Surprise reports of salmon and sea trout migrating to the Wandle has prompted the Environment Agency (EA) to give the river’s fishermen special monitoring equipment to collect scale samples.

Additional funding can be secured to improve the Thames tributary if enough evidence suggests the threatened fish are calling the Wandle home.

Anglers from the Wandle Piscators fishing club have been issued with the monitoring kits to use on sea trout and salmon that accidentally turn up in their catch.

The region’s EA Fisheries Officer, Tanya Houston, said: “Reports of recent salmon and sea trout caught in the Wandle are very interesting. One of the photos that I was sent in early 2009 year looked just like a salmon kelt [a salmon which has already spawned].

“There is a very good chance that salmon and sea trout are using the Wandle - if we can show this to be true, it will be another fantastic sign of improvement. ”

The EA hopes to collect as many samples as possible before the Thames region salmon and sea trout fishing starts on April 1. Tested fish will be carefully released to continue their journey, and hopefully spawn.

When the scale samples are examined, scientists will be able to determine how old the fish are, how long they have spent at sea and in fresh water, how far they are able to swim up the river past weirs and other obstructions, and even where they or their parental stock originated using DNA analysis.

The Wandle Piscators and the Environment Agency are also very keen to hear from other coarse fishermen who accidentally catch out-of-season Wandle salmon or sea trout – and welcome photographs and measurements of any fish caught.

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