If your idea of the perfect place to fish is a countryside location, it might be time to think again. Urban fishing is growing in popularity and could be the next big thing. any major cities were developed adjacent to rivers but as the urban sprawl expanded, the rivers were often forced underground or constrained in culverts, drains and tunnels.
The city of Sheffield is spearheading a global movement called Daylighting which seeks to open up these buried waterways once more.
The Daylighting movement
Daylighting increases the flood protection for the cities, restores rivers to their natural states and supports migratory fish species. The exposed water also has a cooling effect which mitigates the urban heat island effect.
Daylighting and improving water quality have combined to produce excellent angling opportunities is urban areas. British rivers became incredibly polluted due to industrial activity. But there have been big changes since the 1980s. Industrial activities have tailed off and aging sewerage systems updated. The result has been the return of fish which had all but disappeared.
Things have certainly changed dramatically in Sheffield which has become an urban fishing hotspot. A thriving fishing community has developed as nature has slowly found its way back into the heart of the city. The river Don is home to many species of fish and the Porter Brook Project has created a park offering green spaces to enjoy in the city.
Porter Bridge Pocket Park
Led by the Daylighting movement, the Porter Brook Pocket Park Project features a wonderful amphitheatre design which helps the city to cope with heavy rainfall and potential flooding. The water now has somewhere to expand into without flowing into streets and buildings. The project has raised awareness of the importance of water in urban areas and the diversity of wildlife that it supports.
The enormous success of global daylighting projects including the Porter Brook Pocket Park is inspiring further action. Sheffield council and several local landowners are now looking to create a series of mini urban parks along similar lines. Perhaps the most ambitious of these plans is the intended opening up of part of the river Sheaf near the site of Sheffield's former medieval castle. This will create a waterway in the centre surrounded by parkland, flowers, trees and seating for the public.
A Great City for Anglers
Anglers are now a common site in Sheffield and the trend looks set to continue farther afield as regeneration projects are undertaken. Despite early fears on the part of business owners adjacent to some of the waterways that have been opened up, the Daylighting projects are now enjoying almost unanimous support.
Shops and other buildings have not been flooded as result of the daylighting, indeed the threat of flooding has often been diminished. Fish are returning to the rivers that run through our cities and angling opportunities are gradually appearing. You don't need to live in the countryside to enjoy fishing these days, at least not if you happen to reside in Sheffield. Does the prospect of angling in the big cities excite you or will you be sticking to what you know?