New River Lugg Fish Pass Opens

Monday 14th September, 2020

A major fish pass project that had been delayed by last winter’s floods has been completed by the Foundation’s operations team.

The “Larinier” style pass at Ballsgate weir on the river Lugg at Aymestrey has opened up miles of prime salmon spawning habitat upstream. Previously, the weir was impassable to fish in most water heights. Redd counting and electrofishing surveys showed that in most years a large amount of salmon spawning immediately downstream of the weir and not much activity above it.

Large areas of the upper Lugg catchment, such as the Hindwell Brook, that provide excellent spawning and juvenile habitat for Atlantic salmon are now fully accessible.As well as adult salmon migration, the pass will enable better downstream passage of smolts, making their way to the sea. In addition, migration both up and downstream will be much easier as a result of the pass for a range of other fish species such as brown trout.

Work was due to be completed last autumn. However, due to the Lugg being high or in full flood from mid-September throughout the winter, the second and third phases of the project had to be postponed until this year.

Everyone involved in this fish pass project should take pride in what has been accomplished for the Wye’s fish species, especially the Atlantic salmon.

Louis Macdonald-Ames, the Foundation’s Head of Operations who managed the fish pass construction said:

“This is by far the most complicated construction we have undertaken. It has not been without its challenges (especially the weather!) but the Foundation’s operations team is very proud of what it has achieved at Ballsgate. Having worked in the catchment for over two decades, we know how good the upper Lugg catchment’s habitat is for juvenile salmon. To enable free passage in all water heights over what was previously the last major obstacle to migrating fish in this river is very satisfying.”

He added: “Our thanks go to our partners at the Environment Agency whose help and expertise has been vital throughout the project. I would also like to thank Mike and Jay at Fishtek Consulting for their patience, to the landowners of the site, JSR construction, Murlac for the instream protection and Arrow Plant Hire as well as the members of my team. Finally, we are very grateful to the European Regional Development Fund for providing the finance for this fish pass. Everyone involved should take a great deal of pride in what has been accomplished for the Wye’s fish species, especially the Atlantic salmon.”

The Opening of Ballsgate Fish Pass


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