Fishing the Upper Trent

Kings Mills from the north bank of the River T...
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The Upper Trent is part of the largest river system in England, and thanks to recent highly successful anti-pollution measures it offers the angler a wide variety of good fishing

The River Trent from above Rugeley and down past Burton to Long Eaton was a superb fishery until industrial waste and domestic sewage were discharged into it from the Black Country and Potteries. Until quite recently the river was practically devoid of fish. Now the ravages of industrial pollution have been largely halted after a wide scale clean up campaign conducted by the Severn-Trent Water Authority. The river has regained its cleanliness and in recent seasons the Upper Trent

has provided most species of coarse fish. England international Tony Scott, a tackle dealer in Burton-upon-Trent, considers that on a good day he can take a fair bag of fish from many hundreds of good swims found along the river.

Trent species

Dace and chub predominate here early in the coarse fishing season, with plenty of roach later and gudgeon all the year round. A carp topping 20lb was recently caught on

a single maggot fished on light match tackle near Swarkestone, barbel up to 3lb are caught regularly near Willington, and shoals of quite large bream are beginning to populate the stretch from there downstream to Thrumpton.

Rugeley and King’s Bromley

near to Barrow on Trent. Some of the wildlife ...
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For most of the upper sections, the Trent is broad, rarely deeper than 7ft, and fast flowing. It is a pleasure to the angler. Even beyond Rugeley, on up as far as Little Haywood, fair fishing is now to be found. Around Rugeley good chub, roach and dace catches are to be had regularly by pleasure anglers. Barbel to 7lb have been caught and chub catches to 30lb recorded. Winter roach fishing is particularly rewarding with good catches of fish over 1 1/2 lb recorded. A short way downstream at King’s Bromley, the Birmingham AA have waters where similar conditions apply and which more and more anglers recognize. It’s by no means a contest fishing section of the river, but the pleasure angler can gain great enjoyment from its waters.

Access points

The Birmingham AA, with an open membership and associate cards available from most tackle dealers in the area, has further stretches along a widening river through Yoxhall to Alrewas just off the A38 trunk road. Access is at a number of well-signposted points along the A513.

Unfortunately, from Walton northwards, fishing is controlled by clubs and is therefore reserved for members only. Most of the fishing rights in and immediately around Burton are controlled by clubs recently affiliated into the Burton Joint Anglers Council. This includes the fishing in the town along the well known Bass’s Island section where the match catch record is now around the 35lb mark and where a number of open events are held each season. Chub, dace and roach are the main species found.

From Burton the B5008 follows the right bank through Newton Solney and Repton. Swadlincote Angling Club controls most of the fishing rights, but it has a long waiting list for membership. This excellent fishing stretch upstream to Willington holds most species including barbel, carp, and some large bream. Near Newton Solney church there is a compact 200-yard stretch of free fishing.

The very lengthy Derby Angling Association waters start above Willington bridge. Day ticket fishing is available, with permits available from local tackle dealers and the Rising Sun Inn. Membership of the Derby AA is reasonable. The river can be reached at Willington Bridge and above all access points being clearly marked by large white discs on gates – a most considerate move.

Club waters

The association’s waters run for many miles downstream, though the immediate section of the left bank at Willington is controlled by the Atherstone AA. Most coarse species can be caught here. Derby AA waters continue through Twyford on the A5132 and B5009 to Ingleby (where parking is available at the John Thomson Inn), through Barrow-upon-Trent where the Wheel Inn AC has waters, and on to Swarkestone bridge on the A514 and below to end near Stanton. Day tickets are available from the nearby Crew and Harper Inn. From Weston-on-Trent the Derby Railway Institute Anglers’ Association control a lengthy stretch of prime river, holding roach, dace, chub and perch. Day tickets are available from dealers in the area, Grays (newsagents) at Shardlow, or from the inn at Cavendish Bridge on the A6. There is access to the river at Kings Mills, approached from the A453 at Castle Dennington, and the Association’s waters continue to just short of the confluence with the Derwent. Here the Pride of Derby AA waters start, strictly for members only, until Sawley where day tickets are available at the Harrington Arms.

Farther downstream the Soldiers and Sailors Angling Club have waters at Trent Lock, which is ap-

proached by a lane from the A453, and where day tickets are obtainable from dealers in the area, as they are for the lengthy Long Eaton Victoria Angling Society waters in the same section. At Thrumpton, Coventry and District Angling Association has a very good stretch of water on the right bank with access near the church, approached from the A648. A single bank 30-peg stretch is also available, and day-tickets can be obtained at Ferry Farm, Thrumpton.

Burton and Attenborough

The Trent then passes on to Burton (right bank) and Attenborough (left bank) where day tickets are available. This stretch is recognized as the start of the big match-fishing area. The banks are fairly low, on average 2ft above the water. There is a fast flow, weed lanes, and good pegs for matches. The average depth is 8ft with 3-4ft near the bank.

The Trent was once the equal of the Hampshire Avon, but it had the misfortune of passing through the heart of the industrial Midlands. This meant the march of pollution, foundries and factories happily making use of the Trent for the disposal of toxic wastes. It nearly killed the river. But now it has a growing reputation as the fine fishery it once was. One day its potential will be fulfilled when the Derby AA stage the Division 1 National Championship – on the banks of the revitalized Upper Trent.