A small sub group of the committee met on 30th April to consider the latest position at our two coarse lakes and to assess the mass of information now coming in. Rob Leachman, Ben Bentley, Bob Badham, John Stoddart and Dom Longley from the committee with Paul Clancy and Mike Britten joining us. Members are already aware that algal blooms have developed at the four lakes and that fish have died at Petersfinger. Staff and outside agencies have been dealing with this for the last few weeks and the committee would like to thank the keepers, bailiffs, volunteers and the agency staff who have assisted with this sometimes extremely unpleasant task. The agencies have deployed some very expensive kit and undertaken a range of tests including post mortems on the club’s behalf. Particular thanks to Mike Britten who has cared for Petersfinger so well over many years, this has been a very hard time for him and the club values his huge contribution.
The algal blooms appear to be declining at Petersfinger and the fish losses have ended. We have lost a very large part of the stock of all species in Clark’s lake but fish remain. We have lost a much smaller number in Hand’s lake where the bulk of the stock remain. We need to remember that the surviving fish have also been through significant physiological stress and need time to recover.
We have had a confirmed blue green algal bloom at Steeple Langford. This is dangerous to animals and people so no contact with the water is possible. There have been no fish losses and the bloom appears to be declining. Water samples will continue to be tested by the EA and we need to have an all clear on the bloom before we can return to the lake. Improvement works planned for the small lake with funding from the EA have had to be put on hold and may now extend in to the fishing season.
The tests and post mortems of Petersfinger fish show no evidence of viral, bacterial or parasitic disease. This is very good news. The bad news is that the fish showed evidence of fungal infection and gill damage indicative of water quality problems. The EA placed a monitoring machine in Clark’s lake which records all the water quality dimensions minute by minute. The results confirm a water quality problem with widely fluctuating measures of factors such as PH, ammonia, oxygen, none of these factors reached lethal levels but the combination of their wide variances causes severe stress to the fish who are then easily prone to fungus and gill damage. This condition is indicative of a highly undesirable algal based ecology having developed in the lake for a variety of reasons already discussed in some detail on our forum. The combined total weight of dead fish indicates that the stock levels had exceeded recommended limits for the type of water. This is confirmed by anecdotal evidence of considerably increased skimmer bream and other fish numbers in recent years.
The lakes will recover and the key factors in this will be:
- Thorough assessment of the nature and quantity of silt in the lakes.
- Restoration work to deal with silt and to re-establish a plant based ecology.
- Assessment of the level and nature of ground water ingress, the ground water is classified as “failing” in the aquifer, it is poor quality with a nutrient load that may be having an impact on our water along with other factors.
- Management of stock densities.
- Ongoing, monitoring of water quality.
This list applies to all the lakes but the work will begin with Clark’s, as already planned the small lake at Langford and the programme will be completed at Dandys. Work will be ongoing over the coming months and years.
We are making available the spreadsheet of losses and timeline of events at Hand’s and Clark’s lakes. We can make no assumptions about stock remaining from this information as we have no accurate information on previous stock detail. *
Full committee meets on Tuesday 7th May. The situation now appears more optimistic with the best case scenario being that we are able to open Langford on confirmation of the disappearance of the blue green algae and Hand’s lake when we are happy that the stock are in reasonable health. Clark’s lake is likely to remain closed for the greater part of the season whilst work continues. Our best assessment is that we will be able to open at some point in June but much remains uncertain.
An Excel spreadsheet showing fish mortalities and timeline is available for download on the Club’s Members Forum under
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