Fish Legal solicitors have stepped in and successfully brokered a deal between British Waterways and the Moss Side Social Angling Society to save specimen fish in the Toddbrook Reservoir and to restock on a like-for-like basis all medium-sized fish removed from the waters as the reservoir is drained to carry out essential maintenance work.

The reservoir, which nestles amongst picturesque hills above Whaley Bridge in the Peak District, offers coarse fishing to its small membership, along with day tickets sales for non-members. It has been fished by the club since 1894 and is prized for its large carp, tench to 5/6lb, chub to 6lb, roach over 2lb, good sized barbel and bream.
As British Waterways announced plans to drain the Reservoir to carry out the work, the club raised concerns about the welfare of the fish it contained with both British Waterways and Environment Agency fisheries teams. When British Waterways started releasing water from the reservoir into the nearby canal system ahead of the September start date for scheduled works – ostensibly without a full fish-rescue plan – the club contacted solicitors at Fish Legal, the legal arm of the Angling Trust, to take action to safeguard the mixed stocks.
British Waterways has now agreed to carry out a major fish rescue which will see the largest and most valuable fish relocated to a nearby holding pool and returned to the reservoir once work is complete. Medium-sized fish will also be removed and released at a suitable location in the canal network with restocking on a like-for-like basis taking place early next year.
Peter Wheeldon, Assistant Secretary of Moss Side Social Angling Society said: “The team at Fish Legal gave us invaluable advice and help and without their support we would not have been able to resolve what could have been a major problem for our club and its members. I believe all angling clubs and individual anglers should be aware of what Fish Legal and the Angling Trust can do for our sport and the future of angling in general.”
Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of Fish Legal and the Angling Trust said: “this case demonstrates the importance of angling clubs being members of both Angling Trust and Fish Legal. When a letter arrives from our expert in-house solicitors, organisations sit up and take notice. We are pleased that as a result of our pressure, the specimen fish in Toddbrook will be saved for future generations. The reservoir is an important angling venue for the local community.”