Work on Lake 5 commenced on Monday 17th September, after the lake had been sufficiently drained down to a level to expose all the snags around the sides of the banks and in the depths of the water.
Day 1 – With a team of volunteers, our staff and our machinery, the first surprise was to find a boat sunk in the middle of the lake. Made of fibre glass and full of silt, we had to get the Komatsu to drag it out! Other rubbish included bottles, luncheon meat tins (I wonder where they came from), and plenty of fallen branches, not to mention 1 tyre! Two sides of the lake are cleared of rubbish and tree branches and various other snags.
Day 2 – Four dead trees on the banks were felled last thing on Day 1, leaving us to log and remove them today. Another two dead trees have also been removed today. Four Strimmers were employed to cut down the brambles and bracken on all the banks of the lake. Several tree stump snags were removed from the centre of the lake. (Along with plenty of fishing lines, caught up over many years!
Day 3 – With one team in the water clearing more snags (tree stumps under the water) first thing, the other team unravelled the new seine net bought especially for the job. The net was carefully pulled round the edge of the lake and was then pulled slowly into the bank. It was a slow job, hindered by a few catches on small snags still in the water, such as twigs and branches settled in the silt but the snags were cleared and at the same time we pumped some more of the water out of the lake to reduce the level further.
Day 4 – Work on Lake 5 about done, but a couple of extra snags removed with our machine. After a bit of tidying around collecting some minor rubbish in the lake sides, we made a collective decision, based on a report done by Head Bailiff’s son Shane, to plough ahead and do the same to Lake 4!! Yes, we must be mad! But the result will be great. Work has also commenced on creating swims on Lake 5.
Day 5 – Progress seemed slower today, but 5 new swims have been created on Lake 5, with a plan to have 10 swims in total. We have been waiting for Lake 4 to drain down sufficiently to get in there and pull out the snags but it has taken the best part of the day to reduce the water level enough. This lake seems to have lots of tree debris around its sides which will need clearing before netting can be done. With the machine tied up working on new swims on lake 5, it was left to try and rake some of it up manually. It was hard going to move even some of it. Might have to wait for the machine to finish it off!
Day 6 – The end of a very productive week – Shattered! Lake 4 was even more snaggy than Lake 5, so clearance continued on removing branches and tree stumps in the lake, making use of the Machine during the morning to make light work of this. Afternoon was spent netting the lake and a good result with a large number of Carp, (mostly Common, but a couple of Mirrors and 1 Cruscian!), Perch and Roach. As before, all Carp under 10lb in Lake 6, Perch in Lake 2 and all Silverfish went into the now snag free Lake 5.
Lake 5 has been turned into a silverfish lake with Roach and Rudd. There are a couple of Carp that evaded capture, still in there, so any one who catches them can let us know their sizes. This lake is ideal for children to fish. Lake 4 has been cleared of fish with plans for stocking of other fish in mind.
Lakes 6 and 7 have additional stocks of Carp. With Lake 7 being stocked with Carp over 10lb to create a Specimen Lake and lake 6 has an increase of Carp under 10lb (average of 4lb) with over 50 Carp going in from both lakes 4 & 5.
Planning for the whole fishery is still in its infancy, but a plan is being formulated. Netting the two lakes has given us some information about the stocks and the state of the lakes. Draining them down has allowed us to work on tidying them up and create new swims.
Lake 5 will be aimed at children fishing silverfish, but will be able to accomodate matches for up to 10 people with some additional stocking.
Lake 7 with its larger carp will become our Specimen Lake and is available to book/reserve for matches.
Lake 6 with an additional stock of Carp is the best all round day ticket lake and can be booked for matches to accomodate around 18 people.
Thanks again go to all our bailiffs and volunteers who have given up their time this week, to make this possible. Without there enthusiasm and support this would not have been possible. Well done everybody.