Grafham dam opens to anglers Saturday 13th August 2022

I am writing to update you on the status of fishing of the dam at Grafham. 

Following an incident where a pedestrian walking across the dam was struck and injured on the face by an Anglers fly, our investigation found the root cause to be that neither the angler nor the pedestrian can see each other and therefore cannot take evasive action. 

On the occasion of this incident, we found that the water level in the reservoir was high, forcing anglers further up the dam face which subsequently increased the likelihood that lines would come over the wall during their back cast and that the park was busy with weekend visitors, increasing the likelihood of the contact. 

As a result, fishing from the dam was closed to anglers between 9am and dusk with this closure extended to a total closure during public holidays, weekends and school holiday periods.  

In our meetings with anglers, we agreed that as water levels fall the risk of line extending over the top of the dam decreases, eventually reaching a point where it is not possible for the fly to ‘over top’ the wall when an angler fishes from the water’s edge. We also committed to opening the dam when the water decreased to that that point.  

Following onsite testing with Park Rangers, Managers and a qualified Fly-Fishing Coach and Guide, we are happy to announce that fishing from the dam at Grafham can resume, without restrictions from Saturday 13th August 2022. 

The testing revealed that the level of which the fly no longer passes the top of the wall is when the water is on the join of the 4th concrete slab of which the dam is constructed.  

Park Rangers have painted yellow marks along the dam wall on the join of the 4th slab from the wall base. These marks indicate the level which the water must recede to for us to consider opening unrestricted access to the dam. As the reservoir fills and the water rises, angling on the dam will revert to the restricted access detailed above as soon as the water touches these marks. For subsequent seasons we will consider opening access to the dam as the water reaches the 4th slab from the wall base/the yellow marks (assuming they haven’t washed away) 

I would like to take this opportunity to remind all anglers to continue to fish responsibly, no matter where on the reservoirs you are fishing. 

Please remember to always  

1 – Check your back cast. 

2 – Close and lock gates behind you where you open them.

3 – Practice good biosecurity and ‘Check, Clean and Dry’ your kit after each visit.

4 – When driving around the tracks please stick to 10mph, drive with your hazard lights on, give way to walkers and cyclists and park only in designated parking places, or where permitted, adjacent to the track. 

5 – Please follow all safety advice and signage displayed on site.

6 – ‘Share with care’ our fisheries and parks are here for all to enjoy so please treat others with respect and kindness.

The team and I wish you all good luck and tight lines and we look forward to seeing you on the water over the remainder of this season. 

Regards,

William Kirstein
General Manager – Rutland & Grafham Water
Mobile: 07715488914

Anglian Water Services Limited

Recreation Department, Wing WTW, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 8SA

www.anglianwaterparks.co.uk

Grafham dam closure – update 21 July 2022

GWFFA president and AW senior instructor Peter Hartley, has been on the Dam today with numbers of AW people including Will Kirstein and Catherine Keating. For the moment it has been decided that there is still a risk that a cast can go behind the wall.   AW do appear committed to reopening the dam so there be another review next week as the water levels are continuing to drop. 

We await the outcome of next weeks review.

Mark Brinkman – chairman GWFFA

22 July 2022

Background relating to Grafham dam closure.

Members of GWFFA & Invicta committees together with Kristian Kent from the Angling Trust yesterday (Wednesday 2 March) met with Anglian Water to hold a season review, but in particular to discuss the current situation on the Grafham Dam.  Jake Williams, head of Parks and Conservation, led the AW presentation followed by discussion supported by Will Kirstein Parks Manager Grafham & Rutland and Angela Tarry Parks Manager Pitsford.  (Angela was previously responsible for Grafham Water).

Although considerable discussion was held, Jake Williams made it clear that they would not compromise on the position as outlined in their letter to the clubs on the 21st December 2021.  Detail of that decision follows below.  Jake Williams made it clear that this decision was not taken lightly but they had a moral duty to ensure the protection of the public and only allow normal access when there was no risk of contact.  This will be dependent upon the water levels dropping to a defined safe height.

