It seems apparent .

Derek Gibson

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During recent reccies to the Lincolnshire Fens one thing seems to be starkly evident, and that I the absence of other anglers. Areas that were once highly populated by anglers appear to see no angling traffic.

This was a topic of conversation between my angling mate and I on route home after the last couple of outings. Opinions were divided from nowadays anglers no longer wish to fish through the harsh winter periods, to the deterioration of fish stocks. Including the ever present illegal poaching and killing of fish, and poorer water quality etc, speculation is endless.

Does anyone else have a view on this thorny topic?
 

mikench

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I cannot comment on your neck of the woods Derek but we inhabit an extremely complex and demanding world with instant communications and demands on our time from everywhere which interfere with Angling! I am sure adverse weather plays a part and it is snowing here as I type! I know I would be alone on many of my favourite local waters and to be honest that's how I like it!

If I could be guaranteed a catch I might go!:) As it is unless the snow becomes heavier a trip to see my parents is on the cards! Good to see you posting again!:)
 

thecrow

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Possibly down to lots of anglers being a different animal to what they used to be, certainly there are a lot less predator anglers on my local waters but during the warmer weather plenty that fish for carp with most disappearing when the weather turns cold.

Some of the drains I fished when I lived in Lincolnshire were a shadow of what they were when i fished them before moving to Lincolnshire, fish theft was definitely one reason but with angling being very cyclical with species numbers rising and falling it could have been that I fished them at a period when the cycle was at a low point. One things sure that there are lots of good fish swimming about in out of the way drains that will never see an angler now, not many are prepared to put in the long walks that used to be the norm leapfrogging rods back to where they started, angling has changed a lot but as you are finding the rewards are still there if you are prepared to fish these waters to discover if any have returned to somewhere near what they were, I hope it continues for you.

Lots of anglers that did used to fish the fens in years gone by are now older and unable or unwilling to fish these places during the winter, I include myself in that, some of the fishing they did may even have contributed to their being unable to fish them now, goodness knows how I put up with riding my motorbike to the fens laden with tackle in mid winter I must have been mad :eek:
 

steve2

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My view is that winter fishing is dying out due I think to the age of anglers. I use to fish what ever the weather but now I don’t. All my fishing mates are now in their 60’s or 70’s and this seems an average age were we fish. The days of us dragging ourselves out to places like the Fens are now gone. A bit of cold weather never use to put us off.
The fact is that all year round fishing now means that many can now do 9 months fishing and put their rods away till the Spring. Add to this the number of easy waters now available and who but the most hardy would want to fish these out of the way places where you may or may not get a fish. There are no carparks, ,no café, no tackle shop and horror of horrors for some these days you have to walk to your swim.
Me, I would still like to visit these places but I can't see it happening.
 
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morston1

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I don’t think it is to do with the supposed lack of fish.

Since I moved to the Fens I have benn amazed at the amount of unfished water.....long stretches of the Great Ouse and many of the drains are simply unfished and left to grow over.

Yet the rivers and drains are full of fish.....it is fairly easy to catch large bags of Roach and other fish on my local waters.

Anglers simply can’t be bothered to walk long distances, especially with huge amounts of tackle which seems to be compulsory nowadays:eek:. They also want to park close to their swim and not have to clear a peg.
The areas near convenient car parking are comparatively heavily fished and kept clear.

There is also a huge amount of water to go at.....it seems most would rather fish a commercial which is far more comfortable and convenient.

There are even long stretches of water, which used to be heavily match fished, which are no longer controlled by clubs as there is no demand.....they are now free fishing but ignored.
 

nottskev

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I couldn't say what's happening in Lincolnshire, but to give a specific example close to home, I regularly drive past a commercial which has dozens of anglers lining its several pools. Ten minutes later, I am on the Trent or Derwent, often with long stretches of river to myself. Last weekend, even in the cold weather, the same commercial was busy and 5 minutes further down the road I arrived at a deserted lake. I'd guess the popularity of commercials is a factor.
 

Derek Gibson

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Having recently, on a number of occasions driven along the bank of the River Witham at dusk and witnessed at first hand numbers of fish ''topping'' on certain sections. I find it difficult to subscribe to the lack of fish belief, so I tend to dismiss that as an option.
 

morston1

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It is not just during the winter period that waters are unfished....in fact some of the drains are fished more heavily in the winter than the summer.

There is also a conspicuous lack of youngsters fishing the rivers...as has
Been said many anglers are getting older and are unable or unwilling to tackle long walks and steep and slippery banks.
 

browndog

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I'm sat here on a Saturday morning, having got up late and had a lazy breakfast, ten years ago I'd have been up at first light next to the river. I don't know if It's getting older or wether I've realised, as I've got older, wether It's worth going out.
The weather outside is bright sunshine and heavy frost I never had much luck in these conditions,so I'm going to have another cup of coffee then take the dogs out.
 

seth49

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One of the things that puts me off in winter, is the fact I have to walk quiet a way to some swims carrying tackle in winter clothing, if I get hot and then sit in the cold for hours, I can nearly guarantee a chest infection, and being laid up for weeks, it’s just not worth it.

I like my pleasure fishing, but there’s no pleasure in that.
 

mikench

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Same here! I am not willing to freeze for a couple of roach no matter how much I like them!:rolleyes: My dislocated finger remains amazingly susceptible to the cold and aches throughout !
 

nottskev

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Something else that can reduce the number of anglers visiting waters....lack of information.

