SATURDAYS see the good people at The Angling Trust, the single organisation to represent all game, coarse and sea anglers and angling in this country, take over our blog.
Angling Trust chief executive, Mark Lloyd brings you this week’s blog.
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SAMPLING EUROPEAN DELIGHTS WHILE WORKING AWAY FOR ANGLING
THIS week I and a couple of colleagues are out in Slovenia at a conference organised by the European Anglers Alliance.
It’s a gathering of angling representative bodies from Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Ireland and Finland, among others and it is always interesting to hear how similar many of the problems of other European countries are to those that we face in the UK.
Many of the laws and policies affecting fish and fishing come from the European Union, like it or not, and so we have to be involved at this level if we are going to protect the interests of anglers at home.
We discussed the potential ban on lead weights, cormorant management plans, hydropower, the common fisheries policy and management of European bass stocks.
We also agreed to hold a conference in the UK in October for other countries to share with us their ideas for getting more young people into fishing throughout Europe.
For a fly fisherman like me, it just wasn’t possible to come to Slovenia without sampling some of the unique trout fishing they have on offer in the limestone mountains.
Mark Owen and I took a few days holiday, hired a guide for a few days and dipped in and out of several rivers that were fishable despite the high flows that have been brought on by a rapid snow melt.
The fishing isn’t cheap, and I couldn’t afford to do this often, but it was a real treat to fish in such healthy rivers for fish that were clearly visible in crystal clear waters. Hotel accommodation, food and beers are also much cheaper than other parts of Europe, which does help.
We both caught marble trout on the dry fly, a few grayling (including one of about two and a half pounds for Mark), and lots of rainbow trout. I caught my personal best river rainbow which we estimated at around 6 or 7 lbs from a stream no more than 20 feet wide.
Slovenian rivers are generally in good health – they have a small population of around 2 million people and most of the land is lightly farmed or forested. But like other countries in Europe many of their rivers have been dammed for hydropower which has had a big impact on fish stocks and other aquatic life.
They also have serious problems from cormorant and goosander predation. If they also suffered from over-abstraction and pollution, as our rivers do, many of their stocks would be in serious trouble. Slovenian fishing is important to the tourist economy, and we heard from their representative body how they use this to get the government to protect rivers from damage.
For anyone out there who fancies some of the best river trout fishing in Europe, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
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