Arlington Reservoir: Anglers upset at trout fishing decision

Keen anglers say they were horrified to learn that a popular reservoir will not be restocked with trout this year.

Tuesday, 24th November 2020, 9:45 am

They have been told the decision was made by South East Water because the Arlington Reservoir fishery struggled to cover its running costs. And the pandemic has further reduced its income.

But fishing enthusiasts refused to let the water company off the hook, and accuse the organisation of ‘devious’ tactics.

Alan Wells, competition and events secretary for the Sussex Fly Dressers Guild, said the decision making was discourteous.

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He said, “Why was this not mentioned at last year’s end of season members’ meeting where only minor membership and day ticket price changes were announced?”

Alan represents the views of more than 60 members, several who are Arlington season ticket holders plus another 20 who attend events there.

And he said the ‘upper echelons’ at South East Water have shown little support to fly fishing.

Mr Wells said, “Indeed the devious actions which surrounded the loss of fishing at the sister Barcombe reservoir – leased to the Ouse Preservation Society originally – bore witness to this and Arlington will be the third reservoir where South East Water has closed fly fishing.

26/04/2017 - Ciaran McCrickard / South East Water - South East Waters Fishing and Rural Activities Day at Arlington Reservoir, with children from 6 local schools learning to hedge-lay, fly fish, tie flies, cook fish, draw, and pond dip. SUS-170405-070611001

“It’s short sighted to base this on such an extraordinary season where new and returning anglers may boost the ranks of fly fishers.”

Mr Wells also pointed out that local fishing clubs have had to close their books due to oversubscription and feels the utility company - which has a requirement to provide recreational opportunities - should release the figures which prompted the closure. They could also arrange a leasing agreement with a local club to reduce outgoings, he said.

However a spokesperson at South East water said, “We have offered trout fishing as one of a number of recreation opportunities at Arlington Reservoir for many years. Unfortunately the fishery struggled to cover its running costs as the number of anglers has reduced.

“This situation is further compounded by the pandemic resulting in a dramatic down turn in fishery income.

“We’ve had to decide not to restock the reservoir this year but we are keen to see if there are ways we can work as a community to provide sustainable activities in future.”