NCRA NewsMail

5 February 2019

Re Fishing on the meadows

Thanks to Charles Bint for the following comments and suggestion :

As an angler myself I understand the frustration of residents when they see the behaviour of many of the fishermen that frequent the meadows. 

As well as leaving their litter behind, they are mostly ill prepared for landing and handling the fish they catch with any care. 

In the instance of the live fish being used as bait for Pike, (which is the only fish in the lake capable of taking a bait of that size), the use of live bait in this manner has long been banned by many fishing clubs and I understand the distress of the person witnessing it. 

That said, it's worth remembering that a Pike of even a relatively moderate size (as I've occasionally seen in the lake), will naturally consume hundreds of other smaller fish during their lifetime, mostly unseen by the casual passer-by. 

Before anyone starts suggesting culling Pike I would remind them that Perch and Chub are also present and they too will enjoy a hearty meal of small fish on regular occasions, along with the Cormorant we sometimes see and of course the Kingfisher. they all form part of the natural food chain of the lake and all have a part to play in maintaining a healthy balanced environment.

The problem with the policing of the fishing is that there is no authority that appears willing to take ownership of the issue. 

It's clearly not an issue the Police should deal with, while the Council and the Environment Agency seem somewhat ineffective. 

I'd like to suggest therefore that the only way to prevent fishing on the meadows is to make the lake unfishable. 

The most environmentally friendly way for this is the dispersal of submerged snags in the form of rocks, boulders, logs, etc.. A relatively simple alternative is the hammering of steel rods or similar into the lake bed, with steel cable or wire stretched across them. 

This is a method that's been used on a relatively small scale on the Hare & Billet pond in Blackheath for anyone that wants to see what it looks like. The wires there are above the surface of the water but I have seen a similar practice used where the wires were placed under the water surface. 

They don't adversely affect the natural wildlife of the lake but create snags which make it impossible to fish with a line. 

It may take a while for the fishermen to realise this and I'm sure they'd continue for a while but eventually the message would get through, (it could even be an option for notices to be placed explaining that obstacles have been sited in the lake to prevent fishing).

I hope the above, if nothing else, promotes some useful discussion that may assist in preventing the lake from becoming an angling free for all, especially as the warmer weather approaches.