Although river levels are still on average lower than expected, the small amounts of rain we have had has put some flow and colour on the river. With temperatures remaining mild the fishing is still good on all stretches.
A reasonable number of Barbel continue to come from Coultershaw and for those that prefer small fish tactics you can build a decent bag of silver fish on the float. The Pike seem to have been very active over the last month with a number of anglers reporting them picking up Barbel baits – they seem to find meat particularly attractive. Float fish anglers have also had fairly regular encounters. The Pike fishing season proper has just started and I know of at least one lure angler who has had a few fish to around 10lb and has seen a couple that were significantly bigger.
We have had recent reports of a willow down on the Shopham stretch and we will see what needs to be done in the next few days. A few Grayling have been reported from the very top of the Shopham up stretch and there are the normal reports of Chub and silver fish on both the up and down stretches.
Unfortunately reports on the lower stretches of Coates are by word of mouth as we have yet to put a box and log book at the Coates access point. The anglers that regularly fish this stretch have reported some good silver fish bags and plenty of Chub, it pays to rove around and as the weather gets a bit colder mashed bread with a large piece of flake on the hook always scores well. At the Shopham end of Coates there have been some good Dace catches and the odd Chub.
Other the last month or so, another few Barbel have been reported and the silver fish are still biting well. It is possible to build a good mixed bag of Roach and Dace with a simple stick float rig. For a long time it has been felt that you should not use groundbait in the Rother, however I have fished a couple of sessions recently feeding maggot through a bait dropper and also some small balls of groundbait. I found that the groundbait definitely worked and seemed to bring the better Roach in. I had a number of pristine Roach in the 12oz to 1lb bracket. One angler is wondering why there are reports of a declining Eel population as all his has caught on his last few sessions has been eels, whatever bait he used. One angler who has been lure fishing Fittleworth has reported a couple of Pike, we know there are plenty more!
The grass has now been cut at Watersfield so access to the lower swims is much easier. The swims at the top end however remain popular with the mint swim being the most regularly used. I reckon there is probably an angler there every day! One or two have given the pole feeder method (featured in our last e-mailer) a go and have had some success. Although the original thought was that the method would be particularly suited to targeting the bigger Roach a number of decent skimmers and sizeable Perch have been reported.
Not many of you fish Stopham, but it should start coming into its own, now the reeds are dying back. There are some very good Pike and some shoals of sizeable Roach to be found.
Hurston Lane Fishery
Reports from Hurston are that all three lakes have fished well over the last couple of months. It is expected that fishing on the Tench Pond will now start to slow down, but both the Middle Pond and Match Pond are expected to continue producing good mixed bags.
Stemps & Cart
Walberton is producing its normal form with plenty of fish from both ponds. As the weather gets a bit colder it is best to cut back on your amount of feed and bait size but still expect Carp and good silver fish catches from virtually all pegs on Stemps and plenty of silver fish with Carp from pegs where you can reach the island or the corners on Cart Pond. We have recently seen a number of very small Carp in Cart Pond which suggests that we have had some success with them breeding in the water. With any luck these will grow on well to provide future sport. Has anyone had a Perch from either Stemps or Cart?
The stretch from the basin to the bypass is now available to fish and I know of at least one angler who has had a couple of decent Pike from the basin in the last couple of weeks. Fishing in the rest of the canal is likely to slow down now, and you really need the boat to run through to give the water some colour. It is interesting that during the summer the boat traffic can really put the fish down but in the winter you most often catch just after a boat goes through.
Pleasure anglers are still reporting fairly reasonable Bream catches from Petworth Park although it is slowing down. One or two anglers have been targeting the Pike and the best fish reported has been estimated at 15lb plus.
The Granary continues to fish well with the small fish still being active but the Carp have slowed down a bit although there are still plenty to be caught.
Please don’t forget to fill out the log books at our venues, it really helps us in compiling these reports. If you have any photographs of your catches that you would like to share please forward them to us HERE.