Environment Agency keep their promises

December 14, 2017 at 7:01 pm

As part of fishery improvements in my area, the Environment Agency had promised a restocking programme on a variety of waters, inviting me along on a whistle stop tour accompanying their unique fish delivery vehicle this week.

First stop was Roundmoor ditch, which carries the outfall from a Water Treatment works of a large town, into the River Thames. Once known as the “Mucky Ditch” for obvious reasons, it now runs bright and clear, offering a stable environment for fish. Acting as a natural barrier between the town and a medieval common, the banks have been eroded due to the grazing of cattle over many years, increasing the width and reducing the depth. Part of the ongoing work is to rebuild the banks, adding fish holding berms, while fencing the banks to protect them from cattle. Last year there was an initial restocking of dace, chub and roach and this week the Agency were back with another five hundred each of roach and chub to boost the stock.

Fish farm worker Nick Gill had driven down from the E A’s Calverton, Notts fish rearing facility that morning, getting straight into action seeding this fast flowing stream with its allocation of fish. With a schedule to keep, Nick was soon on his way to the next drop.

Ten miles south is another Thames tributary, the River Cut, where the Agency have been working on an ambitious plan for months, clearing banks and creating berms to speed up this mud filled channel, which is part of a green corridor between new houses and a major road on one side and an established housingĀ estate on the other. Despite many years of neglect as a convenient dumping ground for unwanted shopping trolleys among other things, beneath the surface, shoals of roach and chub have been quietly providing excellent sport to those prepared to battle their way through to the banks.

This has now changed with the formation of the council backed Braybrooke Community and Nature Fishing Club, whose aim it is to promote fishing as a healthy outdoor activity for all ages in the local area. Given control of this council owned land, the Club, which has raised money through varies schemes and aided by the Environment Agency, are well on the way to achieving their goal, with the provision of fishing platforms for fit and disabled anglers.

Watched by an appreciative audience of council workers, Nick was busy again emptying tanks holding twelve hundred chub, and a thousand roach to replace fish lost following a series of oil spillages into the river.

Working next to one of the recently created fishing platforms, Nick also introduced a thousand dace into the water, the dace, though not a naturally occurring fish this far from the Thames, will thrive once the berm work has been completed.

Last port of call for the day, was the short drive to Braybrooke’s Jeane’s Pond for a delivery of three hundred small tench, to replace two thousand small roach netted out by the Agency a year ago, which were moved to another town water.

Given the honour of introducing the tench to Jeane’s Pond, club secretary Danny has been invaluable; his experience in the Police Force and as a council officer, has allowed him to negotiate a way through the paper work jungle needed to raise funds and to gain permission for the bank works, from associated nature organisations based around the river Cut.

Disappointing those poised with cameras waiting for him to take a header into the pond, non fisherman Danny hopes to find time to take up the sport next year.