this PAGE HIGHLIGHTS KEY tasks CARrIED OUT BY THE fISHERIES TEAM.
If you want to become involved with the club's river work , please visit the work party dates page to volunteer.
This year has seen much activity activity on the Club's waters aimed at improving access, as well as habitat, to encourage productivity.
On the Dikler, several Work Parties took place over the winter at Abbotswood. The track above the lake was cleared and fallen trees were removed or pinned to the river bed. Above the main car park, quite a lot of work was carried out cutting back overhanging and overgrown vegetation, allowing easier access. This river has an amazing head of fish and the waters around Abbotswood are key areas for spawning on this river.
The Club's water on the Leach at Southrop, which was badly affected by some rather brutal bank side tree removal last year, also benefited from several work parties. This water is subject to flooding in the winter and this year’s winter storms resulted in numerous trees falling across the river. These have been removed and, where possible, used to enhance the habitat, creating some channel narrowing features and deflectors. Work was also carried out to repair the damage done to the opposite bank.
Some members had expressed concern about the river Windrush above the stock pond at Widford where the old fencing stopped. In recent years the river was far too high to allow any work on this section. Thankfully, conditions this year were good and three work parties were undertaken to remove the willows in this area. The work was challenging due to the depth of water and the Club's winch was used frequently to remove several tree stumps from mid-river. While not all the tree stumps have been removed, it is now a much clearer section and should hold fish that can be fished for with relative ease.
Following the AGM, the Fisheries Team was asked to install some additional platforms onto the top lake (Superior) at Cornbury. These have now been completed and should allow anglers better access to the lake particularly in the summer when the weed is at it's worst around the margins. The platform on the first lake (Stud) is being extended to allow easier access for anglers. As the rivers in the region were in full flood for most of the winter, efforts were focused on the Sherborne Brook, where a very large section of hedge on the True Left Bank has been cut back. This should allow more light into this important spawning tributary of the Windrush, together with some additional instream structures, improving the habitat for young fish. On the Leach, some fallen trees have been removed including some at Sherborne on the Windrush. In conjunction with the Wild Trout Trust (WTT), Cotswold Rivers Trust (CRT) and contractors some good work was completed on the Leach upstream of the bridge on the A361. Several trees have been felled allowing more light into the river and as part of the WTT Demonstration day, several LWD structures were put into the river as were some brushwood deflectors over approximately 500m of river.
Work has been carried out on most of the CFF waters this winter. Several Work Parties cleared fallen trees, cleared bank of over growing blackthorn as well as repairing fences at the top of our Glyme water. At Sherborne, work continued on the main river (Windrush) on our new stretch down to the Sherborne Brook junction. The banks were very overgrown and now it is possible to walk with ease along the whole new stretch. A new gate has been put in the island at the top of the Asthall water to allow the grass cutter in. Some work was also completed at Widford upstream of the bridge. Unfortunately we were not able to get into the river to clear over grown willows due to the high level of the water. Some limited works have been carried out at Whelford, our Coln water and it is hoped that more work will be scheduled soon. We now have some work to complete at Southrop on the Leach and dates will be announced later.
Despite the very wet weather and significant flooding, the Fisheries Team have managed to complete a longish section of habitat work on the Sherborne Brook. Very over grown and neglected for almost 30 years, this section has been transformed into a lovely stretch that will hopefully encourage spawning as well as good fishing during the trout season. Other works have been completed at Asthall, the Glyme and the Dikler, which was mainly maintenance and repair work in nature.
Much work has been carried out over the summer on two of our Windrush waters. At Sherborne, a considerable amount of gravel has been placed in the river in the hope of improving spawning and the general aquatic habitat. The cattle drink has been completely re-enginered and will be fenced off.
At Widford, the new gravel above the stock pond has raised the water levels immediately upstream. The field around the stock pond has had the old ditches dug out and these linked to a new sluice. The idea is that the fields around the stock pond will flood in winter improving habitat for waders etc.
