Angling Times (UK)
FISHERY OF THE WEEK River Welland, Lincs
Just grab some bait and fill your net
FISHING can be quite an expensive business at times, but head to a free river stretch and you can enjoy a bite-filled day on the bank for next to nothing.
These often-overlooked bits of river harbour all manner of species, to good sizes too, and the River Welland Town Meadows stretch in Stamford, Lincs, is one such gem.
Weaving its way through the centre of one of the prettiest stone towns in England, this feature-packed stretch starts to come into its own at this time of year, rewarding visitors with good nets of perch, chub, dace and roach – plus a few chunky pike thrown in too!
Being just 10 miles from the Angling Times offices, the Meadows stretch has always been a favourite among staff, with bites guaranteed from most spots along its length. One of those regulars is deputy editor Steve Stones, who has fished the river for the past 15 years and always has it on his radar from late summer onwards.
“I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. It’s such a pretty little river, full of reed-fringed bays, overhanging trees and slacks that hold surprisingly good fish.
“Chub are the dominant species, and although they reach 5lb-plus, most are in the 2lb-4lb bracket,” he said.
“They’re not shy, and a few casts in likely-looking spots with bread, worms or cheesepaste are all it takes to get a bend in the rod. The chub sport really comes into its own from autumn onwards, but in summer you can still catch well by targeting the deeper spots with overhanging bushes or welloxygenated runs in between the mid-river reed beds.
“There’s also a huge head of ravenous resident perch, and while most are in the 8oz to 2lb range, fish nudging 4lb have been taken towards the back end of the season.
“The best roach tend to congregate towards the bottom of the stretch, near the pretty stone town bridge, with fish to over 1lb possible under the right conditions.”
While there are wooden platforms towards the bottom of the stretch, which are popular with pole and pleasure anglers, Steve advocates a roving approach with a light quivertip set-up for the best results.
“There are several meadows to choose from, and even a little weir at the top which is stuffed with silvers, but I’ve always had my best days when baiting a few swims lightly and then fishing them in rotation. Breadflake
takes some beating, either priming the swims with a couple of small balls of liquidised bread or using a small cage feeder crammed with the same.
“Maggots and worms work well too, and I know a few lads who have done well on light lure tactics for the perch and pike.
“One of my favourite spots is below the green Bailey Bridge about three-quarters up, where the river widens and deepens, before narrowing and running off downstream. Sometimes it can be full of chub!” he added.
Due to its location, the stretch can be popular with dog walkers and, according to Steve, you’ve always got to be prepared for the odd Labrador crashing into your swim! But, this shouldn’t put you off, he says.
“The fish are used to this and you’ll often get bites as soon as the commotion ends. Plus, the dog walkers keep otters and cormorants away! All in all, it’s a little haven for coarse anglers, and one that I’d advise anybody to visit if they’re in the area.”