It has recently been brought to my attention that due to a technical difficulty with our current website a number of our members do not have access to the forum where over the past 18 months I have posted quite a bit of information regarding the fishing and stocking policy. I therefore think it worthwhile to do a brief summary in this newsletter to hopefully reach as many game anglers as possible.
There have been a number of questions/complaints during periods of high- water temperature when the fish are unresponsive and difficult to catch. Questions have been asked about the quality of the water and whether we have been stocking. Over the past two years we have been stocking over twice the amount of fish than the ticket sales warranted in an effort to encourage greater footfall at the fishery which in turn will allow us to stock on a more frequent basis. During the colder months when the water temperature is low, catch returns have been in the region of 80-95% and the only complaints I had were the fishing was too easy!! During the hot summer months catch returns plummet and members complain about no fish in the lakes.
I had water tests conducted during the hottest of the summer period at the worst time of day when the dissolved oxygen levels are at their lowest. The test results were excellent for dissolved oxygen levels, nitrates, nitrites and ammonia proving the water quality is fine and not the reason for the fish becoming difficult to catch. I had detailed discussions with two learned people in all things water and fishery related who have spent their working lives in the industry and are considered experts in their fields. One who is now retired is still called upon to lecture on the subject although nowadays he tends to do so only in Europe rather than around the rest of the world. Both independently came to exactly the same conclusion which is trout do not like high water temperatures, go off the feed and sulk around the bottom of the lake.
Question have also been raised regarding the clarity of the water and this is caused by the action of our aeration system which during the process of increasing the dissolved oxygen in the water, necessary to keep the fish alive during high water temperatures, does create a vortex from the bottom to the top of the lakes bringing with it very fine particles of sediment which are then suspended throughout the water table. Prior to last summer I discussed the situation with the installers of our aeration system and as a result we upgraded our system to one of a less violent nature but which still created the maximum possible level of dissolved oxygen. The effect was to increase the clarity of the water slightly but by the nature of the system a vortex is still present although to a slightly lesser degree. The benefit of the aeration system is it keeps the dissolved oxygen level high enough for us not to lose fish during the summer months but conversely the downside is the minute suspended solids which suppresses weed growth due to the cloudiness of the water. I will be notifying you all separately of a game meeting which I am looking to arrange for around the end of November and this is one of the subjects I would like members input to on the night.
The regular Wednesday work party have also created what we call a silt pond between the top and middle lakes. The water flow was altered so that all the water coming out of the top lake now goes through this pond to which weed, plants and bales of barley straw have been introduced to act as a filtration system. Over the last 18 months the plants etc. have matured really well and continue to thrive.
Coming right up to date, since the water temperatures started to fall, we have had two stockings of fish over a 6-week period but out of around 180-200 stocked only about 20 have been caught. Many of the members fishing have blanked and this is of great concern to me. I have discussed this with our fish supplier and he did say that very occasionally a batch of fish farmed fish can when introduced, sulk on the bottom and refuse to feed, sometimes for weeks. I have been assured there is nothing wrong with the fish and they will eventually spring into life. However, coming into what should be our most productive fishing time I do not feel it right to wait for what might be sulky fish to respond so have ordered a large stocking of fish from a different supplier and they are being delivered on Wednesday 30th October. This different strain of fish is more aggressive and the closest genetically to wild fish ever produced from a fish farm. They will be identifiable from previously stocked fish because they have a more reddish body colour and I’m assured they will aggressively feed from day one as they have been starved for the three days prior to delivery. I look forward to seeing better catch returns from Wednesday onwards.
I hope as many of our game anglers can attend the upcoming game meeting and look forward to any thoughts and suggestions you may have.
Bob Moody – Game Secretary