Monday, October 08, 2012

Autumn at Avenue Fisheries

What you looking' at me for eh???
Last Sunday several members of our local koi club congregated at Avenue Fisheries for the club's first ever grow and show competition. What this means is that all the ones taking part get to choose one koi that they like (or think has the best potential, both in growth and development) from a batch of fish pre selected by owners Steve and Pam.  All these pre selected koi are kept in a single vat and each participating member take their turn in choosing from the vat as their names are drawn from a hat (or more accurately, from a recycled plastic tub of fish food!).

But before I carry on about this friendly competition amongst other koi hobbyists in our area, let me tell you a bit more about this wonderful place.

Avenue Fisheries has played a huge part into why I became interested in koi keeping in the first place (see here for a previous visit). They were the first large specialist koi dealer we had been to, and the only one we have visited that presents their koi for sale outdoors in several ponds in a garden setting. More typical are rows and rows of functional looking water vats inside a warehouse or a polytunnel. 

A bit of autumn colour at the entrance

To see these beautiful fish swimming in well kept and constructed ponds, surrounded by a backdrop of plants and garden ornaments won me over. Suffice to say this place has been (and still is) inspirational, reminding me that it's possible to have a beautiful garden and a specialist koi pond at the same time.

Most koi hobbyists however are strictly koi keepers only, and don't really feel that complemental landscaping is necessary to further their hobby. And that's fine. Vice versa, most gardeners and garden makers see having a pond with fish in it as totally unnecessary and just detracts from their horticultural fervour.

Steve showing Gaz some of best koi they have for sale in the main show pond

However, there are some, like us, that like both and value the way they should complement each other. A koi pond, even a specialist one, can enhance a garden, and in turn a well tended garden can enhance the experience of koi keeping. A fine balance that this dealership seems to have achieved.

They sell some plants too, like this Ilex crenata
I might pinch this idea, Heucheras in glazed pots, for some winter colour.
But as it is a koi dealership after all, the main attraction of the place are the beautiful and colourful koi that they sell....

They certainly have some stunning fish!

Lots of them!
Back to the grow and show competition, the way it works is that all participants gets to choose the fish they want from the vat, which are then netted out, measured, individual photographs taken, then returned to a growing on pond within the premises. All the fishes will then stay with the dealer for six months where they will be kept and continued to fed in a heated pond during the winter. Come spring next year, we all go back at the same time where the fish we all have chosen are measured again. The one who attained the best development (in colour and shape) and the one who achieved the biggest growth in the past six months wins a prize. Afterwards, we get to take home the fish.

Some nice fish to choose from..
Fellow members making their choices!
Let the competition commence!
So one by one our names were drawn and one by one we made our choices. We opted to have separate entries so we both got to choose a different fish each. I thought it would be nice interesting to see the variation in our choices and compare notes between the two of us later on. Either way at least in six months we get to bring home two fish instead of just one!

Oh yes, they have some pet parrots too!
An exotic pet!
Everyone had a different eye and reasoning for the fish they have chosen but personally I just chose the one that appealed to me the most right then there. If our fishes win something then that will be great, if not as long as they are healthy and have grown reasonably well then that's good enough.

Bowling and measuring
Gaz chose this one..
and this was mine...
Grow and show or not, we'll be back many time next year anyway. After all, we do have a big pond to fill...

Mark :-)

Avenue Fisheries


  1. Gee it irritates me how much google is down. Post a whole comment and then lose it. Anyway this was a very cool idea they had. Bet you all had a great time and lots of fun. Like both your choices on fish.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

    1. Hi Cher, google goes down every so often, frustrating when comments you've put in gets lost indeed. Yes we all had a fantastic time :)

  2. Beautiful setting indeed! The markings on many of the koi are stunning. I bet you've already picked out a few others you'll take home next year :-).

    1. The markings on some of the fishes are gorgeous indeed, a lot of them are flawless too. I have my eye on one or two but also looking forward to what else will be available come next year :)

  3. Replies
    1. Aha, not yet! But that's a good idea, I'm thinking of possible names now...

  4. What a fun idea! Are the two of you competitive?! That dealership would be enough to make anyone a fanatic, I've always associated koi with those big bare plastic tanks, and they always make me feel a little sad, how ever beautiful the fish. Combining fish, beautiful tank and great landscaping, that I can get behind! A long way behind, mind you... Like at the other end of a blog... Less time consuming and much cheaper!!

    PS Don't tell Gaz, but I prefer yours...

    1. Hi Janet, it was a fun morning spent there :) not really competitive, just curious what each of us will choose will little influence from each other. I think Gaz prefers the one I chose in the end, lol!


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