As a follow-up attempt to locate new roach spawning sites after failing (mostly!) in 2021, Tim Ellis and Kevin Powell are looking to set up an informal river-wide watch for spawning roach at the appropriate time this year. This is early May, only definite recent record from previous years is May 7, 2020. Info from Avon Roach Project (ARP) indicates they nearly all commence spawning simultaneously in a given river, and usually almost to the day year on year.
Anywhere with good flow of water, reasonable depth
(typically near a weir or hatch) and suitable substrate (Fontinalis, possibly fibrous tree roots etc). Usually at the head ie furthest accessible point upstream in any section. This makes the mill structures and associated pools, bypass streams etc prime locations.
Candidate mill sites with easy, public access for observation: Sculthorpe, Fakenham, Bintree, Swanton Morley, Lyng, Taverham, Costessey and Hellesdon. Of these Lyng and Taverham definitely have Fontinalis, Lyng has a positive recent history of Roach spawning, anecdotally so does Taverham.
Further sites with less easy access, ie private, include mills at Billingford, Elsing, Gt Ryburgh and Lenwade. Obviously these could be better sites for future spawning raft work, as they are less prone to disturbance by the general public.
There may be some suitable areas apart from these mill complexes, the need for good flows though, actually described by Trev Harrop of ARP as a good “flush”, probably means they will be very few and far between.
This is a bit of a long term thing, if we can identify current spawning sites, it opens up possibilities for the future. For instance, spawning boards might be practical. These in themselves can help, even without spawn removal and hatching elsewhere. Signal Crayfish find it more difficult to access the eggs on a board as they can’t crawl or swim up to it! Simples……
If anyone is able to offer help with this, ie physically going and looking for gathering or spawning roach at suitable sites around the suggested times, please let us know. There is only so much a handful of busy folk can do! It would be helpful if anyone interested could let us know where they can look, so we can try to get as many sites covered as possible.
It might be worth scouting sites any time now over the next couple of weeks. As mentioned earlier, the magic date from previous experience was May 7, but there could well be some variation around that, and spawning seems to continue for a few days, also gathering will start sometime beforehand……..
Many thanks, Tim and Kevin.