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Eyebrook opening gives a flavour of ‘new normal’

Northamptonshire's Eyebrook Reservoir will open on Friday, May 15 with new guidelines which give a flavour of what trout fishing on reservoirs might be like as we emerge from lockdown, still in the shadow of Coronavirus. Fishery Management's Ifor Jones issued the release after carefully considering to govermment guidelines on social distancing and safety. 

Firstly, the fishery will only be accommodating reduced angler numbers and all anglers, members and day rods are required to call the lodge and pre-book their visit. To allow staff adequate time to disinfect and rotate boat usage, boat numbers will be reduced to 14 and only one angler is allowed per boat, unless they fish with another family member, or if both anglers live at the same address.

"By reducing the available boats, it allows us to use every other boat on the pontoon, limits the number of people on the pontoons and it will ensure we meet social distancing requirements while you get in and out of the boats. Fishery ranger staff will control the number of anglers on the pontoon", said Ifor.

Angler habits will also have to change: in order to speed up the angler usage of the pontoon, anglers are urged not to sit in the boat tied to the pontoon to tackle up or take tackle down as is often the custom. Once aboard the boat anglers are expected to leave the pontoon area as soon as possible. Similarly, on return to the pontoon tackle should be packed away ready to vacate the boat and pontoon as soon as possible.

In addition, the fishery is lowering our wind speed limit for boat usage (down to 20mph).

The number of anglers fishing from the bank will be limited to 20, and those anglers are advised to keep a minimum of 15 metres apart. 

The fishery will operate under new  guidelines for everyone and this will include the pontoon and lodge staff and wearing a face shield, and pontoon staff will also wear a face mask and disposable gloves. All touching points on the pontoon will be regularly disinfected, and boats and life jackets will be disinfected after every session. All touching points: doors, handles, desk, phone, till, card machine, etc will be disinfected at least once every hour (more if required).

Float-tubing will also be allowed but limited to five float-tubers per day, providing they keep a minimum of 15 metres apart while they prepare to launch. 

Pre-booking is a pre-requisite, as there will be no angler access to the lodge. All customers will have access to hand sanitiser at the lodge and the pontoon. The kitchen area, conference room and indoor seating area will be closed, and only the disabled toilet will be accessible.

Pre-payment will be made once a booking for the boat or bank is confirmed with the fishery staff. Payment accepted via BACS, PayPal or via credit / debit card. Confirmation of a boat booking, along with the receipt, allocated boat number and confirmation of the booked bank angler will be posted on the outside of lodge window to be picked up.

Eyebrook's famous booking in and out sheet will be placed outside the lodge door, with a hand sanitiser provided close by. However, anglers will also be able to call the lodge to book out.

The tackle shop will remain closed for the time being, but a click & collect for pre-paid tackle items will be available for pick up outside the lodge door.

The Loyalty card stamps that Fishery Management (UK) use will be dealt with a later date, when the lodge desk re-opens, using receipts issued from the lodge after May 15.

The release reiterates that all fishermen must comply with Covid-19 guidelines, meaning they must travel to the fishery by themselves – unless they are travelling with a family member or with a person who lives at the same address. And all anglers will be required to meet social distancing rules. Anglers need also to be aware that the Covid-19 guidelines could change at any time, so compliance with any daily instructions issued by fishery staff or Tata Steel representatives is required at all times.

Pre-booking on 01536 770264.

Online shop www.flyfishstore.co.uk


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