News - First Quarter 2022

Greetings to you all for 2022.
As the year progresses, I hope to be able to provide some information to you on a quarterly basis. Hopefully this will give more consistency.
Having just spent some weeks watching a river gauge on one of my favourite rivers it has, at last, come down to a sensible level!


At the joint meeting of the Gwynedd and Dee Local Fishery Advisory Groups, held virtually, at the beginning of February 2022, a very warm welcome was given to Dr Ben Wilson the new NRW Principal Advisor – Fisheries. Ben provided details of his past employment and shared some thoughts with those present.

• He has had 30+ years in fisheries work.
• Great experience in Fish Eating Birds and their effects on fisheries – has spent time studying this relationship for his PhD.
• He plans to attend these LFAG meetings as much as possible – but will probably share some of the attendance with colleagues such as Dave Mee
• Joined NRA in 1990 – initially worked in various roles 0 radio tracking salmon on a couple of great rivers; Afon Towy and Afon Dee…Because of all the work and experience on these two rivers, they are very memorable for him.
• After a period away at university doing PhD re-joined EA (Wales) and worked on wide range of fisheries development and enhancement projects, including river habitat restoration and fish passage improvements, as well as angling promotion and marketing
• Had a very varied career in NRW; with roles that have given him great experience and background knowledge including forestry regulation, ops management, enforcement and most recently managing our water quality laboratory.
• He feels his knowledge in partnership working, water quality and land management can really help drive fisheries work going forward
• Status of SL and ST stocks are worrying – and trends aren’t looking great. Wants to look to the future of what our fisheries will be looking like in the next 15 years – particularly how the climate will be changing and affecting these.


• Water quality is big on his list – he is aware there is a lot of publicity around this at the minute which could help to drive change.
• Mentioned the dispersal of Fisheries Teams within NRW – admits it is a challenge to relay what we are doing to the public. Outlined a need to create a joined-up approach between fisheries staff across NRW and also with LFG’s etc.
• Salmon and Sea Trout PoA – addresses many of our issues and highlights where we need to focus our work – he is glad it has been informed by all of our stakeholders; LFAG members in particular.
• Very few external partners and organisations when he started with NRA – great to see many more now (WDT NWRT etc)
• Increasing in funding from Welsh Gov for fisheries work
• Our NRW fisheries people are all really proud of the work they do – we need to remember we all have the same ideas and passion for protecting our fisheries
• Deliver the SL and ST PoA – communicate how we plan to do this…
• Acknowledges we need to improve the communications between NRW and the fishing community
• Are there conversations that need to be had about all of our fish species – rather than a sole focus on salmon? Species such as Brown Trout, Grayling, Coarse Species.
• Wants to scrutinise LFAG meetings – how can we improve these and make them better and more productive.
• He’s very keen to create good relationships and communication networks, so as a group of passionate anglers we can improve our fisheries collectively.
• …and yes, he is an angler.



Joel Rees-Jones reported to the same meeting on what his team had achieved in 2021. The highlights were:
4 barriers were removed or altered
10 km of riverside fencing installed with drinking troughs
400 trees planted
1700 t of gravel placed in rivers below reservoirs
550 t of boulders introduced to rivers
530 m of bankside revetment installed
Engaged with 30,000+ individuals through social media
25+ farm visits carried out with report completed thereafter
FWPM surveys carried out
On farm interventions carried out on 4 farms, with more to come.
……. and yes Joel is an angler!














The annual Wild Trout Trust Auction is upon us! It will run from the 18th to 27th of March. There are a total of 366 amazing lots to bid for.
For information visit
If you wonder what happens to your money read on:-






As “normality” comes back to us, you might like to check out the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. The Trust hopes to return to awarding Travelling Fellowships again in 2022.
If things continue to improve applications will be open from September to November 2022, for international travel in 2023.
Visit the Trust website at

Tightlines for the coming season.