Once a famous salmon and coarse fishing river, the Trent has suffered more than most from pollution. Now, however, it has made a remarkable recovery and offers good fishing facilities
The Severn-Trent Water Authority took several years to clean up the River Trent, Britain’s third largest river. Now a considerable slice of the 170 miles gives the most exciting fishing in the country. Much progress must be made, however, before salmon can thrive in the river once again. From 1884 to 1887, on average 3,000 fish per year were killed, one fish caught on the Newark Dyke weighing 32 lb, but then the river became polluted. In 1975, six fish made their way up the Trent, but only one fish has been reported since. Clearly the water quality is not yet good enough.
Barbel and carp
The Trent was once famous for its barbel stocks and these fish are beginning to show again, particularly near the weirs. With the possible exception of the power station swims where the water is artificially heated, hundreds and possibly thousands of carp to 30lb have been reported during the last two years. More remarkable is carp showing in quantity in the stretch from Long Eaton to the tidal area downstream of Collingham.
The River Soar brings water of in-different quality into the Trent near Long Eaton, but some wonderful sport is recorded in this area with match weights of 20 lb not uncommon. Roach, dace, chub, bream and carp are taken on a variety of baits, with bigger fish being found farther downstream.
Clifton Grove on the right bank downstream from Beeston Weir has for two years produced the most astonishing sport. This day ticket water can boast a five hour match winning weight of 54lb and numerous pleasure totals to 60 lb. The water here, fast and mainly shallow, makes for perfect barbel and chub swims. All baits are effective but the killing bait is wasp grub. The Clifton Grove water is packed with roach, chub, dace, bleak and gudgeon with a fair sprinkling of perch, bream and barbel and the occasional trout. The stretch is only a few minutes from Clifton Bridge, but ring bailiff Pete Mayne at Nottingham 215625 for -more details.
The left bank at Clifton also has good fishing. Several clubs control the water, such as the Nottingham Anglers’ Association and Raleigh Industries Ltd, but day tickets can be purchased on the bank.
Good roach fishing
Specialist tactics have taken many double-figure carp (several more than 20 lb) from the swims near Wilford Power Station, while downstream there is plenty of free fishing available from the Not-tingham Embankment. Roach fishing is good, particularly during the summer on tares, which will also take chub, bream, perch and carp.
The Long Higgin and Little Hig-gin stretch is on the right bank and within sight of Nottingham Forest football ground. Access is from the A52 at Lady Bray, and the river at this point is deep. The first meadow is fast with an average depth of 12ft, but farther downstream the water slackens. Average catches are around 7-8 lb with the main species roach and gudgeon, and the occasional chub and bream. Day tickets are available on the bank.
Nottingham Federation control most of the right bank fishing downstream to Radcliffe Railway Bridge, and this is members only water. Day tickets for a lengthy stretch of the opposite bank at Col-wick can be obtained, however, from the bailiff, Cliff Cox, on the bank. This is excellent roach fishing and gives some double-figure carp too.
Stoke Weir to Gunthorpe Bridge
Nottingham and District Federation of Angling Societies controls the fishing on the left bank from 40-pegs upstream of Stoke Weir to Gunthorpe Bridge. This is mostly day ticket water with tickets available on the bank. The stretch includes the famous Golden Mile bank at Burton Joyce where the access is easy. The ‘Rack’ at Burton Joyce has produced some astonishing nets of roach.
On the right bank, Nottingham Anglers’ Association control the fishing from Stoke Weir to Gunthorpe Bridge. As far as Shelford day tickets are available, but from the Cherry Orchard to Gunthorpe Bridge it is members only fishing. The right bank downstream from Gunthorpe Weir offers fine fishing, but is also members only water and strictly bailiffed. From here downstream as far as Farndon is all private fishing.
Several different clubs control the fishing on the left bank downstream from Gunthorpe Weir to Hazelford Weir and day tickets are available on the bank. The fishing here is good, and a waggler/maggot combination bait often produces the best results.
The four fields immediately downstream of Hazelford Weir on the left bank produce some superb, varied sport with both float and ledger tactics. Several Trent Championship winners have come from this stretch, and it also produced Third Division National winner, . 1977. Day tickets are available from | Mrs Tavner at the Bromley Arms, u Fiskerton, Notts.
Nottingham Piscatorial Society, controls the rest of the left bank downstream to Staythorpe, but some of it is available to day ticket anglers. The fishing at Rolleston is marvellous and well worth the long walk from the Rolleston to Bleasby Road. Day tickets must be purchased in advance from tackle dealers in Nottingham, Mansfield, Warsop and Newark, or from the Post Office in Rolleston.
