Skelsmergh Tarn

13 November 2021

Members Update – Skelsmergh Tarn

WADAA is pleased to announce that from January 1st, 2022 members will be able to fish Skelsmergh Tarn. Skelsmergh is a beautiful venue famed for its tench fishing, with specimens reaching well into double figures. However, like many other waters, it has suffered significantly from otter predation.

The venue is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and as a result, has some severe constraints impacting angling. Additionally, other restrictions, such as the presence of badgers, add further complications.

As a ‘marl lake,’ it is almost unique in its ecology (one of only a few in the country), with the surrounding peaty, boggy land creating a water quality which sustains a massive population of water snails – these are the reason the tench grow so large. The water snails and accompanying white claw crayfish are hugely important in the SSSI citation and interestingly, the protective fence also safeguards these species too. The venue has some very important and specific rules governing angling and these will be communicated to members in detail in the new year.

After working very closely with all the managing agencies; Natural England, the Environment Agency, the Angling Trust, and the landowner, we have managed to resolve 2 critical issues for the future of angling on the tarn. Firstly, the routing and style of a protective fence was agreed (and this has now been installed) and secondly, a stocking permit has been issued for rudd and tench (albeit in limited numbers), which alongside the resident perch, give us a great basis for the future.

We have agreed a long-term lease with the landowner and this gives us the opportunity to nurture this venue and see it back to its very best.

To be clear, members are permitted to visit and fish the venue from 1st January 2022 onwards.

We will continue to work at adding additional waters (game and coarse) to the WADAA portfolio for the benefit of our members. We currently have a huge 2022 waiting list for both coarse and game memberships. Both codes will be number capped from early 2022 so it is vital that members complete their renewals swiftly when they are opened up following the AGM in December.


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