West anglers can help solve mystery

CHRIS BISHOP Scientists are appealing to pike anglers to help them understand the mysterious migration of the enigmatic sea trout.Despite the sluices and other barriers placed in their way, as man has sought to channel and contain the Fenland rivers, migratory trout are still occasionally seen and once or twice a season even caught by anglers in the area.

CHRIS BISHOP

Scientists are appealing to pike anglers to help them understand the mysterious migration of the enigmatic sea trout.

Despite the sluices and other barriers placed in their way, as man has sought to channel and contain the Fenland rivers, migratory trout are still occasionally seen and once or twice a season even caught by anglers in the area.

Now the Environment Agency hopes those fishing the Great Ouse and its feeder rivers will notify its fisheries team if they come across one.

Pike or zander anglers, particularly those using lures or small fish baits, are thought most likely to catch sea trout, which begin their migration up our rivers to spawn in late September or early October.

Fisheries technical officer Andy Sadler said: "We know that trout do come up and you get the odd capture by people fishing for pike and other predators.

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"The Denver structure is quite complex and the rivers which provide good spawning such as the Wissey are part of the great Ouse catchment.

"We're trying to get an idea of where people are catching them and where they're going."

Mr Sadler said the various sluices such as those at Denver and the Relief Channel Tail Sluice offered few opportunities when flows equalised enough for trout to enter the freshwater system and begin their journey upstream.

"Are they trying to get up the Ely Ouse, or do they run up the tidal river all the way up to Earith and then carry on up the Ouse?

"We have heard of captures but it's all anecdotal, we want more evidence of what's going on."

Mr Sadler said if enough evidence could be gathered, fish passes could be installed to help fish to by-pass man-made barriers.

Anyone who catches a sea trout is asked to return the fish alive and submit the date and location of capture, the weight and length of the fish and remove scales - preferably from high on the fish's flank above the lateral line - to aid identification. A photograph will also help with identification.

Returns can be emailed to, or posted to Roger Handford at the EA at Bromholme Lane, Brampton, Huntingdon, Cambs PE28 4NE, telephone 01480 483990.