We've had a fair bit of rain over the weekend and Glen Pointon and I were doubtful that we would be able to fish either the Wye or the Dove because of the conditions. Glen picked me up from Leek and we headed off to a spot on the Dove where Glen has seen the Salmon leaping at this time of year. I couldn't believe my eyes. The Salmon were taking advantage of all the rain that we've had, and the high water levels, to push further up the river.
When we arrived there were another couple of chaps there trying to spot a fish or two. One of them kindly let me have these photos. After only a couple of minutes we started to see fish trying to get up the weir. Some of them were absolute monsters of well over 10lb each.
I was surprised to see very large Brown Trout leaping up the weir too, so as to get further upstream to spawn.
Many years ago, the River Dove and The River Churnet, one of it's tributaries, were Salmon Rivers until the Industrial Revolution began. Leek was a textile town famous for it's dying works, and much of this dye found it's way into the Churnet, some historians say that it was the most polluted river in Europe. Up until quite recent times, the Churnet downstream from Leek, could be any colour of the rainbow at any given time. Thankfully, all this has changed.
A few years ago, many thousands of Salmon Parr were introduced into the Dove and the Churnet and now, these huge fish travel from the North Sea via the Humber at Hull, onto the Trent and eventually our River Dove and their epic 150 mile journey to spawn is complete. Apparently, some of the fish that we saw jumping were Sea Trout. I'm not too up on the subject but Sea Trout won't have been stocked as Parr so they must have returned to the river of their own accord and took it upon themselves to make that 150 mile journey upstream.
If anyone reading this has seen Salmon or Sea Trout in the River Churnet, please leave me a comment as I'd be interested to know just how far upstream and near to Leek that they are reaching.
The chap who kindly gave me these photos said that he never thought he would see it in his lifetime, and seeing these amazing fish here in our rivers goes to show how much work has been done to remove pollution and how much more care is taken to keep our environment clean. I consider myself to be incredibly lucky to be able to fish these water life rich rivers in North Staffordshire....oh ok then...and a little bit of Derbyshire.
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