Often written off as an ugly urban waterway, the Lee also enhances the Herts countryside. The Grand Union cuts across the county and there are many coarse and trout fisheries.
Hertfordshire includes the River Lee, reservoirs, lakes and gravel pits, and all species are to be caught including fish of specimen and near record size. The Lee is mainly a Londoner’s river, and its popularity is quite evident at weekends when most stretches are visited by clubs and individual anglers.
The London Angling Association has several fisheries on the Lee, in-cluding a fine stretch at Ware, offering good fishing for roach, bream, dace and chub. Near the lock there is a short free stretch.
Association members also have two fine stretches of the Old River Lee at Hertford. The Upper Fishery runs from Folly Sluice, Hertford, to the confluence with the River Beane, while the lower section at Kings Mead runs from Duckers Mill Pool to Ware Park Mill Point. Both fisheries are reached via the A10. There is also a section of free fishing along the towpath in Hertford.
At Wormley, both the Aqueduct Fishery and the Kings Weir Fishery include stretches of the main river and the diversion. The Kings Weir Fishery, extending from the Aqueduct Lock to the Waverley Club’s water, is for members only but day-tickets are issued for the towpath section. These fisheries are reached via the A10, turning into Slipe Lane.
A wide variety of species are to be caught at St Margarets, where day tickets are issued along the bank.
Then, at Stanstead Abbots, the Leisure Sport Angling Club has a single-bank length for season permit holders. More good swims are to be found in the Hoddesdon area where the London Anglers’ Association has water. Bailiffs issue day tickets along the bank and the Association also has the Rye House Fishery, reached via the A10 to Hoddesdon. The most noteworthy fishery in this part of Hertfordshire is the Crown Fishery at Broxbourne, extending from Carthagena Lock to Broxbourne Bridge. It offers excellent fishing for chub, roach, dace and tench, and is also a noted venue for well attended fishing matches. Day tickets and season permits are available and access to the fishery is via Dobb’s Weir Road.
Leisure Sport Angling Club has the popular Fishers Green Fishery, noted especially for its barbel to 10 lb, plus pike of 23lb and chub to over 5lb. This fishery includes a section of the river and the flood relief channel and is reached via the B194. Night fishing is not allowed.
At Waltham Abbey there is some free fishing, and another section where day tickets are issued. Then at Cheshunt there is a free stretch noted mainly for chub, with bleak, roach and gudgeon. It is reached via Windmill Lane, and there is a car park at the top of the lane.
In the London area the River Lee has improved considerably, and the free fishing stretches at Stonebridge Lock, Ponders End, Edmonton and Tottenham, produce regular catches of roach, dace, chub, bleak, gudgeon and the occasional carp.
Day tickets and season permits are issued for fishing a section of the New River Loop at Enfield and one should apply to the Borough Treasurer, Civic Centre, Silver Street, Enfield.
The River Stort is a Lee tributary that holds chub, roach, dace, bream, bleak and pike. At Bishop’s Stort-ford, the local club has a fine day-ticket stretch that extends into Harlow. Downstream, the towpath section from Spellbrook to Iron Bridge is controlled by the London Anglers’ Association, which also controls the Harlow Town Park fishery. Fishing is for members only, but day tickets are issued to Harlow residents. The Association also has a stretch of water in the Burnt Mill area of Harlow.
Another interesting river is the Rib. This has varying depths and holds trout, chub, roach and dace. Season permits are issued by the Leisure Sport Angling Club and the Fishery is situated at Downfield Farm, Watton Road, near Ware. The farm is reached via the B158 and B1001 roads.
Rickmansworth Aquadrome boasts two popular lakes. Batchworth Lake, covering 80 acres, is well stocked with pike to 20 lb, and bream over 6 lb, plus some big carp. Day tickets are issued on the site, and there are boats for hire. The Aquadrome is reached from the A412 Uxbridge Road.
London Anglers’ Association con-trols Springwell Lake at Rickmans-worth, a large and established water reserved for members. The stock includes tench, bream, carp, roach and pike. Also included in this fishery is a short single-bank length of the River Colne which is reached via the A412, turning into Springwell Lane.
Four ex-gravel pit lakes known as Frogmore Pits, are situated about two miles south of St Albans, and are also controlled by the London Anglers’ Association. They vary from 6-12ft in depth and yield good bream, tench, roach, carp and pike.
This fishery also includes a long stretch of the River Ver, which has plenty of roach and dace and is available on day ticket. It is reached from the A5, with the entrance at Hyde Lane.
Near Hitchin trout anglers have a natural lake of nearly two acres. The lake is fed by the small River Oughton, and owned by the Burford Trout Farm which issues day tickets and season tickets. Stocked with brown and rainbow trout, the fishing is by fly only, with a catch limit of four fish.
Another trout water is the Netherhall Fishery at Hoddesdon, which consists of a partly landscaped six-acre lake which is regularly stocked with rainbows. The top fish recorded weighed 6lb. Fishing is by fly only with a catch limit of four fish. There are no boats, and wading is not allowed.
The Broxbourne Fishery consists of three large lakes and a small pool all holding good fish. Among recorded specimens are pike of 26 lb, carp of 21lb, bream of 8lb and roach of 2lb. Night fishing is allowed. Season tickets are issued by the Leisure Sport Angling Club. It is reached by the B194, entering by Meadgate Lane. At Stanstead Abbots, and also controlled by the Leisure Sport Angling Club, is a group of lakes—formerly gravel pits—containing tench, bream, and carp to 18lb. This fishery also includes a single-bank length of the River Lee.
The fishery is reached by the A10 from London and the A414, with the entrance in Marsh Lane.
Leisure Sport Angling Club also has two lakes and two stretches of the River Colne at Rickmansworth, Mer £T known as No 1 and No 2 fisheries. Access to the No 1 fishery in Moor Lane is via the A412, A404 and A4145. The No 2 fishery is reached via the A412 into Colne Mead. Both fisheries are stocked with tench, bream, carp, roach, chub and dace, and are available on season permit.
Grand Union Canal
The length of the Grand Union Canal that cuts through Hertfordshire also offers ample fishing oppor- tunities. One of the best lengths is a six-mile stretch from Batchworth Lock to Denham, Bucks. This length is controlled by the Blenheim Angling Society, and day tickets are issued along the bank.
A stretch of approximately 14 miles from King’s Langley, through Berkhampstead and Tring, is noted for big roach, but is reserved for members of the London Anglers’ Association. Another canal section, known as the Aylesbury Arm, also offers interesting and varied fishing, and is controlled by the Tring Anglers, and by the Aylesbury and District Angling Association.
The group of Tring reservoirs situated near Marsworth are noted coarse fishing waters, available on day tickets issued by a bailiff. For night fishing a special syndicate permit is available. To find the reservoir, take the B489 from Dunstable to Marsworth, cross the canal and turn left at the Angler’s Rest pub.