ROGUE rainbow trout are ruining coarse catches on one of Britain’s most famous rivers after thousands escaped local fish farms.

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Anglers on the Hampshire Avon are being plagued by the nuisance non-native species.

Angler’s Mail magazine columnist Andy Browne had over 40 of the game fish including 20 in consecutive casts at Horseport near Fordingbridge controlled by Christchurch AC.

The Avon Angling boss revealed: “I spoke to loads of other anglers and it was happening to everyone over the whole mile of river.

“And anglers weren’t happy as they don’t want to catch suicidal rainbow trout. They’re fishing a natural river for natural fish and don’t want it.

“But this seems to happen every year. Either the trout farms let them go on purpose as a cheap way of disposing of fish or their facilities are so seriously inadequate that they cannot contain them.

“Either way, it is about time the Environment Agency hit them hard in their pocket,” added Andy, who thinks anglers should remove any rainbows they catch.

Environment Agency investgate trout outbreak

The EA confirmed they are currently investigating the problem and are after anglers to help them ascertain numbers and locations.

An EA spokesperson said: “We would like any anglers fishing the Hampshire Avon to report any captures of rainbow trout by email to: SW_SWESSEXFRB@environment-agency.gov.uk with details of the number caught, date, location, size of fish, pictures (if possible) and the amount of hours fished.

“If you suspect any illegal fishing activity or fish introductions then please report them to our incident hotline number on 0800 807060.

“If an angler has a valid rod licence and permission from the fishery owner, rainbow trout can be retained from the Avon as there are no other catch restrictions for this species.

“Online fish farms must adhere to screening conditions set by the EA to prevent any fish escaping or entering the fish farm. Failing to place or maintain a screen is an offence,” they concluded.

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