Anglers left reeling by changes at reservoir

Combs Reservoir
Combs Reservoir

ANGLERS at a popular High Peak reservoir could be facing a four-year wait to be able to fish the waters again.

From November 1, the Prince Albert Angling Society (PAAS) has taken on responsibility for managing angling at Combs Reservoir. But the club has a four-year wait for membership, meaning many people who have previously fished at the site will be left high and dry.

The Reverend Carl Edwards, vicar at St Peter’s Church, Fairfield, who is a keen angler, said: “There is a four-year wait for membership and membership fees are prohibitively expensive for many people, including me.

“I have been enjoying the fishing at Combs since I was 13-years-old but this will now come to an end.”

The reservoir, which feeds the Peak Forest Canal, has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The Canal and River Trust, and before that British Waterways, have been working for several years to appoint a club to manage angling at Combs.

Andy Strickland, PAAS club secretary, said: “We are delighted to take on the fishing at this prestigious water and help the Canal and River Trust and Natural England manage the site in line with its deserved SSSI status. We will strive to ensure that anglers can still enjoy some fantastic fishing whilst also protecting the wildlife and features that make the reservoir such a beautiful place.

“People have been fishing there for ‘free’ for quite a long time but they shouldn’t have been doing so in theory.

“I’m sure there are a very small number of locals who probably have fished it for ‘free’ for a long time who might be put out by the fact that we are there but we have been asked in there to try to control angling and protect the SSSI site.

“We have strict rules so we can manage fishing properly. If people break the rules we chuck them out and because we’ve got a waiting list, we have that power.

“If we allow day tickets and then if somebody breaks the rules and leaves litter or fishes where they shouldn’t, all we can do is say go away for them to buy a day ticket the following day and do it again.”