Catch returns for 2012

It’s very useful for the club to have a record of how many fish are being caught on the river, so if you haven’t submitted a paper return for the 2012 season already, could we ask all members to complete our online catch return form. We’re not asking how many fish you took from the river – just how many you caught. This survey will be open until 15 April 2013.

Thanks, everyone.

Fill in your catch return form here

Howard Croston: Fishing Home and Abroad

Howard Croston

Howard Croston

To whet everyone’s appetites for the coming season, the club has arranged for Howard Croston to come and give a slide show talk, Fishing Home and Abroad, followed by a Q&A session. Howard is product development manager at Hardy & Greys and a member of the England team who recently won the world championship. He has also represented England at every level.

Come along and meet Howard on Tuesday 9 April at 7.30pm at the Crown and Crossed Swords, Shotley Bridge. Admission free – no need to book.

Anyone recognise this picture?

Stocking the Derwent

Stocking the Derwent (Click on the picture to see a bigger version)

We were recently given a copy of this picture by someone who knew not a great deal about it, apart from what was printed on it: ‘Stocking the Derwent with fish’.  From the look of it, it might well have been taken in the 1930s, but does anyone know anyone anything about the picture at all or recognise any of the members pictured in it? Or even where on the river it might have been? Or can you make out the name on that milk churn? (We can just about make out the ‘Return to…’ bit but nothing of the word underneath it.)

If you do know, or have any theories, please drop us a line at


AGM 2013

If you’d like to find out more about how the club is run and exactly what your club membership fees get spent on, be sure to come along to the Derwent Angling Association AGM this year on Saturday 23 February at The Crown and Crossed Swords, Shotley Bridge. Proceedings kick off at 7pm, but as the room usually gets quite crowded, allow a bit of extra time if you want to make sure of a seat.

Whether we’re speaking to the Environment Agency or to our riparian owners along the river, it’s incredibly useful for the club to have an accurate record of how many fish are being caught on our water, so don’t forget to bring your catch returns along on the night. (It’s not a competition, so don’t worry if you’ve blanked all season – that’s just as useful for us to know as it would be if you were having a golden day every day.) As a special thank to members, all entries go into the pot to be entered into the draw to win a year’s free fishing!

And don’t forget to bring a generous pocketful of change so you can buy plenty of raffle tickets!


North of England Fly Fishing Show

Just a quick reminder to come along and say hello to us if you’re planning on attending the North of England Fly Fishing Show which will be taking place tomorrow 10 February at the Nissan Sports & Social Club, Sunderland. The show is the only one of its kind in the North East, with a massive selection of rods, reels, fly lines, fly-tying materials and equipment, flies, hooks, tippet materials, sports clothing, etc. The 2013 show will see more new attractions including many new 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 there will be additional presentational talks on a variety of subjects such as small still water fishing, competition fishing, salmon and trout fishing holidays, etc. Admission is £4 for adults, which includes a free raffle ticket worth £1 for a Hardy’s Ultralite Fly Reel. Juniors enter for free. For more information, see

See you soon

Derwent Angling Association

Derwent story concludes

From spa towns to streamer fishing, wooden bridges and stray wolves, Ian Colborne concludes his fascinating story of the Derwent – Until the River Ceases to Flow – at

Until the River Ceases to Flow: the next chapter

Don’t miss the second instalment of Ian Colborne’s fascinating history of the Derwent valley, and the river at its heart at

Seniors competition 2012

The 2012 seniors competition will take place on Sunday 9 September. Meet at Derwent Reservoir main lodge at 8am to commence fishing at 8.30am. All members welcome. This is always a fun day out so don’t worry if you feel like your reservoir bank fishing skills are a bit lacking! Quality prizes available.

Salmon on the Derwent: Dispelling a few myths

As I’m sure you are all aware, the river has recently seen the completion of a new fish pass at Derwenthaugh on the Axwell Park club’s water. This pass is on the very lowest beat of the Derwent and was put in place to comply with European and British legislation to allow free movement of all species up and down the length of the river. Unfortunately, at present it appears to be having a few teething problems, but it will soon come online, allowing all species to bypass the obstruction.

A number of articles have been written in the local papers applauding the return of salmon to the river and claiming that eventually all obstructions (weirs) will receive a similar pass. We can’t help feeling a little alarmed at the fanciful claims made that it will soon be a thriving salmon fishery though as we have been informed by the Environment Agency that no seeding with parr is to take place and that it will take many years for the fish to gradually inhabit the lower stretches of the Derwent to spawn, with little or no effect on our own association’s water.

The other major factor is, of course, the Derwent reservoir, which controls the flow of water entering the river. A study was carried out which looked at the potential effects of changing the flow to the river to allow releases from the reservoir during the spawning months of migratory fish to the detriment of water levels for the rest of the year. This was found to be unworkable and was considered to have an overall negative impact on the river. Presumably, people originally thought that releases on the Derwent might happen in the same way as they do from Kielder on the Tyne. Unfortunately, one glance at an Ordnance Survey map would show Kielder is just a tadge bigger than the Derwent so the idea was disregarded.

All things considered, and bearing in mind the nature of the river, the Derwent Angling Association does not envisage any major runs of migratory fish into club waters, if any. Despite the new Derwenthaugh fish pass, there still remain two major obstructions on the Axwell Park beat that can only be passed in high water. This probably wouldn’t be a problem if all summers were as wet as 2012 but on average the river tends to flood in the winter months, and even when it does flood, it usually drops quickly. And due to the reservoir the river does not naturally spate.

The Derwent Angling Association is most certainly not opposed to the free passage of all species throughout the entire length of the Derwent, we’re just a bit alarmed by the way the project has been so sensationalised in the press. It’s annoying to read incorrect articles from people who really should know better, but I suppose you need justification when spending over a quarter of a million pounds on a fish pass that does not at present work. (And if they really want free movement over the whole length of the river, someone’s going to have to build a pass to get the fish over the reservoir!)

So, in a nutshell, yes, a fish pass has been completed, but it will have little or no effect on the river fished by the association. In exceptional circumstances, we might see the occasional sea trout or salmon in our water, but one swallow does not make a summer and the odd fish does not mean syndicates will take over our water like they have the Tyne.

We will of course be monitoring the situation and will add further information as it becomes available. So, despite some wild rumours to the contrary, we will be remaining a trout and Grayling association, because if nothing’s broken, then why fix it?

Junior Competition rescheduled (again!)

The Junior Competition has been rescheduled for this coming Saturday 4 August at the weir at Shotley Bridge. The competition is free to enter for all junior members and everyone will receive a prize.

As before, there’s no need to register – just meet at the car park by the new bridge (this is the car park next to where the iron bridge used to be) between 8am and 8.30am, with the competition starting at 9 am.

All participants will receive prizes.

Parents are encouraged to attend.

Good luck to all who enter and let’s keep our fingers crossed the weather hold out this time!

Until the River Ceases to Flow

Don’t miss the first instalment of club Membership Secretary Ian Colborne’s very personal history of the Derwent valley and how the river has always been at the very heart of everything. In this cracking good read, Ian also tells the story of the capture of the biggest ever trout from the Derwent, which tipped the scales at an eye-watering 7¾lbs!

Until the River Ceases to Flow (Part 1)