answer sessions with all the flytiers. Included in the attractions will be additional presentational talks on a variety of subjects such as small stillwater fishing, competition fishing, and salmon fishing in Canada.

Dry fly on the Derwent

Thanks to Jon Barnes for this clip of some cracking wild trout fishing on the Derwent. Only three months and three weeks to go now…

Charity day on the river for Grace House

As part of the Grace House auction organised by Ian Woods on, the club donated a guided day of wild trout fishing on the Derwent, which was won by Peter Anderson with a generous bid of £51.

Membership secretary Ian Colborne met Peter at Allensford a couple of weeks ago and took him upriver for some truly wild fishing. The rain had lashed down the previous night and all through the morning, but the river was still fishable, albeit a bit on the lively side in places! You can read Peter’s account of the day at For our part, it was a real pleasure to be able to offer a day’s fishing and for such a good cause.

We also look forward to meeting David Wiltshire, who won our other Grace House auction for a day’s fishing during the mayfly season. Unfortunately, due to schedule clashes this time round, the day had to be postponed but we look forward to seeing Dave on the river next summer.

The Grace House North East Children’s Hospice Appeal is raising funds to build, equip and run a children’s hospice for children across the North East of England. For more information, see


All members should report any incidents of poaching they see on the river, either through the contact form on the website or by calling club officials on the telephone numbers on the back of your club ticket.

Please be as specific as you can regarding location and time, so we can be sure we’re targeting the right areas for additional patrols. You should also contact the police if you are threatened in any way.

Anyone wishing to become a water watcher please let us know your details through the website.

Thank you

What to do if you discover a pollution incident

The association would ask all members who discover incidents of pollution in the River Derwent to take the following three steps:

1.Inform the Environment Agency as soon as possible, with as much information as you can give them with regard to the type of pollution and the location. The EA pollution hotline number is 0800 807060 (Freephone, 24 hour service) and is printed on the back of your rod licence.
2. Inform club officials on the number on the back of your club licence.
3. Make notes of your observations. If possible, take photos or a video of the incident and collect samples of any dead fish. A club official will collect these from you as soon as possible.

This information will enable the authorities to act quickly to keep the effects of any incident to a minimum and help locate the source of the pollution.

Many thanks and tight lines


Rainbows in the River Derwent

The association would ask all members catching any rainbow trout from the River Derwent to remove them and if possible to take a picture and a record of length and weight and email it to us through the contact form on the website. We do not stock these fish and their introduction from the Derwent reservoir to the wild trout sanctuary is of concern to the club. We have been asked by Northumbrian Water and the Environment Agency to keep records of these fish to determine the best course of action. Thank you for your help with this matter.

Alan Farbridge, club secretary

New exchange tickets: Richmond & District Angling Society

We are delighted to announce that we have come to an exchange ticket arrangement with Richmond & District Angling Society, who have some good coarse and game angling on the upper River Swale. For tickets, please get in touch through the contact form at the top of the page. And if you meet any Richmond anglers on the Derwent, please do make them welcome.

You can find more information about the available fishing on the RDAS website at

Suggestion box

As club secretary I try to run the association for the continuing benefit of all of its members. We are always open to new ideas and different points of view ,so here is your opportunity to tell us your thoughts and feelings on the association. What we’re asking for is feedback from the membership:

What do we do well?
What could we do better?
Is there anything we don’t do that we should do?
Why do you like fishing the area you do?
What is your view on the stocking of fish etc?
Or anything else that’s on your mind…

To let us know how we’re doing, send us a message through the contact form at the top of the page.

Thanks for your continuing support.

Alan Farbridge