Connections – The Return Of The Atlantic Salmon To Derbyshire’s Rivers

2:24 pm

That jolt of electricity, the surge of adrenalin as a trout hits your fly. It’s that initial connection that trout anglers love. Younger anglers than me refer to it as “the tug”

I as get older, another type of connection that has started to fascinate me, that of the connection of our rivers to the sea.

Having been born and bred in the Derbyshire Dales this connection was never given a passing thought. We are not the most landlocked place in the UK but we are not far off.

Now in Derbyshire, it’s possible (if you are very lucky) to sit and watch a salmon leap as it runs upstream and this is very exciting for me. It makes me marvel, to think that a fish has come from the sea and here it is, visiting my local river, so far inland.

The slow return of the Atlantic Salmon to our counties rivers seems remarkable but they were once common in Derbyshire’s rivers before the weirs and pollution of the industrial revolution. Our rivers are fairly clean now but the old weirs of the mills and factories still bar Salmo’s path despite their most valiant efforts.

Huge credit to all those involved in erecting the fish passes in the catchment so far but some barriers still remain. The weir at Belper (where a large dead cock fish was found) in particular seems a troublesome obstacle. Alas, TNT isn’t an option as these weirs are now sites of archeological importance and fish passes must be sympathetic to these monuments to the industrial age.

Slowly but surely the fish will return and the discovery of Salmon Parr at Duffield shows that there are at least enough fish returning to pair up and spawn. Hopefully, in my lifetime I will make a connection with one of these majestic fish.