Arctic weather takes its toll on day-ticket fisheries countrywide

Anglers across the country are bracing themselves for a winter of bitter fishing conditions as the earliest snow and sub-zero temperatures for 13 years hit the UK.

With some parts of Britain experiencing temperatures nearing minus 20 degrees Celsius, waters have been frozen nationwide, leading to deserted banks and a host of cancelled matches.

The extreme weather has left many in the angling community fearing a repeat of last year’s big freeze, which not only led to months of hardship on the bank, but a large number of fish deaths as waters suffocated under the blanket of ice.

“We’re completely frozen over here,” Alan McDiermid, owner of Makins Fishery in the Midlands, told Angling Times. “We’ve had just four anglers all week, although plenty have come into the car park, taken one look at the ice and driven back out again.

“The ice is a concern because we had more fish deaths than usual last year during the freeze. All we could do was break the ice every day, but we also had worries over whether the shock of doing that actually caused more damage to the fish than the ice itself.” Angel of the North Lakes in County Durham is also suffering as the temperatures plummet. “We haven’t had an angler here in a week,” fishery technician Rick Bennett told AT. “The lakes are frozen with 10 inches of snow on them.

We had a few fish deaths last year due to the ice, but not too many. We prefer to break the ice just once a week as we think the vibrations caused from smashing it can cause damage to the fish.” One fishery that’s taking the freezing conditions in its stride, though, is Lindholme Lakes in Doncaster.

“We’re a bit more prepared for the ice this year,” fishery boss Neil Grantham told AT. “I’m leaving our paddle aerators on each of the lakes running 24 hours a day to keep the water moving. That keeps 50 per cent of the pegs free of ice and protects our stocks. I’d advise all fisheries to do it if they can.” Those looking for a thaw any time soon could well be disappointed. According to the Met Office the low temperatures are here to stay for a good while.

“Normally, our winds come from the west, keeping our winters relatively mild,” said the Met Office’s Chief Meteorologist, Ewen McCallum. “However, just like last winter, we’ve seen a large area of high pressure develop in the Atlantic, causing a ‘block’ to the westerly winds that tend to keep us that little bit milder. This has allowed cold Arctic air to move south across mainland Europe. As we head into December there appears to be no abrupt end to this cold and snowy weather for some time.”