I think this is only secondary, and follows on from other changes such as growth of commercials or cycles of fish, but it's part of the downward spiral. I'm more likely to visit waters where I've picked up at least some idea of the what's, where's and how's of the fishing and have some current information.

To use local examples again, there are long stretches of rivers on club books I have, but because they are barely fished, little or no information comes out, and anglers you meet, tackle shops, even club officials are often no help; press articles, reports or match reports are very rare or non-existent.

I'm not expecting the information "on a plate" - within practical limits, I do explore local stretches and seek out information - but it does seem that areas can drop off the map. If it happens near large cities, I'd imagine it's even more likely in relatively remote rural areas. The fen drains and rivers were once famous, but I hadn't given them a thought until I found myself replying to this thread.
 

steve2

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If you look back at the 50's 60's and early 70's coach parties of club anglers use to criss-cross the country through out the year heading towards the Fens and other places. Those clubs have gone and with it those visiting anglers. Even places like the Hampshire Avon and Dorset Stour when I use to fish them were more or less deserted outside the summer. But you will find plenty of anglers on commercials even in winter.

I have walked many miles of the Thames in summer and never seen an angler the same it appears can be said for most rivers so it is not just a winter problem.
 

sam vimes

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Fishing as I know it is dying on its arse. The number of anglers I see outside of the summer months is rather minimal. On certain venues, usually the more natural ones, I don't see that many in summer. If I walk further than a few hundred yards, I don't really expect to see anyone.

I don't believe that particularly poor fish stocks are the biggest issue, though the perception of that often doesn't help. I feel that poor parking, long walks and lost skills are the biggest reasons as to why rivers, canals and drains are largely underfished. It's actually becoming something of a self perpetuating downward spiral. I suspect that the lack of bait going in to some waters only makes things more difficult.
 

morston1

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One thing I have also noticed is that several clubs, who control their own stretches of river, also choose to run many of their club matches on commercial waters.

I think many anglers simply find natural waters difficult and hard work....much easier to fish a carp puddle and get a few fish in comfort.

I have never fished a commercial in my life but I can see the attraction now I am getting on a bit
 

nottskev

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One thing I have also noticed is that several clubs, who control their own stretches of river, also choose to run many of their club matches on commercial waters.

I think many anglers simply find natural waters difficult and hard work....much easier to fish a carp puddle and get a few fish in comfort.

I have never fished a commercial in my life but I can see the attraction now I am getting on a bit
Similarly - and sorry for wandering off-topic - I'm in a couple of clubs which, owning both river stretches and riverside gravel pits, develop the stock (carp), facilities and (tent-friendly) pegs on the pits, whilst the river stretches leave you free to slide in, lose yourself in the undergrowth etc as you wish.

This tends to make the river banks ever less attractive to older and less fit anglers, and fewer anglers likely to be tempted that way. And promotes a degree of indifference to river stocks, predation issues and so on.

Of course, to get access to the river, the angler must fund the pit development..... I'm not against carp fishing at all, except in so far as it takes, in some cases, all the club's attention and resources.
 

john step

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I am pretty sure I know the stretches of river Derek is alluding to. There are certainly still a lot of fish there including tench. You need a rake.
In summer there is so much weed, that I think this puts a lot off.
The roach topping at dusk has to be seen to be believed.

In winter there are a few places well known for piking that have easy access but they are hammered where the out of the way places are deserted.

That I think illustrates what most want nowadays.

I have only lived here 14 years. 14 Years ago there were places very well frequented by roach/perch anglers all winter that are now quite deserted. I would make the observation that those anglers 14 yrs ago were not in the first flush of youth.
I think if they are still fishing at about 75 to 80 they would probably be on commies.

I have had to buy a pair of waders this year to even get safely through the bankside reed and mud to attempt to land and release pike, such is the lack of maintenance.
The other side of the coin is that now the controlling clubs have given up on the river there are miles of free fishing.
 

peterjg

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Following on from previous posts. Morston1 has it exactly right: anglers don't want the long walk and there is now the feeling that 'natural' waters are empty of fish.

There are literally miles of the river Kennet and the Kennet & Avon canal which are hardly ever fished. I constantly hear that the fishing is not as good as it used to be and I am sure that this is true but there are still big fish to be caught.

I understand that anglers now want short walks, toilets, safe parking and guaranteed catches - and if you want to sit around a crowded puddle with each angler facing opposite another angler, catching easy and damaged carp then fish a commercial - how horrible is that, not proper fishing!
 

xenon

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cannot comment on the trend in my neck of the woods, having only recently moved here, but my local stretches of the Thames (Laleham, Sunbury, Hampton, Shepperton) see little if any traffic-even in summer. Access is not an issue. My guess is that it's easier and more convenient to fish a commercial?
 

markcw

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I went out to do a bailiff check this morning, a total of 14 waters, it started to snow, I found 4 anglers fishing,all carp fishermen, 2 of them had overnighted on the venue, none of them had caught, we had a chat about various waters the club has, all in all a pleasant morning despite driving around country lanes in the snow, there was going to be a club match tomorrow on one of the waters, the organizer cancelled due to the weather, the past few weeks I have been out some of the waters are devoid of anglers, yes these waters can be difficult in cooler weather,but isn't that what we go fishing for, to pit your wits against the fish and try and work out how to catch them, all the waters I checked today are stillwaters not rivers,so I cant comment on how they are attended.
 
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