Under this heading come the rivers, lakes, ponds, reservoirs, gravel pits, land drains and lochs (loughs in Northern Ireland) which abound in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There are a great many of them and the kind of sport they offer can vary enormously. Nothing could be more different, for instance, than a Scottish salmon river like the Tay and an equally major English river like the Great Ouse where the main sport is provided solely by coarse fish. There is an equally big difference between a fly only trout fishery like one of the big Midlands reservoirs and a colliery flash in Lancashire where, again, the main sport is usually with coarse fish. Whatever the differences, all these waters are important to some anglers. Their degree of importance in terms of any pecking order based on quality is, we think, reflected in the space devoted to them in the Fishing Guide section of the guide. But the reader of this or any other guide is not only interested in what he may catch from a particular water but, more to the point, in whether he can fish it. And this necessitates an understanding of the different systems of administration.
Different types of fishery
Not every freshwater fishery is administered in terms of access in the same way. Far from all of the fisheries, anyway, offer access to anybody. The differences can best be summed up under the five categories which are explained below. 1. Private Fisheries
These are waters which are privately owned or leased to a small exclusive syndicate or to an association which operates an extremely restricted system of membership. There are cases of entire rivers being private within these definitions and many, many instances where this is true of stillwaters. It follows that these are waters for which there is no chance of access for the ‘freelance’ angler and equally little or none even for those on the spot. In the main, this class of fishery has been disregarded in the compilation of our guide. We could see little point in telling readers about fishing -whether fabulous or just plain ordinary-where there was no possibility of them ever being able to wet a line. The only exceptions to this are those cases where the water is mentioned in order to include material related to it, as, for example, a main river which is private but whose tributaries offer some access. Such instances are clearly defined in the Fishing Guide sections. 2. Ticket Fisheries
These are waters where the angler may gain access through buying a ticket, usually by the day or week. Most emphasis has been given to these fisheries for they offer the easiest access to the greatest number of anglers.Control of ticket fisheries can vary. They may be privately owned and operated simply as a business venture by an individual. They may belong to a public body, like a municipal corporation or a Water Authority, in which case it is this organisation which sells the ticket, either directly or through agents. Many more fisheries are controlled by angling clubs or associations. All these variations and the way they can affect a visitor’s approach have been dealt with in the-Fishing Guide section and the reader is urged to study carefully the guide to symbols and abbreviations used, on 26. Two other things can vary enormously on ticket waters and our treatment of these is explained below.
Price No prices of any kind are quoted for day or weekly tickets in the guide for, in these inflationary times, few, if any, can be expected to remain stable. Again with newcomers in mind, it is necessary to emphasise that a huge range of prices is involved. A good rule of thumb is that wherever migratory fish like salmon or sea trout are present, the ticket can often be expected to be in the upper price bracket though even this may be too much of a generalisation. Some of the salmon fishing covered in this Guide can cost as much as £1,000 a week to fish. But there are waters -obviously offering less chance of catching quality fish in numbers-where tickets can only be described as reasonable in price. Then there are the waters which are purely trout fisheries. Here again the price varies enormously, especially if fishing from boats is involved. In this instance, it would be fair to say that the degree of stocking coupled with the quality of the fish present are the key factors. The bigger the fish and the more there are of them, the more costly the ticket can be. A broad generalisation is that a day’s trouting on the trout waters covered could vary in cost from as little as 25 pence to as much as £20. Where coarse fish are the only fish on offer, prices tend to be lower though even here, coarse fisheries of the best class, like those on rivers such as the Hampshire Avon or the Dorset Stour, are likely to cost a pound or two rather than a penny or two. If, in studying the Fishing Guide entries, the reader bears in mind the general margins set out above he will not go far wrong in estimating what the cost of his fishing might be.