Time called on carp-only lakes


Fishery owners who put ‘all their eggs in one basket’ by stocking their lakes entirely with carp could face an uncertain future.

That’s the opinion of one of the UK’s leading venue owners, David De Vere, who believes a clear transition period is under way whereby a growing number of visitors want to roll back the years and enjoy ‘traditional mixed fishing’.

And it’s not just anglers visiting David’s four-lake Bury Hill Fisheries complex in Surrey who are keen to target species other than carp. A nationwide trend seems to be emerging, with Angling Times readers recently voting both tench and roach ahead of carp in the search for ‘the nation’s favourite species’.

“I genuinely think that waters that are just stocked with only carp will be left behind because too much of one thing gets boring, and fishing is no different. The need for variety is becoming more apparent,” said David.

“Carp are still crucial to our sport, which is why I still cater for both specimen and match anglers, but the AT poll proved that there is a massive demand for traditional fishing, which is something that we’ve always given our customers as well. Even more emphasis will be put on this in the future.

An increasing number of anglers want mixed fishing in a beautiful natural environment and not sat shoulder to shoulder catching carp on a barren featureless lake. We’d be foolish as a sport not to give them what they want,” he added.

To this end, David will be stocking a further half a ton of tench into the Old Lake at Bury Hill by the end of this month, but he is not alone in realising the shifting tastes of visiting anglers, with a number of his fellow fishery bosses up and down the country following suit.

One of these is Andy Seery, who runs Stafford Moor Fishery in north Devon.
“Tench and silverfish are massively popular at my fishery and I firmly believe that fishing for them makes you a better and more adaptable angler.

I’m not saying that nobody wants to fish for carp any more, because anglers still love them, but I believe visitors should have a choice of species at their disposal.

There’s huge demand for our silverfish matches, and I’d advise carp-orientated fisheries to seriously consider branching out. Some owners might disagree, but I’ve not just stocked 2,400lb of silverfish and roach into Pines Lake for nothing.” Barford Lakes, in Norfolk, is another leading example of a quality mixed fishery and owner Sarah Thomson also believes that offering a variety of species is vital for future survival.

“I always encourage anglers to target the tench and silvers because they provide a great day’s sport and a superb alternative for match and pleasure rods when the carp aren’t feeding that well. Day-ticket anglers really appreciate variety and choice and I think too many waters these days only offer carp, carp and more carp.”