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What is the Angling Improvement Fund? Find out more about how the Fund works and who benefits

Round 3 Fund Winning Projects 2015/16

Round 3 Award Winners

3(a): Otter-proof fencing schemes

Abingdon and Oxford Anglers Alliance

The AIF award has enabled the completion of 1,000m of otter fencing at the club’s Marlborough Pool,6 miles from Oxford. Otters have been attacking the stock of carp for the past 2 years, having a serious impact on the fishing at this popular venue. Even assistance from Oxford University by way of purpose-built scarers did little to prevent the otters taking carp.

Interestingly, since the fence was completed the club has noticed an increase in bird activity around the lake with many ducks and other small water birds now nesting within the safety of the new fence. The club is planning on introducing new fish to replace those lost to the otters.

Abingdon Otter Fence

Abingdon's new otter fence has protected fish stocks
and increased bird numbers.

Blakemere Leisure, Shropshire

The husband and wife team that run Blakemere Leisure, a rare but successful natural big fish day ticket water near Whitchurch, Shropshire, have witnessed intermittent otter visits over the last 6 years. The 8-acre mere is fed by an old Roman spring and is home to large carp and tench with anglers regularly visiting it from far and wide. The new otter proof fence, supported by the AIF award, is around 1,500m in length and now fully encircles this natural and unspoilt water. The owners have plans to create a new smaller 3-acre pool aimed at attracting the local community and young anglers that will be stocked with crucian carp, tench and large roach.

Blakemere Leisure
An otter fence now protects the natural big fish water at Blakemere.

Chelmsford Angling Association

The Willows Lake is home to some large carp and bream and is one of Chelmsford AA’s more popular venues. AIF funding was given to help the Association install a new otter proof fence, a welcome addition to an existing fence that was erected primarily to stop fish escaping into the adjoining river Blackwater during floods. Club members spent many days clearing the way for the fence installation and are very pleased with the new protection offered at this lake. The Association have raised thousands of pounds in recent years in aid of the RNLI and Essex Air Ambulance. The new fence will allow the Association to continue to extend these types of activities in the future.

Chelmsford 1

Chelmsford club members got stuck in at Willows Lake
to make way for their new AIF funded fence.

Harrogate & Claro Conservative Angling Association

The AIF award will enable this club to complete a large otter-proof fence at its 60-acre Lingerfield Coarse Lake, an old gravel pit. The club had already installed 3,100m of mesh fence, dug 3km of trenches and erected 950 posts but to complete the project needed to install an automatic gate. Club members have undertaken all the work themselves spread over many weekends. The club now has plans to recommence its ‘Carp School’ for young anglers, which had been suspended due to the loss of numerous large carp, some of which were over thirty pounds in weight.

Harrogate Otter Fence

A club member demonstrates the new electric gate
for entry into Ripon Sailing Club.

Hull & District Anglers’ Association

Windmill Pond is situated on the south bank of the Humber estuary near New Holland and has historically been a popular fishery for anglers living on both sides of the Humber.  It was inundated with saltwater during an unprecedented tidal-surge in late 2013 resulting in a total fish kill. The Association has now been given permission by the EA and Natural England to restock the venue and enclose it with a secure otter proof fence.  Following this work, part funded with their AIF award, the Association plan to use the venue to hold their 24 hour residential ‘Carp-School’, social evening events and match and specimen competitions, all aimed at re-attracting lost anglers.

Jacklands Fishing Lakes, Bristol

This small family run fishery, located just 3 miles from the M5 south of Bristol offers a range of incentives to encourage people into fishing including taster sessions, group activities and Family Fishing days. Over the past 4 years otters have been regularly seen at the venue resulting in the decimation of the carp and other fish stocks. Otter fencing has already been installed on three sides of the lake and the AIF award will allow for it to completed. Plans are in place to restock the lakes with crucian carp, as part of the EA/Angling Trust initiative ‘Ark site for Crucian Carp’.

Jacklands fishery aims to become an 'ARK' conservation site
for crucian carp now they can prevent otter predation.

