Restricted Towpath Angling
With immediate effect tow path angling has had to be restricted in the
Edmonton to Ponders End Lock to Enfield Lock area.
This letter has just been sent out.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: OVERHEAD POWERLINES
With immediate effect fishing will not be allowed on any of the stretches
30 metres eitherside of any power line crossing or overhanging the navigation
Any low cable on wooden poles for example Cheshunt/Aqueduct Lock
Linear power lines running north along the towpath:
From Lee Park Way Bridge just above the A406 to peg 25 (Blue Doors) Ponders
and from the overflow trough to the reservoirs above 'The Navigation' PH,
Ponders End to the Swan & Pike pool below Enfield Lock.
This will still allow, apart from crossing power lines, fishing from Tottenham
to Lee Park Way bridge, pegs 1 to 24 below Ponders End Lock, upstream of
lock to the overflow and the short length from Swan & Pike Pool to
Enfield Lock. Above Enfield except low cables on wooden poles and and crossing
The measure basically falls in line with the notices erected by British
Waterways in 2001 and recently renewed.
Your Chairman and I feel we can no longer put ourselves and the LAC at
legal risk as BW is unwilling to consent to this previous agreement.
Your bailiffs have been instructed not to sell day tickets in these areas
and request all anglers including members to move to another peg.
Last year risk assessments were carried out by BW and National Grid in
line with the Angling & Overhead Power Lines working group and their
work on the Lee navigation has recently been ratified by NAFAC.
Their recommendations are now with this office and over the next few months
it is hoped that angling will be allowed on most lengths albeit with the
use of some limitation on the length of your fishing equipment. I will
keep you informed and a meeting will be arranged when I have something
positive to report.
I appreciate this may rule out fishing for some members using their local
pounds and you may feel your ticket is no longer of any use to you. If
this is the case you can return your ticket to this office by the 19th
July 2008 and receive a full refund.
I appreciate that club secretaries will have great difficulties in communicating
with their members so you may have frustrated members being asked to move
on by the bailiff before you have been able to reach them. I trust you
can all live with this during this difficult time.
There may also be some match bookings that could need rearranging so please
notify the office.
On a lighter note can I have entries for the OAP/Disabled match at Enfield
Rammey Marsh Lock (unaffected by power lines) on Wednesday August 6th 2008
The Lee Anglers' Consortium,
which is managed by anglers for anglers, was formed in 1992 with the
objective of improving the River Lee Navigation as a fishery to be enjoyed
To improve facilities and services to anglers we have developed
this web site. The river guide pages are reproductions of the original
Handbook and River Guide (now out of print) and were printed some years
ago. They have now all been re-written to take account the current conditions.
Please bear in mind that the maps are not drawn to scale.
Some of the sections are permanently pegged and on some stretches there
are platforms. We are ask you to respect these facilities.
Note See our new Guest Book at foot of this
About the Lee Anglers' Consortium
In 1992 the LAC was formed to take over the management of
the Lee Navigation from British Waterways (BW). It took control of
22 miles of the 29 miles that are navigable from Bow (London) to Hertford.
There being a 7 mile stretch at Hoddesdon run by the Lee Valley Regional
Park Authority (LVRPA) and a privately owned fishery. The LAC holds
a licence to fish from BW. We have been governed as to what we can
do by our licence agreement and the Environment Agency bye laws.
The management is run by a committee formed from delegates of the clubs
in the Consortium. Originally there was over 50 clubs but now the number
has reduced to just over 20. The energy came from my old friend, the
late Terry Mansbridge. Terry had so many plans for the Lee it was hard
to keep him from spending all our resources in one year. Despite many
teething problems which were all overcome the LAC was very successful
mainly because the fishing was so good throughout its length and at that
time there were no alternative fishing that is now available from commercial
fisheries. Anglers lined the bank every day of the week with many weekend
matches and plenty of summer evening matches. You could walk along the
river and watch the skills of England internationals gracing the Lee.
Bob Nudd, Ivan Marks, Keith Arthur, Dickie Carr and the Vincent brothers,
Dave and Micky were but a few. We had a team of bailiffs and every year
our income exceeded our expenditure allowing for the installation of
platforms, weed maintenance and restocking programmes.
