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.
This proved to be a very productive work party, considering only four members attended on the day, including myself.
The majority of the work consisted of pruning many of the tree limbs, which were overhanging the lake. This was definitely needed, judging by the amount of fishing lines and rigs removed at the same time.
It was good to see how much difference selective pruning can make to a fishery, without changing the aesthetics of the lake. Hopefully this work will make casting much easier, and save the resident bird life from becoming entangled fishing lines in the future.
A new CALPAC sign was installed in the car park, which is part of the project to update all fishery signs.
This work party was a two fold project. The first objective was to prepare the fishery for the start of the Trout fishing season. The second objective was to gauge what other work would be required at the big work party on Saturday 22nd May.
Both objectives were met fully, with plenty of bankside swims suitable for casting a fly prepared, and a long list made of jobs for the 22nd May.
This was a two day project to revamp our Bulls Lock fishery. There was a lot of hard work involved, and because of its nature, the work became an evolving process.
On arrival at the fishery, you could not see swim number five from swim number one, although they were along the same straight. By the end of day two, you could see both ways clearly, but with vegetation between to keep them separated.
Swim six is now fully open as well, giving the angler the option to fish to the outfull opposite or under the bridge.
Due to the current Covid 19 restrictions, I decided to carry out this work party by myself.
I worked on two of the original swims which were created for us by the EA about ten years ago. The Willow berms they installed to stop the swims eroding, had become very overgrown. I cleared the area first, then set about pruning the willow back to the original height. These swims will now be easy to maintain in the future.
I hope once the water levels are restored to summer levels, the Crucian Carp and Tench start to feed in the vicinity of these two swims once the new season begins on June 16th! The rest of the swims will only need a tidy up prior to the new season starting, because they have already had the same work completed.
During October I visited the Bulls Lock Fishery and the Sulhamstead Fishery on the River Kennet, and the Snargate Fishery in Kent, so I could replace the existing CALPAC signs with new signs inclusive of up to date information. I also carried out some swim clearance work at Snargate, so there is easy access for the Pike anglers during Autumn and Winter.
If you visit the Snargate fishery and find some horses grazing there, please don’t be alarmed because the owner has our permission. The upside for CALPAC with this agreement is that the grass growth will be kept under control, making access much easier for everyone.
Finally, I hope you like the design of the new signs, as there are many more to go up around all of the CALPAC fisheries.