Day tickets are available on the bank to fish the picturesque river at Farndon. Float fishing is best on this stretch of water which varies in depth from 4ft to 12ft. Access is from the A46 Newark to Not-tingham road into Farndon village.
Most of the Newark Dyke and its backwaters are controlled by Newark and District Piscatorial Federation and day tickets are available on the bank. Unlike much of the River Trent which now has its banks stoned, the Newark Dyke is natural and the flow tends to be slower than the main river, making it an ideal water for the float angler. The dyke has a good head of fish including some barbel and carp, and the best baits are casters, maggots, and hempseed.
Fishing on the old river from Staythorpe Weir to Crankley Point is controlled by the Nottingham Piscatorial Society and is members only water. A short stretch is available however in front of Kelham Hall, Newark, Notts, and day tickets are obtainable from Newark District Council, Kelham Hall, Newark.
The fabulous Winthorpe stretch from Crankley Shallows on the right bank to Winthorpe Lake can be fished on a day ticket available on the bank, but the stretch in front of the Lake is owned by the Severn-Trent Water Authority. Tickets for this stretch, and for the Lake, must be purchased prior to fishing from the keeper at Winthorpe Crossing gates or from the Authority at Meadow Lane, Nottingham.
The remainder of the right bank, as far as Cromwell Weir, is controlled by the Worksop and District Amalgamated Angling Association, with day tickets obtainable on the bank. The Holme Marsh stretch, particularly in the Weir Field, pro- duces excellent sport with big chub and carp, while bream, which have shoaled here recently, make a fascinating day’s fishing.
Day ticket water
Some of the left bank from Crankley Point is private, but long stretches of day ticket water are available near Winthorpe Bridge and Muskham. The Newcastle Arms’ stretch and Walter Bower’s bank at
Muskham are marvellous roach and chub haunts. Worksop Angling Association issue day tickets for the remainder of the left bank to Cromwell Locks.
The tidal stretch starts at Cromwell Weir, and Collingham Angling Association controls six miles of first class right bank fishing with day tickets obtainable on the bank. Roach and chub are the dominant species but there is also a very large head of bream. Several 20 lb-plus carp have been taken from the water recently, and some good class barbel have been showing. The best baits are casters, maggots, tares and hempseed. The river is easily reached by taking the lane behind Collingham church.
Most of the left bank opposite Col-lingham is private, but there is a good chub stretch at Carlton-on-Trent. Enquiries for day tickets should be made at the Great Northern Inn, Carlton-on-Trent. Other day ticket water (particularly good in winter) is at Marnham, with tickets available from the Brownlow Arms in the village. The Water Authority has a good length of water upstream from Dunham Toll Bridge, and tickets for this stretch are available from Mr Shucks, The
Garage, Dunham-on-Trent, from Mr Beaumont, The Green, Dunham-on-Trent, or from the Severn-Trent Water Authority.
The tidal river at Dunham seems to produce its best sport in winter. Most of the stretches are controlled by Lincoln and District Angling Association, Rotherham and District United Anglers’ Federation, and Sheffield and District Angling Association, and are for members only. Doncaster Angling Association has a productive stretch from Littleborough downstream to West Burton Power Station on the left bank, and this is probably the farthest point downstream at which serious match fishing is done.
Some good sport is recorded on the right bank at Gainsborough in the winter, and fishing here is mostly free. Fishing farther downstream is patchy, although some good catches have been made as far as Owston Ferry. The banks are difficult and the extreme tides make fishing unpleasant.
At this point, sea angling begins. The Humber Estuary is one of the few places in England where codling can be caught from the shore 52 weeks of the year. During the autumn months it is best to fish the estuary itself. Paull Foreshore and Stone Creek are particularly popular. Cod can be caught all the way up the estuary as far as Hull docks until December with the northern side of the estuary undoubtedly the best. Codling abound in the estuary but other species including whiting, pouting, school bass, dogfish, thornback ray, turbot, plaice, dab, flounder, and eel are found, and the occasional tope has made its way up the river.
Spurn Head, the Yorkshire Naturalist Trust nature reserve, is a favourite spot for cod fishing from December onwards. Cod can also be caught from Hull to Kilnsea and for a small charge anglers can fish the Point.
The river side of the Head fishes best during northerly and northeasterly winds. There are two deep channels off the point of the Spurn known locally as the Binks, and in the right conditions these marks are the most productive. Lugworm can be dug along the mudflats of the estuary, but great care must be taken to watch the incoming tide.