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!
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 Club is a private one, founded in 1877, of approximately sixty-four members and six Town Rod subscribers. The Club’s waters consist of about 12 miles of wild brown trout & grayling fishing in the main River Frome, River Cerne and River Piddle, together with attendant carriers and side streams. The waters extend both above and below the town of Dorchester and the Club employs a part-time keeper.
Day Tickets are only available during the trout season and only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Bank Holidays. (season 1st April – 14th October)
The Police have made it quite clear that poaching is a crime in progress covered by the 1968 Theft Act. Members should always call 999 to report it and not phone the keeper. Without a report the police will not be aware of the extent of a problem.
If possible note or photo vehicles.
Stress if you are vulnerable/elderly or at risk of intimidation..
In order to give the call handler an accurate location they recommend putting the “what3words” app on your smartphone. Click here…
Angling’s representative body, the Angling Trust, has a web site for anglers to record sightings of cormorants, goosanders and mergansers throughout the UK: www.cormorantwatch.com The site is easy to use and will gather vital data to help persuade government of the need for action to protect fisheries.
Invasive plants and animals can carry diseases that kill fish, block waterways and banks, interfering with fishing. They can be small and hard to spot, so are easily spread on damp clothing and equipment.
Protect the environment and fishing you enjoy, by keeping your kit free of invasive plants and animals.
To find out more please visit
the NNSS Website