THE Avon Roach Project were celebrating last week when young roach NOT from the project started to get caught.

Hampshire Avon roach numbers – in terms of bigger fish – have never been better.

That’s got a lot to do with the ARP  stocking many tens of thousands of fish into the river over the past 11 years.

But now they are celebrating that Hampshire Avon roach are spawning naturally again… after years of hardly any natural recruitment.

Co-founder Trevor Harrop told Angler’s Mail all about this great news for the future of Hampshire Avon roach fishing…

Trevor said: “We are riding the crest of a wave at the moment with the Avon roach fishing, arguably, the best it’s been for a generation in terms of numbers.

“We are delighted to see so many roach in so many places.

“The brilliant news is we are now catching roach regularly, and in good numbers, that are definitely NOT ours.

“They are too young to be what we put in, even last spring.

“So, the final piece of our overall plan is coming to fruition, which is proof that what we started is being continued naturally by the roach themselves in reproducing and sustaining their own numbers.

“Ordinarily, these little chaps would hardly get a second glance until it’s pointed out just how precious and significant they are.”

Hampshire Avon roach revival story

Trevor continued: “The project  (ARP) was triggered by the 2005 Environment Agency fish stock surveys, revealing that the roach in the river were very likely already below critical mass and, in some stretches, completely absent.

“We did a year of dry run, then had to sort all the tanks and stuff so it was 2007 when we actually got going properly.

“It is impossible to say how many roach we have stocked overall and even exactly how many we stock each year.

“Everything is on track for this year. I spoke with the EA who help and we are delivering the fish for their health check at the beginning of February.

“Once again, we will be delivering thousands and thousands of roach into three, maybe four locations along the river.

“We usually do three drops but this year one of the stews is so full, we think it would be better to drop them over four locations,” concluded Trevor, who has worked tirelessly with ARP partner ‘Budgie’ Price, and others, to improve Hampshire Avon roach stocks.

Top wildlife artist David Miller, noted for his images on EA rod licences, is a big fan of the ARP’s ongoing efforts.

David said: “It is great to see such good conservation work in action.

“Anglers identifying a problem and working hard to solve it is magnificent.

“Well done to all involved.”

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