Angling scene

Roy Webster's Fishing ColumnOPPOSITION continues to the plan to dredge Heigham Sounds in order to deepen and widen the navigation channel to Hickling Broad.

Roy Webster's Fishing Column

OPPOSITION continues to the plan to dredge Heigham Sounds in order to deepen and widen the navigation channel to Hickling Broad.

The Norwich and District Pike Club chairman Steve Roberts stated: “A lot of anglers, not only pike fishermen, are outraged that this dredging scheme could go ahead without proper safeguards against sparking off another serious explosion of the fish killer algae Prymnesium Parvum.

“We have trawled through world-wide statistics covering this killer organism and have discovered that any unusual disturbance of the water environment can actually trigger a massive bloom of this algae that releases deadly toxins when it

dies off.

“Our policy is to resolve the dispute by sensible negotiation.”

Most Read

The main concern of anglers and other wildlife lovers is that any residual phosphate lodged in the bottom silt could be disturbed and combined with saline water could form the perfect chemical cocktail on which the organism can bloom at dangerous levels - not only killing fish but also diminishing the eel population on which the rare bitterns depend for nourishment.

The Broads Authority, responsible for navigation, is being accused by anglers of “giving more priority to boaters and bird lovers”. It has confirmed the Sounds will be dredged in the warmer months when the risk of Prymnesium pollution is highest.

The authority has responded by saying there are contingency plans in place if the algae blossoms and suggests that the Environment Agency could rescue fish from toxic waters.

However, anglers correctly emphasise that removing all the coarse fish from the Sounds, Candle Dyke and Hickling Broad would present an almost impossible task.

The government's nature watchdog Natural England explains that Heigham Sounds is included in a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Conservation Area. Migratory wildfowl cannot be disturbed during the winter months and that is why the dredging cannot go ahead now even though the algae remains dormant in low temperatures.

The proposal to dredge during the spring or summer requires planning consent, and objections may be lodged on html

Meanwhile, the quality of fishing is rising following the recent thaw.

Members of the Martham Angling Club report top quality roach catches from their pits with one specimen among several over the 1lb mark caught by Bob Wright turning the scales to 1lb 13oz. Permits to fish the pits are available from the village Co-op store.

On the carp lakes, Winterton angler Brian Thrower reeled in five carp to 26lb from Waveney Valley Lakes. By contrast beach fishing has hit rock bottom with only a few flat fish reported.

On the match lakes, the Burgh Castle Fishery Open resulted in a 26lb 9oz winner for Richard Silverwood (Never Turn Back) followed by Mick Bunn (Sportsmans) with 16lb 11oz and Steve Miller (Huntsman) with 14lb 1oz.

The Stalham club result on the lagoon was C Jonas 10lb 15oz, C Timms 9lb 3oz, W Plummer 7lb 3oz.

Diary date: NDAA annual meeting, February 2, Norwich City Supporters' Club, Thorpe Road, 7.45pm. Entry by membership card.