AN OXYGEN crash caused by the heatwave spelled near-disaster for fish at Lodge Pond in Alice Holt Forest – with only the quick thinking of anglers preventing more fish from dying.

Around ten per cent of the pond’s fish stock was lost as a result of the freak event, which also affected nearby Fleet Pond, and other waterways across Surrey and Hampshire.

It could have been much worse though, had it not been for a member of the Farnham Angling Society reporting he had seen fish in distress.

As a result, the society’s fishery management team recorded very low levels of dissolved oxygen in Lodge Pond on the morning of Thursday, August 13 – as well as an algal bloom as a result of the recent heatwave heating up the shallow silty pond.

Responding, the society deployed two pumps to help aerate the water and closed the lake to fishing immediately.

The issue was reported to the Environment Agency, and Adrian Bicknell, fisheries officer, provided another two pumps to assist with the essential aeration.

While a number of small roach and bream, plus several pike and a number of carp to 15lb, died, the society estimates no more than ten per cent of the total stock in the pond was lost.

The unlucky few were removed over the course of last weekend.

On Monday, dissolved oxygen levels had improved significantly as a direct result of the aeration pumps, which have been manned by society members throughout.

The fishery remains closed for the time being and will be carefully monitored by Farnham Angling Society over the next week to ensure the water quality has improved before reopening the pond to fishing in the future.