The weather has been kinder to us this year although it was still very cold on some days. A great deal of work in excess of 150 hours has been completed on the Sherborne Brook and Windrush water at the Sherborne Estate. Bank cleared, stone as well as large woody debris were introduced and it is hoped that once the cattle are controlled then this should improve the spawning potential of this river and increase the stock overall. The Coln also saw some very good work in both bank protection as well as in-stream structures. Weed growth would seem to be improving but the swans are not helping! Other more general maintenance work has been carried out on the Dikler and Glyme.
This winter work again experienced severe weather over the Christmas period. However, much work has been completed despite this. On the Glyme, 5 tonnes of stone was introduced to improve in-stream habitat as well as selective placing of some large fallen trees into the river. Banks have been cleared at Southrop and the Dikler at Bourton, where the bridge was repaired having been damaged by cattle last year. The field downstream of Widford Bridge has been fenced off and the fence at Asthall on the True Right Bank (TRB) has been repaired as a large number of posts had rotted and cattle were likely to get access this year and damaged the banks. Tree planting on a limited scale has taken place at Widford above the stock pond on the TRB. The roof of the stock pond has been completely replaced and is working well.
This winter the Fisheries Team concentrated on improving access to our waters for both members and future bank maintenance work. 4' gates were installed on the Glyme, Sherborne and other Windrush waters to allow easier access to the banks and also to allow the new grass cutter along the banks. We were fortunate to have an offer of help from Sparsholt, which was used to create some structures and channel narrowing at Little Farringdon. Hopefully this will have an impact on the flows and fish holding capacity on this water. Several bridges were built including one on the Sherborne Estate Water. Two pontoons were constructed on the Upper Lake at Cornbury and steps down the all pontoons were cut. Three waters have been fenced. (1)The Dikler at Bourton on the true left bank to include a cattle drink. Similar at (2) Widford below Widford Bridge and finally (3) Asthall on the true right bank on the lower reach. Club funds together with grants from the Wild Trout Trust and the Environment Agency (EA) were used to complete this fencing.
Work has commenced on the fisheries. A new bridge has been built across the Upper Dikler to enable the fisheries team to get a grass cutter along the true left bank. Another bridge has been built at the Dikler this time at Bourton, again to enable a grass cutter in to cut banks back. There was also some work carried out clearing some overhanging trees on this water. Much work has been done at Little Farringdon, the Glyme and Widford. Some large fallen trees should be removed at Southrop as well as some bank protection measures.
There has been a great deal of work carried out on both the Dikler and Leach this winter. All of the Upper Dikler water is now very accessible. Numerous structures have been installed and 60 tonnes of gravel have been introduced to improve the rivers spawning capacity. On the Leach at Southrop, Lechlade and the upper section at Little Farringdon, again a lot of work has been completed making these beats very fishable. The top section of the Glyme has been cleared of a lot of overhanging obstructions and should be a definite place to target at some stage this season. We need to thank the Wild Trout Trust for giving us a grant toward the work on the Leach and Dikler, as well as the members of the club who generously supported the raffle to raise funds for the river development. In late August a further 60 tonnes of gravel was put into the Dikler at Abbotswood.
The has been a lot of work carried out on the Dikler over the winter. Work has focused on the first section of water downstream on the second lake below the road bridge. Many sections were very overgrown and many trees had fallen into the river blocking the flow and causing vast amounts of silt to be built up. Work has started on the removal of in-stream reeds in key sections. This will encourage the river to self clean exposing the gravel beds underneath. Already there has been a significant improvement with gravels being exposed in many places. Last week the Environment Agency (EA) installed an egg box below the weir and have plans to install a second in the near future.
Major work has been carried out on several of our waters including the Windrush at Widford and Stanton Harcourt, the Coln, the Leach at Southrop and Little Farringdon. A total in excess of 200 man hours has been spent between the fishery team and outside contractors. Work includes clearing fallen trees and overgrown banks. At Little Farringdon, several groynes have been installed creating some new deeper pools in the hope of attracting trout to remain in what was shallow water. Several new fences have been put up, stiles repaired and installed. This summer, for the first time, arrangements have been made for outside contractors to help the fisheries team with the grass cutting.
