New pumps could change Wash’s ways

WEST & FENS: New electric pumps have been installed at Welmore Sluice, where the Delph meets the tidal Ouse at the downstream end of the Welney Washes.

Some old hands are predicting the equipment's arrival could see a turning point in the fortunes of what was once a cracking pike water.

Recent years have seen flood water lying on the washes into spring and early summer. This turns stagnant and can cause fish kills as levels drop and it finds its way into the drain.

Drain doesn't really do the Delph justice. Before its recent woes, it supported a wealth of life. Flowing through bird reserves meant its waters were clear of the phosphates which cause algal blooms, so its lily-flanked channel held a wealth of life.

If the pumps do their job, a few years could see it return to its former glory as a great mixed fishery.

Continual pressure from anglers from all walks of the sport made it happen via the catchily-named Lower Ouse Fisheries Consultative.

Some fear the Whitehall cash squeeze means the days of such bodies could be numbered.

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There's been some sterling work going on behind the scenes in the Fens for years, on everything from lobbying to getting infrastructure such as sluices sorted, to confronting fish theft.

The Angling Trust is setting up a new breed of regional freshwater forums. Its East of England forum is meeting for the first time at Littleport Leisure Centre on Saturday, November 13, 10.30am.

A question mark hangs over who will be allowed to take part in the meeting, which has not been widely advertised outside of Angling Trust circles. Some fear it will be restricted to trust members. A senior source has confirmed this is likely to be the case.

Sitting in meetings when you could be fishing and the murky world of angling politics aren't to everyone's taste.

But it's vital we have all have a seat around the table – or at least someone to represent our chosen branch of the sport – when it comes to discussing what can sometimes be far reaching issues.

The successes of the Lower Ouse consultative over the years and the strength of some of the more inclusive, forward-thinking clubs around the Fens are proof of that.

Here's to hoping the baby doesn't get thrown out with the bath water.