Kingfisher Lakes (1987) Ltd, Hampshire

Famous for being the venue where the current UK record freshwater eel was captured in 1978, Kingfisher Lake has seen carp to over 30lbs fall victim to otter predation. The award will be added to the ‘one-off’ contributions made by members, plus additional money invested by the fishery itself. 1,800m of otter fencing will be erected around the most vulnerable areas of this wonderful lake and is part of an ongoing series of developments at the venue. The work is being undertaken by the club’s loyal band of retiree members affectionately known as ‘The Last of the Summer Wine Work Party Volunteers’.

Lakefield Angling Society, Essex

Lakefield Angling Society will be using their award to construct a new 850-metre otter proof fence around Brett Water, a 1.5-hectare in-line fishery based just outside South Woodham Ferrers and rented by the club for the past 45 years. Following a number of otter attacks in recent times, this project is an urgent addition to their on-going development plan for the fishery. The total cost of the project was over £15,000 with the club contributing a large amount of its own funds, helped by a welcome donation from the landlord. Since the fence was completed members have regularly reported seeing a Barn Owl sitting on the many fence posts as it surveys the land for its next meal.

3(b): Best unfunded projects from Rounds 1 and 2

Alders Farm Fishery, Milton Keynes

Alders farm Fishery is keen to introduce local children to angling. The fishery applied for funding in Round 1 to enable the refurbishment of the old ‘Pumphouse’ building by Ash Lake as a base for coaching days and practical indoor sessions. This was largely complete by the beginning of 2016 however, so this new grant will be put towards the installation of new pegs and pathway improvements, enabling coaching sessions to be delivered in a safe manner. Part of the grant will also go towards the purchase of new ‘starter kits’ to support angling taster sessions.

Bolton-Le-Sands Angling Club, Lancashire

Over the past two winters cormorants have been regular visitors to this club’s fishery leaving very few fish in the lake. As a result of this, membership has declined and the club’s junior section, which has been in existence for over 40 years, has all but collapsed. The club’s AIF award will pay for the installation of fish refuges and floating islands, and once in place, the club will restock the lake with a new supply of fish. Bolton-Le-Sands will also be upgrading some of the old pegs to improve safety.

Boston & District Angling Association, Lincolnshire

This ‘Fish-marked’ association is keen to introduce youngsters to angling and has an active junior group. However, whilst junior coaching sessions could be carried out on the local drains, costs were proving prohibitive. To help address this issue the association purchased a dedicated lake in 2015 and applied for help through the AIF in previous rounds to develop the site. Having already created a car park, installed a gate and trimmed trees, this further AIF award will enable purchase and installation of 5 new pegs, suitable for coached sessions and/or (side-by-side) family fishing. Juniors can now access affordable fishing waters, stocked with silver fish and within easy reach of the town. As well as making its own contribution, the club has also secured a grant from the local Lincolnshire Police Community Fund.

Cambridge Fish Preservation & Angling Society

CFPAS applied for funding to improve their 1-acre Andersons Lake in Longstanton, just off the busy A14 in Cambridgeshire. The AIF grant will enable much-needed access improvements at the site. Ten tonnes of hard core has been laid on the approach track, which had become difficult for vehicles to access. The new funding will also enable the installation of three double-sized coaching platforms which should facilitate 150 additional fishing sessions planned for young people. The club will be donating a substantial amount of Level-2 coaching time to make the most of the new facilities.

Dewsbury & District Junior Angling Club, West Yorkshire

Based in an ethnically diverse area, Dewsbury & District Junior Angling Club is keen to attract young people from the whole community and offers classroom and bankside sessions at Spen Vale Street Lake, a new club water fitted with 18 pegs exclusively for children’s use. The club has already done much to improve facilities and the AIF award will enable the creation of an outdoor communal meeting area complete with seating. The improvements will be a launch pad for a host of angling activities, including competitive junior leagues, and the club has high hopes that this will help build its junior membership to over 100 kids.

Funding will help the club to increase junior fishing opportunities.

