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Anglers giving up their lease along ‘the cradle of fly fishing’

Anglers have recently been giving up their leases to fish for trout and salmon across the stretch of the River Itchen known as ‘the cradle of fly fishing’.

This area of the water in Hampshire was where George Edward MacKenzie Skues first developed a form of fishing with nymphs, which quickly became popular across the world, as well as being home to Frederick Halford, who is an extremely important figure when it comes to fly fishing for trout.

However, new plans to improve the area in a way that benefits local wildlife mean that the whole river will be reshaped. This comes as a result of the Heritage Lottery Fund providing the Hampshire and Isle of White Trust with a £983,000 grant.

This affects local anglers due to the fact that the area includes the Abbotts Barton fishery, and two prominent figures are now giving up their quest to preserve the fishery simply because the conditions imposed by the Wildlife Trust will make it impossible to keep the fishery running.

Stewart Newell, 65, and Roy Darlington, 68, have cared for the area in a number of ways, including keeping down overgrowth along the river banks. However, the trust is now demanding that weed cutting be reduced dramatically, which will make the area much less attractive for fish. There will also be no control when it comes to predators, such as pike, devouring young salmon and trout.

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