Angling: Calverton celebrates as breeding run tops scales

River Aire at Castleford.
River Aire at Castleford.
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THERE was a great feeling of elation from the nation’s anglers with a recent announcement by the Environment Agency.

Their fish farm at Calverton in Nottinghamshire has had its most successful year ever, and record numbers of new fish have been bred, some 40,000 in all.

As a result, the rivers Great Ouse, Aire, Medway and Lea have all received an influx of many thousands of fish of all species in recent weeks with a promise of even more later in the year.

Not only rivers, but many club-controlled stillwaters have also benefited from extensive stocking of barbel, roach, chub, dace, tench and crucian carp.

Alan Henshall is the main man at Calverton and he said that over the past 25 years over 10 million fish have been introduced into UK venues.

He also reckons that the quality of the fish have been improving all the time, and these latest fish are the best that he has ever seen.

Mr Henshall adds that the conditions last summer were absolutely perfect for fish breeding, and these new fish will be ‘perfect both for anglers and to improve present stocks for years to come’.

Anglers always have a seasonal moan about where their rod licence money is spent, well ,a huge chunk of that is invested in Calverton for without it they would not survive; there is no financial support from government.

The Calverton site is not too big; it covers around 18 acres and employs only six permanent staff.

At the moment, they have orders for fish for the next three years which is extremely valuable for them during the spawning process as they can then evaluate which species will be most required.

Releasing the fish can also be a problem for the conditions must be perfect. It is no use releasing fish if the river is in flood for they would just be swept away before they had time to acclimatise themselves.

Three-quarters of the fish that are reared each year are placed into running water venues. The local River Ouse at Aldwark Bridge recently had an influx of 500 barbel, and these were all quality fish around nine inches long.

I think that this was a bonus from the Environment Agency in thanks for a scheme not so long ago when a party of anglers from Leeds sought grayling from both the Wharfe at Boston Spa and the upper River Ure so they could be taken to Calverton and stripped of their eggs during the breeding session.

Apparently this experiment was very successful.