Rising on Dartmoor, the Avon, a game fish river, flows just over 20 miles to enter the English Channel via a long narrow estuary at Bantham. Though the river attracts some salmon, few, according to the Water Authority, are caught on rod and line. Sea trout are a different story and the best time for them is from late May through to early July. The river also contains brown trout. Fly only is a strict rule in a number of sections. In the estuary, the bass fishing is highly rated. Much of the river is controlled by the Avon Fishing Association who issue tickets. Rod Licence: SWWA
Kingsbridge, DevonTSTS -18 miles from Aveton Gifford to South BrentAB WT (also fortnightly and monthly tickets): ATS (in area)P (Anchor Hotel, South Brent) or AAA (Avon Fishing Association)Mar 15-Sept 30 (T) Mar 15-Oct 31 S) Avon (Hampshire)
A mecca for anglers whatever their persuasion, the Hampshire Avon, long rated one of Britain’s most glorious rivers, has recently been in decline and results suggest it is certainly not the wonderful fishery it once was. Not surprisingly on a river of this quality, the situation has not gone unnoticed and repeated protests have led to a major investigation by the Wessex Water Authority into the reason why things seem to have been going wrong. This investigation is still going on but interim statements indicate that a combination of factors, including water abstraction, land drainage, disease, and pollution, is responsible. The latest statements from the Authority suggest that much more detailed research is necessary before causes can be more exactly defined. Weedcutting, always a menace to the summer angler on this river, is to be more closely controlled. Water meadows and their carrier streams, many now disused, are to be restored. Closer consideration is to be given to applications to abstract water. Despite these measures – and they are only some of many-the Hampshire Avon, compared with many others, rightly remains an attraction- for anglers. Though roach seem definitely to have declined in numbers, the river still contains superb coarse fish though the larger fish which were such a feature of regular reports from this river not so long ago are much rarer than they were. The simplest, single example is barbel. Though double figure fish are still caught every season, they are not being reported in anything like the numbers of a decade ago.
In a list of the biggest barbel ever caught published recently, no fewer than 15 of the best 20 were Avon fish and all of them from the still famous Royalty Fishery, the ticket water near Christchurch. All but two of these fish were taken between 1957 and 1965. They include the barbel currently accepted as the British record, a fish of 13 lb 12 oz caught by Joe Day in Oct 1962. It would still be true to say that at the moment the lower Avon remains the home of the biggest barbel in the country.
While barbel are, perhaps, the main attraction for coarse anglers visiting the Avon, the river also offers fine sport with dace, chub, and grayling, to name but three species.
It is also a game river of consider-able repute. Though its salmon run is not large when compared to some other waters, the fish it produces tend to be big. Sea trout are most often encountered in the lower reaches and that same Royalty Fishery is an excellent centre for them. Upstream of Salisbury, the Avon looks more and more the trout angler’s chalk stream dream. Not surprisingly, the chances of ticket fishing decline the further you travel up river.
The two most famous Avon tributaries, the Wylye and the Nadder, also offer little opportunity to the visitor, being mostly private. The Wylye once produced some of the biggest grayling ever seen and the Nadder enjoyed a period of some notoriety some years ago as place for specimen roach of 2 lb and more. Rod Licence: WWA
Amesbury, WiltsT – 2 miles from
Amesbury to LakeBB
DT: AK (R. Poule. 4. Avonstoke
Close, Amesbury) -Apr 14-Oct 14e
Breamore, HantsCTS3 miles from point below Burgateto
DT: AH (Bat and Ball Hotel,
Breamore. Tickets available 8 am to 10pm)e
Breamore, HantsCT3J miles extending downstream from small bridge below Bat and Ball HotelBB DT: AH (Bat and Ball, Breamore)
Charford,HantsCTS1 mile from
Christchurch, DorsetCSTS 1 mile from Alderbush to Town Bridge (the Royalty Fishery)AB DT: AK (for S and ST: The Bailiff, Avon Buildings, Christchurch; tel: Christchurch 5262. Advance bookingsto Manager, West Hampshire Water Company, Mill Road, Christchurch)TS (forC: DavisTSChristchurch)=Varies depending on type of permit cs Christchurch, DorsetC12 miles extending from Christchurch to RingwoodAB DT: AITS (Christchurch and Ringwood) or AAA (Christchurch AC)Christchurch (2 miles) Jul 1 toJan31e
Downton, WiltsCTS 1 miles at DowntonLB (and on island) DT:(L20)AH (Bull Hotel, Downton)- Fordingbridge, Hants[CTS 1 mile from Burgate towards
DT: AF (Burgate Manor Farm,
Fordingbridge, HantsCTST 100 yards fronting Albany HotelLB -(Albany Hotel, Fordingbridge) Fordingbridge, HantsC2 mile on
DT: ATS (Hunter’s, Fordingbridge)
Godshill, HantsCl mile of river flanking Holiday Centre DT: TO (at Holiday Centre)
Ibsley Bridge, HantsC3 miles in area known as the Upper Somerley WaterAB DT: (L12) AK (Lt.-Col. S. H. Crow, Bailiff’s Cottage, opposite bridge. NB: Tickets issued between 9 am and 10 am and only to personal applicants)Aug 1-Sept30only Kingston, HantsC3 miles extending upstream from Kingston (known as the Bisterne Fishery)LB DT: AK (J. Knight, Riverside Cottages, Kingston) Ringwood, HantsC] milefrom Avon Causeway to first fishing hut enclosure downstreamBB New Queen, Avon, near ChristchurchAug 1-Jan31ase Ringwood, HantsCM3 miles upstream from Ringwood; the water known as the Several FisheryAB DT: B or AK (N. Ward, Avon Dairy Farm, The Bridges, Ringwood) Ringwood, HantsC2 miles of Somerley Estate at Ringwood BB DT: ATS (Swallow’s, Bridge Street, Ringwood) or AAA (Christchurch AC)June 16-Jan 31e Salisbury, WiltsMsmall section in
DT: ARO (Salisbury District
Council, Bourne Hill, Salisbury)
Salisbury, WiltsCT3 miles from
Salisbury to Stratford AB
DT: ATS (I. Rae.The Boathouse,
Castle Street, Salisbury)
Winkton, DorsetCs milefrom Lower Sopley down to Winkton Weir (known as the Winkton Fishery)AB
DT: (L25)ATS (DavisTackle, Christchurch: 20tickets)H (The Fisherman’s Haunt, Winkton: 5 tickets)July 1-Jan 311 a Associations: Ringwood & District AA; London AA; Salisbury & District AC (latter also has fishing on River Nadder, an Avon tributary).
Avon (Hampshire) Tributary