On 28th Jan the Environment Agency came to do a netting for small fish removal to improve the water going forward.

An early start saw a good number of volunteers pitch up to assist. A first sweep of the main body of the lake (as you come up the path) saw the expected big bag of small silvers. These were hand sorted, any quality fish returned to Franks and the small stuff (roach and bream) taken by the EA. They filled their tank on the first sweep and started filling a cage to return the next day for any surplus.

We then had a second sweep of the other side of the island from pegs 13 down to 4. This resulted in a surprising return. Hardly any small fish. There were numerous decent skimmers and roach caught but all were too big to remove and so all were returned to Franks – there was literally one small hand net worth of small stuff.

We then did a 3rd sweep, covering a similar area to the first but tighter to the islands and covering a slightly larger area. This returned absolutely nothing. I’m not sure whether there was a technical issue with the net deployment but for whatever reason nothing was caught.

As it was a foul day and the remaining area in front of peg 2 is very shallow in parts and doesn’t net well, we called it a day at that. The EA decided to cram the caged fish into the tank and get it finished in one go.

The estimated weight of fish removed is 220 – 250lbs, which I think everyone would agree was less than expected. Whilst it was made up of many thousands of mouths which will benefit the lake going forward (not eating the food or producing waste therefore improving water quality) it remains to be seem just how many fish were missed.

I estimate that there are about 140 carp present – we caught 8. Of the 250-300 crusians stocked, we caught none. We had a handful of tench and no slabs of note. So we didn’t learn a lot really, we know they’re in there but they didn’t show. The EA guys knew what they were doing and the lake netted well but for whatever reason, returns were disappointing. Some quality roach and perch were caught but not many.

So we had a successful day in terms of small fish removal, all be it less than envisaged and everyone had an interesting and enjoyable day.

The club looked at buying its own net but as the EA did the netting and health checks for free we decided against this. With hindsight this was a good move.

We will assess fishing returns next season, hopefully they will improve again, but as Darren from the EA stated that most of the fish removed were last Summer’s spawning, we will consider netting again next Winter if necessary.

The only fish currently planned for stocking for 2017 are some small/medium tench. We will continue with the feed regime and hopefully maintain the progress seen this year with growth and condition improvements.

Thanks to all those that attended for their assistance and to Mike Japp for sorting with the EA.