Wimborne Crucians Find New Home

The National Crucian Conservation Project (NCCP) is celebrating the creation of yet another bespoke crucian and tench water thanks to the vision and hard work of Wimborne and District Angling Club with help and funding from the Angling Trust and the Environment Agency.

A celebratory day, organised by film maker and long-standing club member Hugh Miles, marking the restoration of the Upper Pinnock Lake at Edmondsham took place last week with special guests including: ‘Crucian Guru’ Peter Rolfe, Club Vice-President and Passion for Angling star Chris Yates, and Angling Trust Campaigns Chief Martin Salter who was given the job of cutting the ribbon and catching the first fish for the cameras.

Upper Pinnock Lake was a former trout fishery, originally opened forty years ago, and is fed by the nearby River Crane. It had become badly silted up over the years and was in danger of disappearing altogether. Club Secretary Stuart Hitchman led the charge to bring the water back to life and applied for two separate tranches of funding totalling £30,000 from the Angling Improvement Fund under the guidance of Dean Asplin and Mark Wilton from the Angling Trust. These grants also covered improvements to other club waters including the provision of tool storage sheds, on site toilets, new swims and gravel pathways together with major improvements to help the less able.

The lake at Edmondsham was dredged and the silt removed, eight brand new, disabled-friendly fishing platforms were installed and the EA’s fish farm at Calverton provided 300 pure bred one-year-old crucians to go with the tench that the Club had purchased as a ‘companion fish’ for the crucians on the advice of Peter Rolfe.

Chairman Mike Hirsh believes this is a time of real progress for the Club and said: “The opening last week was our opportunity to thank those organisations and the people in them for the help and support that Wimborne and District Angling Club has received. The Angling Trust, our landlords represented by Julia Smith and the Environment Agency have all been instrumental in helping bring the plan to fruition. It was also the opportunity to thank Peter Rolfe for his expert input and our Club’s exceptional volunteers. The provision of a new water stocked with crucians and some tench will, I believe, enable Club members to have many hours of traditional fishing for years to come. Personally, I knew the day was a success once Martin Salter hooked a pristine tench on his second cast!”

Crucian expert and author Peter Rolfe added: “The opening of Wimborne AC’s new crucian and tench lake was a great occasion. The support, organisation and the lake itself were a tribute to everyone involved. The word is spreading: four clubs in this small area alone are developing crucian fisheries, and many more are happening country-wide. That is fantastic news for the survival of the species and for the values and skills of traditional angling. Well done indeed.”

Martin Salter, Head of Campaigns at the Angling Trust and Chair of the NCCP, said: “It was three years ago at a Crucian Project meeting in Blandford that I first met the guys from Wimborne and District and I could tell then that they were serious about giving their club members an alternative water dedicated to the revival of these wonderful little fish. Pinnock Lake is now a cracking little water and although it will be a while before the crucians are big enough to show up in catches the tench have put on an impressive amount of weight in this weed rich environment. I have no doubt that they have created another jewel in the crown and I hope that more anglers recognise the value of all this hard work and sign up as both members of Wimborne and District and, of course, the Angling Trust.”