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Bristol Water Reservoirs 2018
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csfcodhunter
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Called in at WL this pm and it was notable to see the number of fish rising on a millpond environment today. Also took my usual water samples for analysis. I sample January every year.

With the influx of fresh water over recent weeks, it goes to show that a rise can happen at CV, even in January.
This is the big issue that needs addressing at CV to help improve fishing during the “hard summer months”.
Just wondering what plans BW have to help deliver this improvement for us fly fisherman?

Anyone heard anything yet as needs addressing.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All I heard (yesterday b.t.w.), was that until we get several weeks of water going over the flow at Chew, all the water in there could possibly be cosidered to be a trifle below par. I gather that water has been going over at Blagdon though.

There has been very little water going over for the last 3 years, almost exactly the same amount of time since the downfall started. Obviously this need LOTS of rainfall, & if we're going to get it, is to say the least questionable.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think water quality is the main issue although it is probably the hardest problem to tackle . I understand that BW has a project with local farmers to 'incentivise' them to farm more responsibly with regard to the use of fertilizers but I have no further details.
To open this discussion further, you may have heard that BW planned to set up an Anglers Support Group in order to consult their angling customers but no-one was more surprised than me when I got a call from John Harris inviting me to be part of the Group!! Shock
John explained that BW was keen to engage a broad cross section of customers and once I was given assurances that the Group would include, and not be seen as an alternative to, the BRFFA in future discussions I was happy to volunteer my services. The rationale and membership of the Group is copied below from an introductory note in an email from John ...

What is the Angler Support group?
We believe it’s important to get a true representation of our wider angling community and although we plan to continue ongoing work and communication with local angling clubs we do believe that there are parts of the angling community that are not presently heard. These include pike anglers, season ticket holders and regular day anglers that presently do not have much involvement in local angling clubs.
What’s the aim of this group?
There are several main aims of this group. They are outlined below:
· To provide feedback on changes that have been made to our sport fishing offering.
· To offer suggestion on how BW can improve visitor experiences when visiting our waters.
· To monitor progress on changes that are implemented.
Who’s involved?
BW have invited the following individuals:
John Harris - Fisheries & Recreations Officer
Alan Dymock – Operational Fisheries Manager
Mark Lloyd- Angling Trust representative
John Horsey – Competition angler, Guide, Pike Fly Angler
Carl Garratt – Pike fly angler, Pike dead bait/lure angler
Martin Cottis – B.R.F.F.A Secretary, Guide, Instructor
Andrew Wiles – B.R.F.F.A Treasurer, Local trout angler
Alan Shearn – Regular boat and bank angler, trout and pike fly angler
Jeff Hirst – Long standing All Waters Season ticket holder
Les Toogood – Long standing boat and bank angler. Barrow season ticket holder


The first meeting was held last night at Blagdon Lodge and while much of the meeting was taken up by introductions etc, there was also discussion on some of the issues facing the fishery. I must stress that the following is my own personal take based on my own brief notes and is not intended to be an official record of the meeting in any shape or form. I'm sure a much more comprehensive report will be available soon from the BRFFA. However I am sharing this as I would like to use this forum as a sounding board to help inform my future contribution and as John on behalf of BWF has no objection to me doing so, here goes!

Communication
Weekly reports will be weekly and will contain more information including water quality
There will be 3 x open days (details to be agreed, but looking at early mid and late season)
More clips to be uploaded to social media showing fish being stocked to enthuse customers.
Short story competition: Weekend season ticket for winner
Picture competition to continue.
Online Survey: Will be delayed until February or later due to consultation over questions etc. Need to ask right questions to get the right answers!
Suggestion: a large map of Chew should be installed which could be updated by staff/guides showing current best spots, best flies etc. Like there is at other major trout reservoirs.
Suggestion: the website could include details of popular banks (ie directions, best tactics etc)
Suggestion : possible future live streams from Lodge on YouTube with best flies, new tackle etc
Suggestion: a screen in the lodge scrolling current best flies, tactics, banks, weather etc

