2022 turned out to be another good season for the club. The Environment Agency finally sorted out the breach in the river bank upstream of Bintry Mill which has been causing so much silting of the spawning areas downstream, members caught a record number of healthy wild trout and the ongoing river improvement programme continues to gather pace, particularly at County School.
In addition to all this one member managed to catch a massive 28inch wild brown trout in perfect condition. This must be one of the largest trout to come out of the fishery and is a testament to the success of the native wild trout population, which continues to thrive and grow on. This season’s catch returns show a steady increase in the average size and frequency of wild trout in the river, with average catches per visit doubling from last season and a lot more wild fish of up to 12 inches being caught.
We have had some very positive discussions with the Environment Agency and Norfolk Rivers Trust regarding the planned river improvements at County School and we hope to get the final go ahead within the next few weeks. If that happens, we plan to do the work over the winter, so the new gravel spawning beds can be ready for next season. It will be interesting to monitor how quickly trout will begin to colonise the improved area, but all the indications are that the new habitat will provide a very welcome boost to the local wild trout population.
Lots of other improvements are planned to increase the habitat value of the fishery, not just for trout, but for all the wildlife in general. Proposed bank improvements should provide additional nesting sites for the bank vole population at County School, which our surveys have shown to be lower than other parts of the fishery, and a proposed fencing and tree planting scheme should dramatically increase bankside vegetation.
A problem for the future will be how to deal with the large amounts of silt which have entered the river as a result of the bank breach upstream of the Mill being left for two seasons. The club has decided to adopt a wait and see policy and survey the situation again once the winter rains have done their worst. Obviously, all winter floods can do is send the silt downstream to be deposited elsewhere, but the priority is always to keep the gravel and ranunculus beds free of cloying mud and if necessary our work parties will be addressing this as necessary over the course of next season.
Day ticket changes
The club’s day ticket scheme has become very popular over the last few seasons and in order to streamline the purchasing process we have made a few small changes. Next season, all beat fishing days and rest days will be pre-determined (just check the booking calendar) to help ensure that Yarrow Farm and County School beats are well rested between visits and reduce uncertainty for day ticket customers.
Days for next season can still be booked in advance, but money will not be taken, nor tickets issued until April 1st 2023 onwards. As day ticket fishing does not begin until May 1st, this should provide plenty of notice for customers.