It won't be long now until we can get back on the river's and enjoy some some lovely running water angling in some stunning unspoilt surroundings. But what will the coming season hold for us all. The weather has certainly been very up and down, and I as I write this piece it is well below the temperature that we should be seeing for the time of year (just 10 Deg. C in Wolverhampton!). If this keeps up, the barbel will probably end up spawning in July, as they seem to have done for the last few season's. This always makes the few first weeks of the season difficult, as you can have miles of river with very few fish because they will be 'shoaled' up in small area's.
From a conservation point of view, I would say it is now worth a review of the closed season dates to take this into account. How about moving it back a month, so it runs from April 15th to July 16th? (other species are also spawning later). I have always been a traditionalist but you have to be prepared for change. With the already delicate situation of a lot of our barbel rivers, do you really want angler's fishing for them during or just after spawning? They take a long time to recover properly as it is after capture in the summer, without the added stress of capture just after spawning. The majority of carp fisheries are flexible and will close during the spawning period, surely we should be flexible to the same degree, when it comes to our rivers!