American signal crayfish, cormorants, EA, John Anderson, Lark, Lark Angling & Preservation Society, Paul Jennings, Red Lion, Suffolk trout, WTT
Suffolk, my nemesis, PJ !
…mais non, Mon Brave Pecheur…lu dessus…
And it is all down to John (Anderson), and his enthusiasm for my mission, and his fulfilment of a promise made after a blank in May.
That day was an unbelievably hot (as we now know only May was) and bright day, and with weed and reed growth, already massive, we guessed that the trout on the Lark at Icklingham which the cormorants had disregarded, were probably hiding in the stem and root stock well away from my enticing casts. We saw no rise, nor swirl, nor ‘nothing’ that morning to John’s needless embarrassment. But his company through the morning and a delicious lunch at the Red Lion (well worth a visit…several local ales, and great food) and our endless chat, seemed enough to motivate this retired GP and fisher, to guide me again, knowing that trout streams in Suffolk are scarce.
After two more ciabbattas, and some cleansing ale, we were back on his stream…”I have a plan”, he revealed. And this time we headed downstream to below the weir, where it is very wade-able. His plan involved the PTN, and my set up included a weighted #20 (from Five Rivers Lodge), tied below a bushy caddis pattern with a pink-ish parachute…OK, a float, if you must…and it did feel as though I was trotting (!).
The wind coming off my right hand side was harsh and several casts needed retrieving from the fronds nearby…but just below the concrete weir and where the river had widened to produce a back eddy,
where John had once caught a small pike, one of the few casts which I put below the alder overhanging it, saw the floater dip, and a lift and resistance which became serious, meant I had a ‘fish on’….was it a chub, I worried? It planed (‘kited’ , if you listen to John Wilson) across the weir, pulling very hard and in that erratic style which singles out our preferred species. As it neared, its colours still confused me, but with John leaning to give me his long handled net , I saw SPOTS…and knew! Caution, caution, caution…this is Suffolk’s only trout stream…and when he was netted, I am not sure whether John’s pride in helping, or mine in achieving (is that the right word?), dominated, but we were both very pleased.
He took the trailing nymph, and the colouration of this fish was unusual…almost orange when he came out of the water. He was a stocked fish weighing in at just over 2lbs, so had probably been in the river three years. It took a while to revive the fellow. He fought hard, as such a fish should. But revived, he returned to his eddied lie.
Afterwards we wandered upstream, me casting into the runs, optimistically, where I missed out before, and did again!
John’s is a lovely fishery…”but dour”, he acknowledged! But why?
The water is clear, flowing quickly through lush streaming weed, in which I am sure nymphal life is prolific, even though on this day we saw little fly life (and not a single rise). There were minnows, galore, but few trout. But we saw several of the species ‘corvus marinus’ and ‘pacifastacus lenusculus’….that’s cormorant, and American signal crayfish, to you and me. Of the latter, I saw dozens, and more than on any other stream I have fished, at the top end of our beat.
The work of the WTT manages stream and flow…and delivers spawning areas….protection of fish stocks is whose responsibility? The EA?
We must all work together for the long term.
keith Nixon said:
Regarding wild river trout. there are some in the River Box, a tributary of the Suffolk Stour upstream of Thorington Street on the B1068. I have caught trout downstream where the river joins the Stour at Langham Lowlift. The mill pool at Thorington Mill is a trout syndicate water.
John Brown said:
Many years ago I fished the Box at Thorington when the Essex Water company (or Anglian Water?) ran it as a day ticket fishery. I later joined the syndicate that took the fishing over (which included the mill pool and about another mile of fishing above and below it) and was fortunate enough to fish it for a number of years. The Box was a good brown trout stream but also had (and may still have) a small population of spawning rainbows that had established from the rainbow stock fish. This never seems to make it into the list of British rivers that support populations of spawning rainbows.
chris anderson said:
Hi John, you wouldn’t happen to have contact details for the syndicate, would you? i am a local angler. Any info would be appreciated. Chris
John Brown said:
Chris – sadly it is many, many years since I last had anything to do with the syndicate (early 1980s?). The only lead I can suggest is that you might care to contact Anglian Water. We used to rent the fishing from the then Essex Water Company. Essex Water was subsumed when Anglian Water was created and we then, I think, rented from Anglian, who may still be leasing the fishing out to the syndicate. Worth a try. Failing that, enquire at Thorington Mill. I can’t imagine that Joe Mumson, who was living there in my day and kept an eye on things for us, is still with us but the current occupants may have contact details for the syndicate organisers (who were always local in my day). Good luck!
I’m looking to fish the river box so if you find ot please let me know.
Mike Traugott said:
I was thinking about the River Box today as I found some documentation from 1973 and 1974 when I fished there while I was teaching in the summer program at the University of Essex. Perhaps because I was a foreigner, I had to go for a personal interview at the Essex Water Authority in order to get my first day ticket. It cost 5 GBP. I had to pay in advance so they could send me a paper ticket for the day. After a couple of days fishing, I asked if I could deposit a sum of money like a kind of drawing account, but that wasn’t allowed. I met Mr. Munson a couple of times, who lived in the mill house. The water below the bridge was very tranquil as I remember it, but unattended as in Hampshire, for example, had a lot of nettles along the bank. I have a little documentation from the old days but don’t know how to post it.
Charlie Watts said:
Has there been any further information gathered on the river box ? I’m very local and struggling to find any info.
Peter Warren said:
Me too Charlie. It seems to be a very closely guarded secret.
Tony Mair said:
Please see my post, Peter (and others interested in the R Box)
Tony Mair said:
Have you thought of searching the Land Registry to ascertain who actually owns the pieces of water you are interested in fishing? Who knows, some may be in public ownership and therefore free to fish, like on quite a few of the chalk streams in Hampshire…do let me know how you get on