Beginner courses and support
The current courses are being reviewed; ie beginners, advanced, boat etc
Mentor /Buddy system - involving experienced local anglers being developed with the BRFFA
Angling Trust - can also provide list of local GAIA instructors
Family Day – stock a netted off area between the landing stages at Chew. 'Catch and cook' etc

Catch and Release
BWF will be offering a 'Sporting' ticket as a trial during 2018. The cost is being discussed with the BRFFA but will not be much less than the full 8 fish ticket, as is the case at Anglian Water etc
There was a discussion on C&R 'good practice'. Apparently during matches, all C&R fish must be released without the net leaving the water and fish brought into the boat for unhooking must be killed (I wasn't aware of this!).
Concern was expressed over large numbers of fish caught and released badly especially early in the season. BWF ask customers to report bad C&R as they see it so they can contact the anglers concerned while they are still fishing
Suggestion: BWF make another video like their pike handling video for trout fishers to show how they expected fish to be treated and released under C&R

Catch returns
Rangers will be instructed to chase up missing returns during 2018. Computer can flag this up
BFW would like accurate weights of killed fish, although accept C&R will be estimate weight
Catch returns can be emailed to the Lodge but must have permit number
An 'excel' electronic return card used by some season ticket holders is available

Rangers
Funding from the Board will enable current Ranger team to be increased back to 12 (2012 level) with 6 full time /6 seasonal).
Role will include water sampling etc
Some Ranger cost is 'recharged' to other BW budgets as their role was never originally intended to be 'fishing only'. This was allowed to slide over many years but BW are now insisting that they do other duties to justify the recharge. ie car parks, litter collecting etc
This investment from the Board will also pay for minor alterations to the Lodge and jetty at Blagdon

Cormorants
Angling Trust can offer advice to BWF

Next meeting in February: Agenda to include Prices, Mentoring, Open days.

John and BWF has asked Group members to consult widely and as stated earlier, I would like my contribution to this Group to be informed by this forum and you can do this either on this thread or, if you prefer, by PM. You can also bend my ear on the bank, although not too much please as I want to fish too! Laughing I should perhaps add (for my own safety!) that this Group is essentially a consultative group and has no power, other than that of persuasion, and the ultimate decision whether to act or ignore its suggestions rests entirely with BW/BWF.

Ok ... fire away! Laughing

Alan Wink
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Appleman
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done for being involved Alan. Hope the consultation group are able to be heard and really help make a difference.

One question.....

How do you envisage the proposed actions, so far, will result in anglers returning time and time again to Chew as they were back in 2013? P&L’s need to be strengthened to get BWF off the Boards radar.

As far as I can ascertain from your notes, there’s nothing earth shattering or cutting edge here that will achieve the necessary P&L turn around. .....Will the Welsh lads be motivated enough to travel again or will the locals that were out give or take every week that now fish Chew just a handful of times a year return?
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Alan.Many thanks for getting involved mate. Cool I'm sure myself and all the members wish yourself and the other people involved in this project,all the best in the future Very Happy Glad to see BW more involved and trying to rectify the problems,finally Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Appleman wrote:


Will the Welsh lads be motivated enough to travel again or will the locals that were out give or take every week that now fish Chew just a handful of times a year return?


Nice one Al, glad to hear youve been involved.

Of course we always have the reduction in price of the Severn bridge crossing to help! Wink
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csfcodhunter
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Alan.

AGREED - Water quality is the main issue in the summer/autumn months - fact! But appleman has hit the nail squarely on the head!

What I am still waiting to hear is what BW are going to do about it? The clock is most definitely ticking on countdown at CV and real change needs to happen asap - based on the P&L aspirations which the board wish to achieve. That requires real change, brave management decisions and a direction for the fishery/management to employ amongst there colleagues to allow the turnaround a chance to happen/succeed.

With respect, all these little “tweaks” are great for good PR info to go on social media etc by BW to try and dig themselves out of a bloody big hole that they alone created, but BW need to deliver real change to gain/retain/keep paying anglers/customers rather than trying to paper over the cracks with a few tweaks for good PR reasons.

