The Broads, created centuries ago by the peat digging activities of our ancestors and now linked together by major rivers like the Ant, Bure, Thurne, Yare and Waveney, can still offer good fishing, but it is by no means as good as it was. The expert opinion of naturalists and scientists is that the decline of this vast area has now reached a critical stage. Most of the reasons for it are beyond the scope of this website, but one certainly is relevant- the incessant boat traffic in the summer months. Most serious anglers prefer to avoid it, either by fishing at night or very early in the morning, or by staying away until the quieter winter months.

Almost all the Broads which are open for navigation, and the navig-able stretches of river, offer free fishing from boats and public staithes, but private banks must be respected. The position regarding fishing the tidal waterways from the bank is the same as it is anywhere else in the country – the permission of the owner is required and/or payment must be made for the right of access. Bank fishing is extremely limited on most of the Broads.

Without exception the Broads and the Broadland rivers offer all kinds of coarse fishing, the predominant species being bream and roach. Much less is heard these days of the once superb rudd and pike fishing, which used to be considered the finest in England. It came to an end a few years ago when a poisonous algae known as prymnesium caused perhaps the worst fish mortality Britain has ever known. For a time it wiped out the finest fishing in Broadland-the Upper Thurne area. Only the bream and roach fishing has since made a noticeable and welcome return to something like the old standard. All the fishing requires an Anglian Water Authority licence (East Suffolk & Norfolk Rivers Division). The Authority also sells a permit covering the right of access to tidal water fishing where they own or control access rights, and a more expensive permit which also covers access to the Authority’s stillwaterand non-tidal rivercoarse fishing.

Anglers in doubt about the permit needed for fishing on waters in this area controlled by the

Anglian Water Authority should telephone Norwich (0603) 615161 and ask for the Fisheries Depart-ment. For postal enquiry (sae) the address is:- Anglian Water Authority, River Division, Yare House, 62-64 Thorp Road, Norwich NR1 1SA.

Rod Licence: AWA (East Suffolk & Norfolk Rivers Division) RIVERS