Shakerley Mere Netting

Phase one of the netting of Shakerley Mere was carried out last week. Two Silver Carp were removed  (32lbs and 31lbs)  together with a Wels Catfish ounces over 44lbs, which was moved under licence to Wrinehill. The netting also captured a few hundred pounds of  large bream, some of which would be double figures at the right time of year. Those of you who were there would have seen  just how hard the team grafted in what is a considerable expanse of water and especially so given how cold a day it was, so well done and thank you to everyone who  participated. The purpose of the exercise was to show CEFAS that we have taken meaningful steps to remove those species that should not be in there. To that end, the day was a success and we will make a further effort to net it again in tandem with the EA team.

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More nettings are due to take place over the winter, anyone interested in taking part please contact club secretary Andy Watson on 07432 874 977

History of Farm Pool by Jason Webb

Farm Pool is a small mature pool situated between Foggs Lane and Knutsford Road in the pleasant surroundings of the Cheshire countryside. It is a small peaceful place and if you’re looking for tranquil surroundings with a great day’s fishing then you won’t go far wrong. It is stocked with plenty of silver fish and small Perch, tench to 4lb and a few Chub. Carp to around 15lb’s have been caught and it is also home to Lymm A.C’s record Perch which weighed in at just over 4lb although it has eluded captors for several years now. On previous nettings eels in excess of 5lb’s have also been netted.

The pool has been around for a long time, a lot longer than most people think… Several stories have circulated that it was created by a land mine explosion during World War II, but unfortunately this story has no truth.

The exact origin of this little old pool is unsure, but researching through the archives of old land maps supplied by Cheshire council, Farm pool can be traced back to the Tithe and land apportionment mapping Act of 1836. It was a lot different back then with two pools on the same field. As shown on the map below. The owner of the land was a Sir Edward Antrobus and he leased this field along with Antrobus Farm and some surrounding fields to a James Webster. Farm Pool field was just used as Meadow and Pasture land
with some of the surrounding fields used to grow Oats and Wheat. The second pond was part of a drainage system but now there is very little evidence to show it was once there.

Tithe Map dated 1846 supplied by Cheshire Council is the oldest map currently available showing both Farm Pool and the drainage pool.

A map from 1910 below shows both pools still on the same site. The date the drainage pool dried up is currently unknown.

Aerial photograph’s of the area taken around 1970 show only Farm Pool on the site.

There appears to be only one island on Farm Pool at this point and not quite where the two islands are today…

This little pool has been around for a long time. Please respect it and its surroundings when you visit it. Always close the gate after you and enjoy the mystery of the place like the many people before you have.

Written by Jason Webb (Mancman) on 13/09/2009 with the help of Cheshire Council and old-maps.co.uk.

History of Grimsditch Mill Pool by Jason Webb

Grimsditch Mill Pool is located a short distance up Grimsditch Lane just off the A49 in the pleasant surroundings of the Cheshire countryside. It is arguably one of Lymm Angling Clubs most picturesque waters, nestled amongst the fields and trees it offers the pleasure angler a great days fishing in stunning surroundings. The pool about 1 acre in size has some great features which include islands, reed lined margins and overhanging trees. The water is predominantly known as a silvers water although many people have been taken by surprise by some of the larger residents that inhabit the pool.

Over the last few seasons with careful fishery management the water has made good progress and now holds a good stamp of fish with regular catches of Roach up to 1lb, Bream and Tench up to 4lb and many lower double figure Carp. In recent years a few Mirrors and Commons to just over 20lb have also been banked. And as a mixed fishery Rudd, Perch and Golden Orfe make regular appearances along with eels, some of which are up to 3lb.

Some of the more elusive residents include Grass Carp, Catfish, and a few Chinese Silver Carp, which are still believed to be present. It was some time in the late 80’s, early 90’s when Grass Carp were first stocked and now some of these are reportedly in excess of 20lb. As for the shy Chinese Silver Carp there was a small stocking of these in the late 1980’s and they have proved virtually impossible to catch as they are filter feeders, their normal diet is made up of plankton, detritus and miniscule particles. One or two
are still believed to be present but have evaded capture.

