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We're always updating our news feed to keep our membership up-to-date with Club news.


See this months news below as well as links to previous articles.


For full details on how to join


Further details on all of our waters and concessions.

WDAC offers our membership the chance to fish two trout waters, Winterborne Zelston and Rawlsbury


WDAC runs numerous matches across the calendar year, encompassing both stillwaters and the River Stour. Matches are also held on non-club waters.



YOUR club needs YOUR help to report sightings of cormorants

It's critically important that we look after the welfare of our fish, for today and for tomorrow.



For full details on how to join and the rates for 2020/21


Further details on all of our waters and concessions.

WDAC offers our membership the chance to fish two trout waters, Winterborne Zelston and Rawlsbury



YOUR club needs YOUR help to report sightings of cormorants

It's critically important that we look after the welfare of our fish, for today and for tomorrow.



For full details on how to join and the rates for 2020/21


By Mike Hirsh, Club Chairman


It has been a hot, dry year with bird flu and things happen.


As there has been no newsletter for a while, let me bring you up to date on a few important matters.

By Mike Hirsh, Club Chairman

Club Secretary

You will know that Stuart Hitchman resigned from the post of Secretary, although he, thankfully, remains on the Committee.


Seeking a replacement was difficult initially, as nobody in the first instance volunteered. Fortunately, following a chance bankside conversation, Martin Dunn, who lives in Wimborne, has offered his services and, at the November meeting, the Committee agreed his appointment. Martin is a stalwart of working parties, which is how we came to be talking and I am delighted he will be part of the Club’s management team.  I have explained to him that, like any other job, it takes time to become familiar with the role and I trust those Members who need to contact the Club Secretary for any reason will remember that too.

By Mike Hirsh, Club Chairman

Membership Fees

Nothing to report - Members subscriptions are not going up next year!

By Mike Hirsh, Club Chairman

The Long Hot Summer

I looked today at the latest EA report on rainfall. In the month of November the south-west had 170% of the long-term average rainfall for that month. Lakes are full again locally and the River Stour has been joyfully over its banks, sweeping out the summer debris and weeds towards the sea.


However, the November to November 12 month rainfall average was only 79% of the long-term average. So, we have had 21% less rain this year than we could reasonably have expected. If you had visited the Club’s Lake at Winterborne Zelston, which is fed from the chalk aquifer, you would have found that it had less water in it this summer and autumn,  than anyone could remember, including those who have been around long enough to remember the long, hot, dry summer of 1976. Having closed this fishery in July, due to both heat and falling water levels, it was almost empty completely by the last week of October and yet within a month the water level has risen, and it was recently re-stocked. What role abstraction is playing in this, related to the locally increasing population’s water supply is difficult to judge, but it must be a contributory factor affecting the amount of water available locally to re-charge our waters?


That currently missing 20% of rain in the last twelve months has meant that the moisture levels in the ground are also taking a long time to return to normal. I just hope that in the next six months we make up that missing deficit with some persistent kind rain which has the opportunity to sink in the ground and not run away too quickly.


In really hot weather fish suffer with potentially difficult oxygen levels at night, when water weed is not providing a source of oxygen, as it does during the day. In 2023, it may be that we should take dissolved oxygen readings in our lakes at around 03.30 a.m. to get a better handle on what is going on, but there are obvious practical difficulties! Fortunately, the Club lost very few fish due to the heat and reduced water levels. However, those Club volunteers who manage our lakes were uneasy about the pressure on all our fish during this last summer and it is something we need to keep under review.

By Mike Hirsh, Club Chairman

Avian Flu

The focus in recent days on the bird flu epidemic has been on whether or not there will be sufficient turkeys for Christmas. I am told by my butcher that the one I ordered will be fine!

However, if you find a dead or sick bird on a Club fishery let the Head Bailiff know, and do not pick it up.  The National advice (Bird flu (avian influenza): how to spot it and report it - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) is that the risk to humans remains low. However, the Government is asking that 3 or more dead gulls or wild waterfowl are reported and 5 or more dead birds of any species.  The Club clearly needs to be the organisation responding to such occurrences rather than Members individually.

By Mike Hirsh, Club Chairman


Please can I request that if you see cormorants on our fisheries you report it on the Club website. It really is a very simple process and is invaluable information.


As, I am sure, most of you who have been in the Club for some time will know, the Club’s officers need evidence to continue to submit a licence, issued annually, to deter the birds and in extremis shoot to kill.  The Club’s licenced guns, shoot a very few each year, but a wider circle of helpers scare the birds away with starting pistols, air horns etc.


Medley’s, the top lake at Edmondsham, has recently been covered in a mesh of baler twine, strung from side to side, to try to prevent these fish-eating predators from landing on the water. It has been reasonably successful in past years.


Of course, anglers, themselves, by their very presence, can act as deterrents, so please go fishing!

By Mike Hirsh, Club Chairman

Drink, drugs, and carp

At the AGM last March, at the end of the meeting under any other business the Club’s position on life saving equipment at Club waters was discussed and it was agreed the Committee would take this matter forward for further consideration.


