Angler backlash over plans to relocate specimen fish


Plans to move large numbers of huge coarse fish from a 60-acre Cheshire mere to a small day-ticket ‘superwater’ nearby have sparked a furious backlash from local anglers.

Two weeks ago, Premier Fisheries boss Cyril Brewster revealed in Angling Times that he was considering netting Doddington Lake, near Nantwich, and relocating its resident specimens - including carp to over 40lb, bream to 14lb, pike to 30lb and perch exceeding 4lb - into an adjacent six-acre venue in order to make them ‘more accessible’ to anglers.

But the proposal has now been met with vociferous protest from the northern specimen angling community, who have issued a strong ‘hands-off’ warning to those behind the plans.

One Doddington regular is so concerned that he is working behind the scenes to turn the historic mere into a syndicate, and claims he has already taken calls from more than 100 people interested in joining.

The angler, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Angling Times: “I am horrified by the plans and feel something needs to be done. I cut my teeth on the venue, and even though I blanked for my first six full seasons it was the challenge of catching one of the stunning resident fish that drew me back.” Northern big-fish all-rounder Gary Knowles knows Doddington well and has thrown his full support behind the campaign to stop the fish being relocated.

“I would back this syndicate 100 per cent if it meant the stock would be left alone. If the fish are moved into a small day-ticket water, they will die. Maybe not in a week or a month, but extra angling pressure and mishandling will take their toll on these fish because they simply aren’t used to it,” he said.

Noted big-bream specialist Graham Marsden also fears for the future of the fish if they are moved: “I used to fish Doddington many years ago and caught double-figure bream, as well as specimen tench and carp. Yes, it is a difficult water, but so are all the Cheshire meres, and it is this challenge that makes catching fish from there so rewarding.

“Bream don’t cope with being moved, and nine times out of 10 they either lose weight or die.

A lot of the fish in there are very old and wouldn’t cope with the stress of being relocated.” Mr Brewster told AT that the plans have only come about as a result of fish welfare issues: “I want to stress that these are only plans at the moment, and nothing final has been decided.

“The reason we are looking at moving some of the stock is to prevent a fish-kill similar to the one which happened in 1989 due to an algal bloom.”