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First sea trout caught in River Leven since Industrial Revolution

A sea trout Photo: Environment Agency

A sea trout has been caught by an angler on the River Leven in Teesside. This marks a huge milestone in efforts to bring migratory fish back to the area.

It is believed to be the first rod catch of sea trout on the Leven since the Industrial Revolution. The catch was reported to the Environment Agency by a local angler.

"I am delighted to see that these little ‘bars of silver’ can now ascend the River Leven once again after an absence of scores of years. It’s wonderful."

– Local angler

Rod catch data show a rise in salmon and sea trout on the Tees since the early 1990s. It is predicted that the Tees rod catch will meet its catch target of 485 rod caught fish by about early to mid 2020s if it follows the same pattern of recovery as the Tyne and Wear.

"I’m really excited about this catch. There have been rumours among anglers that sea trout are back in the Leven, but now we have cast-iron proof.

We constructed a fish pass on the lower River Leven in 2007 that would allow fish from the River Tees to return to spawning grounds on the upper Leven, which had previously been cut-off for over a century.

Salmon and sea trout are in important part of our rivers’ ecology and they are a valuable economic fish stock – so this is fantastic news for the North East."

– Paul Frear, Fisheries Technical Officer at the Environment Agency

The Leven is a tributary of the River Tees, where salmon and sea trout catch data show that migratory fish are returning to the catchment following decades of absence.