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The poster for the 14th Anniversary NCBA competition at Fontburn Reservoir.
The poster for the 14th Anniversary NCBA competition at Fontburn Reservoir.

Date set for annual NCBA competition
at Fontburn

The 14th Anniversary Northumberland County Blind Association Fishing Competition will be held at Fontburn Reservoir on Friday, July 31, with registration and entry fees being taken from 7am and fishing from 8am to 3pm.

Northumbrian Water has again donated the use of the facilities and resources at the reservoir and has provided a Golden Ticket raffle prize of 10 days’ fishing at Fontburn.

The entry fee is £23 for adults and £10 for juniors (aged 15 and under). All proceeds go directly towards supporting blind and partially sighted people throughout Northumberland.

First prize in the adult section is £150, with the second placed angler receiving £100 and the angler who lands the heaviest fish will get £50. The top-placed junior will win a £50 tackle voucher, the runner-up gets £40 and the person who lands the heaviest fish will be awarded a £30 tackle voucher and the Greg Robinson Memorial trophy.

If the heaviest fish is landed by any of the top two anglers in either section, the prizes will go to the angler who lands the next heaviest fish.

Photograph: Environment Agency
Upstream of the renovated Ward End weir on the River Don.
Upstream of the renovated Ward End weir on the River Don.

River Don made more accessible to fish by improving dilapidated weir  

THE Environment Agency (EA) has removed part of a dilapidated weir in Sheffield to help preserve some of the structure, while making the River Don more accessible to fish.

Work started in April to remove two-thirds of Ward End Weir at Hillsborough, allowing the watercourse to revert to a more natural habitat for wildlife.

The removal creates a “fish highway” to allow salmon and sea trout to return to their historic spawning grounds within and upstream of the city. Fish, including brown trout and grayling, can now migrate freely up and down the river to find the best places to feed, breed and shelter.

Ward End weir was in a poor state of repair and was close to collapsing. It has no registered owner, and if left in its current state, it would likely have disintegrated along its entire length over time.

By removing a section of the weir in a controlled way, the EA has safely retained a short section of the weir on each riverbank as a way of preserving a part of the city’s historical heritage. Doing this was more cost-effective than rebuilding the weir and maintaining it into the future.

Dr Jerome Masters, EA Fisheries technical officer, said: “Water quality in the River Don has improved greatly in the past 20 years, supporting a recovering fish population. But many structures such as weirs prevent fish from reaching historical spawning grounds within and upstream of Sheffield.

“Iconic species such as salmon are a symbol of a healthy thriving river environment that contributes to an attractive sense of place and enhances local development - it would be fantastic to see them in Sheffield once more.

“Adult salmon are already able to migrate as far upstream as Kilnhurst, near Rotherham, and need only for weirs to be made passable for populations to re-establish in their historic spawning grounds within and upstream of Sheffield.

“The industrial heritage of Sheffield is, of course, of great importance, so we have retained about one-third of the weir’s length for posterity.

"Many fish need clean gravel to spawn on. Mud often settles in the slow water behind weirs, smothering the river bed, making it unsuitable for spawning fish.

"Since the weir removal, the River Don is now returning to a natural series of shallow, fast sections, separated by deeper pools, creating better conditions for the brown trout and grayling that live there and for the invertebrates they feed on."

Fisheries to benefit from further £50,000 from EA rod licence sales

THE Environment Agency (EA) and the Angling Trust (AT) have announced that more fisheries will benefit from an additional £50,000 from rod licence sales as part of the Fishery Improvement Fund.

Building on the success of the first round of funding earlier this year, the fund will again be offering awards of up to £5,000 per project.

This time, proposals are invited under two strands of the National Angling Strategy Fishing for Life - either “getting kids into fishing” or “protection from predation”.

The funding, administered by the AT, comes from EA rod licence sales.

Eligibility criteria and details about how to apply can be viewed and downloaded from the AT’s Fishery Improvement Fund web page.

Applications should be e-mailed to reach the AT by the close of business on Monday, July 13, and successful organisations must be able to spend the award by no later than the end of August.

EA head of fisheries Sarah Chare  said: “The Fishery Improvement Fund is just one way we use rod licence money to work with partners to benefit angling.

“The first phase saw some really good projects given money: from new fish refuges and revitalising disused stretches of river to improving access and creating new angling venues.

“I’m now looking forward to seeing great results from the second round, especially those which encourage young people to give fishing a go.”

AT chief executive Mark Lloyd said: “Angling’s response to the first round was phenomenal and clearly demonstrates the huge demand for improved facilities and habitats at our fishing waters.

“This time around, we are looking to support two priority areas for anglers: getting more kids into fishing and sustaining their enthusiasm, and protecting fish stocks from predation.

“If you are interested in applying, or are looking for general tips on finding funding for your club or fishery, please do try and come to our workshops at the end of June.

Details of the 17 projects funded in the first round of the Fund can be found on the Angling Trust website.

May fish count data online

THE Environment Agency has announced that fish count data from the rivers Tyne, Tees and Wear for Mayis now available on the web. Please note the revised reporting format for the Wear to take in account data from a counter in the new fish pass at Freeman’s reach.

For the River Wear check

The River Tyne figures are available on

The figures for the River Tees can be found at

Enjoy the best of the fjords

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines (FOCL) has launched The Best Fjords of Norway, brochure showcasing 20 outstanding Norwegian sailings on offer in its 2016/17 cruise programme.

From a Five-Night Fjords cruise, sailing from Newcastle on 21 May or May 26, 2016 to an eight-night Norwegian Fjords and the Orkney Isles’ sailing from Greenock (Glasgow) on July 15, 2016, there is no better way to take in one of nature’s most spectacular phenomena than a scenic fjords cruise on FOCL’s smaller ships – from £100 per person, per night.

FOCL sales and marketing director, said:At Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, we recognise that the reason that guests book a fjords cruise is to actually see the fjords, so the scenic cruising element is just as important – if not more important – than the port calls themselves.

“We don’t just take our guests from port to port, we devote much more time to showcasing the winding fjords, sheer mountainsides and thundering waterfalls, including intercoastal passageways that can only be cruised by smaller-size ships. We deviate away from the direct route in order to reach the very best of the fjordland – much of which has its own story to tell – and your camera will be just as busy on sea days as it is ashore.”

In addition to the May sailings from Newcastle, there will be the seven-night Fred’s Favourite Fjords cruises sailing from the Tyne on June 11, 2016 and July 23, 2016 and the seven-night Scenic Railways & Phenomenal Fjords cruise, which sails on August 27, 2016. More FOCL news on Travel and Travel 2

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Updated 1029 Friday, July 3, 2015