Ian Blackwell with a stunning 26-08 Ghost Common from Cherry Mere

Good news...........................................

We are re-opening in tier 2 and the new aeration systems have been installed.
Thursday 26 November 2020

Excellent......the new tiering system for the period from 02 December has just been announced. Along with much of the English countryside we have been placed in tier 2. This means we can open and look forward to welcoming guests back to Cherry Lakes. The key rules for tier 2 appear to be

  • tier two: the rule of six applies outdoors but there is no household mixing anywhere indoors

Any guests planning to visit over the next few months will need to ensure they are compliant with these rules.

Still very much good news. We now expect to be open for the foreseeable future. Hopefully the Oxford vaccination will have been widely distributed by the Spring and we can then all return to operating 'normally'.

Just to see what you have been missing, I have included a couple of re-runs of some of my favourites from this year, including Ian Blackwell's recent Ghost Common of 26-08 from Cherry Mere above.

Cherry Mere bubbling away!

As outlined in my last update we have continued to be busy and I will confess to being exhausted. Still with the exception of the road repairs all the big work of this winter has been completed in this lockdown period. So what else have we been doing............?.

The new aeration systems on the three exclusive smaller lakes have been installed and they are up and running. I am now having to get used to seeing the lakes bubbling away!

These new systems should help ensure we avoid any future oxygen issues by constantly adding oxygen around the lakes. If we hit a period of high oxygen stress (such as very high temperatures, algae blooms or thunderstorms), we will still have our Force 7 aerators available for extra oxygen infusion and water movement. Probably in the summer, we will turn he Force 7's on for a few hours at the back end of each night to ensure all the 'bases' are covered.

Cherry Pool looks very inviting. Fish were showing around the bubbles as I took this photo!

This has been a major five figure investment which I am confident will prove to be worthwhile. In total we installed 6 separate systems across the 3 lakes. We have put three systems into Cherry Springs (the largest by far of the smaller exclusive lakes) and two into Cherry Mere. We have put one system into Cherry Pool. This last system is slightly different because this lake is twice the depth of the others. A compressor, rather than a blower, is required to force the air our from the diffusers. Evidently the deeper the water the better the aeration works. Not only does the effective area of aeration increase (it spreads out as the bubbles rise), but the action of this movement is to help turn over the water regularly. This should definitely help with overall water quality.

Cherry Springs looks good in the winter sunshine

We have had to build housing units for each of these blowers (see picture below), and more importantly install electric supply around the complex to these system boxes. We also have the ability to alter when they are on as each have timing devices included.

The new housing unit for the blowers

So why go to this expense? Oxygen crashes are probably the fishery owners worst nightmare, as literally in a short space of time the lake water can change from being good to very low in dissolved oxygen. A complete collapse in oxygen levels can obviously kill all the fish. Even where this does not happen, a drop in oxygen to low levels significantly increases the stress on the fish and inevitably leads to higher levels of fish deaths and susceptibility to other diseases and parasites.

From my perspective, whilst I am at the mercy of disease naturally occurring (we do what we can by our standard bio-security measures of using our own nets, weigh slings and Carp cradles), I can do something about reducing the oxygen risk. Whilst a big investment, the cost of replacing some/all of our Carp stock would be 10-20 times more, and this assumes I could replace some of the fantastic fish we have in our lakes. The Cherry Pool Koi is one such Carp.

Malcolm Williams a 20lb Koi Carp from Cherrry Pool making a rare visit to the bank..jpg
Malcolm Williams with the big Cherry Pool Koi Carp at just over 20lbs

Our fishery manager Dave has been concerned about whether these diffusers and sunken hosing will prove to be a snag for anglers. My experience of fishing lakes abroad where these systems are in place is good. The hose is very heavy and does sink into the silt. It is also smooth. It is hard to see how an angler retrieving his end tackle will hook up (unless they are slowly dragging their weight and hook along the bottom trying to get snagged!). Mark Stockton at Aquaculture, whose team installed the systems, is very positive that they will not become a snag issue.

Just in case, we have tried as far as possible to position the systems, hosing and diffuser heads, so they are located on a line which is 'aimed' at the Lodges. Anglers reeling in should be broadly travelling in parallel to the hose rather than at 90 degrees going across it. This should help ensure they do not become snag hazards. Time will tell.

We have not installed this system into Cherry Lake at this stage. Why? Principally because Cherry Lake has much more of an 'egg box' in terms of the lake bottom. We have much more of a concern about whether we can get the sinking hose to hug the bottom as it it is deployed over the various channels, gulleys and bars. Our experience on the three smaller lakes this year will inform whether we invest again in these systems next year for Cherry Lake.

The last of 2 tonne of Siltex.
The last of two tonne of Siltex.

The other key action since my last update, has been to apply Siltex to Cherry Spring and Cherry Pool. In total we have 'poured in' two tonnes of Siltex (essentially powdered chalk) into these lakes. This should have the effect of reducing the level of silt, promoting growth of invertebrates on which the fish can feed and reducing the acidity of the water. A messy and back breaking job....which is probably why we did not do it over the last few years!

Hopefully my next update will include news of some good Carp being caught by returning guests. Visiting anglers, as well as myself, need to remember that December is normally the hardest moth of the year.....so the mind set of visitors should hopefully be one of enjoying a winter break and any fish caught is a welcome bonus!

Until then take care.

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