I de­cided to grow some on.

Anglers Mail - - Pike -

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.

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