MORE than 700 people have utilised the brown trout fishery at Mossley Mill Dam since the impressive boardwalk was completed along its banks in February 2011.
The ambitious joint venture between Newtownabbey Borough Council and Threemilewater Conservation and Angling Association with financial support from Biffaward, has been hailed a success in its first year of operation, reeling in a nett profit of £395. Over 600 fish were caught, with the heaviest recorded one during the season being 7 pounds in weight.
The first fishing season at the Dam drew to a close in October but in order to increase usage of the facility in the next one which begins on March 1 2012, the decision has been made to reduce costs for enthusiasts.
A full day catch and release will be just £10, a full day catch and release with one fish £14 and a full day catch and release with two fish £16.
Furthermore, a pensioners’ rate of £5 for a half day fishing is to be introduced on Thursdays.
Fridays meanwhile, will become a teaching day with the facility to be used by youth groups, Special Needs schools and groups, and mainstream school groups who will be introduced to the sport in conjunction with a biodiversity programme.
In the 2012 season it is also being proposed that a pilot corporate event is held with profits going to the Mayor’s Charities. This event will be paid for from existing budgets and not require further council funding.
The council is also planning to actively promote the fishery both locally and nationally.
Going by the success of the venture in the past trial year, a three-year agreement has now been established between the council and Threemilewater Conservation and Angling Association who manage the facility. The Association has been allocated exclusive use of three of the six fishing stands in return for providing bailiffs to supervise public use of the fishery.
One of the issues that has arisen over the course of the past year is the use of bait by some anglers.
The Association has advised that this should not be done in a Brown Trout Fishery such as Mossley Dam, and a prohibition on bait fishing is now to be added to site rules.
Mr John Webster of Threemilewater Conservation and Angling Association said the club were pleased by the development of the fishery, arrangements for its usage and with the income gleaned in the past year.
“The Association will be restocking the Dam in February with a few hundred fish and the council will be doing the same again in July,” he told the Times.