2023 saw the first official angling year of Shotton Hall Angling Club. We offered an unprecedented joining fee for a full year’s membership to all ages of only £10. Further to this, we introduced a pay-per-fish system costing £5 per day. This was snapped up and we hit 50% full membership almost straight away, with the full 50 members being reached in early July 2023.
Thanks to the assistance of Peterlee Neighbourhood Services Team we installed 6 over-sized angling pegs. All of these were built from resourced materials from in and around the Peterlee area.
We installed a number of bird boxes from East Shore Trust of Seaham, County Durham to add assistance to the already abundant birdlife around the estate.
We managed to remove a large amount of snags that were in the pond itself, leaving a few remaining for fish and pond life to use as shelter.
I sowed, grew-on and planted upwards of 500+ native wildlife plants and herbs in and around the banks of the pond.
A number of “Nymphaea Alba” Lilly beds were installed in the pond to develop underwater insect colonies and fish holding areas.
Peterlee Town Council installed our very own access gate to the pond allowing members only to angle out of Shotton Hall opening/closing times.
January 2023 saw the Environment Agency provide Shotton Hall Angling Club with a thorough fish health check. This inspection showed two things – 1 we had physically too many fish in the volume of water and 2 a number of species were suffering due to this overcrowding and were in fact stunted. We took the obvious decision to thin out some of this overcrowding and re-housed over 1000 Bream.
2024 will continue with fishery management activities. Our pond still holds far too many Rudd, small Roach and fingerling Perch. This pond, although it has been fished over the years and has been used as a stock pond. Some people have put fish in, where others have taken them out. It has never been managed correctly. Naturally, fish have spawned and some species have been more successful than others. If this situation were left unattended, the fish would simply die due to lack of food and physical space. The pond would fill with silt, dry up and die. Without the intervention of a club like Shotton Hall Angling Club, it simply will not survive. Good fishing is merely a by-product of good land management. We aim to get a good stock level, while focussing upon fish health as a priority.
We have just managed to be given 150 fine “pure bred” Crucian from the Environment Agency Calverton Fisheries which will add to the interest of our club and are a superb addition. I hope these will thrive, spawn and in years to come we may be able to net the pond every 5 years and sell-on the excess stock of Crucian to aid in their rehabilitation into UK waters. In a small way Shotton Hall Angling Club will hopefully become part of Crucian Conservation.
2024 has seen a more sustainable membership process. We no longer offer the pay-per-fish system of 2023. There were a number of anglers who had spent £50+ over the course of the year. Instead, there is a one-off fee of £35 for everyone over 16 years of age on the date of application. We still offer day tickets for angling during the week (Shotton Hall opening times only, no weekends) at £15. We are very pleased to have kept the cost of £10 to juniors under 16 years of age on the date of application for a full years’ membership. Getting youngsters either back into the sport or trying it is paramount and is in fact the future of angling itself.
On the above note, we are in the process of aiming to secure funding in order we can hold angling introduction days and the pond in partnership with the Angling Trust.
We are also clamping down further on illegal fishing poaching at the pond. The Angling Trust is providing all members free of charge formal Volunteer Bailiff Training.
We will continue with the planting and development of the banks at Shotton Hall Angling Club with the introduction of oxygenation plants such as “Hornwort”. We are also looking to install a fish spawning area in the pond as well. All this will not be possible without the continued assistance of the Angling Trust.
Once fish species stock levels are at the position we want them, we will then be looking to introduce further new fish stock to the pond.
I thank all our members of 2023 who we have provided tremendous support, and look forward to the exciting developments in 2024.
See you on the bank.