Witham

By nature, the Witham is really two rivers in one. Upstream of Lincoln where it is known to anglers simply as the Upper Witham, it is a typical meandering country river. Below the city, it becomes a-broad, deep land drainage channel. The Witham rises near Grantham and winds its way north-eastwards through Claypole and Bassingham to Lincoln. In this section, it is a coarse fishery with roach, dace and chub predominating. Ticket facilities on these reaches are limited. At Lincoln, the river enters Brayford Pool and, once it leaves the city, becomes a different river, sluggish and ever deepening as it runs over the flatlands of Lincolnshire to Boston and the Wash. Bream become a major species in this section. Indeed, the Witham from here on is alive with fish. The only reason anglers do not catch more of them is that this is one of the most heavily fished pieces of river in Britain, especially the Kirk-stead roadside length which is the setting every weekend for some of the richest matches in the competition game. No wonder it is often said that the Witham fish are Britain’s most educated! The biggest catches, and there are still plenty of them, tend to be taken on weekdays. At weekends, the Lower Witham, quite apart from the Kirk-stead length, is heavily match booked from June through to October though some lengths are specially reserved for unattached anglers by the Witham and District Joint Anglers’ Federation, the body which controls fishing on this part of the river. Special Note:

By the time this Guide appears, day tickets should be available for the first time on the Lower Witham as a result of new leasing arrangements between the Anglian Water Authority and the Witham and District Joint Anglers’ Federation, the latter body’s main function in the recent past being match control. Officials of the Federation tell us they hope to have arranged day ticket distribution points at pubs and cafes near the river and at tackle shops in the area and in the areas served by the 13 member associations. Anglers who are members of these associations should understand, as in the past, that membership automatically entitles them to fish Federation waters and they will not need a day ticket.

The associations in membership of the Federation are: Boston and Dist AA; British Railways Staff Association AA; Chesterfield and Dist AA; Doncaster and Dist AA; Grantham and District AA; Grimsby Amalgamated; Leeds Amalgamated SA; Lincoln and District AA; Sheffield Amalgamated; Sheffield and District AA; Rotherham UAF; Worksop AA; Scunthorpe and District AA.

In any case of query, please con-tact R. Hobley, Esq., Secretary, Witham and District Joint Anglers Federation, 30, Gunby Avenue, Lin-coln. Clubs wishing to book matches should also contact Mr Hobley but no applications for a new season will be entertained prior to Jan 1 in the year that season commences. Rod Licence: AWA (Lincolnshire Rivers Division)

LOWER WITHAM

Boston, Kirkstead & Lincoln,

LincsC3l miles from Stamp End Lock (Lincoln) to Grand Sluice at Boston (with certain clearly signposed exceptions, see 3 entries following) BB DT

Chapel Hill, LincsCJ mile from just below Jimmy’s Hilltoclubhouse on Smallwood’s Caravan ParkRB

DT: TO (Smallwood’s Caravan

Park)

Martindales, LincsC240 yards in

School House Bend (immediately belowjunction with Martin

Delph)RB

DT:B

Tattershall, LincsC300yards upstream from Pick’s Farm Fence ontheSandholesRB

DT: B

UPPER WITHAM

This is the section of the Witham upstream of Lincoln.

Bassingham, LincsC2 milefrom

Bassingham to AubournlRB

DT: AAA (Sheffield and District

AA)

Claypole, LincsC 1 j miles at farmAB

DT: AF (F. W. Allen, Oddhouse

Farm, Claypole)

Doddington, LincsC1 milefrom bridge extending downstreamRB

DT: A AA (New Inn, Newark, AC)

Long Bennington, NottsC1 mile extending downstream from Long

Bennington BridgeRB

DT:B

South Hykeham, LincsC4 miles from junction with River Brant down to Brayford Pool, LincolnBB

DT:ATS (Lincoln)

Associations: Grantham AA; Newark PF

Witham Tributaries

BAIN (LINCS)

This fairly fast flowing river rises near Ludford and flows south through Horncastle and Coningsby to join the Witham below Tattershall Bridge opposite Dogdyke, the junction being a common gathering ground for bream in huge numbers in the autumn. Though there are some trout in the upper reaches, the Bain is mainly a coarse fish river, chub, roach and dace being the predominant species. The best chances for the visitor are on the length between Coningsby and the Witham and enquiries should be made locally. BARLINGS EAU

A small watercourse which links with the Witham at Branston Ferry, this water offers sizeable chub, dace and the odd bream. Association controlled, the best chance is through Lincoln AA, membership of which is open to all. BILLINGHAY SKIRTH This land drainage channel flows from the village of North Kyme through Billinghay to join the Witham just above Tattershall Bridge. Coarse fish catches can be big near the junction at those times when the Witham is high. This water has also produced numbers of specimen pike. Access for visitors is good.

