Coole Acres is a new fishery heading in the right direction; owned by Brian Reilly and Bianca Siepp, the fishery is a fledgling venture which has only been open a few short months. In that time, the reports I’ve been getting have been very complimentary, so an invite was secured to have a closer look….
Coole Acres opened in June 2012, and is the culmination of several years of planning and hard work which has resulted in a well laid out four pool complex across twenty acres with fish rapidly approaching 30lbs to tempt the angler. The facilities are absolutely superb, in fact some of the best I’ve ever come across on any fishery, and reflect the amount of thought which has gone into the project.
I approached the fishery via Coole Lane, for once my sat-nav bringing me somewhere near the given address in the pre dawn darkness. The venue is easy to find with a prominent sign at the end of a well laid shale/gravelled track leading through wooden gates and onto the fishery. Driving into the site, there is ample car parking both outside the extensive Anglers Lodge and also further on towards the top of the fishery which means minimum travel distances to each of the four pools; ideal for the less able angler. I parked outside the Lodge to be met by ‘Harvey’, a boundless white fur ball of rescued Labrador energy who was very keen to say hello despite his fearsome bark! Brian also welcomes every angler personally if possible, and each visitor is then booked in before finding a peg; I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised to see anglers asked to produce rod licences before fishing, it’s not something many fisheries do, but as Brian explained, “…it can prevent problems before they even start.” I agree completely. Vehicle registration plates and telephone numbers are then logged so staff can locate an angler if required without disturbing everyone else, or in the case of an emergency. The fishery also provides ample unhooking mats and substantial landing nets removing the chance of any cross contamination to protect the fish stocks. A cash deposit is required, but this is refunded when the equipment is returned, and is solely to reimburse Brian if you forget to hand it back at the end of the day!
Once I’d witnessed the booking in process, I had chance to explore before fishing and immediately made for the vast Anglers Lodge just off the car park. The building is impressive to say the least; light and airy and extremely comfortable with a range of seating options which includes leather sofas, a breakfast bar and dining area all under one roof. The dining space offers a comprehensive yet reasonably priced hot food menu including daily specials and drinks, all served in a spacious wooden floored area with the option, if the weather permits, of al fresco dining on the south facing veranda which overlooks the pools. Toilets are a necessary talking point at many fisheries, sometimes for the wrong reasons, but at Coole Acres both the lavatories and showers were immaculately presented; fresh white earthenware, seats that fit, flushes that work, and clean, dry toilet paper mean that required bodily functions are nothing to fear as they can be at some fisheries! All bathrooms are thoughtfully finished with slate tiles and flooring, large mirrors and hand basins, which are even supplied with scented handwash! Hot water for the shower attracts a minimal charge….a small price to pay for feeling a bit fresher after a night in the rain, or as preparation if you have to go straight to work. Further additions will include a drying facility for those wet clothes and a wide screen television if you fancy a break to watch the big match! Further to the facilities in the lodge, a smaller toilet block towards the pools also provides 24 hour male/female/disabled toiletry requirements when the main building is closed.
The fish which have been introduced are all UK bred in Rodbaston College’s state of the art cold water hatchery and the resulting strain is originally derived from the Carp Society’s Horseshoe fish and Orchid Lakes samples which are known to be resilient, hard fighting, healthy carp which have reached weights in excess of 40lbs! Another consequence of the breeding programme is the tendency for the carp to develop a reddish tinge to the fins, resulting in some stunning catch shots!
Each of the smaller pools have received ample stock to offer the chance of rod bending action, but if it’s bigger fish you seek, then three acre FOX Lake offers carp fast approaching 30lbs! Fox Lake boasts depths of 8-9’ off the marginal shelves and a central ‘tristar’ island which provides plenty of bays, corners and points to target for the specimen angler. The lake beds are all clay, with no snags to get in the way, and the banks have been extensively planted with a mix of dogwood and willow to secure the clay and provide shade and cover for both the angler and fish! Reed beds and lily pads are also well grounded and will develop rapidly into prime fish holding features. Each peg is formed with timber supports, infilled until flat with hardcore, then topped with bark chips to ensure that drainage does not become a problem and bivvies can be easily pitched. All pegs provide plenty of room between them to prevent any disturbance! With almost one hundred big carp to target, the current lake record stands at 25lbs 10ozs, although I’m assured that fish were stocked to 28lbs, so there are almost certainly bigger ones to hit! As an aside, ALL fish are microchipped to ensure ownership remains beyond doubt…another good idea…..
Although Fox Lake is the designated ‘big fish’ water, the other pools are not to be sniffed at; Hound Pool has plenty of fish between 7-15lbs, Spanner Pool has carp from 6-12lbs and Lodge Pool currently contains only tench…… to almost 7lbs! As I’ve previously stated, there are big plans for the future of Coole Acres; Brian has already secured good numbers of chubby crucian carp and rudd to complement the existing stock, and in time, other fish will be introduced until the eco system achieves the required balance in each pool; a delicate programme not to be rushed…..
I spent a few hours with Brian and Bianca to discuss a number of projects including the use of social media and web design to make the fishery more accessible to anglers, and provide wider publicity and exposure over time. Take a look at www.cooleacresfishery.com to find out a little more about this excellent venue and remember to ‘like’ the Facebook page (search Coole Acres Fishery and Hatchery) so you will get instant updates about the offers, competitions and news from this Cheshire jewel just before you make your booking!