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Why town dwellers can get hooked on urban fishing

Fishing is often viewed as a country sport, but a new book by a river restoration expert and fly-fisher has revealed 50 places in the UK where you can catch fish such as trout a short walk from a town or city centre High Street.

 Theo Pike is chairman of the environmental charity the Wandle Trust and author of Trout in Dirty Places. He says he wrote the book to address the perception that urban rivers are drains and sources of contagion and disease. With many people living in towns and cities, Pike says urban fishing requires little equipment and its proximity to houses and places of work provides many advantages to fishing in rural areas.

"There is nothing finer that getting into a river at the end of a long hard day at the office and if you can wade into your local stream a few minutes away from your desk and spend an evening fishing a dry fly; it's amazingly relaxing." Pike's local river, the River Wandle in south London, is a tributary of the River Thames and has historically suffered from heavy pollution.

"Having gone through its industrial phase I guess through the 1700s onwards it got really, really bad through the 1950s to the 1970s when it was officially classified as an open sewer," says Pike. But in 2010, the Environment Agency listed the Wandle as one of the 10 most improved rivers and it now has eel, chub, grayling and trout among the aquatic life in its waters. "It's an amazing transformation. The Wandle in a lot of ways is an example of what's happened on urban rivers all over the rest of the country. "It went through really dark times but it is now coming back in impressive ways," says Pike.

BBC © 2012

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Students benefit from discounted Salmon and Trout Association membership

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