Common Dace. Image credit: Canal & River Trust
There is a strict ‘No Fishing’ policy along the length of the River Cray, within the Meadows. This is especially in place to protect the wildfowl and other birds.
Dace are some of the most common fish in the River Cray, being found more often in the shallow, fast-flowing waters. They can be seen in summer on the surface of the water catching insects. Of the smaller fish, there are also roach and perch plus large numbers of bullhead.
The lake held a large number of carp and bream, but illegal fishing has vastly depleted stocks of these. Chub can be seen in the faster flowing parts of the river.
Pike are legendary in the River Cray, feeding on other fish, amphibians and small wildfowl, especially when it comes to chicks. The birds are particularly wary of this predator and often shelter their young close to the islands.
Large carp can be seen from the Five Arch Bridge while eels are also resident. There is little evidence of brown trout these days but locals will tell you how in the 1950s and 1960s they would catch this species, sometimes to eat, by sluice gates further upstream.