Natural features to protect venue's stocks


With its fish sanctuaries, strict bio-security measures and frequent water quality checks, could this be the future face of commercials in Britain?

In an era of 600lb match weights of carp, the venue is part of a new breed of ‘fish friendly’ waters.

Designed with the welfare of fish and wildlife as the number one priority, Homeclose Fishery, near Oakham in Rutland, opens its doors to the public on Monday, July 21 and has taken a series of measures to safeguard the health of its fish, including:

● Safe ‘sanctuaries’ to allow fish somewhere to rest away from angling pressure. These include a dense reedbed area which is ideal for spawning, underwater islands and back bays in islands that are out of the reach of anglers. Shallow bars also provide ideal conditions for invertebrates to breed, providing fish with a balanced diet.

● Weekly checks to monitor water quality and keep the dissolved oxygen content at 5mg/ltr, a healthy level for fish to live. The lakes are reed-lined to add more oxygen.

● Reedbed filters remove excess nutrients and reduce eutrophication, protecting invertebrates and other wildlife.

● Strict bio-security policies, including net dips and regular inspections of fish.

Fishery manager Martin Tomlinson, a keen angler with a diploma in fish management, has been ‘disgusted’ by the enormous match weights produced by some waters, so decided to run Homeclose very differently.

“I want to show what can be done at a lower stocking density of about 600lb of fish per acre. Some fisheries operate at densities of up to four times this – it’s ludicrous. There are too many fish in these places for them to cope naturally and fish can’t get away from angling pressure,” said Martin.

But Roy Marlow, another commercial water owner who makes fish welfare paramount at his Mallory Park and Glebe Fisheries in Peckleton, Leicestershire, doesn’t think the actual stocking density is as important as other factors in fisheries.

“It’s not about how many fish you’ve got, it’s how many happy fish you have. Lots of fishery owners don’t do enough homework when stocking their lakes – you wouldn’t see a farmer suddenly putting another 500 cows in his field without thinking about it. The consequences could be very costly and it’s the same in commercial lakes,” said Roy.