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With the most serene of fanfare (think butterfly wings) we welcome the Adhurst Wild Fly-Fishing Syndicate.  AWFS has been organised to help maintain and promote the healthy habitat of our 3/4 mile stretch of The Rother with a carefully managed sustainable amount of fishing for fun.  We’re very excited about this new initiative!  In the old days Adhurst had punts gliding down the river and a boat house too.  The river water level was much higher in Victorian times and has since had its tributaries redirected.  The attitude then was about fishing for food and pleasure punting and pheasant shoots.

Times have changed and so have our attitudes to this stretch of river under our stewardship.  We now offer fly-fishing lessons for yurt guests.  Although the river is home to a healthy number of wild trout the population must be protected.  Instead of fishing to fry up we now only fish as catch-and-release and only using “fly” and not bait.  Some might say “What’s the point then?”  There’s a lot of point to this.  The pleasure is in the day out in this idyllic habitat, not in killing something.  It’s about conservation and it’s about learning how the river habitat works and all the creatures who inhabit it.  It’s about spotting the invertebrates and knowing the invasive plants versus the desirable ones.  We monitor the water regularly to test for the right balance of insect life and plant life.  The message to anyone using the river further upstream is that Adhurst syndicate members will be aware of anything untoward and will be keeping an eye out at all times.

We don’t stock the river with trout because stocking a river with fish reared elsewhere means those introduced fish eat the natives’  food supply.  The native sustainable population dwindles.

But there is a right way to meddle … in a very considered fashion.  Syndicate members who maintain the beats along the Rother constantly check that the habitat is healthy.  Where milling structures block and delay upstream migration, alternative routes are provided.  Fallen trees that are not creating beneficial habitat are removed.  Certain trees have been coppiced to allow more light into the river.  The gravels of spawning sites are raked where needed.  Sometimes the relocation of water crowfoot (a plant) had been undertaken.  Also, we don’t use bait to fish, even if we’re only fishing catch-and-release; this is because bait fishing (with worms) has the major disadvantage of trout swallowing the worm and then becoming deeply hooked, leading to high rates of mortality post-capture, even where catch-and-release fishing is intended.

The vigilance has paid off.  Adhurst have a healthy population of wild brown trout through all of their life stages.  Some other fish recorded at Adhurst are eel, Bullhead and Brook Lamprey.  The bullhead and brook lampreys are protected under the European Habitats directive.  We’re hoping to spot some native White Clawed Crayfish soon.  We strongly suspect they’re here and are now very rare.

If you would like to know more about fly-fishing or would like to book a lesson during your yurt stay please click on the Fly-Fishing tab.  We will be up-loading this information shortly.  There will also be information about the four remaining places we have for new members of the Wild Fly-Fishing Syndicate.