2023 Cherry Lake Annual Report
84 different Carp landed over 30lb's+ including 15 x 40lb+
Saturday 16 December 2023
As regular followers of this 'Latest News' page know, I produce an 'annual report' each year. This is our report for Cherry Lake for 2023. Similar to previous year's I will report in a separate update on the progress of the three exclusive lakes, and will here just report on Cherry Lake.
By reporting separately I can indulge myself with the re-run of some of my favourite photos of our biggest Carp caught during the year. I hope you like my selection below. The lead photo of Carl Harris above with a fantastic Fully Scaled Mirror of 36-12, is my favourite one of the year. Not the biggest but an absolute cracking Carp.
It is interesting that a lot of the photos selected here were of Carp caught between January and March 23. As well as showing that Cherry Lake is often a good winter water, and particularly after Christmas, it also highlights again that the Carp caught in their winter colours are when they are at their most impressive.
Cherry Lake has continued to be in demand from visiting guests, presumably as it's reputation as a top quality English Carp lake grows. Amazingly we went through our 10th anniversary in May 2023. I cannot really believe (I know I sound like Victor Meldrew!), that it is 10 years since we opened the Cherry Lake Lodges in May 2013.
As most regular readers of these Latest News posts know, I try my best to keep a catalogue of all the different 30lb+ Carp caught during the year. The comprehensiveness of the catalogue absolutely relies on our angling guests, either calling us so we can witness and photograph the Carp, and/or anglers weighing correctly and sending me good quality photos of both sides of the fish.
Normally I/we get most photos/call outs when I am present at the fishery. The quality and quantity of reporting and forwarding of photos often drops off when I am away. As I am trying to holiday etc as much as we can whilst we can (we are both 62 now!), I have to accept that my catalogue is the best I can do as a record of the number of 30+ Carp in the lake, but it is not fully comprehensive. I suspect I have missed a good few 30-40lb Carp, but suspect the 40's figure is reliable.
The number of 30lb+ Carp in Cherry Lake continues to increase. My 30+ catalogue for 2023 documents 84 different Carp over 30lb. In 2022 we reported 70 different Carp over this threshold weight.
The Carp stock overall increased in size. The number of different 30-35lb Carp increased from 40 to 42. The number of 35-40lb Carp increased from 20 to 27. Whilst the number of different 40lb+ Carp grew significantly from 10 to 15. I have tried to reflect this range of photos selected here. My guess, given a total stock figure of around 300 Carp in Cherry Lake, than approx. 25% of the stock are 30lb+.
It has however not been a straight line of good news for us this year. After several year's with only a handful of mortalities, we lost some 15 Carp this year (principally around and following a heavy spawning period in mid June). Unfortunately this included our two biggest Carp, 'Dick' the biggest Mirror and lake record holder along with 'The Patch' our biggest Common.
As you can imagine this was a huge disappointment and very upsetting for us. Over the last 12 years of running Cherry Lakes I have come to understand the saying 'livestock is dead stock', and I have learnt not to get upset when a Carp turns up dead. However when it is the big ones which I know so well.....it does hurt. RIP.
Just to confirm that neither of these two Carp were caught in 2023 and are excluded from the numbers reported here (if I had it would have been 17 different 40lb+ Carp).
The 69 different 30-40lb Carp, break down into 48 Mirrors (including 9 which I would consider as being Fully Scaled) and 28 Commons (in truth it gets really hard to identify and separate Commons so I tend to stop counting in the second half of the year, unless a Common is very distinctive). In addition 7 Ghost Carp (5 Mirrors and 2 Commons) were reported.
The 15 Carp caught over 40lb were broken down into 9 Mirrors, 5 Commons and a Ghost Mirror. The biggest Common was 'The Scuff' at 45-04, whilst the biggest Mirror was 44-08.
My feeling is that the biggest Carp largely plateaued out in 2023. I had expected more fish to come out in the 45-50lb weight range. As well as the heavy spawning, it could be that we did not feed as much as we should have. I have also noticed an increasing tendency for anglers not to use many boilies/pellets during their visits. Funny because often when anglers do bait heavily (especially with boilies spread out by a throwing stick/catapult/spod), they often do very well. We will monitor this trend in 2024 and respond appropriately.
The stock within Cherry Lake is, we believe, around 300 Carp and this is a number we want to manage to. During 2024, we will be encouraging guests to send through photos of all the Carp caught, as we attempt to get a better understanding of the total stock. Obviously we will need our guests to send us lots of good photos!
During 2023 we essentially let the 30+ club shirts/hoodies lapse. We could not keep up with the number of big Carp being caught (there are obviously a number of repeat captures during the year). We have however decided to relaunch it in 2024.
From January anyone catching a Cherry Lakes Carp weighing between 35-40lb will qualify for a complimentary 35+ Polo Shirt. Similarly if a guest lands a 40lb+ Carp, then qualify for a 40+ Hoody. Anglers catching a 30-35lb club can purchase a 30+ polo shirt if they want to. The key qualifying criteria for these clothing items is that a good quality photo of both sides is required and if caught during the day we have been called to see the Carp.
We continue to invest in maintaining our high standards for the buildings and environment at Cherry Lakes, as well as looking after our valuable Carp stock.
We are currently in the process or replacing all of the balustrades on the original 4 Lodges. Boring and expensive but necessary. Likewise for the replacement of most of the sofa beds.
We have installed a sophisticated new Dissolved Oxygen constant monitoring system. If the dissolved oxygen levels drop below c45% saturation (well above danger levels), then a splash aerator is automatically turned on and a series of text alerts sent to me, Dave and Simon. The individual who is on duty when these texts are received, would then investigate and turn on the other aerators. By setting the 'trigger point' relatively high, this should ensure only limited oxygen stress on the Carp, which in turn allows them to feed and act normally for longer.
The first two of these systems were installed into Cherry Lake and Cherry Springs in November. We are due to implement the same for Cherry Mere and Cherry Pool in early January.
The success of Cherry Lakes is ultimately down to our paying guests, and in particularly to our regular guests. We are always conscious that we may appear to be expensive for a fishing holiday venue. We aim to enable and deliver a great fishing holiday experience in a lovely part of England. We like to think we do so, and with your on-going support, we aim to continue to do so for at least the next 10 years.