Are carp fisheries always a bad thing for tench ?

Conservation, Research and Venue Development 1 reply 0 votes 36 views

Despite what we hear and see about carp fishing and it's impact on tench fishing being generally negative is it such a black and white picture ? There are numerous well known established fisheries, mostly gravel pits, that produce both big carp and big tench and in some instances specimen fish of other species as well.  The often quoted Linear Fisheries and the Carp Societies Horseshoe Lake are perhaps the best known but there are many others such as,  Medway Valley Fisheries and a number of the old Cemex waters as well. 

Those that run these waters would call them carp fisheries but they do also produce big tench and regularly as well. Having said that organisations such as Embryo seem to have a policy that is entirely carp focussed, when they take over a water they do seem intent on producing a carp monoculture and they have gone on record about their views on "coarse fish" by which they seem to mean everything that isn't a carp. 

I'm also sure that there are waters, perhaps mostly club waters, that are over stocked with large numbers of smaller carp that can negatively impact tench and other species.

The established fisheries mentioned earlier generally do not stock with small carp, although carp obviously spawn well often recruitment is very low, so the policy appears to be to trickle in small numbers of larger carp to just replace the fish that are lost through natural causes. This type of management does seem to allow room for other species to thrive as well and provide good sport for the specialist angler.

So I'm not so sure it is carp per se that are detrimental to tench, it is the number and to an extent the size of the carp that is the problem and that is a fisheries management issue. 

In some situations tench populations can decline and the fishing deteriorate without out any help from carp at all, obviously Sywell is the classic example here.

I've done quite a bit of carp fishing in the past and at certain times of the year I will still fish for them, I particularly love big commons in their autumn colours and those chestnut coloured, heavily plated mirrors such as some of the fish in Horseshoe. What I don't enjoy are some of the elements of the modern carp scene and I'm sure we have all witnessed some of that.

The management of Linear and Horseshoe recognise the value of tench in their waters, but unlike carp, tench are a much more seasonal fish and of course Linear and Horseshoe are fundamentally commercial businesses that can only be sustained by carp fishing, but over the years we have built good relationships with both organisations and their attitude to tench (and other species) is more enlightened than it perhaps once was. 

So as discussed elsewhere the future for tench fishing, (which despite perhaps some overall decline in the numbers it can be argued for big tench has never been better) is in education and bridge building rather than an elbows out attitude, which i think still exists in some quarters ?

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