ANGLERS using a Darwen reservoir have claimed maintenance measures are damaging fish stocks.

Earnsdale Reservoir, set in 17.5 acres of moorland, has been used for trout fishing for 130 years.

But recently the owner, United Utilities, decided to reduce the water by half – a drop of four metres – because it was no longer used for drinking supplies. The firm said this made it easier to look after.

But Darwen Anglers group, which has 110 members using the water for fishing and sells additional day passes, worries about the effect the changes are having.

Secretary Fred Kendall said: “It’s causing us no end of problems.

"Because we’ve had very little rain recently, there’s no new water going in, and if the sun is shining too, the oxygen levels are depleting.

"As the water goes, so too does the food.

“We’re not losing fish at the moment, but if it carries on we will do.

“With the levels being lower, it also means that there’s a greater chance of cormorants swooping and eating the fish.

“There is also a danger to people out there fishing because of all the mud.”

A United Utilities spokesperson said: “As Earnsdale Reservoir is no longer used to supply drinking water to local home, a decision was taken more than 12 months ago to reduce water levels as a precaution while repair and maintenance work is planned.

“We have liaised closely throughout with the local fishing club who have been understanding.

"As a goodwill gesture, we cancelled the club’s lease payments some months ago but are still allowing them to fish there.

“The lower water level is not affecting the health of the fish.

“Although there has been a slight increase in the amount of mud near the water's edge, it is still practical to fish.”