The lost customers (and there are many around Chew Valley) will not return until they can see a commitment from BW to sort out the main issues - which are highlighted by many others already on this forum.

The fact is that water quality is bloody awful during the summer months especially, due to high nitrates & phosphates excreted into CV lake, causing a lack of oxygen. It is called eutrophication!

There are changes they can adopt/invest in to improve water quality - BUT (big but) it costs £££! Which also involves engaging better with some of the local farms. Just sending a letter in the post to a farmer is not enough BW! You need to interact with them also. Take them with you!

I like many, await to see what is forthcoming before any commitment to increase my attendance at CV next season - rather than continue to visit other excellent fisheries locally.

Lets hope for some positive news!
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Appleman wrote:


One question.....

How do you envisage the proposed actions, so far, will result in anglers returning time and time again to Chew as they were back in 2013? P&L’s need to be strengthened to get BWF off the Boards radar.
As far as I can ascertain from your notes, there’s nothing earth shattering or cutting edge here that will achieve the necessary P&L turn around.



You are correct to say nothing earth shattering was discussed at this, the first meeting. The consensus was to start with small achievable steps and build on them which I believe has also been the BRFFA approach?

I think it is fair to say where BWF's competitors have stolen a march on them is regarding good publicity to raise the trout fishing public's awareness of their offer. Regular weekly reports, more information in those reports, more information on stocking (clips of stockings uploaded to social media), competitions for photographs and short stories and tagged trout all create positive news stories which give out a positive vibe. Obviously you need a performing fishery to create these good news stories in the first place but it is no good having the lakes fishing well if no one knows about it. It is something that can be improved relatively easily and if done well could encourage lapsed casual fly fishers to give the lakes another go.

It was also felt that the Sporting ticket would encourage C&R anglers to fish more often which is why BWF are prepared to give it a trial in 2018. I know some people feel very strongly that they shouldn't have to pay as much when they return fish alive as someone who takes fish home with them and if that really is a barrier to them fishing Chew in preference to other waters with Sporting tickets, then hopefully this will remove that barrier.

Personally I think the best way to increase footfall is to create the perception that every time you fish you have at least a better than even chance of catching a trout. Although this will probably be one of the hardest nuts to crack, I cannot help but feel that a more regular weekly 'trickle' stock could be the key to this. Lots of fisheries now do this and if it didn't work they wouldn't waste their money doing it, and knowing that there are always a few fresh fish somewhere in the lake has to be an incentive to fish. There was a discussion last night around how fresh fish stir up the residents and general agreement that in order to improve footfall the less committed angler needs to catch fish or at least feel they have a good chance of doing so. There are probably only two ways to do this 1) increase the stocking density which is not financially viable over 1200 acres or 2) ensure there are always some fresh fish available as well as resident fish for anglers to catch. I'm not an expert and could well be wrong, but it must be worth a trial at least to find out?

csfcodhunter
Just seen your reply and there is nothing I disagree with. I am sure that water quality will be discussed along with stocking frequency as I believe they are the key to increasing footfall and creating as sustainable trout fishery. I agree the other things are small steps but along with stocking they are improvements that can be made relatively easily by BWF themselves without having to refer 'upstairs' to BW. Water quality is a much larger subject that needs to be addressed by BW itself and probably enforced by legislation to ensure the polluters (that's what they are) toe the line. Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier if everything else was wrong with Chew except the water quality because then it might be easier to fix. Sad

Finally, I didn't mention it earlier but apparently it seems that the possibility of losing trout fishing at Chew in 2019 is not on the Boards agenda at all now and instead they want to see trout fishing continue as demonstrated by the extra funding granted to BWF. Of course this is fantastic news but I prefer to think of the last 12 months as a close call. I still think we should work on the assumption that if the P&L account doesn't improve we will have closure back on the agenda again in 24 months time.

Keep your thoughts coming, guys! Very Happy

Alan Wink
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Link staff bonuses to CSI Scores and P&L performance....That would probably sharpen the mind and bring about some definitive actions. If I was the BW CEO, having been called out by Jacob Rees-Mogg and subsequently commiting to invest in the fisheries, I’d want my pound of flesh in return!

