Minutes of Consultative Meeting held on 30th Jun 2021
Present Sam Richardson, David Hawley, Kelvin Allen, Darren Randell, Seumas Halliday, John Wadham, Viktor Tzikas, Martin Barnett, Chris Reeds, Ray Torrington, Ray Richardson, Chris French, Paul Thomas (AT)
Apologies Hugh Bunker, Andrew Pattison, Brian Balderson, Paul Douglas, Don Moore, John Newman
Matters arising from the previous meeting
Illegal activities on the Grand Union around Northampton. Paul Thomas reported that there remains little formal evidence as zero reports are lodged with either EA, Police or VBS. He has however run some joint patrols with all parties doing the close season with no illegal activities seen.
David wrote to the Grimsthorpe Estate in terms of the loss of angling at the venue. It appears this is an estate decision and they have no plans for the return of angling at this country park site. (It hasn’t got any SAC designation)
Regional/National AT update.
Kelvin presented the following:
Broads Hoveton Great Broad legal action with the EA and NE
BASG & AT responded and re-engaged with Fish Legal
NE has stated that Carp and Bream will be targeted from all protected habitats across England, with a new policy paper being adopted by NE and now challenged by AT.
Kelvin representing Angling on a new Fen Reservoir Partnership with AWS
CSO’s some progress on constraining their use with government action
Anglers against Pollution campaign
Closer linkages with River Trust on Environment Delivery and Monitoring via Citizen Science
Eastern Regional Shield Competition 12th Sept Bargate Drain Boston Anglers against
Paul Thomas gave an update on VBS and Enforcement of which across this spring VBS provided some 778 patrols and 1530 manhours of voluntary effort across the region. This resulted in 49 incidents reported with 30 of these passed through to either Police or EA.
He has organised many joint patrols over the closed season with excellent support from both Police and EA. Little evidence of illegal activity has been found during these patrols. He continues to visit police offering training on fisheries enforcement. Indeed one chief constable has now agreed to engage their PSO’s in SAFFA licence checks, which it is hoped a policy that follow in other forces, freeing up EA officers for more complex work.
We have launched an evaluation survey and supporting video looking at the objectives and achievements of the program. The video is available to view here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k42nIIvU2QQ
It was agreed that all members of the consultative should take part in the survey to provide feedback on this significant 4 year project . The survey link is https://forms.gle/UmzzdtKbKvSxnAuW8
Kelvin presented the early results from the survey which is struggling to gain momentum in its uptake. If we wish to attract these sort of funds to assist in angling development, then we must demonstrate the benefits of such funds, else angling will never progress forward.
The survey and video are now both available directly from the Angling Trust East of England Facebook Page, so please share across the respective clubs social media. https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FAnglingTrustEastEnglandRegion%2Fposts%2F1489286384751838
Darren Randell provided a verbal update on the work of the FBG team. Sadly Hugh is still awaiting back surgery and is on light duties. He reported that enforcement seemed relatively quite across the area, with sound progress on more staff obtaining warrants.
In terms of enforcement across the area, across Northants there has been 35 patrols and in Lincs 37 patrols with only 3 offences reported from these.
The ongoing Environmental Damage claim following the Witham pollution incident in 2018. This legal notice has now been served on Omex for a period of 10 years to replace lost and enhance habitat on the Witham. Whilst an enforcement action is awaiting court.
The area has successfully obtained £25,500 FIP grants for 3 further projects this year.
There has been a large volume of incidents relating to low DO and extreme weather last month. Both the Welland and Witham have been impacted.
A further 18,500 fish have been placed on order from Calverton for the coming year and stocking program.
Darren agreed to distribute a listing of vacant EA riverine fisheries across the area.
Welland Catchment Report
Chis discussed the work of WCP in restoring fishing rights at Burley Estates with Grantham AA. HE is working with Jake Reeds at the Quash/Welland confluence on future channel works and enhancement.
Nene Catchment Report
Victor highlighted the installation of floating eco islands at the embankment in Wellingborough. Restoration of the Electric Cut in Peterborough has gained all its necessary permits and is awaiting contract.
Deeping St James
Fish Refuge at Stibbington and River Nene at Wansford roadways and car parks resurfaced with new geotextile and limestone after damage and potholing over several Winters.
Fish Refuge at Stibbington Inlet channel dug out due to silting up over several Winters.
Platforms and bank repairs on the Nene at Wansford completed after Winter floods.
A second phase of floating islands installed at Horseshoe Lake after good results from first phase.
Horseshoe Lake habitat improvement on repaired bank underway, bank reinforcement project continues later in the year. Horseshoe lake solar power project almost complete to power electric fence and new security camera with remote 4g access to both.
