Fish Trap Gardening

It's not often the worlds of two of my passions, freshwater biology and gardening coincide, but they did last week when Threadspider and I took one of our regular trips to our local garden centre. Here we are at the Garden Bygones section where all kinds of items are for sale. This is the place where I bought my vintage potato fork a few years back and I'm always tempted to buy some of the old apple boxes.

The strange looking contraption you can see in the photo is a salmon fish trap used on the River Severn during the 1950s. I was rather surprised to find a couple of metal ones on display as I've only seen ones woven from willow before. You can see the more traditional structure and an explanation of the fishing here. I felt rather sad to see them as it probably means someone has stopped fishing the Severn in the traditional way: it's a technique that's dying out as and when the fishermen retire. However, looking on the bright side using them for a different purpose is far better than just throwing them away.

I'd love to have one as a companion for the woven one I have in my study as I write this. A friend brought it back as a gift from her trip to Cameroon to remind me of my fishy past when I researched salmon and trout populations. That was here in the UK rather than in Cameroon, but I did appreciate her thoughtfulness. However, the price of the salmon trap on display is a bit too steep for me. Mark managed to acquire some for Otter Farm recently, so I'm hopeful I might find a cheaper source soon. I won't be using it for the purpose suggested on the label you can just see in the picture though: it's for growing sweat peas ;)


  1. What a lovely looking object, though sad that it is no longer in use. I saw something on regional TV recently about the high number of salmon fishermen giving up and how most of the younger men think it is too much like cold hard work for too little reward to be worth the effort.

  2. That would look fantastic with almost any vine on it I think! A shame it's overpriced... maybe you can make them an offer if it's still there in another month.

  3. maybe the peas will break a sweat climbing the trap...;)

  4. Oh, I could see that covered in sweet peas...and can see why you would admire it with your fishing and garden experience. Well, if you should end up with one for sweet peas, would love to see a photo posted. Thanks

  5. We R very different. I would buy even if steep price because I'd regret not having. Great idea for garden centre to sell that sort of stuff, which personally I love. I bought old onion hoe at Chelsea last year which I use more than anything else except felcos and I don't grow that many onions. Thanks for this post!

  6. What an interesting contraption VP and wouldn't it perfect for sweet peas sweating or otherwise. Sounds as if the traditional ways of fishing may be dying out in the Severn as they are in the Fens. There the one remaining eel catcher thinks that he may be the last member of his family to ply his trade. He makes and uses willow traps to catch the eels :

  7. Hope you are happy with me mentioning you on today's post for Esther's Boring Garden Blog.

    Let me know if not.


  8. What an interesting structure. I hope you can find one at a friendlier price, especially since it will have extra meaning for you to have one around.

    Are sweat peas like jacket potatoes and Pancake Day? An English thing? ;-)

  9. Old traditions dying out is most definitely sad, as is the loss of the memories that go with them.

    I must say, you have a most interesting garden centre - I don't think this is the usual type of sales section.

    Sweet peas would look lovely climbing that fish trap. Could you not make something similar, yourself...?

  10. I love finds like this...what a great garden center! I can see it hung pointy side down with epiphyte orchids growing in it! Fabulous!

  11. Don't they use similar traps for eels and elvers?

    I always like that stall at whitehall, though I can't help feeling some of it would have been considered junk a few years ago.

  12. Plantaliscious - that was on our local TV news.

    Alan - welcome! I don't think my offer would be accepted. It's an eye watering price!

    Petoskystone - I'm sure they'd work hard ;)

    Gardeningbren - if I get one, I'll certainly be showing it off :)

    Robert - I think even you would baulk at the price. My onion hoe is one of my most used garden tools.

    Anna - I remember seeing something on the TV about that too - Countryfile perhaps?

    Esther - of course I didn't mind and you're right - my garden's full of reminders about blogging friends too :)

    Susan - it should have been sweet peas - a sweetly scented flower in the same family as the pea we eat

    Mag - I've made willow obelisks in the past, so yes! However, one of these would be special because of the things I've done in the past

    Joan - glad you like it :)

    Mark - yes they do and my Cameroon fish trap I have is very similar in design as the traps used here in the UK and out in Mallorca where I do my research. I must post about it some time...

  13. What a great bygones! Sounds dangerous...everything would probably be so tempting.

  14. Leslie - welcome! I always find something to tempt me there :)


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