Tattershall Bridge, LincsC3s miles upstream from junction with River WithamBB DtfseeRiver Witham introduction) BRANSTON DELPH This short land drain starts at Branston Booths just east of Heighington to run north-east, joining the Witham near Branston Island. It offers coarse fishing with good access for visitors. Branston Booths, Lincs]C4i miles from Branston Booths to Sincil Drain at LincolnRB DtseeRiverWitham introduction

BRANT

A tributary of the Upper Witham, the Brant rises nearStragglethorpe and flows northwards to join the right bank of the Witham below Aubourn. It is not a highly rated fishery and is mostly private.

FOSS DYKE

This man-made navigation channel, dating from Romantimes, links the Trent with the Witham. It is connected to the Trent by a lock at Torksey and joins the Witham at Brayford Pool at Lincoln. A coarse fishery of moderate quality, it pro-duces the occasional large pike. Access is good. Saxilby, LincsC11i milesfrom Torksey Lock to Saxilby (RB) and from Saxilby to Lincoln (LB) DTSee River Witham introduction

KYME EAU

The name given to the River Slea just before its junction with the Witham at Chapel Hill. At this point it is also known as Sleaford Cut. See also River Slea, below.

Chapel Hill, LincsC 11 miles upstream from junction with River Witham (RB) and mile from same point (LB)

DTSee RiverWitham introduction above.

MARTIN DELPH

The name commonly used by anglers to describe the drain which is officially known as Timberland Delph, see below.

NORTH DELPH

This drain runs parallel with the River Witham on the latter’s north side from Lincoln to Bardney. It is rarely fished and is not rated in terms of results with the Witham itself or the Sincil Dyke (also known as the South Delph) which parallels the southern bank of the Witham. Predominant species are roach. Lincoln, LincsC4] milesfrom Lincoln to short ferry at BardneyRB

DTSee RiverWitham introduction SINCIL DYKE

This drainage channel, also known as South Delph, runs alongside the Witham from Lincoln finally linking with the main stream at Branston Island. Another coarse fishery.

Witham Records

Match Catch Records: 6 hour 86-9-0 J Downton in club match June 1 5hour71-4-0DThompson inclub match Oct 1 4hour60-7-0G Dickinson inclub match July 1

Bream: 9-3-0 W Hopley (maggot)

July 1

Carp: 14-4-0 J Dickie (tare) Aug 1

Roach: 3-8-0 W Boulton (bread)

Aug 1

Tench: 7-0-0 A Gillyett (maggot)

Sept 1

Trout,sea:’ 10-11-0 Cfenn (worm)

Oct 1 ‘the stranger to the Witham should not be deluded into thinking it attracts a run of sea trout. This is believed the only fish of its kind ever caught in the river. As one official put itatthetime: ‘It took the wrong left turn on its way up the North Sea to Scotland’.

Lincoln, LincsC6] miles from Lincoln to Bardney Lock (LB) DTSee River Witham introduction SLEA

This river was once a favourite spot, especially for chub anglers, but latterly low water levels due to abstraction have hit sport. The river rises to the west of the market town of Sleaford and flows east through the town. Just above the village of South Kyme, it changes its name to Kyme Eau and it is underthisname that it joins the Witham at Chapel Hill. The section at and above the junction isknowntoanglerssimply as the Sleaford Cut and it is a particularly popular spot in the autumn for pike fishers.

TILL (LINCS)

The Till rises to the east of Gains-borough andflowssouthtojointhe Foss Dyke at Odder. A coarse fishery, the most popular section is around Broxholme. Access for the visitor is good either through sea-sonal membership of Lincoln AA (available to all) or at ticket centres listed below.

Broxholme, LincsC1 milefrom Broxholme Bridge to Odder BridgeLB DT: AG (BridgeGarage, Dunham Bridge) or AAA (Sheffield & Dist. AA) Odder, LincsCj mile extending down from Odder BridgeRB DT: AF (P. Good’s Farm, Odder) TIMBERLAND DELPH

More usually called Martin Delph by anglers, this drainage channel runs from a point just south of the village of Martin to join the Witham below Kirkstead at the start of one of the most famous reaches on the main river, Schoolhouse Bend. A coarse fishery, this drain can produce excellent results, especially in the lower sections when the

Witham is high. Access is good.

Timberland, LincsC2J miles upstream from junction with

Witham at Timberland Lane

EndBB

DTSee River Witham introduction

Wrthern. See Great Eau

Womack Water. See Norfolk and

Suffolk Broads Wreake.See R.Trent Wye. See Wales Wye (Derbys). See R. Trent

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