The UK Catfish association recognises Grimsditch as a Catfish inhabited water and there were a small number originally stocked in the mid 1980’s. These don’t appear to get caught very often; the last one was caught several years back and weighed 15lb but bigger are believed to be in there.The variety of species present along with the quality and condition of the fish being caught in such an idyllic setting puts Grimsditch Mill Pool up there amongst the best mixed fisheries in the North West.

The wildlife is in abundance with Buzzards, Mink and the resident Heron amongst others all putting in an appearance. When we look back in time, this place has taken on a transformation nothing short of staggering.

Around 800 A.D the area now known as Grimsditch was covered in thick forest. The first settlers in the area were the Vikings who cleared an area of forest and called there settlement “Grims”. The name “Grims” when translated from Scandinavian is “Thor” for the Viking god of thunder. It would have made a good area to settle in due to the natural source of fresh water from Norcott brook and Whitley brook. However it wasn’t long before the Saxons arrived on the scene and took over and this is where the word “ditch” appears
to have originated from and means “earthworks” such as a ridge, banking or mound.

Through the 1300’s and 1400’s the population of the area expanded and with this came the need to bring more of the land around Grimsditch Mill Pool under cultivation. As this land began to yield more cereal crops the need for mills increased and it was around this time that Grimsditch Mill and its pool was created. There were a total of 3 mills in the Whitley area and they were built during the Reign of Henry VII which was from 1485 to 1509.

So Grimsditch Mill pool has been around for about 500 years! But nothing like we know it today. It was much smaller back then and the earliest map available that shows it is dated 1847.

The map dated 1847 is supplied by Cheshire Council and shows a much smaller Mill pool at the car park end. The area next to it, which is now the main part of the pool was called “the twiggery” and was used to grow Rye Grass, Potatoes and Osiers. Osiers were a type of Willow tree used in the art of Wickerwork.
The landowner at that time was a George Jones and he had let the land out to Robert Burrows.The surrounding fields were owned by Thomas Grimsditch, M.P and Mayor of Macclesfield. They were called Pool Meadow and Windmill field and were used as pasture land at that time. Incidentally Lewis Carroll the famous children’s writer famous for writing Alice’s adventures in Wonderland and Through the looking glass was born on Morphany lane just past Higher Lane about a mile from the pool and is believed to have visited it as a child sometime around 1840.

The map below shows the outline of the pool as it is today. It gives some concept to the scale of work undertaken to dig out the “twiggery” in order to create the pool as it is now. A small drainage ditch runs down one side of it to help drain off excess water from the adjacent field.

The nearby Grimsditch Hall was built around 1550, sometime after the Mill and a long time after the hamlet of Grimsditch had established itself. The Hall remained in the family of the Grimsditches until 1864 when the trustees of Thomas Grimsditch sold it after his death. Several episodes of Sherlock Holmes were filmed there and I believe they used the pool for a backdrop in one of the episodes!

A map from 1875 shows wood land next to the Mill pool.

By 1910 this wooded area known as the twiggery had started to turn into swamp land as shown below.

In the 1970’s an aerial photograph of Grimsditch Mill Pool was taken and shows overgrown woodland and swamp. The pool at this point is a completely unrecognisable place.

It was in the early 1980’s that the club took control of Grimsditch Mill pool. Taking it over from the Appleton Prison Wardens. It had fallen into a sad sorry state of neglect and it took a massive effort to transform the place into what we see today. Nearly 200 Willow trees were cut down and then followed the hard work of clearing the area before the diggers were brought in. Once dug out a member of the club at that time was a landscape gardener and he kindly landscaped the islands that are there today. The water soon started to blossom and despite a few setbacks over the years with chick weed growth
suffocating the pool along with the fish kill of 2002 and associated de-oxygenation issues of recent years it is without doubt a fantastic little fishery with a lot of history and guarantees an enjoyable days fishing.

