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Farmoor 2020
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I imagine anglers with experience of marketing and publicity are tearing their hair out at the way reservoir trout fishing promotes itself to existing and and potentially new customers, Doug. If they need an example of how to do it right they need look no further than Ifor Jones' Fishery Management(UK)Ltd

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blimey, what a cock up.
I do not know what else to say.
Sad
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Today was my first trip to Farmoor in some weeks.

It was bright sun when I arrived at around 10am and there were a few fish right in the margin and they seemed to be feeding so I thought I may be in with a chance.
The advice from the wardens was that the fish were high in the water. I started with a shipmans on the point and a small black nymph on a dropper but that caught B*gger all.

I tried difference things until around 12.30 then gave up and decided to try the lures on the Thames which proved a good decision as I caught a selection of perch.

I gave the trout another shot between 4 & 6 but it proved to be exceedingly difficult without any fish showing or interest in the flies or tactics I was using.
I will wait for things to cool down before I head up there again with the fly rod.
P
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hard luck, Peter. Sad

Given Farmoor's unique construction ( insulating concrete sides and clay bottom) and it being topped up from the Thames which doesn't help in times when the water pumped in is a higher temperature than what is already in the lake, I wonder if it is worth Thames Water reviewing its fishing season dates?

I can personally vouch for the excellent quality of its winter trout fishing (I certainly wouldn't brave the Bath and Swindon traffic around Christmas and the New Year for anything less) and the reports of buzzer fishing in the Spring when the water is still cool are often excellent but in summer it seems to be continually dogged with temperature issues resulting in low catch returns and bans on C&R etc. Sad

Something worth considering?

Alan
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter (fryfishing) and I have a meeting on Tuesday with TW site management, operations and fisheries. It took a deal of pestering the Chief Exec to get this, and as far as I'm aware this is the first time TW management have agreed to meet anyone from the angling community in a formal consultation. The issues we will raise will focus on the summer fishing as well as poor communication and problems with the sailing club.

I have had an idea which may seem rather radical to some. Alan's exploits among the Chew perch and pike made me think a bit. Farmoor has a good perch population with some big fish and there is a small number of pike in there which grow to significant sizes. If TW have to maintain the current status quo as far as pumping is concerned then I do not see how Farmoor can continue as a trout fishery or at least how both reservoirs can continue to support trout fisheries.

Therefore my idea would be to turn F1 into a predator water. Abandon trout fishing in that reservoir and concentrate on pike and perch. It may well be necessary to stock bait fish from time to time to supplement whatever is already there.

When the water in the river reaches a given temperature - say 16 degrees - stop drawing water from F2 and pumping into F2 and just use F1. Pike and perch will be able to withstand higher water temperatures and lower dissolved oxygen than trout.

That way we would save F2 as a trout fishery while diversifying with F1.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2020 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blimey that is thinking outside the box.
I do not think I would agree with that and if I lost the use of No1 it would be a crying shame even with the limited access that we get with the warm water closures.
When I was there on Thursday I counted over a 150 cormorants on No1, my guess is they are making short work of what silver/bait fish that are already in there.
Also unlike Chew the pike and perch are VERY difficult to catch at any time of the year and it needs sophisticated electronics to find them and stay in position to catch them.

Sorry to disagree with your cunning plan.
P
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2020 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmmm - not sure I agree with that. Certainly radical but also unilaterally proposed. I guess the multitude of season ticket holders and regular banksmen would want to have an input. I would not support such action.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2020 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My priorities for the meeting are, communication, boat access on No1, float tube or kayak fly fishing on No1 and sailing club activities.
I am also concerned by free parking for the public which means a lot of walkers ( there use to be a charge for bird watchers) and the potential accident of people being hit by a back cast.
P
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2020 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You deserve a lot of credit for getting this meeting organised, Wylye. As an outsider, the No.1 reservoir seems under utilised to me and developing a predator lake might be a commercial option. However I think a wider consultation would be needed among season ticket holder and angling customers before it was proposed to Thames Water management.

