Call for anglers to dig deep

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Dig deep for the future of angling as we know it, folks – and cough-up a few quid for the Roach Restoration Project!

This week the Canal & River Trust’s fisheries team – together with MKAA (pledging £1,000), Northampton Nene and Tring – have launched an appeal to protect the future of canal silver-fishing.

They aim to raise at least £5,000 from individual anglers to help fund action plans to regenerate silverfish species (especially roach) from Braunston, south down through Milton Keynes and beyond.

In recent decades zander, a highly efficient alien predator species, have decimated silver-fishing north of Braunston but were prevented from spreading south by a compressed-air ‘curtain’ of bubbles.

But that ‘bubble curtain’ was inadvertently interrupted – allowing some Zs through – and they’ve been breeding and establishing a rapidly growing population ever since...

Small ones have featured regularly in match catches around Stoke Bruerne for two years now, big zander have been caught around Blisworth, and a 4-pounder by Roger Stratton (pictured above) at Cosgrove lock earlier this year.

Co-incidentally there’s been a noticeable decline in roach catches north of Grafton.

Plans to reverse the damage include: moving Zs – from New Bradwell through to Braunston (including the Northampton Arm) by electro-fishing – to areas where they ARE wanted; re-establishing the ‘bubble curtain’ to stop them coming back; and improving roach spawning areas.

Prior to the latest move C&RT had already added thousands of pounds-worth of silvers to local sections during the past couple of years.

Operation Roach Restoration could cost more than £20,000. A big chunk will come from C&RT’s fisheries budget, and the EA may be approached for help on the basis that proliferating canal Zs could move into the Upper Ouse...threatening recovery of its silver fish stocks.

C&RT national fisheries office John Ellis said: “We have to do this properly. There is no point in doing half a job. C&RT is ready to do its bit, but can’t carry the whole cost.

“We will approach other organisations for help but, if we are to have any chance with them then individual anglers have to be seen to be doing their bit – even if only giving the equivalent of a pint of maggots or two – hence the £5,000 appeal. So please give generously.”

To donate go to http://support.canalrivertrust.org.uk/get-involved/appeal/grand-union-roach-restoration-appeal/home or call 0303 040 4040. If you need a postal address call 01908 270000.

Furzton Festival results (mostly bream and roach): Vets (Ken Ball memorial), Bert Isle 26-14, Paul Chapman 26-1, Richard Lattimer 24-5; Float-only match, Steve Ringer 45-10, Gary Pook 39-2, Paul Abbott 35lb; Frank Swan memorial, Phil Bardell 51-13, Bob Gale 51-8, Dan Webb 22-8 – the latter two matches raised £646 for WIllen Hospice.

Calvert, Claydon Lake: Derek Bishop 4-11, Austin Maddock 3-10, John Weatherall 1-12.

Linford, Wharf canal: Roy Hefferon 3-4, John Hough 2-11, Richard Massey 2-9.

Festival fixtures: Sat Sep 5, ladies, Tear Drop 2; and Sep 12, canal, juniors, call 01908 320007 for both; Sep 25-27, Furzton, carp pairs match 01908 313158.