No Fishing

The surviving carp have finally gone from Ashland’s Lakes.

Good news, such as it is, is that in the end we did not have to destroy them as they are likely to (legally) find a new home in a landlocked fishery way out of this area.

MKAA opened Ashland’s as a dad’s ‘n lads floatonly fishery in partnership with the Parks Trust in 2016, stocking some 700 one to three pound carp in two of the lakes.

Things went well for two summers until, during a 2018 heatwave, the water suffered a KHV (Koi Herpes Virus) outbreak, a notifiable disease which meant immediate closure, quarantining of the water, and the deaths from the disease of sizeable numbers of fish.

Partial silting up due to debris from construction work upstream, together with rapid growth of the fish and exceptional bursts of hot weather that summer, are thought to have led to the fish becoming stressed to levels triggering the outbreak.

Probably more than half survived but we lost more: some to predation, and with others washed out or crushed against the outlet grill by periodic massive floodwater surges during cloudburst conditions (Ashland’s are ‘online’ balancing lakes).

The biggest perceived risk was that because a small number of characters persisted in trying to fish there despite the legal ban on doing so, KHV could have been spread to other local lakes perhaps wiping out their carp stocks.

There having been no further KHV ‘flareups’ at Ashlands, the water was declassified by Defra in 2019…but after much agonising (aided by often conflicting professional advice) we decided there would always be a risk of transferring infection if we moved them to another of our waters as had been the original intention.

Keeping them in a home they were rapidly outgrowing, with risk of more ‘stress’ periods and of being moved by poachers, was not considered a viable option, either.

VERY reluctantly MKAA concluded the safest thing to do was to destroy the fish. Then we thought again, and again…and each time came to the same conclusion.

Professional netsmen moved in this week and, just as the first net was drawn into the bank, an offer of a new home (removing any possible risk well away from this area) emerged, for which we are very grateful.

Fish removed included 90 to 100 from the bottom pond in the 8lb to low double figures bracket, and 40 or so doubles to around 15lb+ from the larger middle pond.

There was also a tench, a koi, and a couple of small chub which were not part of the original stocking.

Adding nonhealth checked ‘ornamental trade‘/garden pond fish is often cited as having potential to introduce serious diseases, but sadly some people seem neither to know nor care.

Thank you everyone who helped with this sad and difficult episode including the Parks Trust, EA, Defra, various ‘professionals’, our hard working bailiffing team… and all those members and day ticket anglers who stuck with the rules and stayed off Ashland’s following the outbreak.