Four Short!

Ten days ago I was contacted by Richard Cove (Environment Agency fisheries scientist) and asked if he could come down and catch 50 grayling!! My first thoughts were, here’s another grayling fisherman’s desperate attempt to get a free days fishing on the Frome.

But no, it really was for a scientific study!! He is currently helping the University of Wales to collect tissue samples from grayling from our major UK catchments. He has most of the UK covered but was struggling with one of the top English rivers, the Dorset Frome. A mutual friend suggested that he contact me to see if he could gain permission from the Dorchester Fishing Club to take some samples. This involves catching 50 grayling with rod & line and then taking a small clip from the adipose fin (the fleshy one near the tail). This needs to be a minimum of 4 x 2 mm. If cut carefully, the fin should regenerate and will have no lasting effect on the fishes health.

The date was set and I enlisted help from John Aplin and Stuart Brown (fellow Member) to help catch 50 grayling.

We started fishing at 8:30 and it was soon apparent that it was going to be a hard day of fishing. The river was still full from the rain, but it was thankfully clear. We quickly caught our first grayling and Rich showed how to quickly snip a small piece of the adipose fin, measure and release the fish, then carefully place the sample in a small vial – simple!

Rich Cove shows the ropes..

Grayling DNA Sample

We fished all the known grayling hot spots, but by lunchtime our tally was still mighty low. Thankfully things improved as the day went on and at the end of a very hectic eight hours we had 46 samples, just 4 short – dam I’m going to have to out out fishing again to catch the last four!!

Many thanks to John & Stuart (who had fish to 2lb 11oz) for helping out and for Richards motivation that kept us going! Now we sit and wait for the answer to “where did our grayling really come from?”

The final count!