When rediscovered the coarse fishing lake we realised what a perfect Guernsey location it was to open as a private and exclusive coarse fishing venue. Naturally this meant a huge amount of effort and expense to clear the undergrowth in preparation for adding additional fish and preparing fishing swims for Guernsey coarse fishing lake members to be able to fish from.
This coarse fishing lake is unique in Guernsey and it has parking nearby which is only available to our Guernsey coarse fishing lake members.
The lake is unspoiled and is surrounded by mature woodlands and fields. The peace and tranquillity make the area around the lake idyllic and coarse fishing at this Guernsey lake is now becoming very popular.
In addition it is also possible to erect a bivvie (small tent) overnight which make a night coarse fishing that much more comfortable. Currently this coarse fishing lake is stocked with various species of Carp up to approximately 30lb in weight, plus Rudd (including the current island record), Roach, Green Tench and eels all waiting to do battle with you and your fishing rod.
See venue report at : http://www.fishing4fun.co.uk/category/fishing-venues/southern
As a child my favourite book was always “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett, a story about a lonely little girl called Mary who after she is sent to live with an Uncle she has never met in a vast mansion in the middle of no-where, discovers a walled in locked garden. She later discovers a key to the long forgotten garden and proceeds to rescue the garden from years of neglect and restores it to the beautiful place it was when her Uncle’s late Wife had cared for it.
This book captured my imagination as a child and I never forgot it. It never occurred to me that later in my life a similar discovery would happen to me, and that I would have the chance to also re-discover a long forgotten place that nature had taken over, and would give me the same satisfaction in seeing it restored to it’s former glory.
My Husband and I met in 2005 in the beautiful Channel Island of Guernsey. I had been widowed a few years earlier and had ultimately returned to the island of my birth to make a fresh start. Richard (my current Husband), moved in with me almost immediately. During our many conversations he told me about a lake that was situated a few minutes walk from where we lived across the fields behind our home. One sunny day he offered to take me to see the lake, and so the adventure began.
As we approached the lake I could see that a high wall of trees, brambles, thistles and nettles surrounded it. I could however still see a good expanse of water glinting in the sunshine. I took one look and said to Richard “This would make a perfect Coarse Fishing Lake”. I had spent many hours fishing with my late Husband when I had lived in the UK, and although I hadn’t been fishing for some time, could still see how ideal this lake would be if restored to being as perfect as it had obviously been in the past. We managed to beat a path all the way around the edge, and rapidly realised the lake was truly beautiful, with mature weeping willows, a quaint stone bridge, a small stream feeding into the lake constantly and two large islands in the middle. Mature trees and semi-tropical plants surrounded all of the lake, which due to Guernsey’s mild climate had grown to substantial sizes over the years.
I persuaded Richard that we should approach the owner to see if he would lease us the land so that we could turn back time and restore the lake back to it’s former glory. After some months the owner agreed, and so the hard work began. We began pretty much with a zero budget, so we asked friends and relatives to assist us, and borrowed what we could in terms of funds for costs that couldn’t be avoided. My Step Father (Guernsey’s retired Fire Chief, James Cassaday), was a great help and put in hours and hours of hard labour on the project, becoming increasingly enthusiastic about the potential as he saw the improvements being made.
It took several months, but the change in that time was dramatic. By now we had a clear walkway all around the perimeter, had taken a small boat out to the islands and cleared any brambles or broken branches hanging out into the water, removed fallen trees and had generated swims in places that were previously inaccessible.
The lake already had a thriving population of Rudd, so all we had to add were a good supply of Carp. In the meantime the wildlife on and around the lake had dramatically increased, and we now had all kinds of Waterfowl, Kingfishers and Dragonflies in abundance.
I wrote to the local paper with our story, and they went on to write several great articles about the lake and it’s history, (by now I had discovered that in the 1970’s the lake had formed part of a local tourist attraction called “The Tropical Gardens”, which had since closed down and the land been sold on). I also contacted the local radio station that did an interview with me at the lake that was aired within a few days. We went on to hold an open day on the 23 July 2006, which brought several hundred visitors, many of which never knew such a place existed in Guernsey.
It had always been our aim to put coarse fishing on the map in Guernsey as previously the majority of people only sea fished. This was quite a challenge as it was hard to explain to most locals that with coarse fishing the fish are returned to the water and are not eaten. We have however attracted a lot of interest from former UK residents who have come here to live. The island residents are beginning to understand the concept of coarse fishing, but this side of things will take time although we are optimistic that is the beginning of a new era for fishing in Guernsey.
To walk around the lake now it is unrecognisable as the place we first hacked a path around. We now see daffodils and primroses by the thousand blooming profusely in spring, flag irises in the summer months, as well as many other species of flowers that previously couldn’t fight their way to the light through all the brambles. The waterfowl sunbathe on the banks and brightly coloured dragonflies flit around the surface of the water. I have caught my own personal best from the lake, a Ghost Carp who weighed in at 32 lb.
Private Memberships are available to people that want to fish the lake and the rules allow them to bivvie up overnight if they wish to. There is accommodation nearby in terms of hotels and self catering apartments if people want to become members in order to have a fishing holiday, and they will be well away from the road in an idyllic location if they choose to spend time fishing at the venue.
We have enjoyed the lake for the past 10 years, but the time has come to take a step back and do other things that we enjoy. Chris Bale, a successful local wildlife photographer has taken on the day to day running of the lake and has exciting plans for bird watching, nature trails and coarse fishing. If you would like to find out more about what Chris has in mind you can find his details on the Contact page.