From 1992 to 2002
In the early years fishing was
very good all along the Lee navigation with the northern end coming
in to its own for winter fishing. Predominantly, it was a roach anglers
river although dace and chub could be caught throughout. There were
also large shoals of resident bream. Carp were a rarity! I remember
catching a 4 lb carp at Cooks Ferry over 40 years ago and that was
almost unheard of.
In the mid 1990's we saw a change in the fortunes of the the Lee which
coincided with British and European cormorants taking up residence on
Walthamstow Reservoirs. Within the next few years these killing machines
ravaged the fish populations along the adjoining Lee. At the same time
commercial fisheries were being developed across the country and plenty
close enough to provide local Lee anglers with viable alternative venues.
Parking and security also became more of an issue for anglers and together
with the breakdown of local public transport there became a trend to
fish elsewhere. Our landlord, BW did not invest in its potential and
also did very little for the angler. In the summer months there were
many pounds completely covered with duck weed. In addition, residential
development took away many areas of bank side habitat, albeit sometimes
no more than overgrown weeds and shrubs. The large shoals of roach and
dace from Tottenham down to Hackney were gone and other winter hotspots
were suddenly made exclusion zones for anglers. The LAC management committee
decided to restore life into the river by restocking roach and bream
but many were never seen let alone caught. As a result, Terry in one
of his last efforts before moving to Norfolk stocked carp around Enfield
and in Hackney. The many current double figure carp in the Lee are from
those original restockings.
From the year 2000 the finances of the Consortium have been in a nosedive
and what little income received has been used to keep a bailiff force
on the banks and pay the rent. In 2002 the then secretary resigned and
it was agreed that it would be expedient for me, the accountant, to also
take over as secretary. The main objective was to prolong the Lee Navigation's
life as a fishery as long as possible in the hope that a solution would
eventually be found and fish would return. In part, this objective has
been kept as there is still fishing on the Lee and yet, in the same period,
the nearby Regents Canal, Hertford Union and the Paddington Arm of the
Grand Union Canal have all ceased to be managed fisheries.
There is no doubt that the Lee still holds some very large fish in nearly
all of its pounds but the shoals of silver fish are now extremely hard
to find. However, if you are selective a decent days fishing can still
be had and at the same price for a day/season ticket as ten years ago.
Only last month our OAP match was won with 9 lbs of roach on breadpunch
in five hours fishing. The next week the winner and his friend returned
on a Sunday to net a combined 18 lbs of roach to hempseed.
We know we have a large cormorant problem and the argument still continues
whether they are the main reason for the rivers decline. The Lee is not
alone as many a trip to rivers within 60 miles of London, which were
once solid with fish, can give you a worse day than the Lee. Others will
say it is water quality, or lack of flow or poor environment,or more
recently the invasion of the American signal crayfish. Now we have the
current trend to poach our fishery for commercial gain and even food
for the table.
If you see these sort of snares please report your findings.
Year 2002 onwards
The LAC no longer has the financial resources to go it alone
and fight by itself. In addition it is clear that BW do not have the
will to finance the regeneration of its own urban fisheries. Also the
Environment Agency does not have the resources whether that be finance
or human resources to put right all the wrongs of years of neglect.
However, within each organisations there are some very dedicated officers
who spend their lives working very hard to improve our fisheries. I
am not going into the politics, of BW's responsibilities to an angling
strategy or where has all of Londoner's rod licence money gone and
even why has successive Governments constantly reduced fishery funding.
One has to be realistic and accept you cannot change such policies
at local level and certainly my old friend, Terry found that working
at national level was no easier.
So in 2002 I agreed to be part of the Lee Fishery Action Plan (FAP).
This was a government initiative to examine pressures on our environment
and particularly the Lee Valley Fisheries. I must say I was somewhat
sceptical that this project would last its course and produce the answers
we have all been waiting for. Well, nearly five years have passed and
the FAP is still working but at a much slower pace and with a lot less
resources than I had hoped for. Perhaps all the doubters are saying 'I
told you so'. What I can say is that without the FAP the LAC would have
ceased managing the river long ago and who knows fishing may have already
ceased on the Lee navigation.
