Big Fish Column: Environment Agency restocks River Loddon but conditions are still challenging for anglers

Local fishing continues to improve slowly and with the rivers now fining down nicely and the temperatures, at times, feeling almost spring–like there is hope for the next few weeks. At least there is if  the threatened heavy rainfall holds off…


Some good news for the River Loddon

It has been a poor winter for river fishers thus far but I was delighted to receive a report from Martin Moore last week with some great news for our local rivers with news that a further consignment of fish has recently been stocked by the Environment Agency into the River Blackwater upstream of Swallowfield and into the River Loddon at Arborfield. 400 chub, 350 dace, 600 roach and 300 barbel were delivered from the National Coarse Fish Rearing Unit near Nottingham, and are less than two years old.

This stocking  is part of the EA‘s continuing efforts to improve stocks in the Loddon catchment, work that has also included habitat improvements near Swallowfield and by Twyford and District Fishing Club at Sandford. In addition, there is an on-going fry survey, involving Bournemouth University, being coordinated by the Barbel Society and the Loddon Fisheries and Conservation Consultative. Other projects being run by the proactive Loddon Catchment Partnership include the addition of baffles on gauging weirs at Swallowfield to improve fish passage.

The less good news is that despite these efforts angling remains challenging with only sporadic reports of chub and barbel. At least we are currently not short of water…


And for the Ouse

Although it is not a local river I note that the EA has also been introducing new fish stocks into the River Great Ouse, the river which held the barbel record for a number of years before the giant fish were decimated by otters. Some 1,400 juvenile barbel were released into the upper reaches of the river to protect and develop the species.

All local anglers will wish these new introductions well in their new environments, be that the Loddon or the Ouse. The National Coarse Fish Rearing Unit produces fit, healthy fish that have been conditioned to survival in flowing waters and the EA, together with our local clubs and consultatives, do a great, and often un–noticed and un–appreciated, job in working to restore our local rivers. Support them when you can.


The week ahead

With mild weather forecast, the commercial stillwaters should fish well. River anglers could benefit too, but only if we don’t have a return to flood conditions.

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at

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