I have been recently contacted by a member of Buxton Fly Fishers who expressed concerns about the potential to damage the river environment of the Derbyshire Wye. He has given me permission to post the emails so that the community can better understand the concerns of fishermen. I am no spokesperson for the BCU but in the absence of an adequatly functioning governing body I chose to reply myself.
I think that if we maintain an open dialog and a willingness to listen to the other users' concerns we will do more for paddler/angler relations than any VAG negotiations. I'll probably post this in a more conspicuous area of the forum as well.
Dear Pete Knight
RE http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/foru ... 60#p528392
I've noticed your comment "It could benefit from some gardening in places, which could be mostly done from the bank."
I'm a member of Buxton Fly Fishers, we have fishing rights to the river from the site of the derelict Devonshire Arms down as far as Blackwell Mill Cottages (where the wooden footbridge crosses the river). We do not remove wood from the river or prune it's banks because the aquatic invertebrate population, and consequently the native trout population, thrives where rivers contain lots of woody debris. I know the same is true downstream where the river is managed by Cressbrook & Litton FF, and then beyond by the Haddon Estate.
The Derbyshire Wye is one of the finest trout rivers in England, with arguably the best invertebrate life of any river in the UK. I hope that you will respect what we are trying to achieve.
All the best
Hi Andrew, thank you for your email.
I am only one person, I cannot speak for all paddlers or the community in general but I’d be happy to allay any concerns you may have as best I can.
I am not a fisherman myself but do understand and share your concerns over the river environment, after all, the scenery and environment is one of the main reasons a lot of people go paddling. The Wye is a wonderful paddle, provided that it is done with an appropriate water level. It is one of few Derbyshire rivers with more than just flatwater interest.
I shall clarify my statement on UK Rivers Forum for you so as to clear up any potential misunderstanding.
By 'gardening', as paddlers, we refer to the removal of river debris that would be a significant risk to a paddler's safety. An example of this would be a fallen tree hanging across the watercourse on a fast flowing section creating a deadly 'strainer' feature. It does not mean simply clearing a watercourse to increase the ease of paddling (although that does happen in appropriate places) but removing debris enough to allow a safe route through for a boat. In most cases when faced with a blockage it is usually manoeuvred to the bank where it still serves its purpose as a fish habitat - something that has successfully been done on the river Goyt recently by angling groups.
Often when faced with a blockage the simplest option for most boaters is to portage around the obstacle and then get back on the river. In some cases this is not possible (i.e. some of the gorge like sections of the Wye upstream of Millersdale) and a hazard needs removing. Regular portaging can also create erosion on the banks, something to be avoided where possible.
I fully understand that debris in the water can provide a haven for invertebrates and fish and am not advocating the removal of all river features. Some obstructions do however prevent more of a risk to life than a benefit to fish or anglers as I’m sure you understand, such as debris on rapids etc... I've not been along the Wye for some months now and the specific hazards I was referring to on the forum may have already moved naturally. The river environment is very dynamic and will change constantly, regardless of human intervention. Paddlers (for the most part) are very proactive in looking after rivers, we would rather sort issues out ourselves than have the Riparian Owner clear the blockage (EA guidance on Riparian responsibilities – Link – page 4).
I applaud the work done along stretches of the Wye to keep banks clear and the river unobstructed by angling groups and have no wish to come into conflict with any other users. As a paddler I am simply looking to enjoy the environment whilst causing as little sign of my presence as possible.
If you’d like to discuss anything further please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Hi Pete, thank you very much for your considered reply. I would fine with you publishing my email.
I must own up that I am also the person responsible for initiating the work on the Goyt which caused you some concern last September! When I saw your post about that I tried to setup an account so that I could respond and allay your fears. I also emailed the Secretary of Manchester Canoe Club but had no response. Thankfully we (the Wild Trout Trust / the EA / Disley&New Mills AC) did get the explanation across and I'm pleased to say it was published following your post.
All the best, Andrew
Thank you Andrew,
I am not aware of anyone officially working to increase communication between anglers and paddlers in the Peak from the BCU. I feel it is up to individuals like us to forge better relationships and understanding. Coexistence on our rivers will be easier once everybody knows more about the other side's concerns. Since coming across the felling on the Goyt last year I've done a lot more research into river habitat creation and so have a greater understanding and feel I am better equipped to spot intentional or beneficial structures and those that are simply a hazard.
In the interests of keeping open communications, please feel free to contact me again if you ever have any other canoeing related concerns or queries, should I not be able to help I'll do my best to direct you to the individual who can. Also if, like the Goyt, you have any information relative to paddlers that needs disseminating through the paddling community I'd be happy to pass things on.
All the best,