“Decision: Given the potential severity of a similar incident and the increased likelihood of its occurrence we have concluded that the following controls need to be implemented to mitigate the risk going forward: The dam will always remain closed to fishing between 9am and dusk and this closure will be extended to a total closure during public holidays, weekends and school holiday periods. To ensure the closure during these times we will erect gates and signage at the fishing access points to avoid confusion. Early morning fishing will be allowed from the dam before 9am and outside of the holiday closed periods. To further mitigate the risk, we will erect appropriate signage and demarcation on the dam top to warn other users to stay within a ‘safe zone’ during periods fishing from the dam is allowed. This is deemed feasible due to the low expected numbers of other users on the park during the limited permitted fishing time. Fishing from the dam will not reopen until these further mitigations have been complete. While I appreciate this is a significant curtailment to current access to the dam and will not engender support from most of our fishing community, I hope you will understand how we have come to this difficult decision”

Jake William did clarify that the gates to the dam would be opened to allow fishing from dawn to 9am within the parameters as laid down above.  This could however be varied if for example there was a special event where numbers of people would be expected to be present before 9am.  Where possible notice would be given of such events.  We discussed at length the return of unfettered access to the dam when the water levels dropped to a safe height.  AW would not commit to a date when this would be known but agreed that they would actively pursue this as soon as water levels dropped.  Once the level had been set a line would be drawn on the dam to define the safe height and thereafter it would be a clear go no go situation.  If the water level is below the ‘safe height’ we would have full access, above this only access prior to 9am as above.

We then after lengthy discussion moved onto discuss other bank improvements listed below which AW agreed to look into.  Some such as Item 3, access to July bank may not be possible due to ownership of land and restrictions on parking.  It is acknowledged that none of these would be compensation for our members for loss of the dam but would provide improved access to bank fishing and parking. 

  1. Improvement and re-building of the stone jetty known as Harts Bluff
  2. Access points along stoned banks to allow safe access to the water
  3. Bank angling access to July Bank – Parking for July Bank
  4. Creation of Gaps in hedge/tree line from Stumps to Savages Creek
  5. Provision of car parking for access to the Seat in the area inside the gate at the settlement lagoons or through the gate to the orchard to the left-hand side of Duberly Close.  This already has an angler’s lock.
  6. Reinstatement of the gaps along water frontage to the right of the Seat towards and round Sludge Point these were formerly known as ‘Mark Gaps’ who was a previous Ranger

We will going forward continue to push for the definition of safe height of water level to gain full access to the dam. In the meantime, the Dam is open to fishing from the start of the season from dawn up until 9am within the constraints previously stated. The gates and signage are in manufacture although not currently installed.  Clearly this we see the status as ongoing and for review as water levels drop and will keep members informed of progress.

Mark Brinkman

Chairman Grafham Water Fly Fishers

Join GWFFA now for just £17 until 31 December 2022

If you are not yet a member, you can join now for just £17 until 31 December 2022. Benefits include regular e Newsletters & updates, organised boat & bank competitions, free entry to monthly “big fish” prizes, insurance on club events, entry to winter evening meetings (in person and by Zoom). Please see the calendar for dates & content of meetings.

Please e mail the secretary (jbatter100@ gmail.com) for an application form.

All new members, receive a complimentary lapel badge and a copy of Grafham Water – a bank anglers’ guide.
A guide to the most productive locations and conditions, with maps, access and tactics. Text by Brian Calvert who has fished Grafham as a season ticket holder for 45 years, with particular emphasis on the banks.

The outstanding quality of Grafham rainbows

Member John Vincent with a 4lb 12.4oz rainbow caught from the dam on Tuesday 7 July 2020

Chairman Mark Brinkman displaying another cracking Grafham rainbow weighing 4lbs 12oz
Charlie Abrahams proudly showing his best ever Grafham rainbow, weighing 6lbs 8oz

GWFFA’s treasurer Mark Brookbanks, here displaying a fine Rutland brown trout

The late Dave Barker, holding his record 13lb 13oz record Grafham rainbow, which is now on display in the cafeteria at the fishing lodge. A replica is displayed in the shop below the cafe.

Season Best brown trout from Rutland

Congratulations to GWFFA past chairman Chris Bobby on the capture of a season best brown trout weighing 12lb 10oz from Rutland Water, caught on the second day of the annual “Fry Bashers” competition.

The fish was taken on a black snake fly on an intermediate line from the bottom of the south arm and it is believed that Chris is having the fish set up.

Well done Chris!