FISHING and the chance of a potential British record pike have been saved at top predator and trout waters Chew Valley and Blagdon Lake.
Bristol Water sparked major concern when they did a review last year of all their activities but emergency talks look like fishing has been saved at the Somerset meccas.
Both venues are tipped to officially break the long-standing 46 lb 13 oz British record, and Chew has its latest pike sessions happening this month.
The Angling Support Group was created by Bristol Water fisheries manager John Harris after major concerns about the future of fishing at Chew prompted the intervention of the Angling Trust.
An initial meeting between the Trust and the fishery owners brought a commitment to keep the fishery open for 2018 – but now the longer-term future looks resolved.
Pike ace Carl Garrett, who was appointed as the pike fishing rep on the group, said: “The main news to come out of the first meeting is that the BW board have said that they wish to retain the fishery as it is.
“And they said monies are to be invested which is some very positive news for the future pike fishing and BW Fisheries.”
‘The angling future looks rosy’
Fisheries manager John Harris told Angler’s Mail: “There were many ill-founded rumours last year that the fishing at Chew was in jeopardy and the water might have to close.
“This was all because Bristol Water decided to conduct a review of its operations but this applied to all their sectors and not just the fishing.
“The angling future looks rosy with a commitment to continue to operate with extra funding put in, including some extra staffing.
“We will have a couple of new posts for rangers, and we will be looking at better ways to engage with our customers and the local community and also maximise our income.
“The Angling Support Group I have set up has 12 appointed members chosen to represent the various angling interests at all our waters, and includes the Angling Trust.
“The aims of the group are broadly to offer suggestions on how BW can improve the visitor experience on all our waters and to monitor progress on changes which are implemented.
“We introduced a new online system this year for applying for places on the pike trial days which was generally well received, reducing the hours that people previously had to wait hanging on the phone to try to get through.
“Our auction of tickets on eBay has also gone well as have the sale of predator season tickets.
“The pike fishing last year was brilliant at Chew and I feel very positive about the future.
“No decision has yet been reached on whether last year’s first ever fly-only pike trials at Blagdon, which produced some amazing fish, will be repeated and if so what the format will be,” he concluded.
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