No barbel in the river Wye

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Liphook
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Re: No barbel in the river Wye

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You have to wonder what the effect on the indigenous species of all fauna has been. Shad and salmonids immediately spring to mind, but also insects and flora.

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Dave Burr
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Re: No barbel in the river Wye

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Liphook wrote: Wed May 05, 2021 10:25 am You have to wonder what the effect on the indigenous species of all fauna has been. Shad and salmonids immediately spring to mind, but also insects and flora.
There will be no effect on shad as they just pop along to breed and then leave. They feed on just about anything as far as I can tell and the Wye is a very rich river. Salmon do share their pools with barbel but they tend to spawn well upstream and out of the barbel's range.

Insect life is the main food source for the barbel but, as I mentioned above, if you turn any hand-sized stone or larger, it will have a lot of stonefly and mayfly nymphs crawling on it as well as plenty of caddis etc. Flora is variable up and down the river and is mostly affected by pollution as opposed to fish or bird grazing. I doubt the barbel have made much of an impact on their new environment just enjoyed the bounty.

The only 'victim' may have been the roach which are much thinner on the ground on the mid to upper Wye nowadays. This reduction has also coincided with the additional pollution and have been seen on other rivers as well as the Wye.

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Liphook
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Re: No barbel in the river Wye

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Barbel like most fish can be quite pisciverous Dave, as witnessed by the number caught on swung salmon flies and spinners like the flying c. They're also believed to feed quite heavily on the eggs of other fish. This must have some impact even if small. Even for a 'rich' river like the Wye where food may not be an obvious limiting factor, the predation on eggs, fry, smolts etc along with competition for available food sources will have an impact on other species.

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Re: No barbel in the river Wye

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Liphook wrote: Wed May 05, 2021 3:30 pm Barbel like most fish can be quite pisciverous Dave, as witnessed by the number caught on swung salmon flies and spinners like the flying c. They're also believed to feed quite heavily on the eggs of other fish. This must have some impact even if small. Even for a 'rich' river like the Wye where food may not be an obvious limiting factor, the predation on eggs, fry, smolts etc along with competition for available food sources will have an impact on other species.
Just about every coarse and game fish is pisciverous (just Googled that one :Wink: ) yet the shallows are still full of minnows, bleak, dace and small members of all species. Bear in mind that they are also predated on by animals not or just rarely seen on the river before the barbel's introduction such as cormorants, goosanders, mink and otters. They also have to run the risk of large bore abstraction pipes which sprayed many across the fields. Not every year is perfect but there are regular bumper recruitment years and all stocks appear healthy given that all fish stocks are cyclic.

Stock varieties and densities all have an effect on their environment, that's just how it works. Barbel have their effect but are now a cog in the Wye's make-up. You could say that the barbel has opened the river to far more coarse anglers and are responsible for massive amounts of high nutritional food particles to be added to the food chain which will have brought bonus food to the entire fish stock. Could that alone counter any negatives they have brought?

As far as salmon stocks are concerned, I suspect that barbel one of the very last factors causing their demise.

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Liphook
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Re: No barbel in the river Wye

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One word Dave - biomass

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Dave Burr
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Re: No barbel in the river Wye

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Liphook wrote: Wed May 05, 2021 8:37 pm One word Dave - biomass
Good comment, I would like to see the figures .... but there are none. Everything has an effect on the rest sometimes subtle, sometimes dramatic. I didn't fish the Wye pre or even early barbel so cannot comment on the changes. However, the Teme, in the early years of this century, had barbel as the dominant species. Come 2007/8 and the massive summer floods, there was a drastic drop in their numbers but, the biomass has not replaced barbel with more chub, roach etc. Has the biomass changed or are other factors having an effect?

Without scientific study we can back and forth all night but we won't get anywhere. I have opinions but they are from personal observation and anecdotes. I don't think the barbel had any significant detrimental effects on the Wye, it is a great river but is facing may challenges from outside sources.

Anyway - footies on. Laters :Hat:

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Liphook
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Re: No barbel in the river Wye

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Back an' forth all night = football, so not my game :Sun:

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Re: No barbel in the river Wye

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Dave Burr wrote: Wed May 05, 2021 10:13 am
Kingfisher wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 10:44 pm I moved to Wales in 1980 (march 1st to be precise). That year was a hot summer and I remember wandering along the Groe at Builth Wells and seeing a huge fish under a bush. Later on and after a few more years experiencing catching Barbel myself and I now know that fish was the first Barbel I'd ever seen. Also that year, whilst wading around in the river Ithon (A tributary to the Wye) I was catching stone loach in a butterfly net. I came accross a foot long stone loach which surely must be a new Record. The record dashed off in a clowd of silt and eluded my net. It turned out that looking back, that fish wasn't a record stoneloach but a barbel and the first and only one I've ever seen in the river Ithon to date. I spent much of the 90's being older and now driving fishing the Severn over at Atcham to catch my Barbel. They've never been prolific in the higher reaches of the Wye but they are there. If I remember rightly John Wilson and Martin Bowler shot one of their videos about Barbel fishing on the Wye at Boughrood near Lyswen (Where The Dderw is in casting at the sun). At that time hardly anybody fished that stretch of river for Barbel but there must have been someone clued up enough to tell them to go there, because they caught a few that day.
That's not far upstream from Galsbury isn't it Matt, and there's quite a few barbel around there.

The early barbel at Builth Wells and those on the Lugg were, I believe, both near or on waters controlled by BAA. Just saying is all :whistle:
That doesn't surprise me Dave. People tend to do as they please, especially in areas where there aren't many others about. Yes Glasbury (A lovely place) isn't far from Boughrood.

God never did make a more calm, quiet, innocent recreation than angling.

Izaak Walton

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