Exeter & District Angling Association

Within walking distance of Exeter City Centre, Fishmark-accredited club E&DAC applied to the AIF in Round 1 to develop their Harpers Pond facility and to extend its coaching programme by offering ‘learn to fish’ days. By building a coaching platform, supplying equipment for family use, family season tickets and a pond-dipping facility, the association hope to fully engage with families and generate up to 500 new fishing opportunities each year.

Exeter AA
A new coaching platform will help deliver 500 new fishing
opportunities every year, family fishing and a pond dipping facility. 

Hull & District Anglers’ Association

H&DAA’s AIF award will pay for and equip a site office facility at their Brough Fishery Complex.  This venue is located close to extensive new-build estates and will cater for a large influx in the local population. The Association already hosts coached events to introduce young people and families into angling and the new building will be a base for indoor coaching, provide shelter during poor weather and enable storage of equipment.

Learn 2 Fish, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Located in the heart of Huddersfield, Learn2fish’s AIF award will help pay for the installation of a solar powered oxygenating system at their Woodhouse Mills Ponds. This will help protect fish welfare by maintaining high levels of dissolved oxygen and preventing ice formation in winter, enable fishing all year round. Learn2fish provide tuition to schools as well as local charities with their qualified coaches.

Learn2fish's AIF money will help toward an oxygenation system
to provide all-year-round fishing.

Milemead Fisheries, Tavistock, Devon

This well-established, family run fishery near Tavistock, Devon, applied to the AIF for funding to install some safe platforms on its canal lake. The fishery offers free coaching/taster days delivered by its team of qualified coaches and the new pegs will allow this important work to help more children and anglers with access needs enjoy the sport.

Northampton Nene Angling Club

This is one of the oldest-established angling clubs in the country, having been in existence since the mid 1800’s. It still has a thriving membership and provides a full range of waters for its members. The club offers fishing taster and family fun days to attract new people into the sport through its Angling Trust qualified coaches. Coaching activities are held at a variety of club and local council owned waters, most of which do not provide toilet facilities, so funding was sought to purchase a portable toilet. The club will match this by supplying an adapted trailer and vehicle.

Nottingham Piscatorial Society

The Society received funding from the AIF to support its work with vulnerable and disaffected youngsters in the greater Nottinghamshire and Newark areas. The grant will be spent on the purchase of new junior fishing kit and on the installation of new fishing pegs (including a large double peg with disabled access ramp) at its A1 pits near South Muskham.  Two additional pegs have also been created on the River Trent that flows immediately behind the venue, offering additional safe swims on flowing water. The Society will commit a big volunteer effort to the project, including 12 days free tuition and 8 training sessions for 30 school children.

Notts Piscatorial
Vulnerable youngsters will benefit from AIF funding
at Nottingham piscatorial Society's A1 Pit.

Phoenix Angling Club, Rotherham, South Yorks

This club has been at the forefront of efforts to develop ways to control cormorant predation. As early as 15 years ago it installed fish refuges and floating islands at its Ravenfield Ponds fishery in Rotherham - they applied to the AIF for materials to replace these original structures. The club has recently developed a crucian carp lake as part of the Crucian Conservation Project, which would also have been at risk if no action were taken.

Phoenix AC
Club members move materials ready for installation of fish refuges.

Picks Cottage Fishery, Chingford, East London

Located on the outskirts of Essex and London, family-run Picks Cottage Fishery has five lakes and provides free fishing for under-14s. The Fishery has used its AIF award to construct four disabled fishing platforms and has also commissioned an access audit to provide a framework for future improvements. Director Andrew Roddick will also qualify as a Level 1 Angling Coach in order to introduce fishing tuition to residents and partnerships with schools and youth groups.
Andrew Roddick says: “It is about trying to improve accessibility around the venue and making sure it meets the needs of wheelchair use. It would be too expensive to do without the grant so it is really fortunate we got it.”

Picks Cottage
New disabled platforms at Picks Cottage Fishery.

Roche Angling Club, St Austell, Cornwall

Roche Angling Club of St Austell in Cornwall, which has 4 waters and access to 2 others, is committed to getting young people into angling. Using its AIF award, the club will purchase a suite of angling equipment to loan out at coaching sessions, and through its own contribution will support 2 people to complete the Level 2 coaching qualification. The club has support of the charity 'Young People Cornwall' which will help provide transport for participants to coaching sessions.  Part of the award will also be used to purchase 4 non-lethal acoustic deterrents to protect its waters from otter predation.

