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Thread: Are our rivers

  1. #1
    Ron 'The Hat' Clay (ACA) Guest


    BeforeI go any further, let me say that I like barbel, I really do. I caught my first one from the River Ouse in Yorkshire in 1960 and have been catching them, including some of their African cousinsever since.

    The barbel in the UK is native to the Yorkshire Ouse system, The Trent and the Thames and tributaries. However from about 1890, man started spreading them throughout other English rivers, starting I beleive with the Dorset Stour.

    Was this really a good idea? About 50 years ago, Angling Times stocked several hundred barbel into the River Severn. WhenI fished the Severn a lot from 1994 to 1998, I met quite a few Severn old timerswho told me what the river was like before the barbel. They told me of the superb chub, roach and dace fishing, of the wild brown trout and grayling fishingand of the excellent runs of salmon the river had.

    In their opinion, the barbel put pay to that.

    One thing that is for sure, barbel are a very invasive species and once established, are very difficult to remove.

    But what do you think?

    Have barbel become a menace?

  2. #2


    Barbel did indeed ruin the chub and silver fish fishing on many rivers for many years. However, the balance is returning, as you can now catch all those species on many of the rivers where the barbel have been long established.

    Carp have been a much more invasive species, ruining the fishing for other species on many stillwaters to the point where they will never recover.

    Zander have had the same effect as barbel until, again, time restored the balance and now we have good mixed fisheries that include zander.

    The answer of course is that all those 'alien' (to a particular fishery)species should never have been stocked in the first place, but the fact is they have and now there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.

    Except one thing.

    Accept the fact that it's happened, and enjoy fishing for them.

  3. #3
    Dave Slater Guest



    As Graham says, the balance returns in time. I am mainly a chub man, with a love for roach and perch, but I also like catching the odd barbel as they are lovely fish. I should fish for them more. On my local rivers, the Avon and Stour, there are fewer barbel than there used to be but they are far bigger. I think the balance is about right on these rivers and they have been there for a long time. It is always a pleasure to catch one, either by design or when fishing for something else.

    As mentioned by others on previous threads the main threats to our fishing are otters and Eastern Europeans so do not blame barbel for the decline of other fish.

  4. #4
    Ron 'The Hat' Clay (ACA) Guest


    I fully agree on the carp Graham. In my opinion these horrible things which stir up the mud and foul the lake bed are the reason why species such as rudd are so rare. Rudd require clear water to thrive as they are primarily sight feeders.

    Yes and not only can we enjoy catching some of them, in the case of the zander we can enjoy eating them.


  5. #5
    Ron 'The Hat' Clay (ACA) Guest


    I am certainly not blaming the barbel 100% for the demise of some of our river fish. The thread was started to get an opinion.

    And there is certainly nothing wrong with having barbel in the Thames, Trent, Great Ouse and Yorks Ouse. They belong there.

  6. #6
    Dave Burr Guest



    I feel that there are far too many barbel being put into too many rivers.

    I used to do a 150 mile round trip for a days barbel fishing and always wished that they were closer but I also knew where I could go for a days trotting for roach much closer to home. If that section was stocked with barbel the likelihood would be that the roach would be driven out or that I would have to fish for them with 8lb line in case I connected with a barbel.

    It is exactly the same as the carp explosion on still waters in the 70's.

    The trouble is that barbel enthusiasts tend to join groups (and I'm no exception) and have a voice whereas the roach and perch anglers tend to just get on with it. The EA are listening to the loudest voices and pandering to their wishes for what will, in some cases, be a very negative reaction on a river. If there was a large Roach Society, would these stockings go ahead or would there be reasonable objections?

    I suggest that there are now more than enough barbel rivers and barbel in those rivers for everybody. If the barbel die off then the river isn't right for them to thrive so they should not be restocked after all, this is the very same objection used against stocking them in still waters isn't it?

  7. #7
    Ron 'The Hat' Clay (ACA) Guest


    Yes you are probably right Dave. There are now enough barbel for everyone. Where I live I have 6 barbel rivers in a 35 miles radius.

    I really think it's a shame that organisations like The Barbel Society exist. Many years ago, group like The Barbel Catchers were around, and were more like a specimen group, not a number of people devoted to one species.

    One day we might see a return to societies for the all-round angler.

    The Problem with theBarbel Society is that they are able to commandeer a stretch of river and impose their own rather silly rules on it. Like no keepnets for example!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2002


    I agree ron i wish there were more genral groups as a alrounder myself. I was in the BS but found it did not supply what i was looking for. Some great lads in there. But there waters/eventsall seem to be over 100 miles each way. Which gets expensive a more local group would be better.

  9. #9
    Sean Meeghan Guest


    I enjoy fishing for barbel immensely, but I have to agree with Ron in that they are becoming all to common in areas where they were once absent. The problem is that we are being given what we ask for. Pressure groups (for that is what they are) like the Barbel Society are becoming our main channels of communication and they are listened to because the authorities find it easier to do tha listen to the disperate voices of the angling masses.

    We get what we deserve - puddles full of starving carp and rivers increasingly full of barbel and escapees from carp fisheries.Lets hope that our new representative body starts to sort out the mess.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Preston, Lancashire


    This is quite a good debate. I have been fishng for Barbel as my main target species on the Ribble now since I introduced to them about 12 years ago. I used to fish the Ribble in the early 80's for Chub & Roach. In my 12 years of Barbel fishing I have had some great sessions but also enjoyed using light tackle for Chub, Roach and dace but didn't really catch as much as I would've liked. The main culprit for the silver fish decline on the ribble was commorants. You would often and still see these shy peskey fish eaters diving and coming up with fish. Their could be many factors why the silvers have been declining on our rivers and this is just one of them on the Ribble. I will say however over the past few years the sivers are making a massive comeback on the Ribble thanks quite possibly to the Barbel fisherman whos precence could be keeping the commorant off our river.

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