Three consecutive days spent on two of our River Kennet fisheries, has ensured that season 22/23 would be an enjoyable angling experience for any members wetting a line at either Padworth or Bulls Lock.
With the very hard work completed at Bulls Lock last April, this visit was more cosmetic based. The fishery has a lovely new sign, making it easy to find, and the whole stretch of river is accessible from the bank now, apart from one very small section.
Padworth, being a much longer fishery is always requiring a lot more work. Some of this involved the removal of a few tree limbs from the river, which were not suitable for swim enhancement. Two Buddlias were given an overdue pruning. One was starting to encroach on the pathway, and the other was impeding the backwater.
The bank fishing areas suitable for fly fishing were given a cut, ready for any early season members targeting the Brown Trout.
A visit to the Southern Channel at the weir end of the fishery, to examine the habitat work carried out on our behalf two years ago, proved very satisfying. The gravel bar for spawning was looking very clean, and the brash berm installed to narrow the channel was looking good. Hopefully the fish will visit this area over the next couple of months.
Another Saturday, another work party. This week saw us at the River Mole fishery in Cobham, clearing up some of the Storm Eunice tree casualties, and doing some swim preparation for the new season. Big thanks to Ken, Frank and Chris for helping me on the day. I hope the Nutella Brownie made your day worthwhile.
Saturday 5th March 2022 saw the start of our rejuvenation of the Stew Pond, to turn it into an excellent all round fishery.
The work was carried out by myself, member John Walker and the two Stew Pond bailiffs, Dave and Alex.
Most of the work was focused on cutting down overhanging branches and clearing snags in and around the swims. Alex had made swim numbers, which he fixed to all but three of the swims. He also made a ‘No Fishing’ sign, which he fitted on the steps leading to the Great Lake.
On Saturday 20th November, we started the restoration of swims on the Convent School section of the fishery.
The work focused on swims 1, 2 5 and 6, which had become difficult to access and unsafe. They were all completely cleared, to provide easy access, and re-dug to make them safer for the angler. Pathways were cleared as well, which now provides easy access to these swims.
As is customary on the Padworth Fishery work party, which is always attended by Thatcham AA members and myself, the work begins in the kitchen the night before. The baking always produces a Lemon Drizzle Cake by special request and one other, which this year was a Chocolate Oreo Sponge.
As a lot of work was already done on this fishery during April, most of today’s work was cosmetic in preparation for the 16th June. The grass has been cut in the car park, along the pathway and all the swims. The two fly fishing areas also received another cut, which is helping to eliminate the area of nettles which used to grow along the bank.
I have also started a longer term project of removing large areas of brambles, which are restricting sunlight penetrating the river. This will assist in the regeneration of Ranuculus along the river, which provides habitat for juvenile fish and invertebrates.
The memorial bench for Alf Duffy and Malcolm Milford-scott also received a makeover, to keep it looking nice in the future. Two new fishery signs were installed, one at the beginning of the fishery and one in the last swim.
All in all, for CALPAC members and affiliated members, the Padworth Fishery has to be one of the most angler friendly river fisheries in the country.
This work party was very ad hoc, because it wasn’t planned for the date it took place. But saying that, my thanks go to Frank Sperring and Ken Swan for helping me on the day at very late notice.
The weather forecast for the day, thankfully didn’t run true to form and the heavy rain had finished by 10am. This allowed us to focus on reopening swim number one, which was closed last year because it had become unsafe. New steps were cut in to the bank, and a lot of branches were cut back to improve access and casting. The area to the left of the swim was also cleared of overhanging branches to facilitate better trotting conditions for the angler.
The rest of the fishery underwent the usual swim clearing, and tidying up. One gravel run swim was cleared of some large rubbish which had settled on the river bed. This included a large pump hose and haulage webbing. This now promises to be a very good swim for the future. The photos below are of swim one, which does look very tempting.