A major clearance of the stock pond was completed at the end of the summer 2005 before the 2006 stock was introduced. Bibury Trout Farm pumped out the water into an adjacent field, before using high pressure hoses to dislodge the silt at the bottom of the pond. This was then also pumped to the field behind a large bund of straw. The pond was netted before the draw down and many large ells and chub were transferred to the river along with many gudgeon, minnows and perch. Reeds were also removed from the edges to help with the netting. The pond was limed before it was topped up again to kill any remaining fungi etc. the new stock of fish are feeding and growing very well, with virtually no losses except for the resident otter!!!!!!!!!!!!
The clubs fishery officers in conjunction with outside contractors have spent a great deal of time this winter clearing stretches of the Leach at both Southrop and our new water at Little Farringdon. Numerous large fallen trees have been removed and paths cleared. Our new waters have map on this site to help you locate them. The Southrop section is a wild trout fishery and the Little Farringdon section has been stocked with brown trout. The water here is generally very clear and offers challenging fishing to those who are interested in small river fly fishing. It is possible to wade most of this river, but take care as some of the pools are quite deep.
Last years trial introduction of Ranunculus in the Coln has been a success. Many plantings have established themselves and have developed into healthy weed growth in what was a river devoid totally of plant life. The Environment Agency in conjunction with Vaughan Lewis are now about to extend this programme and introduce more to our stretch of water over the next few weeks.
Water voles are being released in the Glyme Valley as part of a project by WildCru (Wildlife Conservation Resource Unit) of Oxford University. Water voles are a declining and threatened species of mammals within the UK. Particular threats include loss of/fragmentation of habitat and predation by alien North American mink . Wildcru are attempting to reestablish colonies of water voles in suitable habitat in the Glyme valley. They are actively controlling mink by humane trapping. The club has agreed to tailor its bank cutting regime to optimise conditions for the voles. members are asked not to interfere or disturb any of the field equipment associated with this valuable project.
On the Glyme a major improvement has been undertaken on this lovely stretch of water to improve the natural reproductive capacity of the river. With the support of Blenheim Estates, several tonnes of gravel were selectively placed above the Stratford Bridge, to enhance spawning of the native stock. In December with eggs from the Environment Agency, a ‘Lewis Egg Box' was set up at Wooton and has recently produced some healthy alevins, which were released into the river. A section of fencing was put up to prevent cattle encroachment below the bridge and the development of the reeds flams containing the river and narrowing its width.
At Widford the section above Swinbrook Bridge on the natural left bank was fenced in October 2003 preventing cattle encroachment. It is hoped that over the next two years the banks will re-establish themselves and also encourage insect life. The footbridge above the stock pond was replaced and the stock pond was reinforced with extra netting to prevent access by predatory birds. Several trees that had fallen into the river were removed and some willows were pollarded together with a number of bushes.On the Leach after the Christmas break, the fishery officers spent several weekends clearing away the dead and overgrown trees lining the banks . Several groynes were constructed using the clubs winch to secure the trees in the correct position and held in place using stakes. The river has been transformed and it is hoped that many members will gain better access to this lovely water. It has a very good stock of wild fish and is not stocked artificially.
At Stanton Harcourt several working parties were involved in tidying up the banks and removing blockages due to fallen trees over the winter of 2003. A large section of bank in the field adjacent to the Black Bridge is to fenced to prevent cattle encroachment and to encourage the regeneration of marginal habitat.
On the Coln with the support of the Environment Agency (EA), Ranunculus has been seeded in cages in the hope to reinstate it, in what has been a section of river devoid of weed growth over the past few years. This planting programme is to be extended during the year, with the EA providing resources including staff time to plant up areas of the river. The main problem with this type of reinstatement is protecting the weed from swans and the EA are looking at measures to prevent the disturbance of the newly seeded weed until it becomes established.