In reviewing this matter one of the early issues to emerge is the obligation between the Club and Members. As you all know, because you will have read your Membership books a ‘Condition of Membership’ (Rule 4 (d)) is that ‘a member enters land, in the control of the Club entirely at his/her own risk and only for the purposes of fishing or maintenance of the fisheries.’ This does not absolve the Club from every situation where a harm to an individual may arise, but it does mean that the decision to fish and be close to water is that of the individual.


There are parallels with other water related sport or actions and indeed the leading legal case is somebody who dived into a lake, which resulted in awful personal injuries because of the shallow depth. In simple terms the judgement advises that the decision to dive in was that of the individual and whether or not there were signs advising ‘no swimming;’ and there could not be an expectation for compensation from the lake’s owner. Any risk assessment for a Club water, carried out in this context, will start with this assumption and then need to consider the particular circumstances related to identified risks at each lake. However, plainly there is no obligation for the Club to install life buoys and throwing lines at regular intervals around our lakes as that is neither logical nor useful.


In this context, earlier this year there was an incident that led to discussion about Members who come fishing and drink alcohol or take drugs, which is of wide enough interest to share. The Club’s bailiffs are not in a position to ask Members to take lakeside tests to prove whether or not an angler has been drinking or taking drugs. However, if an angler is obviously drunk, or under the influence of drugs, he is a danger to him or herself, to others nearby, and also of course to the Club’s fish, which may get damaged if handled badly – would you trust  a drunk with a 20lb carp, particularly at night? It is plainly in breach of Club Rule 9 of the General Rules of Fishing which requires members to conduct themselves in a proper manner and would in most cases be likely to lead to disciplinary action and potentially dismissal from the Club.


The critical difference between drink and, for example, cannabis, is that the latter is a Class B drug and it is illegal to smoke, take by other means or possess. The correct course of action for bailiffs confronted with a cannabis user, who is not in control of themselves, is to involve the police. The Club has no other option as it will open itself to criticism, which in turn may lead to landlords taking waters away.

By Mike Hirsh, Club Chairman

Building a gabion wall at Winterborne Zelston and what project next?

The Club from time to time will instigate quite chunky projects, by way of improvements, when there is an opportunity.  This summer’s project was at Winterborne Zelston.

This trout lake has already been mentioned because this summer it almost dried up completely. However, the good news is that the lake has been the subject of some major improvements, which could not be implemented in 2021 as the water levels never fell sufficiently in the summer. What a difference a year makes!


The work, funded in part with the assistance of grant aid from the EA has been carried out to stabilise the west bank (next to the cow field), using gabions filled with Portland stone. In addition, three new level areas have been created to act as fishing stations to add to the options for casting a fly line and the opportunity was also taken to lay some ‘crush and run’ on the first length of the track inside the fishery.


Those volunteers who helped with the work through much of August were terrific in terms of their dedication and sheer hard work - it was a job well done – thank you. I enjoyed the project, although it fell to me to do the paperwork for the EA grant. It also provided the Club with the opportunity to improve our relationship with Village neighbours. Several came to visit the works in progress and talked at length about the lake and how we manage it. We also could not have got the materials on site without the assistance of  Richard Bowers who owns the paddocks next door and who permitted the Club to use an access across the dry Winterborne to get lorries on to the site.


Now that the lake is full again and the grass mixture seeded across the top of the wall has greened the works look good and, more importantly, we no longer have the unsightly and rather dangerous bank edge, some of which we had to barrier off in May.


Last week, I watched two large trout swim along the wall in water just like that in an aquarium – wonderful!


So what next!  Well, the Club may well build two additional disabled person platforms on Packhorse near to the new car park (which, of course, was another recent project). The planning is at an early stage, but the concept is sound.

The new wall settling in

One of three new levelled casting locations

By Mike Hirsh, Club Chairman

The Environment Agency and Enforcement

As you know, a Club pre-requisite to fish is the appropriate EA rod licence. I have one that entitles me to go salmon and sea trout fishing and it also enables me to legitimately use three rods when coarse fishing. Now, I have not caught a salmon or sea trout in the last five years, but I am an eternal optimist and do try from time to time!   I cannot remember the last time I used three rods, but there may be a future moment, when, for some reason I decide it is the obvious tactic!


The Club’s bailiffs are perfectly entitled to ask to see your rod licence, however, the Club also works with the EA and has carried out joint patrols, which have led to prosecutions [ previously reported]. The EA inevitably will patrol all our waters from time to time.

I receive a weekly digest, online, of EA news, which deals with a wide range of issues.  I mainly use it to monitor for disease, rainfall and associated river levels and any proposed changes in regulations. However, it is also where some of the successful EA rod licence prosecutions are reported. Inevitably there is a steady stream of those anglers who get caught without a licence, the most recent being a Kevin Mallard, who presumably failed to duck in time and got a total fine of £619!


