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  1. #1


    do u think the dicline in roach no's is down to an actual decline in there no's, or is it more to do with the fact that the rivers/streams ect don't get as heavily fished as they once did,now a large percentage of anglers dont bother fishing them anymore, prefering instead the gratification of catching 100lbs of carp on a freshly dug pond? or are no's of roach ACTUALLY in decline if so could it be the over use of pesticides on arable land sourounding farmland that is causing a shortage of small invertibrates, which roach feed on? or perhaps its more to do with declining spawning habitat on many rivers that have been canalised? or perhaps its over enrichment of streams /rivers with sewage effluent /fertalizers that are causing the problems,whatever the cause we need to take a look at situation and see what can be done to help what used to be britains no1 choice of fish for most anglers,[pre f1 carp of course!]

  2. #2


    P.S. MARK exellent artical facinating read,point well raised.

  3. #3


    Nice article Mark. You see things the same way as I do.

    I'm doubly upset because as a kid I used to read about all the fantastic Roach catches in famous rivers such as the Hants Avon and Dorset Stour.

    After years of pololution the River Don started to produce Roach and these became bigger and bigger. The fishing was fantastic and finally I wasn't jealous of the quality of fishing in other parts of the country.

    Then the Cormorants hit and many of the fish vanished - especially the big Roach. That was about 7 ot 8 years ago and although numbers of small fish seem to be on the up I haven't caught or seen a Roach over 1lb during that 7 or 8 years.

    I really hope the Cormorant situation sorts itself out and a balance returns.

    Until then I'll have to have the odd Southern river raid with Mike T!

    I'd rather catch a 2lb river Roach than a 40lb Carp.

  4. #4


    Billy, Roach numbers and sizes have definately declined on many waters. Some people have fished for them for many years and have seen the changes.

    When the Cormorants invaded many of the bigger fish had scars (strike marks).

    Because more people are fishing commercials it should make river fishing for Roach even easier.

    I think abstraction is an issue. All the rivers I know well are running slower and lower than they ever did. The Don, for instance, is around 18" lower than it was 19 years ago.

    I'm not sure how this affects the Roach numbers though.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    In God's County: Wiltshire
    Blog Entries


    Another thought provoking article from Mark.

    I know 3 stretches of, shall we say; 'a southern chalk stream' where the cormorant problem has been dealt with on an almost daily basis for the last few years.

    Now, on these stretches the Dace have made an amazing recovery and the Roach are now beginning to show up in good numbers.

    I know of another syndicated stretch where habitats have been created for Roach to breed and they have done so successfully over the past 3 seasons, but again, the cormora*t problem is controlled.

    Matt, let us know when you are coming and we will see if we canot put you on a stretch where you might stand a better chance than by god and by guess.

    Scholars have long known that fishing eventually turns men into philosophers.

    Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to buy decent tackle on a philosopher's salary. ~

    Patrick F. McManus

  6. #6


    hi matt,very good points raised in regards to cormarants,maybe its time goverment took this issue a bit more seriosly and listned more to the true gardians of the waterways,i.e. us anglers instead of the blinkerd one sided views of r.s.p.b? also on abstraction comments, obviosly lower river levels mean slower river flows, this as we all now contributes to silting up of spawning gravels e.c.t,but not as many people are aware of the effects it is having on fauna of rivers and streams,i.e. plants/invertibrates ect.for instance plants that are naturaly found growing in pacy clear rivers are bieng replaced by plants from slower deaper rivers and even stillwater varietys.this is only one exaple, but if you look at the knock on effects of aformentioned staitment,then think of how many other examples ther are . it all points towards a dramatic change taking place in our waterways.......

  7. Default

    Spot on Mark
    A small river that flows a hundred yards from where i live was stuffed with big roach 20 years ago. Over time the river has decreased in depth by half, and the roach have gone being replaced by chub and perch.
    I travel hundreds of miles to try and catch roach that i once had on my doorstep, and it seems this is happening all over the country. In some areas pockets of big roach are still hanging on, but for how much longer ?
    What are the causes ?
    Cormorants ?
    Abstraction ?
    Chub ?
    Barbel ?
    Climate change ?
    People have told me that things go in cycles and the river roach will come back, but i can't see it happening.

    If roach were fury little creatures there would be a national campaign to find out what was going on, but as they aren't it looks like we'll all have to take to the gravel pits !

  8. #8
    Ron 'The Hat' Clay (ACA-Life Member) Guest


    Excellent article Mark.

    Yes I am right with you. The roach, especially the river roach, has provided the very roots of coarse angling skills.

    And Matt, I would rather catch a 2lb river roach than a 50lb carp and a 15 lb barbel any day.

  9. #9


    Mike, I can't see the Torne ever recovering because of the water levels. I think the Roach are coming back in the Don but I do worry about the effect of Barbel.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005


    The Roach in the lakes I fish, and have fished since I was a kid, seem to either not grow as big or grow slower than they used to. A lot of roach of say 12 oz-1lb used to be in realy good nick and looked relatively young, now if you get one that size they nearly always look battered old things

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