Barbel boost for northern rivers

A campaign to boost stocks of big barbel in Northern rivers has been hailed a massive success this week.

Research on a number of popular fisheries has revealed impressive growth rates of the species following several five-year stocking programmes designed to improve specimen fishing on the rivers Ouse, Swale,  Derwent, Dearne and Aire.

Historically venues across the Midlands and down into the southern regions have dominated the big fish scene, but that trend could soon change thanks to a series of forward-thinking initiatives by local fishing clubs and the Environment Agency designed to boost numbers of big fish.

Officials at Leeds & District Amalgamated Society of Anglers (DASA) has undertaken annual stockings on the Yorkshire Ouse for the last six years with recent catch reports show that a large proportion of these are piling on weight.

And it’s a trend that’s being mirrored in other projects that are now baring fruit proving why more and more specimen anglers could soon be turning their attentions to rivers in the North.

Club committee member Eddie Harrison believes it is only a matter of time before the venue starts producing double-figure specimens and he told Angling Times: “The Midlands and southern rivers get all the attention, but that could all be about to as these fish push towards double figures in the coming years.”

“Barbel numbers were on the decline and we wanted to make a big effort to re-establish the species in this great river over the last five years and the recent growth has been extremely impressive with fish weighing over five times bigger than they were when we put them.”

Several other waters in the region have benefitted from similar schemes, with barbel in the Aire, Dearne, Swale and Yorkshire Derwent also boasting similar growth rates.

Well respected big barbel angler Adrian Eves believes the current trend will make river angling in the north a more attractive proposition for specimen anglers and he said: “There is a growing interest in barbel fishing throughout the UK and big fish in these waters could be a catalyst to get more people on the riverbank and into specimen fishing.”

“We want more people to have the chance to catch a personal best barbel close to home and this has the potential to make that a reality.”

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