Poaching has become more of a problem on game fish rivers in recent years perhaps due to the prices that fish such as wild salmon and sea trout are fetching in restaurants. “Professional” poachers operate mostly on the lower stretches of the Ribble near Clitheroe and Preston though suspicious vans have been seen at Langcliffe Locks and further up Ribblesdale on the Manchester Anglers’ stretch.
It is up to every member to make a note of any vehicles they see that don’t have a Settle Anglers sticker in the windscreen. Last year two poachers in a red van at Langcliffe Locks made off with more than a dozen fish – unchallenged.
Remember – there are no day tickets issued for Settle waters. Every angler you see should either be a member or be with a member on a guest ticket.
Members should show each other their badges without being asked – this is the only way we can keep a check on human predation of our waters. Some members react badly to being asked to show their membership discs; this is stupid. It is for all our sakes that we should be vigilant on the river. We pay good money every year to fish and to husband the river and if people are coming on the river, either criminally or through stupidity then they really have to be shown the way off. A couple of determined poachers can worm or maggot a pool out on a couple of hours under the right conditions. Not only is it the season’s stock fish that are gone; it is very often wild trout that are taken too, the very trout that will breed on another generation of fish.
When it comes to Salmon and Sea Trout then the damage poachers are doing to the long term life of the Ribble is obvious. We limit our catches to 2 salmon per season – poachers know no limit.
So – wear your badge and show it at all times.
Mild poaching of the “I didn’t see the sign guvnor!” kind happens mostly near to caravan sites and camping sites. Until we can get every site owner to inform users as they are checking in that “there is no fishing on the river” we have to be on the look out for people trotting worms downriver and hauling out bags of our expensive and carefully reared fish with bunches of maggots.