Holtwood Ponds Development Plan 2021

I am writing to you on behalf of the committee to outline some exciting developments that are planned for early next year at Holtwood ponds.

For a while now we have been concerned about the growth rate of the Crucian Carp in Shambles pond since most are now 5 years old but don’t seem to have grown as much as they should. After doing some research and taking expert advice, the conclusion is that the biomass of fish in the pond has restricted the growth of the crucians. The tench stocked a few years ago in Shambles have grown on well and catches over the Summer suggest they have bred also which has only increased the biomass even higher.

Since Holtwood and especially Shambles is rated as an A1 crucian status water the Fisheries Management and a sub group were tasked with looking into what to do about this situation. A plan has been worked out and is going to be implemented early next year.

The overall plan is to reduce the biomass in all three ponds by selective moving of fish of all species. To achieve this a netting of the ponds will occur in January/February and the fish will be sorted with the following aim;

Shambles; This will become mainly crucians with a few smaller tench and some larger Perch. By moving the masses of roach, rudd and most of the tench, this will give a lower biomass and allow the crucians to grow. The perch left in will also help to keep down the roach fry shoals.

Bascombes; This is the exciting pond! The aim here is to use Bascombes as a “stock” and “rearing” pond for growing on tench and crucians moved from the other two ponds, which in time can be used to re-stock other ponds and waters. Any better quality roach and rudd will also be placed in Bascombes, the chub already in it will be returned and used as a predator fish for the roach fry.

Bascombes will still be a fishable pond for members but we will be “feeding” in the summer months to improve the growth rates of the “stock” fish.

Millers Pool; This pond will become the “specimen” tench pond of the complex. To achieve this the smaller tench will be moved into Bascombes, as will any crucians, roach and rudd. Some larger perch will be left and /or moved again to act as a predator for the vast amount of roach fry.

The sub group tasked with this project hopes that it will give each pond a much better “identity” so members will know which ponds to target for what species.

Above all I hope that we will over the next few years, see a dramatic improvement in the average weights of the Crucians in Shambles and likewise an increase in the average size of the Tench in Millers Pool.

With any project like this it is not going to be an “instant” fix, it will take years of constant monitoring and tweaking, but I think the outcome will be to create one of the nicest pond complexes that the club has on its books.

Nigel Moore

(On behalf of the Holtwood development sub group)