Peter's agenda seems a sensible one to take in on behalf of anglers but don't be surprised if Thames Water have a few ideas of their own that they would like to run past you for feedback! Wink

Best of luck with the meeting. Very Happy

Alan
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The priority has to be the continuance of trout fishing at Farmoor and how to ameliorate the ongoing situation of pumping in very warm, dissolved oxygen depleted water into the reservoir at bed level. If this continues as it is I can see no real alternative to TW just closing down the trout fishery. One thing is for certain, no outside commercial operator would take it on if TW decided to offer it on a lease.

TW needs to address the question as to why their nearest major stillwaters are fishing well and do not appear to be suffering the same sort of mortalities that are becoming an annual occurrence at Farmoor. Bristol are fishing well at present and those reservoirs are considerably shallower than Farmoor. Draycote is performing extremely well. Farmoor is not.

Issues around the sailing clubs' activities are an irritant. That can be stopped easily enough. Photos of bad behaviours emailed to the club and copied to the Royal Yachting Association will sort that out.

Public trout fishing at F1 is quite recent. Prior to that it was leased to Farmoor Fly fishers and day & season permits were available only on F2. At one time F2 anglers were not permitted to fish from the causeway because of FFF. Early on there were no boats on either reservoir and when F2 finally got some boats fishing from them was only permitted from moored buoys 50m out from the banks - this at the behest of the sailors.

Much as I enjoy fishing F1 and I have had some memorable days there, I would rather fish F2 only rather than neither of them.

I will indeed be very interested to hear what proposals TW have up their sleeves tomorrow. One thing is certain, no business can survive the sort of reputational damage that TW are getting due to the current situation at Farmoor.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2020 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To all interested Farmoor anglers.

Peter and I had an interesting meeting with Will Barnard - the fisheries manager, Kirsty Halford the Access and Recreations Manager and Will Lawrence the Operations Manager at the Farmoor Water Treatment works.

Will L. gave us a comprehensive tour de force of how TW manage the water resource at Farmoor and explained that due to the fact that some off-site water resources had been reduced significantly or even closed down and to compensate the abstraction of water from the Thames had increased to meet the demand. I got the feeling that they are operating very close to their maximum ability to meet demand, and that demand is growing which is why the reservoirs are kept at as near top level as possible. Both he and Kirsty stressed that water supply is the prime purpose of the reservoirs and everything else is subsidiary to that. Neither Peter nor I would dispute that for a moment.

Will B was a little late joining the meeting but when I explained the background to my interest and the fact that I am well aware how warm the Thames becomes in and that not only is the water temperature going to be near lethal to trout, but also that warm water is very deficient in dissolved oxygen which also lethal to trout there was no attempt to deny the fish mortalities that have occurred in the last three summers and what the cause was. So now we have it confirmed. Will B did say that they were trying hard to mitigate this situation, and one method is aeration, but this needs to be approved not only by TW but also Ofwat have to give their blessing to the money being spent on this. Half a million pounds was a rough figure quoted which given TW's multi-million pound profits is a flea bite.

I asked whether it was possible to send the abstracted warm water direct to the treatment works, but apparently this is not feasible as the water needs to have time to settle out in the reservoir. I'm not too sure about this as there must be many surface water abstractions around the country that supply water direct to a treatment plant without it sitting in a reservoir first.

So it looks like the current situation is going to continue for the foreseeable future with the reservoirs closing for up to 3 months in the summer. This will be determined by the weather and water temperatures at the time.

We also spent some time talking about TW's poor communication with anglers and others to be fair. Both Will B and Kirsty were at pains to explain that TW are very loathe to use social media in any form for reasons that they either cannot or will not explain, which causes them both considerable frustration. Kirsty did state that an upgraded website is due but I got the feeling that it would be unwise to expect too much from this. Will B stated that there had been attempts to establish a user group of Farmoor anglers but that this has foundered due to lack of interest from the anglers themselves. My view is that if people cannot be bothered to get off their ars*s to protect their fishery then they had best not complain when it isn't there anymore. I hope that Will B will try again and get a better response.

