In spite of all the rain throughout May, there is still, we are being told, an urgent need to safeguard our water stocks.
Of course, there is an equal need for everyone involved with rivers and stillwaters to be as helpful as possible as water levels continue to fall.
The Environment Agency has produced a document listing simple guidelines aimed at helping to avoid emergency situations. The further it is publicised the better and I have extracted the parts of it that are relevant.
It is considered to be an emergency when groups of fish are clearly in distress 'gasping' at the surface and when there are numbers of dead or dying fish.
When there is an emergency, telephone the EA's hotline number – 0800 807060 – and, if possible, alert the water's owner.
In ornamental and garden ponds that are not fished, it is the owner's responsibility to resolve an emergency.
The EA has a duty to maintain, improve and develop fisheries. The EA provides advice to fishery owners, managers, angling clubs and the public.
Fishery owners and managers are advised to plan ahead to protect their fisheries.
Trouble signs are: long periods of hot, dry weather, low water levels in rivers, lakes and ponds and green coloured water (algal bloom).
During hot weather avoid stocking fish, cutting weed or using aquatic herbicides.
Manage numbers of anglers fishing and consider restricting the use of keepnets and groundbait.
Know about your local water aeration and fish rescue contractors.
Ensure that valid fish removal and introduction consents are in place prior to any fish rescue, in addition to a fish health certificate if needed.
Review the long-term management of lakes and ponds to help reduce the effects of hot and dry weather in the future.
Contact your local EA office for further advice if needed.
Tips of the Week. It is surprising how many anglers who are happy using most baits will shy away from putting paste on their hooks, probably because they are afraid it has come off in the water without their knowledge – a serious neglect of a great bait.
Pastes can be made in varying consistencies ranging from quite hard to very soft.
The choice depends, largely, upon how the angler intends to present it. Most soft mixes can only be presented using a pole but the paste needs to be pretty firm to stay on the hook if the angler is going to use a waggler.
Paste can also be moulded around another bait and one unusual but effective combination is paste wrapped around maggot.
Use two red maggots on the hook and then mould a piece of paste on the shank. The paste provides an attractive scent trail to complement the attractive wriggling of the maggots.
A reader seeks advice on how to prepare hemp seed. He is going to have a go at barbel fishing and intends to lace his swims with fair helpings of hemp as an attractant.
The trouble is that commercially prepared hemp is too expensive for him to buy in the quantity he intends to use.
The raw seed can be purchased in whatever amounts you want but I would advise that the cooking should be in lots of no more than half-a-gallon.
Give the seed a thorough rinsing to remove dust before covering it in boiling water and leave overnight. Bring it to the boil and then let it simmer for probably quite some time but keep an eye on it.
When the shells split and the white seed protrudes they are ready to use as feed. Some people run off and keep the cooking water because it will have become oily from the hemp and attractive to fish.
The seed should then be used fairly soon after cooking or stored frozen.
BURY ST EDMUNDS ANGLING ASSOCIATION. My comments in the column last week about how well the club's still waters are fishing were well and truly confirmed by the results of the latest Veterans/disabled group match at Water Lane.
Ex-Chairman Grant Humphreys fished the club's Redmere stretch of the Little Ouse on season-opening day and saw loads of fish.
However, because of the usual weed situation, he was unable to get down to the quality stuff and had to resort to small fish from the upper layers of water. He was the only angler there.
But, at the Water Lane match, 16 members of the group fished and weighed-in a total of 334lb of fish.
To save readers the trouble of working it out, I can tell them that averages 20lb 8oz a person, which is pretty impressive.
Section A was won by Tony Boughton with 45lb 12oz and he was followed by Jack Wetherill, with 41lb 10oz.
It was closer in Section B, which was won by John Easdown with 18lb 1oz with Terry Leggett second in 17lb 12oz. Next week's match will be at Water Lane reservoir.
On Sunday the Committee/Officials Trophy match was held at Barrow Lake and again plenty of fish were caught.
Winner John Easdown had 23lb 1oz, Woolf Cook was second with 21lb 6oz and Ron Hubbard's 18lb 2oz placed him third.
Bookings through treasurer Steve Bull can now be taken for the next night fishing sessions on July 7-8, at Middle Reservoir.