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Big Fish Column: Tough week for river and stillwater anglers

The British weather always makes for good conversation, indeed some would say it‘s our only conversation! It is particularly important for anglers though, as our sport is so inherently linked to the prevailing conditions. Typical of our climate, last week I wrote about flooding this week it is all about the heatwave!

Second spawning

With temperatures pushing above 30 degrees Centigrade many stillwaters saw a second bout of carp spawning last weekend, even if there was no spawning activity there was little in the way of feeding activity until conditions cooled and a westerly breeze pushed in on Sunday. It was, however, a tough weekend for river and stillwater anglers alike with catches at a premium.

River returns

On the flowing waters there were few headline catches but Cookham‘s Pete Walker made the most of an evening‘s light lure fishing on a local beat of the Thames with a nice catch of five perch to around 1lb 8oz and a couple of what he described as “angry and acrobatic“ jack pike to about 4lb. A small baitcasting outfit with 30lb braid and small jelly lures was the recipe for success.

Trout returns

Over at Haywards Farm Lake, Jonno Randall reports that it was a bit of a mixed week of fishing before the heatwave slowed catches.

Overcast days saw fish smashing into adult damsel flies around the marginal weed beds and some huge hatches of caddis and damsels, along with the usual buzzer clouds, brought some great surface activity with lots of fish falling to dry flies with poppers, hoppers and CDC buzzers all catching.

Below the surface Jonno recommends damsels, hare‘s ears, buzzers, diawl bachs and small mini lures, with black tadpoles and fry patterns the best options for the brighter days.

Line recycling at Farmoor

Anglers visiting Thames Water’s Farmoor Reservoir can now recycle fishing lines as part of a new scheme as the company has partnered with the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme (ANLRS) to install recycling bins around the reservoir.

The bins are made from recycled pipes and were designed and built by rangers at the site. A larger bin is also available in the reservoir’s lodge where visitors can bring in their old lines to be recycled when they collect their permits.

Will Barnard, Thames Water’s fisheries development manager, said: “At Thames Water protecting the environment is at the core of what we do. The new instalments will encourage users of the fishery to consider the part they play in sustaining the land and surrounding wildlife.”

About 400 million meters of fishing line are discarded annually despite the material used to make it taking 600 years to degrade and landfill had previously been the only option for its disposal. Once returned, the line is now sent to selected recycling plants where it is processed and used to manufacture products such as traffic cones, sunglasses, skateboards and swimwear.

Farmoor Open Day

If you want to know more about fishing, or indeed sailing, at Farmoor, Thames Water is holding an open day, which will include taster sessions of both fishing and sailing, at Farmoor on Saturday July 6th from 10am to 4pm. Just turn up to join in the fun.

The week ahead

Back to the weather and consistently warm, but not too hot, conditions should see a return to a more normal pattern of summer fishing during the week ahead.

Any anglers wishing to report catches may contact me at

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