There is a review of all the leisure facilities to be carried out and hopefully anglers will be invited to join a consultation group which both Peter and I considered to be necessary. This will include angling, sailing, bird watching and walking. A more robust wooden pontoon is to be moved from its current position on the south side of F2 to F1 and a Wheelyboat and 3 fishing boats will be available there. Kayaking is also under active consideration with a kayaking festival to be organised - Covid permitting - after which individual kayaking may well be permitted.

Will B stressed that he now has an excellent relationship with Will L which bodes well for the future. There is no intent to abolish angling at either Farmoor, but that is something we need to watch carefully.

We spoke about the conflict between anglers and sailors which has caused some comment on this forum. Will B stated that if anything happens such as occurred to tenet recently that we should phone the lodge instantly to report it. No good festering about it, moaning on here and doing nothing else. If some sailor cuts across in front of you when out in a boat then take his sail number and phone the lodge there and then. We have been promised action, so let's see how good TW are at keeping that promise.

On the whole I think it was a satisfactory meeting. I have viewed this as a means to letting TW know that there are people out there who care about angling on the reservoirs and are not willing to let things lie.

At the end I had an idea and asked Will B if he thought it would be possible to cool the water from the Thames before it was pumped into the reservoir. He was interested and wondered how it could be powered. The obvious solution would be solar and wind power. Will L thought this impracticable, but I am not willing to let this go too easily. It would only need to run for about three months of the year, but the solar and wind power would run 12 months of the year producing energy for TW to use elsewhere on site for 9 of those 12 months. I will nose around a bit.

I expect Peter will add his views when he has stopped pestering the perch in the river.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2020 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that comprehensive overview of the meeting Bob, I am not sure what I can add.

It was reassuring to have a face to face with Will B, he certainly comes across as caring and genuine about the fishing and the long-term availability of fishing at Farmoor. The conclusion that I take from the meeting is they are trying to give the fishers a good service, but we will be seeing closures in the hot months for the long term. As far a communication is concerned, I think it will be up to us to phone or email Nigel for updates. To be fair they are always happy to give an honest update over the phone.

In the future I will not hesitate to phone the lodge if I see any bad behaviour from any of the users on the water or walking public and report it in.
As Bob said I doubt we will notice any changes in the near future (covid restrictions aside) BUT at least they now know there are anglers out there who are taking an interest and are prepared to fight their corner.

Meanwhile on the Thames the perch were few and far between Sad
P
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2020 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you did very well to get three senior figures from Thames Water around the table at the same time to discuss angling issues, Wylye. Very Happy

I too think this was a positive outcome and it was refreshing to hear that they didn't waste any time by refusing to recognise there was a problem. That is a positive step forward. However I'm not surprised to hear that Thames Water is loathe to use social media as a means of communicating with its customers as I don't think that is unique to Thames Water, but you did get a positive commitment to address issues around poor sailing etiquette and positive comments about Kayaks etc (I bet Peter was pleased).

Despite the disappointing outcome of the last 'user group for Farmoor Anglers', I think pressing Thames to resurrect this idea would be time well spent in order to establish a formal channel of communication with anglers. As some of you know, I attend the Bristol Water Fisheries group which meets a couple of times a year and I am in no doubt that it has helped to improve the angling experience on the reservoirs. Very Happy

If you would like further details, PM me. Smile

Alan
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spoke to rangers today - with the cooler weather things are beginning to pick up on the fishing front.Water temps still around 20c so they will not be re stocking for a little while. To paraphrase Wylye "we shall be using floating line tactics into November".
Thank you Wylye and Fryfishing for posting your "minutes" of the meeting with TW. Lets hope that some positivity comes from your endevours. Cool

ps : Bristol Water get the vast majority of their supply from the Severn via the canal at Sharpness. Whether or not this has enabled the water to "settle" I do not know.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Floating lines in November Shock

As I drove around no2 on the way to the river there were a lot of fish showing close in, in the flat water.. I would not know if they were feeding fish but the four bank anglers and three boats that were out did not seem to be catching. I was thinking I should have bought the fly rod but I had not and the Thames was waiting for me.

BTW
I asked about the pipe that feeds water into No1 on the north bank, it is the run off water from the filtration plant and in theory it should be cooler water than the reservoir water..

P
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