Sunday, 15 November 2009

The Dove, A Salmon River

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.



  1. Nice post Dave, does Glen ever say where he had one of those Salmon? Or is it hush hush!!

  2. Hi Darren,

    I don't think Mr Pointon makes a secret of it. Leave a comment on his blog and I'm sure he will tell you.

    Seeing those Salmon yesterday was incredible and almost surreal given how land locked we are here in North Staffordshire.

    North Staffordshire and Salmon are not words that you expect to see in the same sentence.


  3. i was lucky enough to see a number of salmon,at various sizes passing a weir one evening at the lower reaches of the dove,it was late october,river had been low for 7 weeks and rained the previous day,the river began to rise as the sunset,and to my amazement numerous salmon began swimming up the weir(not leaping)some looked fresher than others,some large(poss 8/9 lb)some extremely small and very dark(poss sea trout).All this happened 4 ft in front of me,i continued to watch for 2 hours into the night,a truly amazing sight,5 miles from burton.

  4. Hi,

    They tend to hold up at the eel pass at Tutbury, waiting for the river to rise. This was certainly the case this year and they arrived on our stretch a little later than they usually do.

    Were the very small dark ones that you speak about Brownies? There were certainly a few going up our weir. I was speaking to a chap from the Environment Agency the other day and they are unsure as to whether there is a Sea Trout run. I would like to think that there is as they would not have been stocked and are either following the Salmon up or they have always been there, no-one having noticed them as they weren't looking for the Salmon. Having said all that, I'm convinced that I have seen Sea Trout trying to get up the weir.


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  7. AnonymousMay 23, 2013

    does anyone know if some salmon are carrying on up the Trent through Burton, towards alrewas, lichfield direction. I own a bit of Trent by areas never fished it though?

  8. Salmon seen on the R.Churnet last week waiting for the rain to come. Jumped clear of the water in front of my pal who was trotting for Grayling. Great to see them coming back to spawn.