Related photography of Grimsditch Mill Pool:

Above: A picture of Grimsditch Mill Pool in the 1980’s and a more recent winter scene below.

Written by Jason Webb (Mancman) on 21/09/2009 with thanks to Cheshire Council. Information researched through various Internet sources, Cheshire Guardian Archives and Lymm AC members.

History of Lymmvale by Mike Wilkinson

In the early 1970’s Lymm Angling Club purchased an ex-quarry in Whitegate, Cheshire that was run by Lymm stalwart John Stubb’s uncle; Stan Lewis.  The purchase was granted aided by the Sports Council whom met half the costs, at the time it was thought to be something of risk as the water was very acidic, too much in fact to support healthy populations of fish, although at the time some perch were present in the water.

Mike Wilkinson and John Stubbs at the Vale in 2006

The water was apparently drained down, the perch removed and then treated with hundreds of tonnes of limestone to adjust the pH, the exercise was successful and the pH was raised to a neutral level of around 7.0 to 7.5, this is where it has remained ever since.

Lymmvale in the early – mid 80’s from Point Swim

An original depth Map from 1976

By the time the water received its first fish around 1973/74, which were Trout; as it was used initially as a fly only trout water, it was named Lymmvale.   The first coarse fish were stocked around 1974, these were golden orfe, they were stocked as ‘test’ fish as much as anything as they are very susceptible to any change in pH levels and need a neutral pH to survive healthily; which is what they did and went on to make Lymmvale famous throughout the Country for its huge shoals of specimen orfe.  You see not only did they survive they soon started to breed successfully and grew at astonishing rates, to the point where the British Record was achieved by the early eighties with several fish reaching the 4lb barrier.

Mike with a 5lb 12oz Orfe in 2003

Before that ‘The Vale’ received its first stocks of tench, these fish came from a water on the Woburn Abbey Estate around 1976-78 and the water was fished as a coarse water from then on, except in the ‘old closed season’, which is when the water was still fished for trout.  In the early eighties ‘The Vale’ received further stockings of tench as well as its first stockings of barbel , chub and a few eels from salmon stretches of rivers like the Teme and Severn; a practice that was allowed in those days by the authorities.  Throughout the eighties several more stockings of tench from various sources took place and further smaller stockings of chub and barbel followed too.

A 10lb 5oz Tench caught in 2003

Such was the success of the orfe by this time the water appeared orange at times as there were simply thousands of them, by the end of the eighties some orfe were easily exceeding the 5lb mark; the Record around 1990 was just shy of 6lb’s.

Golden Orfe 7lb 4oz caught in 1999

Going back to 1982, this was the year when ‘The Vale’ received its first carp via illegal means.  During this year another Lymm water; Whitley Pool was polluted and 11 carp between 15lb & 18lb were rescued and placed in the trout holding nets at Lymmvale.  Not long after this a member got the boat out of the boathouse and took it upon himself to free these fish from the nets; he was caught and expelled from the Club receiving a lifetime ban.  ‘The Vale’ now had its first carp; these fish received no further companions until 1996 when 24 doubles were stocked from Founders Pool, these fish were between 11lb and 14lb and all in pristine condition;  three wels catfish of 9lb, 10lb 14oz and 12lb 6oz were stocked at the same time along with four 3lb bream from the same water.  Following these stockings around a dozen ghost carp between 2lb and 14lb 10oz were stocked from Horseshoe Pool on the Antrobus Golf Course during the same year.  In 1997 approximately 150 small heavily scaled mirror carp were stocked, the survivors of this stocking are now being caught at between 18lb and 26lb+, but this stocking was thought by many to be one stocking too many as far as carp numbers were concerned.

24lb 7oz fully scaled – 2009

A 21lb 11oz Ghostie – 2006

‘Nessie’ at 22lb 4oz in 2007 sadly no longer with us.

Other significant stockings included;

94 1lb to 3lb chub again from Horseshoe Pool in 1994; these fish went on to achieve massive weights of over 7lb and some touching the 8lb mark.  500 further small chub up to 1lb+ were then stocked over a three year period between 2004 and 2007.

