Friday, 3 December 2010

No gill nets planned for Chew Valley pike

CHEW: No gill nets, says Bristol Water

Pike at Chew Valley reservoir are not set to be culled by gill netting, it has emerged. But some fish will be removed using seine nets and re-located to other waters, the PAC has been told.

Club president Tim Kelly contacted fishery boss Bob Handford over claims a cull was imminent on the Westcountry water, after complaints from trout anglers.

While the lake has produced a string of 30lbs-plus pike so far this winter, there are fears trout fishing is suffering.

In his reply to Tim, Mr Handford said: "We have made no secret of the fact that we are going to be carrying out some seine netting in the near future and that if we manage to catch pike, some of these will be removed to other waters. At present I have requests from five other fisheries for pike though it is doubtful that we will catch enough to supply them all.

"Initially we were planning to remove fish of ten pounds or below but several anglers have suggested leaving some smaller fish and taking slightly larger fish in case we remove all males. We will not be removing any pike weighing above twelve pounds or do any netting other than seine at present."

Mr Handford said utility firm Bristol Water, which runs the reservoir, was aware of its importance as a pike fishery.

"The pike fishing is now an important part of Bristol Water Fisheries," he said. "We realise what a remarkable facility we have here and would not wish to do anything drastic that would affect future pike fishing.

"But our main business is still trout fishing and we must ensure that Chew Valley remains as one of the top trout fisheries. Without the trout and trout fishing income we know that the pike fishing would soon decline or fail. Removing what would be an insignificant number of small pike may encourage the trout fishermen without affecting the future pike catches.

"I hope this may help a little in alleviating your members concerns and assure you that our wish is to run Chew Valley for the enjoyment and satisfaction of all our customers."

Tim Kelly said: "After hearing some concern voiced by our members over the future of pike fishing at Chew, and the motivation behind the proposed netting on the lake I wrote to Bob Handford, the fishery manager.

"He kindly replied and the future for pike fishing appears to be in good hands. In a generally encouraging letter Mr Handford was very aware of how special his lake is as a pike fishery and doesn't wish to see that side of his fishing damaged.

"We are very encouraged to see trout reservoir management teams taking the facility of good pike fishing seriously in their management plans and feel this can only bode well for the future for pike fishing, pike anglers and the long term business success of what are, primarily, trout fisheries."

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