Once upon a time, because all good stories begin that way, there was a small lake on the edge of town, which belonged to an angling club. Not many people fished there because you had to walk to it but those that did caught some splendid fish, carp, eels, crucians, silverfish, all sorts really. Then came progress, houses were built and a by-pass constructed and part of the lake was taken for development. The main road bordered one side of the lake and traffic thundered past, the lake was no longer the tranquil location it had been and people slowly stopped visiting it. The swims and the access paths became overgrown and weed choked the lake. In bad years blue-green algae grew and the lake was out of bounds. Drivers glancing at the lake as they passed by would have seen a sorry sight, occasionally illuminated by the odd angler or hopeful heron but for all intents and purposes the lake was an unloved wasteland.
Time passed, the Angling Club got new blood and began to work with the Environment Agency, the lake was recognised as being in need of urban renewal or some such buzz word, funds were forthcoming, plans were laid. Then came Covid and everything was put on hold but with the easing of restrictions things started to happen. The first thing that was needed was to clear the access to the lake and so a work party was formed. People turned up for various reasons, they lived near or they had fished the lake in their younger days and were nostalgic. Brambles were cut, trees marked for trimming and by the end of the first day you could see the difference! The work party went home thinking that they had made a good start. Then came a delay, summer came and the odd person began to fish the lake which was full of small fish, tench and various species of carp, nothing bigger than your hand. Then the weed got too thick and it was impossible to fish, when the weed died down in the winter the fish had gone to sleep and fishing was hard.
During the winter several more work parties were held. One of the members used a chain saw to cut brushwood and trim the trees. A contractor dug out and levelled paths and removed some larger trees. By the time spring came the lake was looking much better with an open aspect and half a dozen swims, it looked like the place was being cared for but there was still a lot of weed to cope with. The club had a plan and the first stage was to use their newly purchased weed rake to try and remove some of it and so a working party was called for again. When the guys had remembered how the rake fitted together a happy morning was spent dredging the waters. Lots came up, mostly silt with oak leaves, weed, sticks and branches and a few fish which were carefully removed and placed in a bucket to be returned later. By the end of the session tons of stuff had been removed and the helpers were thoroughly splattered! All the guys stood round saying what a good job they had done and how the lake could now be fished properly. One of the helpers said that he would come back in the morning and give it a try but that is a story for another day! Everyone went home feeling satisfied with their efforts and with what could be done when people set their minds to it!