A 7lb Chub – 2003

A 7lb 4oz Chub – 2005

Small numbers of golden tench were stocked sporadically from around 1994 and some of these have grown on impressively, with several specimens exceeding 6lb’s and the largest caught being 8lb 15oz.

A 7lb 12oz Golden Tench – 2003

In 1996 approximately 2000-2500 juvenile tench and 100+ rudd were stocked from the Stockpond after a fish rescue operation after low oxygen levels during a very hot summer.

In May 2001 14 large orfe were stocked between weights of 3lb 1oz and 8lb 15oz along with 24 rudd between 1lb 6oz and 2lb 10oz; these fish were from a private water that had never been fished.

In December 2006 2 further catfish of 12lb 6oz and 27lb 5oz were stocked from New Pool; a water we have just regained fishing rights for.

A 31lb 8oz Catfish – 2007

A 40lb Catfish – 2009

A 55lb 4oz Catfish – 2008

Even though ‘The Vale’ has long been the Club’s ‘jewel’ it hasn’t been without its problems; in the early nineties the water was decimated by a huge influx of cormorants, hundreds of small orfe and tench to 3lb’s were wiped out, annual catch return totals of 8-10,000 fish a season fell to around 1500-2000 within just a few years.  Although this was extremely traumatic at the time, it was the catalyst that turned Lymmvale in to the specimen water it is now, before that it was simply a fantastic pleasure water with the only “specimen” sized fish being the orfe.

The annual stockings of trout also held back the growth rates of the fish in Lymmvale, right up to 1998, the large numbers of trout used gorge on the natural food leaving little else for the coarse fish. When those stockings ceased the natural food larder recovered and the growth rates of the fish, in particular the tench and chub improved almost over night so to speak.

2000-2005 were ‘The Vale’s’ glory years, in this time, numbers of huge tench were caught, at its peak there were around 5 or 6 different double figure tench in ‘The Vale’, the biggest caught being 11lb 8oz.  Around 2002-2003 there were huge numbers of massive chub getting caught, one three month spell in 2003 produced no fewer than at least 15 different 7lb+ chub to various regulars targeting them, the biggest caught being the following year at 8lb 1oz.

Another Lymmvale Tench at 11lb 2oz – 2004

Due to the increase of carp numbers the size of the tench getting caught started to suffer and from 2006 the water began a slow but steady decline; compared to the glory years just experienced.

In 2008 the water was dealt a major blow in the way of an outbreak of gill maggot, around 100 quality fish of most species were lost; since then the water had been moody; however in 2010-2011 the water began to fish more like its old self.  In a bid to address the balance of species and improve the health and growth of the tench approximately 50 double figure carp were removed in 2010 following on from around 10 that were removed before the gill maggot problems.

Since these removals the remaining carp have grown on impressively and there have been encouraging numbers of 7-9lb tench caught again, although large catches of tench have been few and far between it looks promising for ‘The Vale’ to once again produce double figure tench.

Help for Heroes Tench Fish-In Tench 8lb 7oz – 2012

Through all these problems one species that has kept growing regardless has been the catfish, all were at new top weights in 20011; the largest being 62lb 0oz and other two ‘originals’ being caught at 40lb+, 39lb+.

Although on the whole 2011 was a productive year for anglers targeting the Vale it did suffer from a couple of significant losses, two of its famous resident ghost carp; Rocky (top weight 28lb) and Nessie (top weight 27lb) passed away along with a mirror of 26lb+.  The water is also currently experiencing low water levels as are many other waters across the county; this has been a contributing factor to the amount of weed growth last year; its something that has occurred before in the Vale’s past and its always returned to normal eventually, fingers crossed that it will again.

Nessie one of the Vales most popular Ghosties

I am still quite confident that with just a little help from us Lymmvale will once again rediscover those glory years experienced at the beginning of the new millennium, it’s evolved and done it before so I’m certain it can do it again.

Mike Wilkinson.