April the 15th sees Wood Lake OPEN again for angling
Johnson's Lake CLOSES on the 15th and re-opens on the 16th of June.
Obituary - Alan Millington – 1943-2022
Alan was born in Doncaster in January 1943. Despite spending his adult life” down south” in leafy Surrey he never lost his identity as a Yorkshireman. As a lad Alan fished Yorkshire waters sometimes venturing as far as Derbyshire, where the Derwent captured his imagination. In 2020 when the world communicated only by zoom , Alan always chose a picture of the Derwent as his background.
Alan attended school in Doncaster and shone at maths. His school was forward thinking for the time and advocated careers in science and technology. A visit to the Distillers Company plant in Hull sparked an interest in engineering. Alan applied for engineering courses at several universities but was undone by failing to pass his German O level. At the time many universities insisted on a modern language pass to get in. He was accepted by Battersea Technical College and left Doncaster for swinging London.
Alan loved the freedom and spent his time studying, playing rugby, bridge and enjoying beer. He graduated with a BSC in 1965 and started to work with a London based chemical engineering company. However he found office work boring and in 1966 returned to Battersea to start a PhD in distillation. It was about this time that Battersea Technical College morphed into the University of Surrey and moved campus to Guildford. In the final year of his PhD, Alan started part time lecturing and remained teaching at the University of Surrey for the next 53 years. This made him the longest serving member of staff at the University, a record that will be hard to beat!
Alan moved to Godalming first as a warden in student lodgings at Manor House then moving to start a family up on Charterhouse Hill. Teaching was one of Alan’s two great passions. The other was angling. Alan soon discovered the exceptional quality of fishing on offer in our part of England. He enjoyed trout and coarse fishing in equal measure. Alan was a natural teacher and regularly helped Dave Ewing and Andrew McKenzie with Godalming coaching sessions. Coaches would meet at Dave’s for breakfast then head off to Busbridge or the River or Broadwater. Alan often gave a lift to some of Dave Ewing’s many kids. Young David and Ruth tell a story of Alan driving them along Summers Road waving his hands in the air chuckling “Look children, no hands!” At the time they thought he used some sort of magic for they had never seen a car driven “no handed” before!
Alan gravitated to fisheries management where he could combine his science expertise and love of angling. First as fisheries management officer at Farnham then taking over from George West at Godalming. Alan was FMC secretary with the Society for 14 years brining considerable knowledge of fish biology and unparalleled expertise in water chemistry. Alan understood clearly the complex problem of nutrient storage in Broadwater, for example. Alan oversaw the silt removal and island expansion works at the lake in 2002 and subsequent stock control operations both of which improved fishing for members. He used this knowledge to great effect in meetings with Waverley Council when they were formulating their many variations of the Broadwater Plan.
Alan also enjoyed the practical side of fisheries maintenance. He took part enthusiastically in work parties. Roger Howe tells a great story of a work party at Salgasson when Alan managed to sink one of the Society’s boats by continuing to drive it forward with too much weight in the rear which was steadily taking on water. Some say the words Yorkshireman and obstinate were heard that day but this may be idle rumour mongering.
Most of all Alan loved fishing and continued to do despite his later health problems. He loved trout fishing at Dever Springs and Peperharrow. On the coarse side he held a special affection for Broadwater where he spent many a day fishing with his precious Free Spirit light carp rods often accompanied by his daughter Beth. His passion for the sport and knowledge of fisheries management will be greatly missed.
Alan Millington – 17th January 1943- 3rd march 2022
Report on the Broadwater netting/ electro fishing exercise undertaken by 5 Star fisheries management on the 15th and 16th March
Biomass The total biomass of the lake at the time of the operation is estimated at between 6,000 and 6,500 pounds. This is based on the netting on the 15th March and a comprehensive electro fishing operation on the 16th that covered the bird feeding area, the shallow Western end of the lake and the bank and island margins.
An echo sounder identified the main concentration of fish on the 15th as being to the east of the island down to the road bank. This was fished with a 410m net and yielded just over 3,000lb of fish. These were retained in holding nets.
Electro fishing of the bird feeding area produced about 800lb of fish. In total 426 carp were surveyed which 5 star estimated to be the main population of the lake. As we saw at Marsh Farm doing a combination of netting and electro fishing works well and the echo sounder confirmed that there were no big concentrations of fish left in open water. Even so there are always some fish that escape the net or get too tight to the bank during the electro fishing. 5 Star allowed an extra 20% to cover missed fish when calculating the total biomass.
