Big Fish Column: Anglers find smaller stillwaters in better shape than rain-swollen rivers

Ashton Pohl with one of his rainbow trout from Haywards Farm Lake.


Although locally we have been fortunate to avoid the terrible flooding experienced elsewhere, our rivers are swollen and were challenging to fish last week. Thankfully the smaller stillwaters were in better shape and parts of the Kennet and Avon Canal were on form too.

Lake perch

Perch provided the best of the stillwater sport and one of the small Reading and District pits  provided a cracking fish of 2lb 10oz to Maidenhead rod, Alun Richards, who floatfished a lobworm bait on a size 6 hook to 4lb line beneath a heavy chubber float. Feeding a little brown groundbait laced with chopped worms and a few red maggots, Alun netted a couple of smaller perch before the big fish struck late in the afternoon.


Canal perch

The canalised sections of the Kennet and Avon have not been as impacted by the additional water as those sections with riverine influence and the RDAA section continues to throw up some good mixed bags of fish, with perch particularly prominent.

Woodley‘s Darren Childs used the pole to good effect on the lower section last weekend netting a few small roach and skimmers of maggot hook baits before a shoal of marauding perch moved in. After netting one fish of around the pound mark, and seeing others striking in his swim, Darren stepped up from a single maggot on a size 18 hook to a bunch on a size 14 and ended up with a lovely catch of ten perch averaging around the 1lb 8oz mark.


Trout returns

Jonno Randall tells me that last week was another very busy one on Haywards Farm Lake with lots of fish showing amidst some great buzzer hatches which, at times, has seen the lake just fizzing with fish.

The best haul of the week went to workmates, Jonny Muir, Jack Gregorie and Ashton Pohl who shared a boat last weekend to net 14 fish between them. Mini FABs fished on an intermediate line took the lion‘s share of the fish with a small coral–coloured FAB the real killer, although the lads did bag a couple of fish on snakes too.

In addition to FABs and snakes, buzzers are still catching, not surprising given the current hatches, nymphs are scoring and fry patterns are working too as a few fish are chasing fry in the margins.

The weekly rod average was 4.0, with an average weight of 3lb 14oz and a best fish of just over 11lb, with both bank and boat anglers finding fish, prospects look superb for the week ahead.


The week ahead

Cool temperatures and rivers everywhere fining down should make for some excellent chub fishing.

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at


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