The day was organised by the North Wales Environment Agency’s Fisheries Technical Team in partnership with Welsh Water. The stated objective of the day, was to focus on “fishing in sustainable habitats as a theme and promoting fish species, sustainable fishing and fisheries in the future”. The day was open to all comers and included presentation from the EA and their partners, stands which members of the fisheries team promoted with enthusiasm together with stands by RSPB and the Country side Council for Wales. There were also presentations on pike and grayling fishing as well as river habitat work and how it impacts on our fisheries. Part of the lake was also netted off and stocked with trout to allow juniors to try their hands at fly fishing, albeit that a few more senior members of the angling fraternity felt obliged to try their hands!

The event was far less formal than last year’s “invitation only” gathering, which was both well attended and structured. Clearly a great deal of effort and genuine enthusiasm was put into this year’s day, for which thanks are due to the organisers, most of whom were also participants. It was especially pleasing to be able to look at the scales of sea trout I had caught the previous season, thanks to Nigel Milner, of the Celtic Sea Trout Initiative, who provided the microscopes as well as instruction as to how to “read” the scales. (Please remember to support this initiative throughout the coming season.) The stands were interesting and informative as well as educational, especially the enforcement team, who were exceedingly keen to show off some of their covert intelligence gathering gear. The optimism of all participants could not however detract from the underlying pessimism as a consequence of the current financial turmoil. Sad but there you go. I am lead to believe that the exceedingly poor attendance was as a consequence of lack of publicity; publicity being restricted because of the proximity of the event to the Welsh elections and the potential for such advertising to impact on the election. I have no idea of the logic involved but it does seem so obtuse as to be correct!

It is worth remembering that this event is part of the Local Fishery Advisory Group calendar, and as such is very much involved in the process of the great and the good of the angling community and the Environment Agency working together to increase angler awareness, education and participation. A laudable aim if ever there was.

Lets us hope that this event will become an annual event and that next year there is a combination of the structure of the previous event with the breadth of this year. It would be nice to have a more formal morning session, with a fixed programme of presentations followed by an afternoon free to wander amongst the stands and chat with the fisheries staff and management. My plea would be for wider advertising as well as formal invitations, with a request that those wishing to attend confirm their proposed attendance so that a reasonable assessment of numbers can be made. I am sure that angling related web sites as well as the many forums would be please to assist in the process and that may feel the angling community even more involved.

I hope this item does not sound over critical: that is not the intention; it is however related in the hope that the event will continue and become an annual get together to which the angling community will look forward with anticipation.

Thank you to all those that worked so hard to make the day a success and here’s to seeing you again next year.

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