Dear Members,


I am very pleased to introduce myself as the new Game Secretary for 2021. Can I first thank Nigel Horsman for all his sterling work over the last year and for passing on a vibrant game section with many new members and satisfied anglers.


It is perhaps an inauspicious time to take on the role however, I hope to continue to provide our game section with great fishing on all our venues in the coming year.


In 2020 the trout caught at Winterborne Zelston and Rawlsbury have been extremely hard fighting and in excellent condition. Some Members have reported having a tough time holding on as the larger fish stripped their line out across the lakes. Great fun! I am very keen to continue to stock these high quality fish and including some specimens.


On a more serious note, the latest lockdown that we are all experiencing is extremely worrying. The stay at home message that the Government has put out is vital to keeping us safe. So, we are indeed fortunate that the Angling Trust and others, have been able to persuade the Government of the benefits of angling for health and wellbeing. This means that we can continue fishing as long as we follow the rules.


Critically, the message about staying local for exercise seems to be attracting significant attention. The Club is not providing guidance on what this means, but it is plain that this is a very limited use of fishing as an activity.


(You will have been circulated about the latest Coronavirus rules and a copy of this is on the Club website).




In the last few weeks, Winterborne Zelston has attracted an otter and we are monitoring its activity very carefully. We have consulted with others to seek advice on the best way forward. As it is an animal with the highest level of statutory protection the Club needs to ensure that it is dealt with carefully. Otters are of course a problem being faced at a number of Club venues.  There are several solutions that have been discussed, but the Club needed to take an urgent and difficult decision that will make Zelston less attractive to the otter.


In the light of the otter’s presence the Club did not stock the lake last week. To radically reduce the otter’s food source it has been decided NOT to stock the lake until we are sure the otter has departed.


It is of course difficult to know how many trout are in the lake at present, it is likely to be somewhere between 20 and 40, including some browns.




As I am keen to deplete stocks as soon as possible. The Club has, therefore, decided to OFFER two weeks of free fishing to members who regularly fish WZ (no guests). Our efforts will hopefully deter the otter and will help to move it on. I am advising the shop outlets not to sell tickets for the time being and you will not be able to buy a ticket on line for the present time.

However it is imperative that I know how many fish have been taken. I therefore need any angler visiting the water to make a return to me using the email paul.bakerwdac@gmail.com and in this instance it is important to also receive nil returns. Any jack pike as bye catch should also be removed as should any browns.




As we engage with this latest lockdown I think we must all be aware of the rules on local travel and how they are interpreted. We do not want to create any difficulties with residents nearby so please if there are 4 ANGLERS on the lake when you arrive please turn around and come back another day!




At the time of writing, it is the intention to stock Rawlsbury ready for fishing from the 1st March. I will be in touch with our stockist and I will write to you again in any event if this changes for any reason.


Can I wish everyone a happy new year, one that finds us all looking forward to the summer ahead, and free from Covid.


Paul Baker

Game Secretary 2021.