Rain to blame for drop in Preston river’s fishing stock

Wash out: A flooded River Ribble in June this year. Fish numbers are said to be down
Wash out: A flooded River Ribble in June this year. Fish numbers are said to be down
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It ruined everyone’s summer and left several high profile events a complete washout.

Now Lancashire’s sodden climate is being blamed for another problem – an apparent drop in fish in the River Ribble at Preston.

Fishermen reckon stocks of salmon and trout are down on previous years, because incessant rain has swelled the water level and sent the fish scurrying straight up-river.

A member of one top county club said members fishing from Hodder Foot downwards have had a slower year with trout and salmon than normal.

And another lifelong fisherman says the “tremendous amount” of rainwater has “unsettled” fish in the river.

Fred Higham, 72, chairman of the Ribblesdale Angling Association and a member of Clitheroe Angling Association, said: “All the west coast rivers in England, Scotland and Wales the numbers are down.

“It is difficult to say yet because the catch returns are not in. We have had a tremendous amount of rain and it has unsettled the fish. The fish have come and spread out.

“They are reluctant to take or even show in the river.

I’m not saying there’s less fish than usual or more, we just don’t know. It is one of the worst seasons I can remember for predicting.”

John Kirby, 64, has been fishing on the Ribble for more than 40 years.

He is vice-chairman of the Prince Albert Angling Society, one of the region’s biggest.

He said: “This is just my personal opinion...we don’t know whether the fish have gone up river on this high water.

“It is alright saying there’s no fish in the river, we have had such high water they could have raced up to the higher end. I never judge anything on one year and these things run in cycles.”

He said while official figures had not yet been collated, there seems to be anecdotal evidence that there has been less salmon and sea trout this year.

“Sea trout are a migratory fish and when they have got the fresh water they have gone upstream,” he said.

“Yet the coarse fishing side of it has done extremely well.”