It’s local fishing for local people
Ask any fishery owner and they will tell you that most people will only travel 30 minutes for their regular fishing. That’s just a few miles in today’s traffic.
Because most people live in towns and cities our urban fisheries are among the most important we have. But they are often among the most overlooked — decades of pollution and dereliction have made many anglers and the general public turn their backs.
Although some urban fisheries are still under pressure through development or closure, the story today is far rosier than at first seems.
What’s in your back yard?
Through huge efforts and major investments hundreds of miles of rivers and canals running through our towns and cities are now cleaner than in living memory and fish stocks are thriving right in your back yard! And many will improve even more as the Water Framework Directive is implemented over the next few years.
More good news is that the fishing in these recovered waters is usually free or by reasonably priced day ticket. So if you think your local river or canal is still fishless give it a try. You could be surprised by the results.
We are also working with Local Authorities and others to refurbish and re-open fishing access to urban ponds all over the country.
Check out our where to fish pages to find some great opportunities near you.
What you can do to help
Clubs and individuals can be on the look out and try to secure fishing rights recovering rivers for the public benefit.
Tell your local Environment Agency fisheries contact about any opportunities to improve or re-open access to urban fishing in your area.
What about trying to influence any local urban re-development projects to include better waterside access for angling? It would be tragic if opportunities were missed for want of an enquiry to the Council.
Some recent successes
Below are some examples of what can be achieved to create great fishing in urban areas as well as some projects we have in the pipeline.
Gnoll pond, in the centre of Neath, was devoid of fish due to many years of neglect and virtually empty due to a leak in the dam wall. Access to the pond was poor and the site much under utilised by the general public.
We approached the local council to try and improve the site for recreation and now in partnership with Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council new life has been breathed into the site. A great community fishery and improved recreational amenity for the people of Neath has been created.
The first phase was to fix the leak in the dam and return the water levels back to normal providing much improved conditions for fish and other wildlife present within the pond. As well as a range of wildlife enhancements such as an island for nesting birds we have now stocked over 30,000 mixed coarse fish and constructed 6 “all ability” angling platforms and a walkway.
Anyone who now wants to fish the pond will have the opportunity to do so at little or no cost. Particular priority is given to local youth groups, the elderly, disadvantaged and disabled groups. In partnership with Skewen Angling Club, who will take over the fishery management, the site will be used for angling participation events and look to introduce local people to angling in a safe controlled environment.
Since completion the membership numbers of Skewen Angling club has increased from 200 to 300 in just 1 year as a direct result of the development works. Angling in the area is now an up- and - coming recreational pursuit and many local kids are getting involved.
Other great examples from around the country include:
Cardiff Bay Barrage – once coal black and polluted the Taff has been dammed and a brand new fishery right in Cardiff’s heart is teeming with fish. We worked with the Council to maximise access and get an angling development officer appointed.
Hemlington Lake Middlesborough
The lake has transformed from a crime hotspot to a haven for families and anglers.
Bideford and Filham ponds
We created completely new fishing ponds in an area hard pressed for coarse fishing opportunity. Many new anglers have resulted.
- class="standard">Tom Thumb Lake in Dagenham
- class="standard">Grange Pond Long Eaton
- class="standard">Bideford Pond Scheme
And there’s more in the pipeline
- The river Wensum that flows through the heart of Norwich is re-establishing itself as a top roach fishery and is set to give even better sport to Norwich anglers.
- A completely new fishing pond is planned for central Exeter.
- We are working on a new low-cost fishery and associated green space at Rhyl Western Cut on a flood alleviation channel close to the third most deprived area in Wales.
- Charlton Brook Dam Sheffield — we are working with a community group and Sheffield City Council to restore a fishery in Chapeltown.
- View the Friends of Chartlon Brook website