Chalkstreams,, Freelance copywriting, River restoration, Trout, Urban rivers, Urbantrout, Wandle, Writing

Spawning time… and new beginnings!

Trout 5 - Lysanne Horrox

As I’ve recently noted over on my Urbantrout blog, this is the time of year which can show even the best angler exactly what he’s been failing to catch all season… and early winter on the Wandle is no exception to this universal law.

It’s a curious fact that since we saw that first pair of trout cutting redds on New Year’s Eve in 2007, the peak of activity actually seems to have crept a little earlier as each spawning season rolls round. By mid November this year, one of the Wandle Trust’s catchment officers had already spotted the telltale signs of trout getting down to some concentrated gravel cleaning. 

When I walked downriver the following afternoon, the trout were still there: two big fish cruising the daylight shallows like nuclear submarines, with their grey backs half out of water and clear wakes veeing off their dorsal and adipose fins…

The latest instalment of my Urbantrout Diaries column has now gone live on, complete with stunning freeze-frame photos by one of our local project partners.

(And since I wrote this piece, even more redds have appeared in other areas of the upper river, including the Riverfly monitoring site where we found the first recorded wild-spawned Wandle trout fry of the modern era… which all gives rise to well-founded hopes that this could be the most productive spawning season yet).

In the meantime, while the trout have been getting down to business, Duncan and I spent the last few days quietly working away on building a website for the new South East Rivers Trust.

I’ve done most of the front-end copywriting and UX design, while Duncan added photographic genius and handled all the hosting and other really important and complicated infrastructure behind the shiny (yet deceptively informative) exterior.  It’s all intentionally designed to mirror the look and feel of the existing Wandle Trust site, with full facilities for taking on its own personality to reflect the wide new range of rivers we’ll be trying to help improve in the next few years.

On and off the water, 2013 may be drawing to a close… but we’re already looking far into 2014 and beyond.

SERT logo

(Photo 1: Lysanne Horrox)