The FAP steering group is made up of stakeholders with fishing interests
in the Lee Valley. Currently representation comes from the LAC, Lee Valley
Anglers's Consultative Association, LVRPA, BW, Commercial Fisheries and
the EA. In 2004 the FAP document was published by way of a public launch
but unfortunately the attendance was disappointing. Those anglers reading
these notes can gain further detail of the Lee FAP from the EA web site
www.environment-agency.gov.uk or by email - email@example.com.
It is hoped that representatives from Thames Water and one of the bird
organisations will eventually add to the forum. The document identifies
all of the problems that contribute to the LAC's declining fishing and
for those interested it is well worth the read. Since its inception of
the FAP the LAC has benefited by the introduction of fish refuges at
Enfield and Tottenham, platforms at Feildes Weir and Hertford, restocking
of carp (cormorant proof size) and skimmers and chublets at Enfield and
a financial strategy with BW.
This is one question I cannot answer. Personally, by now,
I wish that someone from a member club and the next generation down
would have been knocking at my door to take over the running of the
LAC as I believe it is not a job for a pensioner. However, I have pledged
my continuance, in the absence of a successor to the LAC and its members,
BW, EA and our bailiffs. It is unfortunate that Dave Anderson (north
bailiff) is no longer a full time bailiff but the top end of the river
cannot sustain such a position. Dave has agreed to continue on a part
time basis until such time as circumstances change. We will take each
year as it comes and continue to discuss the fishery management with
BW. Basically, the navigation is a local amenity that should be able
to provide decent fishing at a low cost for residents in the Lee Valley.
It has always been a fishery that enables you to spend a few hours
of your free time enjoying your favourite hobby. The management is
important as without it the river quickly goes in decline and results
in a free for all for those interested in something for nothing.
This year and forthcoming years the Lee FAP will continue to work for
the Lee Valley fisheries. From the many issues raised in its documents
it is clear, being realistic, that some will not be achievable but
others could be if finance was available. To this end the FAP has agreed
to engage a FAP Facilitator to raise funds from either the private
sector or the grant aided bodies to meet the objectives of the Lee
FAP and to promote the actions undertaken by its' members and partners.
If such an action is successful then no doubt there will be some advantages
for the Lee Navigation.
You are all aware that the Olympic village is to be constructed
on the banks of the Lee at Bow by 2012.This is obviously going
to impinge on
our fishing in this area. At present we are completely in the dark
as to how angling will be affected. I am sure you appreciate
is no way the LAC can influence what is happening in Bow. So as soon
as we have any positive news I will post it on the web site 'news'
It is hoped that you can enjoy
your fishing on the Navigation. It is important to me that there is
a feedback of your experiences. Such information is passed onto to
the EA as part of their surveys. We know there is a cormorant problem
but at the moment there is nothing we can do. We know the north section
has a crayfish problem and for the past 3 years we have been working
with the EA by trapping and thousands of these beasts have been removed
but has it made any difference?. We know there are poachers. If you
see them do you report them to the EA? After the last restocking of
carp at Enfield within the first week poachers were seen removing keepnets
brim full with carp into tanks on the back of a lorry. As no one saw
the lorry's registration number we had no hope of tracking them down.
We know also know that anglers are catching bags of fish and specimens
but we get no feed back. Only today I was told a record Lee fish had
been caught from Feildes Weir but no one will tell me the details.
One caller who allegedly witnessed the catch would not even give the
In the very near future I will hopefully rewritten all the river guides
as they have not been updated since 1994. If you read these notes you
will see that for certain stretches I am unable to elaborate because
lack information. So please let me know your experiences whether good
or bad. Several callers have asked for a guest book. I will have a look
into this but to be honest I am a self taught PC user and, at present,
have no idea how to include such a item on the web site but I'll give
it try in the winter months ahead.
Thanks for reading these notes which hopefully
put you in the picture concerning the LAC. I wish you all a good
time on the banks of the Lee navigation and I trust we can continue
to provide angling in the coming years ahead.
Dennis Meadhurst Secretary and Accountant
Lee Anglers' Consortium Guest Book for your comments
and your experiences on the bank
Please click here