BIG fish left a small pond to make way for an expensive makeover to get more youngsters hooked on angling.

Water levels at Eastbrookend Country Park’s Tom Thumb Lake were drained by 40 per cent last week, to allow resident angling club, BARDAG, to retrieve £25,000 worth of fish.

The massive task, which saw more than 100 fish moved to another lake, was in preparation for a £110,000 project to develop the lake for young anglers.

This funding, from the council and the Environment Agency, will be used to transform the lake into a young angling facility this summer. It will include better swims and fish stocks, new fishing platforms and more plants.

On April, 17, the first steps got underway, as Carp – some weighing up to 20lb and worth about £800 – Bream, Pike and Trench fish were all netted by the BARDAG angling club.

The club transferred their stock to the nearby Eastbrook Pond in just three days, making way for the upcoming refurbishment and the smaller fish needed for young anglers.

BARDAG, resident at the club for more than 20 years, will add £50,000 of club money to help improve fishing across their four fisheries within the Dagenham Road park.

Fisheries Manager, Jim Styles, said: “We think it’s a great idea that the Tom Thumb Lake will be developed for kids.

“I started fishing as a child and have been coming here for years, it’s a very popular sport and would be great to get more youngsters involved. These youngsters are the future of fishing and should have a place to learn and practice properly.”

A spokesperson for the park added: “The aim of this development is to make the lake a better facility for the local community and primarily target the youth of the borough to get involved in angling and promote responsible angling.”

The project will also see angling coaches offering tuition to local children interested in taking up fishing.

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