River fish stocking aims to hook new members to club

Fish stocking by members of the Wansbeck Angling Association on the River Wansbeck in Morpeth.
Fish stocking by members of the Wansbeck Angling Association on the River Wansbeck in Morpeth.

An activity on the River Wansbeck to encourage people to take up fishing has once again taken place.

For more than 100 years, members of the Wansbeck Angling Association have cast their lines for trout along the river from Morpeth to Ashington.

And for a number of years now, its key officials have taken time out of their schedules to re-stock what is known as the free stretch of the river in Morpeth going from a section near Mitford Road to an area by the Morrisons store in Low Stanners.

At the club’s recent AGM, members heard chairman Doug Graham report that it was in a sound financial position, but the fall in membership to its current number, 80, means the stocking is not as generous as in previous years.

He said: “We are having to face a rise in the price of fish, which are almost £5, and a drop in membership.

“As older members pass away or take up lake fishing, we now have less funds. But we also have to face predation from otters, herons and cormorants.

“This year, we have had a good stocking and hope we have some new members to boost next years funds.”

Treasurer Brendan Dixey said the number of fish to be purchased for stocking would depend on club membership.

Membership of the association is £50 for the year, which he said was very good value to be part of a club with seven miles of fishing when a day fishing on a lake can cost £20.

Secretary Jamie Graham said that there was an increase in the number of members fly-fishing and that was good as they often returned their fish unharmed.

The chairman pointed out that course fishermen put all their fish back and that kept the stocks right up.

This year, the club is to have the river surveyed by an Environment Agency recommended expert.