Scunthorpe Pisces Angling Club

Scunthorpe Pisces is a Fishmark-accredited club and is already very proactive in trying to encourage people into fishing.  It is one of few clubs in country to offer a family membership. Over the past couple of years it has built and stocked a bespoke coaching pond with double size pegs to assist with its coaching plan. Using their AIF grant, complemented by 105 hours of volunteer time, the club will be able to make improvements to the main pathway and create a new small car parking area to enable better access. All this will help to boost junior angling, with at least 500 additional visits estimated.

Scunthorpe PAC
Scunthorpe Pisces anticipate 500 additional visits thanks to improved access.

Stanton Fishing Club, Ilkeston, Derbyshire

Stanton Fishing Club of Ilkeston, Derbyshire requested a grant to help it manage cormorant predation. The club, which was founded in 1881, had seen its membership drop considerably over the past couple of years due to the problem, with up to 15 birds a day recorded on site. A professional survey confirmed that stock levels were very low but before restocking the club wanted to investigate a way of deterring the cormorant feeding. With their award Stanton FC will install ropes at one of its ponds and part cover it with netting to enhance protection.

Stanton FC
Cormorant deterrents in place at a Scunthorpe FC water.

Tarporley & District Angling Club, Cheshire

A small grant was awarded to this Cheshire based club for materials to build low cost cages in the shallow margins of its Cotebrook Mill pool. These will be planted out with reeds and other water plants by volunteers, thus offering shelter, protection and sanctuary for fish. The club had tried a number of different ways in the past to combat predation, without a great deal of success, so it is hoped that the new cages will be effective and provide a cheaper alternative to the purchase of stock fish.

Upper Ouse Angling Academy, Brackley, Northants

Upper Ouse Angling Academy is a new group that shares the venues and tackle of Brackley and District Angling Club and Brackley and District Angling Association. Using a partnership approach, the academy has successfully won funding from other sources to deliver coaching sessions and the AIF award will provide a safe storage facility for angling equipment - all of which allows the Academy to provide much needed recreational resource for the local community.

Verulam Angling Club, St. Albans, Herts

Named ‘Tony’s Lake Project ‘ Verulam AC sought funding to help with the cost of providing a safe environment for junior coaching. The project involves levelling the banks at an old and under-used gravel pit and the creation of a safe walkway to a purpose-built coaching area. This will facilitate more school usage, fortnightly junior coaching and provide space for members to bring children and grandchildren. Once compete, the club predicts the improvements will generate 360 new angling opportunities each year for young people.

Verulam AC
Club members enjoy the new purpose built junior angling facilities.

Wem Angling Club, Shropshire

Set in the Shropshire countryside the club has used its grant to rejuvenate a pool they intend to use for young anglers and families. The pool was badly silted and clogged with weed so was drained and tonnes of silt removed before being refilled. As work was being undertaken they found numerous small crucians, which they had not initially realised were present, and have ambitions to stock the pool with more of this species. With the other two pools on site, younger anglers at Wem AC will have the chance to practise a range of fishing styles. Mike Williams of Wem AC said: “Once again, many, many thanks to both yourself and your Committee for your generous offer and understanding regarding our trials and tribulations at Hawk Lake."

West Hampstead Angling Society, Rickmansworth, Herts

West Hampstead Angling Society has a 5-year development plan aimed at increasing the number of junior anglers using Sabeys Pool, located just short walk from the town centre in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire. The Society has already made a raft of improvements at Sabeys, including the installation of male and female toilets and weather-proof shelters. Using their AIF grant, the club will employ a tree surgeon to remove unstable & unsafe trees along the east and southern banks, thereby opening up additional swims. The Society has a number of Angling Trust qualified coaches who hope to offer more sessions after the work has been completed and new fishing opportunities will be promoted at the popular Rickmansworth Festival.

West Hampstead

Unstable trees will be removed, improving safety and opening up new swims.

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