The stretch of river that produced the current UK record barbel is set to return to its former glory thanks to a ground-breaking project that’s transformed the troubled venue.
Adams’ Mill, situated on the River Great Ouse in Bedfordshire, once dominated the big barbel scene as it produced no less than seven record fish - including Grahame King’s 21lb 1oz British best - until the small population of large fish was decimated by otters.
The stretch was largely deserted by anglers but there is now light at the end of the tunnel as an Environment Agency electrofishing operation revealed that large numbers of double-figure specimens to over 13lb are once again residing in the venue - a direct result of years of habitat improvement and re-stockings.
Not only have the barbel re-established themselves, but EA surveys have also revealed that the resident fish are now spawning successfully.
“More and more people are beginning to discover that the glory days are well on their way back to this idyllic fishery,” said Trevor Johnson, chairman of Milton Keynes Angling Association, who control the stretch.
“The trouble with this venue was that there was a group of very big fish, but there were very few small fish coming through. The gravel areas at Adams’ Mill were so silted up the barbel couldn’t spawn or breed successfully.
“But the EA, along with help from local angling clubs, have invested over £10,000 into research, improvement work and re-stockings and the venue’s future is looking bright.”
Not only did the recent survey reveal large numbers of double figure barbel in Adams’ Mill, but they were also discovered in the adjoining stretch upstream near Wolverton.
“There’s no reason why these barbel can’t reach record proportions once again,” said Paul Wilkanowski, fisheries and biodiversity officer for the Environment Agency.
“This success is a direct result of years of regeneration work. We are going to continue to improve gravel beds and spawning grounds, plus we’ve already planted more tree along the banks of Adam’s Mill to give the resident fish plenty of cover.”
To find out more about fishing Adams’ Mill visit: www.mkaa.co.uk