However, two other cases caught my attention in the last few months. The first concerned a angler named David Norman, who was successfully prosecuted for fishing three rods when his licence only covered two rods – his total penalty was £389. In addition, an Arron Butler was successfully prosecuted whilst fishing the River Severn, when leaving his rod unattended with bait and hook in the water. The latter case was a fisherman in breach of the licence obligation byelaws to exercise sufficient control over the rod and terminal tackle. Not long ago I was night fishing, and I could hear the snore of the angler in the next swim, and I think others might have heard it also on the far side of the lake – in retrospect it did make me wonder how much proper control that angler had of his tackle!


The problem with getting successfully prosecuted by the EA is that it is a criminal offence and so otherwise law-abiding people may find themselves with a criminal record.  Of course, the other point about getting caught by the EA is that it is likely you will also be subject to some form of disciplinary hearing by the Club. Most  landlords’ clauses in the Club’s leases and licences require members to have the appropriate EA licence and the Club cannot lay itself open to the potential adverse publicity associated with the prosecution of a member.


Part of the monies arising from the sale of rod licences goes into the enforcement of the regulatory framework. It has to be that way or rod licencing would be in disrepute.  I am sure most Club anglers’ fish totally within the law, but a part of the lesson from these recent cases is do not get yourself, unwittingly, on the wrong side of it.

By Mike Hirsh, Club Chairman

The Chairman’s best Fishing Moment of the year on Club Waters.

I went family fishing at Rawlsbury on the 2 May. My wife, son-in-law and grandson all fished, and we all caught some wonderful fish in that unique Dorset countryside setting. It was just a perfect day for re-charging of human batteries. It was one of those fishing days that defies translation into words in terms of the feeling of being at peace with onself; but remains the reason many of us pack rods and tackle and head for water.

Grandson waits with the net on Cowleaze – my favourite day of the year.

By Mick Jepson, Club Committee Member

Match Fishing – River Section – 2022

Round 6 – 9TH October 2022


The river section resumed their series in October 2022. Round six on the River Stour, Baileys, was held on the 9th October. A very bright day, little flow on the river and a touch of frost led to a very hard match especially those pegged in the roach bay. A good win from Keith Rumball.


1st Keith Rumball 4lb 13oz

2nd John Read 3lb 8oz

3rd Neil Pearson 2lb 15oz

Round 7 – 23 October 2022


Improved conditions on the river saw a big increase of weights throughout the match length. Due to the low flow and still lack of water in the river it was decided to put 4 pegs on the Purchases side of the river from the the wobbly bridge to stream outlet. This put all anglers in the narrow section of the river and lead to three double figure weights being caught, with a fine net from Chris Burgess.


1st Chris Burgess 20lb 12oz

2nd Mick Jepson 12lb 4oz

3rd Neil Pearson 10lb 15oz

Beaumont Cup – 06 Nov 2022


The annual inter-club match between Wimborne, Wareham and Ringwood was hosted by WDAC and held on the Baileys stretch of the River Stour. This consisted of 3 teams of 6 anglers. There was a good weight of fish caught along the length of the river averaging over 5lb per angler.


1st Chris Burgess (Wareham) 16lb 8oz

2nd Ian Sampson (Ringwood) 12lb 12oz

3rd Alan Storry (Wareham)  9lb 7oz


Congratulations to Wareham who became Beaumont Cup winners for 2022. All that is needed now is the trophy.


Points - Wareham – 72, Ringwood – 55.5, WDAC – 43.5


Round 8 – 13th Nov 2022


This round also coincided with the annual invitation for Sturminster Newton and Hinton AC to fish the Baileys section of the river. 17 anglers fished the match with one section being pegged on the Purchases side of the river. Good selections of weights were had throughout the match length.


1st Brian Heap 14lb 4 oz

2nd Mick Jepson 8lb 10oz

3rd Andy Miller 8lb 0oz


Round 9 – 04 Dec 2022


A very different set of conditions made the fishing very hard. A week of colder weather and a cold north easterly wind, heavy mist and a slow moving river saw no more that 6oz of fish between all 7 anglers.


1st Brian Heap 3oz

2nd John Read 1½oz

3rd Mick Jepson 1oz


This was the last round and our worthy winner of the River Series for 2022 is John Read.


River Series 2023 begins on January 8th 2023. All dates for the matches can be found in the new membership booklets, online at the WDAC website and newsletter. If you would like to join us on the river please contact Mick Jepson 07968210889 or Mick Cullen on 01202 240875.


January 8th 1st River Match Baileys

January 15th Alternative date Baileys

January 22nd 2nd River Match Baileys

January 29th Alternative date Baileys


February 5th 3rd River Match Baileys

February 12th Alternative date Baileys

February 19th 4th River Match Baileys

February 26th Alternative date Baileys


March 5th 5th River Match Baileys

March 12th Alternative date Baileys


October 8th 6th River Match Baileys

October 15th Alternative date Baileys

October 22nd 7th River Match Baileys

October 29th Alternative date Baileys


November 5th Beaumont Cup (Team) Baileys

November 12th 8th River Match Baileys

November 19th Alternative date Baileys

November 26th Christmas Match Baileys/Packhorse (TBC)


December 3rd 9th River Match Baileys

December 10th Alternative date Baileys






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