Blog

15 April

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This update covers the last two weeks, there was no internet access in the wilds of Cumbria last week !

Lakes – during the first week of April trout were rising freely at Little Bognor taking buzzers. Either a dry fly or nymph fished just under the surface, produced a fish or two. Members visited the lakes on 52 occasions and caught a total of 95 trout, 79 of which were returned.

Last week the weather was bright and cold, members visited the lakes on 70 occasions and caught 116 trout, 88 of which were returned. A number of dead fish have been found at the lakes and this is thought to be the result of poor handling when returning the fish. If a fish is deeply hooked or bleeding, please do not return it.

A number of much larger rainbow trout have been stocked and members may wish to increase the strength of their tippets !

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River – the water level and colour were perfect but the rain and snow showers discouraged members from visiting the river on opening morning. The water level was constant through the opening week. Last week the bright, cold conditions were not helpful. Three fish have been caught which is better than the opening weeks of last season when the Beast from the East made the river unfishable.

There is no weed cover at this time of year and a weighted nymph fished through the deeper pools and under bushes is the best tactic. Warmer weather is forecast for the end of the week and that may encourage the fish to feed.

1 April

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Lakes – the weather throughout the week was excellent and members took the opportunity to visit all the lakes. Members visited the lakes on 74 occasions and caught a total of 125 trout, the catch was spread evenly across the lakes. A fish of 5lbs was caught at Upper Figgs and two wild trout were caught at Little Bognor. Members continued to return a high proportion of the fish, 91 were caught and released.

Midges are hatching in good numbers and fish were rising to the dry fly at Little Bognor this afternoon. Olives are starting to hatch at Little Springs. Large numbers of small roach are shoaling on the surface at Great Springs and Little Springs. The most productive fly last week was the Montana.

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River – the river is in excellent condition and should provide good sport on Wednesday when it opens. The water is at a normal level and has lost the colour from the rain two weeks ago.

 

 

25 March

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Lakes – unlike last year the weather during most of the opening week was excellent for fishing, overcast with a gentle breeze. A total of 174 trout were caught which is a record start to the season. Members visited the lakes on 81 occasions, 136 fish were returned.

Little Springs was the most productive lake including two fish of 3lb 8ozs and an over wintered fish of 4lb 8ozs. Upper Figgs produced trout of 3lb 8ozs and 5+lbs, both of which were returned.  Two wild fish were caught at Little Bognor. A high pressure system over the country this week will see warm settled weather which should encourage further hatches of grannom and midges.

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River – the river is in excellent condition and opens on Wednesday 3 April.

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Lost property – these Ray Ban sunglasses are on the top of the stuffed fish in the club house for the owner to claim.

18 March – New Season

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Lakes – the lakes have all been stocked and some good fish have already been caught  from Little Springs. The fish are in excellent condition and it is good to see that the majority have been returned to the water. Black flies have been successful in the slightly coloured water.

AGM – the meeting was well attended and after the club’s business had been completed, everyone was entertained by Simon Cooper who gave a talk about chalkstreams.

Membership – the membership cards  for the new season will be posted shortly, in the meantime members should sign in with their membership number from last season. Please sign-in before starting to fish as this ensures members safety and accurate catch returns.

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Landing nets – a national byelaw makes it illegal to use landing nets with knotted mesh. This byelaw ensures that fish are returned to the water unharmed. If you have an old landing net and intend to return trout, replacement mesh can easily be obtained online.

Fishing Licence – please remember to renew your licence. You can apply online using the government portal. There are a number of scam websites that charge exorbitant booking fees, the official website is as follows . . .

https://www.gov.uk/fishing-licences/buy-a-fishing-licence

 

AGM and Lakes

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Annual General Meeting

The AGM will be held at 6pm, on Friday 15 March at the Leconfield Hall, Petworth. The AGM is an excellent opportunity for members to meet fellow fishermen and we encourage you to attend.

After the formal proceedings Simon Cooper the author, conservationist and fishing agent will give a talk about otters and his book ‘The Otters Tale’. After the talk there will be canapés and drinks for which the Committee has decided not to charge. Please bring your partner or a guest as Simon is a very entertaining speaker and his talk will be of interest to non-anglers.

Please email the Estate office (emma.goode@leconfieldestates.co.uk) if you are planning to attend, so that we can get a rough idea of numbers and can cater adequately.

 

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Lakes

The lake season starts on Saturday, 16 March. The catch and release trial on the rainbow lakes will run until Sunday, 19 May unless the weather is exceptionally hot.

Barbless flies will be on sale in the fishing hut at Great Springs.

Please renew your membership before the start of the season and remember to renew your fishing licence.

Lake Maintenance and Membership Fees

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Great Springs – the water level was lowered in early December to expose the roots of the Spiked Water-milfoil growing in the shallows. Spiked Water-milfoil is a very invasive plant and it is extremely difficult to eradicate. The winter weather should kill the weed that is exposed to frost.

Lowering the water level rather than draining it completely, should enable some of the aquatic life to survive which will provide food for the stocked fish in 2019. Hopefully, this approach will preserve the mayfly nymphs, olive nymphs and bloodworm which will encourage the trout to rise.

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Lower Figgs – the lake was completely drained during the season because the Canadian pondweed, probably introduced in the spring by nesting waterfowl, had spread over the entire lake and made it impossible to fish.

The crystal clear shallow water and long hot summer provided ideal growing conditions for this invasive weed. The solution to the weed problem here had to be more radical than that adopted for Great Springs. The lake was drained and has been left fallow for several months. This should kill the weed on the dry lake bed and severely check the growth of the weed down the centre channel.

It is impossible to entirely eradicate Spiked Water-milfoil or Canadian pondweed but these measures should help ensure weed free fishing on those lakes for most of the new season. As well as our own staff, we have contractors ready to do hand-cutting should it be necessary. Both lakes will be refilled shortly and stocked with rainbow trout ready for the Opening Day on Saturday 16 March.

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Membership Fees – the membership renewal letters were sent out in early January together with details of the charges for 2019. Membership fees had not been increased for the previous three years but some of the fees have now been increased.

Junior membership and guest tickets have remained the same as 2018 and there will be no charge for the Annual General Meeting although refreshments will still be provided.

The increase in membership fees has been partially offset by a reduction in the stocking fee. Although the cost of stock fish has increased, stocking levels will not be reduced and this, coupled with the introduction of Catch and Release at the rainbow lakes, will enable members to catch more trout.

Please return the renewal form as soon as possible so that it can be processed in time for the start of the new season.