In his popular weekly blog for this Angler's Mail website, Colin Mitchell asks councils to re-consider fishing on closed off lakes .

ANGLING – as we all know – is a great pastime.

In many areas fishing is praised for getting problem youngsters off the streets.

Those members of the public who know better also realise that allowing anglers onto river and lake banks means that places can be safer environments as our presence will deter vandals, drug dealers and other unsavory characters.

There is no denying that anglers are the first line of defence when it comes to keeping an eye on environmental hazards such as sewage and pollution leaks.

Yet, at the same time, angling and anglers are vilified in other areas as being cruel – there is no evidence – and for being litter louts. Sadly the litter tag sticks. Often nowadays it’s not anglers leaving rubbish at the waterside. But we still get the blame. We still suffer.

Last week I was trolling local maps to see if I could find some waters I had not yet discovered. Surprisingly, I came across a few local lakes within 15 miles of home that I had never heard of. A bit more research revealed just why I had not heard of them – fishing was banned! The reasons given by the local council were:

  • Often rubbish is left which is not only unsightly but in the case of discarded line and hooks can lead to injury to wildfowl.
  • Fishing tackle such as hooks and line accidentally lost can again lead to bad injury to wildfowl on the ponds.
  • General disturbance of wildfowl around the pond, a particular problem at breeding time.
  • Disturbance to residents living nearby.

The same council allows fishing, via a club, at another local lake. So my question is…why don’t they allow a club or clubs to take over those venues where fishing is currently banned? Or even rent the lakes out to a private operator, like my own local council do.

Lots of rivers and canals are no longer available to angling purely because of problems getting to the waterside, especially with parking. When easily accessible lakes are there to be fished we should be fighting to get them opened up, pointing out the benefits. But we must also ensure that those so-called anglers who are actually just litter louts are BANNED from these and any other waters where they leave rubbish.

I also checked if dog walkers are allowed around these lakes where fishing is banned. They are…so I presume someone keeps a check on pooper scooping.

Dog dirt is far more hazardous to humans that fishing is to wildlife. So there has to be a good case for angling to be given the green light. We are told that local authorities and government need more cash. Err…day tickets or leases to clubs would raise money.

Does your local council outlaw angling on any venues that could be used for fishing? Is that ban unfair? Let us know…

Blog MitchThere are elections pending and when politicians need some votes it’s a great time to ask a few questions about why fishing is outlawed.

The conditions looked right this week so I headed off to a club stretch of river where I fancied a few fish might get their heads down. This is somewhere you can park but there are long walks and not every peg holds fish. No surprise that there was no one there mid-week and maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised that only the first peg on the length looked like it had been fished; the easiest walk.

I trolled off to the bottom of the stretch and worked my way back up. One ripped off lobworm on the straight leger convinced me to change to the float and maggot – which brought gudgeon, small dace and some roach. The fishing probably wasn’t enough to make many anglers chance their luck on the stretch. But I didn’t half have a good short session taking in the scenery, enjoying running a stick float through for a change and catching different species.