The blue print for success is already out there.....Russ Owen and Ifor Jones both seem to have a copy!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A nice compliment Al to be invited to join such an illustrious group. I'm sure you will bring much to the table.

From my point of view there are 3 things that require fixing - water quality, predation from birds and transparity on stocking. Get these factors right and coupled with realistic pricing will see BWF back in the black. Lots of other initiatives are fine BUT I suspect management would want to major on these areas which provide good PR but don't get bums on seats. They would ALSO show the great unwashed how much they tried should things ultimately fail so I hope the working party can keep them focused on the main priorities. Good luck.

Cheers

Doug
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tenet wrote:
From my point of view there are 3 things that require fixing - water quality, predation from birds and transparity on stocking. Get these factors right and coupled with realistic pricing will see BWF back in the black.


Thanks Doug and I agree on all 3 points .... and your 4th one! Laughing I'm also aware that by sticking my head above the parapet I could be on a hiding to nothing, but how could I turn down the chance to support my favourite fishery in its hour of need? Very Happy

More transparency on stocking should be achievable via open days and video uploads, the Angling Trust has offered BWF guidance on predation by birds so again something for the Group to track over time with BWF. As already stated I think water quality is the most challenging issue and I think everyone accepts the nettle will have to be grasped if the fishery is to prosper. Smile

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:20 pm    Post subject: Be Bold! Reply with quote

Well done, Allrounder,

I cannot think of any local Forumite more capable of communicating, contributing to and reflecting views in this Committee.

But, enough of being nice (!), I really do agree with Appleman, cfsCodfather and tenet, that (in my words) Enough is Enough already!

After all this time, to now want to convene a new meeting to debate the wording of a new questionnaire to ask recent potential recruits why they gave up in their first year ...and to ask existing long term members why they have also had enough and left....C'mon, Guys, phone 'em up!! Or ask me to do do it...(I can be very nice on the phone).

Also I have never once seen a marketing/business turnaround that succeeded by taking "lots of very small steps"!!

However I have seen many that have succeeded by taking some bigger but risky ("considered and reversible") steps...at least on a "trial basis".

So, be bold, gentlemen. And May the Force be with You.

Best,
McFly
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:22 am    Post subject: Re: Be Bold! Reply with quote

mc07fly wrote:
After all this time, to now want to convene a new meeting to debate the wording of a new questionnaire to ask recent potential recruits why they gave up in their first year ...and to ask existing long term members why they have also had enough and left....C'mon, Guys, phone 'em up!! Or ask me to do do it...(I can be very nice on the phone).


Apologies McFly for not explaining it better , but I believe the online survey will be a general one open to all customers rather than a follow up for potential new recruits following a course. However I will follow up your suggestion about contacting those who have undertaken courses and then gone missing at the next meeting as it is an important point. Smile

Sometimes long established organisations won't accept the need to change or take risks until they have stared into the abyss and have come to the conclusion that change is the better option! Hopefully that's now the case with BWF! Smile

Any more thoughts? Smile

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice one Alan, great choice by bwf.
Have to agree with Mcfly get on the Blower, with the right person on the phone you can get feedback but more importantly sell season tickets.
Thinking back a few years my local paper The Weston mercury, always had a catch report on the lakes and often a photo of a fish or two in the sports section which often ended with fishing available contact ..... the circulation is 16000 or so but rolled out around the area would connect with a lot of people for free!
Have the stocking numbers from last year been released yet?

cheers mike
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a quick, or not so, question guys.

Over the last few years, fish that are c & r'd are stil counted in the total of fish that are actually killed & removed. So, how do they know the ratio to re-stock, when before it was more or less a matter of one in-one out type of thing.

Obviously there are going to be returned fish that don't survive, predation etc so it has to be a very much more hit & miss affair these days. Especialy when certain "anglers", from different area's are quite happy to anchor up & take/return a "hundred or more" fish each a day.
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