Their pop­u­la­tion booms go in cy­cles... but never to­gether N

Angling Times (UK) - - NETBUSTERS -

OBODY can doubt that the Trent is now pri­mar­ily a barbel river, at least in the lower reaches be­low Not­ting­ham.

In the 45 years since I first match fished it, the Trent has gone through cy­cles of dif­fer­ent species dom­i­nat­ing the weights.

In the 1970s it was roach, from the late 1970s un­til the early 1990s chub were the tar­get be­fore it fell into the dol­drums of clear wa­ter, cor­morant pre­da­tion and dis­ap­pear­ing match an­glers.

Now, al­though the Trent is def­i­nitely back as a sil­ver fish match wa­ter, barbel are the jew­els in its crown.

This is no nat­u­ral phe­nom­e­non. The Trent is a nat­u­ral barbel river, un­like the more west­erly Sev­ern and Wye, but stocks are mas­sively en­hanced by the En­vi­ron­ment Agency’s Calver­ton Fish Farm.

When I vis­ited there some years ago for my old TV show Tight Lines, barbel were pro­duced there, in large num­bers.

The brood stock came from the Trent – at least a small trib­u­tary used by the fish to spawn – and more than 60 per cent of the hatched fry were placed in the river as com­pen­sa­tion.

So while barbel ex­pe­ri­enced very poor re­cruit­ment else­where, the Trent had en­tirely the op­po­site ex­pe­ri­ence. One thing that is no­tice­able, and some­thing I’ve no­ticed be­fore, is that where barbel are on the up, roach of­ten go the op­po­site way – and the up­per Trent, around Bur­ton, is a clas­sic ex­am­ple.

In the late 1970s lots of barbel were stocked af­ter some pretty se­vere pol­lu­tion. As their num­bers in­creased, the roach sport went rapidly down­hill.

Now the barbel are nowhere near as pro­lific, and there are sev­eral year classes of roach fea­tur­ing in matches.

“The Trent is mainly a barbel river, at least in its lower reaches”

Matt Ve­la­mail with a stun­ning Trent barbel of 15lb.

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