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April 2019 Blog

Apr 23, 2019

Suddenly, everything greens up. The willows are fully out, the grass is into regular cuts, the marginal reeds are coming through and the first weed cut of the year has been done.

We saw the first swallows on April 5th and many other bird species nest here. It’s a lovely time, and Hampshire is well described as being a ‘lush’ County.

Almost before we were celebrating spring the Easter heat wave rushed it through and summer is now well on its way.

Both lakes have fished incredibly well these past weeks and the water is clearing nicely. Willow has seen good hatches of Pond Olives and both lakes have a nice buzzer hatch. Anglers using ‘small’ black or olive flies have done very well, especially in the afternoons. The often seen ‘mysterious’ rises are due to a small beetle with a lustrous blue on its back and again this year there have been hundreds of them.

They seem to mostly cluster on the Alder trees.

A big project has been replacing a section of pipe from the centre rearing ponds and this has made for much better flows. The original pipe was completely blocked with fibrous roots and it’s little wonder that our efforts with drain rods were somewhat futile.

Quite apart from the myriad of routine jobs it’s also been a very busy time here with grading, and moving fish around. Fascinating how some species will do better in one pond than another and then again how a better growth rate will come in one place at a certain time of the year.

This rather mild winter has been perfect for growth and it meant that we had a large number of above average fish which have been a bit of a bonus of late. Our trophy browns continue to get caught and it’s such a thrill when a personal best is recorded for someone who least expected it. Some browns manage to resist capture for months on end and our last big tiger trout somehow evaded everyone on Spring lake for almost six months, until finally making a mistake. Our golden and sandy coloured rainbows have been caught to 14lbs and we are quietly optimistic that the Sparctic trout may well be the surprise of summer. They look fantastic, and test weighing has shown good growth. Look for the first double coming out soon.

Sample weighing through all the rearing ponds is done on a regular basis to check on growth rates and then the daily feed volume is carefully calculated to get the best out of the fish, without making them full of body fat. This is all down to the expertise of manager Stuart Barrett, so this month it’s a little bio on his background.

He’s through and through a Dorset man and has been at Dever for 14 years, the last three as manager and there’s no doubt that this shows, as the fishery continues to improve. You don’t get to be able to do this type of job without considerable experience and of course a degree in Aquaculture and Fisheries Management from nearby Sparsholt College.

Even as a teenager, Stuart was into a fishery life and was learning river maintenance while working on the Frome. That’s back when there were also eel racks to be operated, nowadays it’s rare to see a decent eel.

His expertise is with rearing trout, starting off at Cerne Valley Fisheries then Trafalgar Fisheries and eventually at Wessex Fish Farms before the opportunity came to move to Dever. All those years of working in the hatcheries to rear the trout from eggs and on through to the table market and restocking business means that he knows just about everything there is to learn about the vagaries of dealing with fickle livestock and yet he’s a passionate fisherman too.

Committed to the job and with a growing family he somehow finds the time to be a keen beach caster, a barbel fanatic, and pretty handy with the fly rod too.

So Dever Springs is more than just a fishery. It’s home to those who really care about it and we hope you get as much pleasure from your visits as we do from showcasing this special place.

Dever Springs is a trout fishery, set in the beautiful Hampshire countryside between Andover and Winchester. For more information on our individual and corporate days, please email info@deverspings.co.uk or call 01264 720592




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