Membership levels currently exceed the high levels seen at this point last year.
Club Day matches recommenced with very good attendance.
Water keepers reactivated for new season using our fish-i phone app for reporting and catch reports on Facebook. Looking to recruit more water keepers for the Nene area over the season.
Welland fish deaths, Jake Reeds attended, eutrophication problem again, after some negative EA comments published a web page to inform anglers on bigger/wider issues.
Stimulated a lot of social media discussion, the weed is seen as a failure by the club to remove it or the EA in maintenance.
John Newman sent in the following report
The big piece of news for P&DAA is our success in being able to secure the fishing rights on the Coronation Channel at Spalding. These rights are granted to us by the Environment Agency and the Association would like to thank the EA staff for their assistance and particularly to Jake Reeds.
The channel is now covered by P&DAA general membership and day tickets both of which must be bought online. The area will be regularly patrolled by Association bailiffs who will ensure the Association’s rules are followed particularly in respect of fish welfare.
We continue to hold our rights on the Welland from Four Mile Bar to the Spalding Yacht Club. In common with other users of the Welland we share our concerns of recent fish mortalities but believe Jake investigating this issue and await his findings.
We have also acquired a new stretch of the river Nene close to the A1/A47 junction which had been a notorious area for poaching and out of season fishing. This follows the landowner granting us permission to enforce a period of no fishing thus removing unwanted visitors and protecting their property from criminal damage and anti-social behaviour. This will be members only with no day tickets.
There has been a successful match programme at Ferry Meadows this spring with some promising results. Whilst we have not seen the very large individual bags of bream caught they have been caught quite widely across the two lakes rather than localised areas thus evening out the results making matches more competitive.
Before Covid and Lock down Hugh Bunker kindly surveyed and wrote a report with recommendations of habitat improvements to protect fish from cormorant predation at Ferry Meadows. We are pleased to report Nene Park are happy to do some habitat improvements in line with Hugh’s recommendations.
A further survey to look at the feasibility of re-joining Lynch Lake and Overton Lake was carried out in conjunction with Jake Reeds and a landscaping contractor. Amongst the undergrowth a sluice was found with about a foot difference in the water levels thus making the re-connection of the lake impossible without Lynch Lake draining away completely. It was hoped opening this up may have provided another refuge from predation.
This Sunday (4th July) sees P&DAA host a round of the Riverfest series on the Nene at Orton.
Club matches have been revived this year for those wishing to fish smaller, mostly river based, events for which we have a good level of interest.
The small lake at Orton has been otter fenced at Association expense and the contractor is just finishing off some snagging work to ensure there are no gaps before we add any fish stock. Once fully protected and stocked we aim to recommence junior events at this venue.
Current membership opened on 16th June and already exceeds 500 thus repeating the increase in membership seen last season.
We wish all clubs, societies and associations in the Nene, Welland and Witham catchments the very best for the coming season.
John Newman, P&DAA Secretary
John provided a compressive update to the meeting, which highlighted
Low water temperatures has resulted in significant large brown trout being caught
It is also aided by the new catch and release policy, meaning the stock levels are at their best ever for Rutland water.
Water levels remain high.
John is undertaking a survey of invertebrates around the shoreline to ascertain feeding and habitats.
Seumas gave a report on Pitsford and Ravensthorpe
The recent hot weather took its toll on trout fishing briefly but it has now recovered. The average catch rate in the latest week was 4.75 trout (season average 6.9).
The fishery organises a Tuesday evening session from May to August, where beginners are paired up with experienced anglers (boat fishing).
Predator lure fishing from boats resumed in May and spinning for trout is permitted in July and August.
Weekly figures are not published. The fishing is still reasonably good for the time of year, though catch rates are lower than in April – May. It typically becomes challenging in the Summer as the water heats up. Dry flies and washing line methods are working, depending on the conditions.
Mid Northants Trout Fishers Association News
The club is running its normal competition schedule with social distancing, but no meals afterwards.
Social fishing days are held weekly on Tuesdays from March to June and September to October; mainly at Pitsford and Ravensthorpe.
Membership has increased and is now just over 100.
Our monthly coaching sessions at Pitsford run from April to October. This year they are focussed on casting, tackle tips and watercraft. Kev Rowley has updated our training materials on aquatic invertebrates which is popular with youngsters. We are also providing sessions for Wellingborough Nene AC.
All thought the zoom experience worked well and it could a solution for further meetings.
The date of our next meeting:
20th or 27th Oct 2021 18:30 for 19:00 via zoom