Great Ouse

The Great Ouse is one of the biggest and most important rivers in eastern England, stretching from the far west of Buckinghamshire mile after winding mile across country to enter the sea at King’s Lynn in Norfolk. It offers some of the finest coarse fishing in this part of the country. All species are present though some tend to be more concentrated in certain parts of the river than others. Chub, for instance, tend to be more numerous in the middle and upper reaches while the bream population swells the further you travel into the deeper and more sluggish sections of the river below Huntingdon. The Great Ouse is another river which has been officially stocked with barbel and while double figure fish are sometimes reported – the biggest was a barbel of 12 lb2 oz taken in Jan 1976-they turn up comparatively rarely on angler’s hooks. The same can also be said of carp. The best Great Ouse carp on record was a fish of 32 lb taken in January 1975. It should not be forgotten, either, that it was a tributary of the river, the Little Ouse, which produced the 1 lb 4] oz dace currently accepted as the British record. Though most of the river is controlled by associations – many of whom offer match fishing facilities for visiting clubs-ticket facilities abound. The vast majority of these associations also offer seasonal membership for anyone who wishes to join.

Match fishing is extremely popular on this river, a fact which means that in many sections the freelance angler may find fishing space hard to find in some places on Sundays. River regulars are forecasting that the time is not far distant when a Great Ouse match will be won for the first time with a net in excess of 100 lb. At the moment, the record stands at 94 lb 112 oz.

The Great Ouse finds its source near Brackley. From there it flows via Buckingham, Milton Keynes, and Bedford to Huntingdon, the latter one of the most popular angling centres on the river. From Huntingdon it flows on to Earith. Between this Fenland town and its junction with the River Cam near Stretham, it is known as the Old West River or, as many anglers call it, simply the Old West. Below Ely, the river becomes canalised becoming literally a giant Fenland drain. From Ely, via Littleport and

Ten Mile Bank to the huge sluice gates at Denver, it is deep and slug-gish. Huge bream catches are caught in this reach, especially in the vicinity of the river’s junctions with its tributaries, the Lark and the Wissey. The biggest Ouse pike are said to lurk in this section and there’s also the chance of zander, the imported predators which caused such a controversy when they were artificially introduced into the Relief Channel. Sea trout are occasionally caught here, too. Below Denver Sluice, the river is tidal. This reach is little fished except in the close season for coarse fish for it is nothing like so productive as it is above the sluice. Rod Licence: AWA (Great Ouse Rivers Division) Barway, Cambs Cj 1 mile downstream from a point opposite Fish and DuckRB DT: AK (D. Randall, Newlands, Barway)TS (Cambridge) group ticketsor AAA (Cambridge FPS.)

Bedford, BedslCThrough Bedford

TownandfoM mile belowtown

Free fishing for holders of Anglian

Water Authority (Grt. Ouse Divn) rod licences

Biddenham, BedsC1 mile from

Bromham Bridge downstream towards KempstonLB

DT:AAA (Bedford AC)

Buckingham, BucksCl5milesat

Buckingham extending above and belowtownBB

DT: ATS (D. Aris, West St.,


DenverSluice, NorfolkCTidal riverfrom Denver Sluice to King’s


Freefishingl CM

Ely, CambsC2 miles from

Adelaide Bridge to Lark outfallBB


Ely, CambsC1 J miles from

Newmarket Bridgeto Ely Railway


Free fishing

Godmanchester, CambsC8 miles from Brampton to HoughtonAB


Harrold, BedsC1000yardsat

Harrold Lodge FarmLB

WT: ATS (named on sign at entry to water) or ARO (Leisure Sport,

RMC House, High St., Feltham,


Hemingford, CambsC2 miles at Houghton Meadow Island DT:Be Hilgay, NorfolkC3 milesfrom Modney Court down to Denver SluiceRB DT:BorATS

Huntingdon, CambsC1 mile from Town Bridge (Huntingdon)to Hartford ChurchBB DT:BkorATS (Huntingdon) Littleport, CambsCSandhill Bridge downtoA10LB DT: AP (Black Horse Inn, Sandhill Bridge, Littleport) Littleport, CambsC1} miles from junction with Lark down to Sandhill Bridge, Littleport (LB) and 2 miles from Lark outfall down to A10 road bridge (RB)

DT: ATS (G. Bennett, Sandhills Crossing, Littleport; A. S. Coleby, Granby St., Littleport)

Littleport, CambsC2 miles from

Littleport to confluence with River


DT: B or ATS (Littleport)

Newton Blossomville, BucksC3 miles from Lavenden to TurveyAB DT: (L10)AP(Old Mill, Newton Blossomville)e

Oakley, BedsC1 mile from Oakley Bridge towards StevingtonRB DT:AAA (Bedford AC) Offord, CambsC5 miles from Offordto Brampton (including backs)LB DT:K

St Ives, CambsC3 miles at St. lvesBB

DT: ATS (Handicraft Sports,

Bridge St., St. Ives or King Alfred

Sports, Broadway, St. Ives)

St. Neots, CambsCFrom Barford toDiddingtonBB


Stafford Bridge, BedsC3 mile from Stafford Bridge downstream LB

DT:AAA (Bedford AC)

Stony Stratford, BucksCJ mile on boundary of Cosgrove Lodge Park


DT: TO (at entrance to park)

Ten Mile Bank, NorfolkC4j miles from Danby Drove down to Denver



Wolverton, BucksC2i miles from

Old Wolverton to HavershamLB


GREAT OUSE (OLD WEST RIVER) Stretham, CambsC 1J miles extending upstream from StrethamRB

DT:AAA (Cambridge Albion AS) Associations: Bedford AC; BiggleswadeAC; Leighton Buzzard AC; London AA; Luton and District AA; Wellingborough Nene AC. (London AA also control fishing on the Little Ouse and the Wissey. Biggleswade also control fishing on the Ivel. Leighton Buzzard also control fishing on the Ouzel).

Great Ouse Records

Match Catch Record: 94-11 -12 A

Williams in club match Oct 1

Barbel:’ 12-2-0 B Clarke (maggot)

Jan 1

Bream: 10-3-0 F Wesley (maggot/caster) Feb 1

Carp: 32-0-0 M Holden (lobworm)

Jan 1

Chub: 7-4-0 D Smith,

Godmanchester Mar 1

Pike: 27-4-0 D McMahon (livebait)

Jan 1

Roach: 3-4-0 N Spittal (maggot)

Sept 1

Tench: 5-3-0 Wcollins 1

Trout: 6-0-0 H W Taylor (paste)

June 1

Zander:26-13-8P Burton 1 ‘this fish, taken in a match, was safely netted despite being hooked on a tiny 18 tied to a hook length of just 1.1 lb breaking strain 2azanderof 13-4-0 was reported from that Great Ouse tributary, the

Wissey, in Sept 1