This is down slightly on the last biomass estimate of over 7,000 pounds and confirms that Broadwater does not have the super density of carp many imagine.
Most of this biomass is carp. Some decent quality roach taken in the netting – maximum 50lb total – with more showing up when electrofishing the margins. Most perch were found electrofishing the bird feeding area and margins with some good fish (2 ½ lb +) seen. One crucian and a few rudd showed and one ornamental goldfish. No tench were found and no exotic species like catfish.
Fish condition. The survey showed fish conditions ranging from pristine to poor. In total 426 carp were assessed either through netting or electro fishing. Of these 10- 15% could be classed as pristine. There are some pictures of these fish with this report. They are stunning. 94 fish - 22% of the sample - were in poor condition. This leaves the majority of fish-63-68 % of the stock showing one or more of these problems but considered in good enough condition to feed normally and regain condition.
Common problems include:
1) Weight. Many of the fish show signs of undernourishment. Given their age and strains no fish are attaining their potential weights. It is likely that fish are caught easily in Broadwater not because of the high biomass but because of hunger. However not all fish show signs of undernourishment. Some, particularly younger fish, are perfectly proportioned and look fit.
2) Parasite load. Of greatest concern is the prevalence of Ichyophthirius multifilis, or white spot. This is a parasite that attaches itself to the fins, gills’ and mouth of fish. It looks rather like a dusting of salt. The main causes of infestation are stress and poor water quality, both of which are linked in the case of Broadwater. Argulus was also noted on some of the fish.
3) Damaged mouths. This was a feature of many of the fish in poor condition. They showed signs of Jaw incisions, barbule damage, split lips or lip absence. The worst of these fish have lost the ability to feed properly relying on filtering rather than sucking to feed.
4) Fin damage. There is evidence of fin damage on some but not all of the fish.
5) Predation damage. The silver fish show clear signs of predation damage and there is an absence of juvenile carp in the water, at least partly caused by predation.
Fish removal The fish caught by both electro fishing and netting have been graded with only the most damaged fish selected for removal. The main criteria used for selection is their ability to feed properly. Each fish was double assessed – once at the initial grading and again at either their release back into the lake or selection for removal. 136 fish were graded poor after the first selection but following the second assessment this number dropped to 94. The fish were collected by a fish farmer from Newark who drove down specifically to collect them.
The 94 fish selected for removal to Newark represent 17.3% of the estimated biomass of the lake. Not all fish were assessed so anglers will still catch some fish in poor condition. 5 Star feel that removing the poorest fish will reduce pressure on food for those remaining and lower the parasite load by removing weak host fish.
1) Improving water quality. There is a lot of work needed done on water quality at Broadwater. As a start 5 Star recommend applying silltex annually to reduce the silt build up and improve the habitat for invertebrates.
2) Feeding. The fish would benefit from supplementary feeding with medicated pellets. Some anglers may worry about supplementary feeding filling fish up so they don’t take anglers baits. 5 Star advise us that supplementary feeding tends to do the reverse as fish put on weight and are in better condition generally so they should feed better as a result.
3) Stocking. Five Star recommend leaving the water for this season to see how it responds tothe fish removal, fish feeding and siltex application. Together these improvements should improve water quality and reduce the parasite load by thinning out host fish. Once conditions improve- hopefully by winter 2022-23- look to introduce some new fish.
4) Longer term improvements. There are a number of improvements in the longer term we can look to make around the lake. For example: discuss with Waverley moreabout reducing the tree cover around the lake to reduce leaf build up, look at the inflow stream andsome better nutrient filtration between the stream inflow and the main lake, try to reduce the suspended solids so some vegetation could be re-established.
Conclusion. The fisheries management operation run by 5 star has highlighted problems that we have been aware of but not tackled at Broadwater for some time. We now know that the fish is not seriously overstocked and the fish are generally not thriving as they should. This operation confirms that we have challenges with water quality and outlines strategies that we need to take if things are to improve- which they certainly can do. Thanks to Ben and the team- Andy and Josh- for their hard work and expert advice and all the Godalming team and particularly Bill, Colin, Dave B and Dom for their help over the operation.