I decided to grow some on.
Cameras at Kings Weir Fishery, in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, will focus on the River Lea Project, a scheme that involves growing fingerling barbel in a tank before releasing them into the river.
The venue was once famous for its barbel, and the pioneer of barbel fishing, the late, great Fred Crouch, was one of its regular visitors.
This project is run by Andrew Tredgett, son-in-law of longtime owner Barbara Newton, who lives by the fishery.
Andrew, a 32-year-old garage manager, explained: “The fishery and the river had gone into decline since its heyday, when it was possible to catch as many as 30 chub over 4 lb in a session. Barbel were also plentiful.
“I decided that something needed to be done to improve things, so we managed to get a number of groups together in Andrew Tredgett
order to plan a strategy.
“I was concerned that too much clearance work had been done on our fishery.
“One of the biggest problems is the build-up of silt since they rebuilt the weir. It slowed down the flow of the river, covering the gravel with silt, which makes spawning difficult for barbel.
“I felt that re-stocking the river with juvenile fish wasn’t really the answer, because their survival rate is small, so I decided to grow some on in a large tank that I acquired for the back garden.
“I bought a number of fish in different size classes from 4 to 12 in., and although I suffered a few losses at first, they are now growing fine.
“I plan to release them around December next year, when they will be in the
1-2 lb category.
“I reckon I have 140-150 fish, which I will put in a back stream, to allow them to acclimatise.
“My plan is to try to breed barbel from the river itself, as they are slightly different from those elsewhere, being shorter and more stocky. This would involve capturing barbel, collecting eggs, and artificially fertilising them. I also hope to rear some roach and chub.
“We had a meeting with the EA and are planning to apply for funding for more work on the river, looking at ways of narrowing parts to increase the flow, cleaning the existing gravel, and building new gravel beds.
“If we all pull together we can get the river back to something like its former glory,” he concluded.