The Association controls the exclusive fishing rights to a number of stretches of the rivers Ouse and Ivel in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Buckinghamshire and to four still waters in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire. These waters hold specimen fish of many species and arguably provide some of the best specimen coarse fishing available in the area at affordable prices.
EATON SOCON FISHERY
The fishery is situated in the village of Eaton Socon close to the market town of St Neots in southwest Cambridgeshire close to the A1 trunk road. From the A428 junction at Wyboston, take the B1428 road to Eaton Socon and turn right at the first mini roundabout into Howard Road (Industrial Estate). The entrance gate to the complex is situated on the first left-hand bend in Howard Road and a prominent club notice board has been affixed to the security gate. The entrance allows access to the following:
- Gingerbread Lake
This is our specimen lake that holds quality fish of several species over 40lbs. It is a former excavation with the soil removed being used to construct the nearby A428 crossing over the river Great Ouse and has been established as a fishery since 1987. There is ample car parking within the complex and vehicles can be parked directly behind many of the swims to give members peace of mind. The lake is about 20 acres in size with more than 2000 yards of bank space available for fishing. The lake is not round but instead consists of a number of large bays that are roughly in the shape of a gingerbread man so hence the name.
The depth of the lake varies from circa 4ft to more than 18ft with an average of 7-9ft. There are about 70 swims around the lake and fish are regularly caught from all areas throughout the year.
Members may use up to 3 rods in their chosen swim provided that they have purchased two rod licences but often it can a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth! Barbed hooks are permitted and there are no bait restrictions although members have been requested not to use too much low-grade spod to avoid souring the water.
Carp Fishing > The predominant species is carp. Several specimens over 40lbs have been caught and the fish are still growing. There have been many different 30s caught from the lake and their numbers continue to increase. The water was stocked initially with carp from Wrest Park, Silsoe and Stanborough Lake, Welwyn GC. There have been further stockings of mirror carp from Fisher Pond, commons and fully-scaled mirrors from Bedwell Fish Farm and a large number of mirror carp from a private lake near Ely. All the fish stocked have shown excellent growth rates, for example, the Fisher Pond fish introduced in 1995 weighing between 3-7lbs have already grown to 40lbs and are still putting the pounds on each year. They are a fast growing strain that is now one of the most sought after strains in the country. However, their growth rate has been matched by the fish obtained from Bedwell and Ely stocked in later years. Some of these stockfish are now exceeding the 30lb mark. In addition to the stocked fish, the lake is subject to occasional flooding from the nearby river and these floods have brought an influx of foreign fish with, at least, 50 doubles up to the high 30s entering via this route.
Carp can be found in all areas of the lake and many are taken from the near margins. In the height of summer large beds of lilies and milfoil grow. Many of the carp seek the shelter of these natural sanctuaries. Carp to over 30lbs have been caught on floaters but waterfowl can make this a frustrating method. Boilies, sweet corn and particles are baits that have all accounted for plenty of fish during the year. Artificial baits (e.g. plastic corn) have accounted for a good number of carp too.
Night fishing permits are available at an extra cost of £190 but are limited to 80 per year. If you are not fortunate to get a night permit immediately, do not despair as the vast majority of carp can be caught during the daytime.
Tench Fishing > The lake holds a good stock of tench with their numbers increasing year by year. The average size of tench caught is in the 6-9lb bracket but larger specimens into double-figures have been caught. A number of tench were stocked from Bedwell Fish Farm weighing up to 5lbs and these have grown well in the rich water.
Bream Fishing > There is a good head of bream in the lake with double-figure specimens present as many of the carp fishermen will testify to! Springtime is an especially good time to catch them when the fish feed freely throughout the day and night prior to spawning. The average size is around the 8lb mark but smaller skimmers can be caught on float tackle. The bigger fish are regularly caught on boilies and can be drawn into swims by heavy goundbaiting.
Rudd Fishing > Seldom fished for but present are some very large but elusive rudd with specimens over 3.5lbs caught accidentally by carp anglers on boilies! The fish are thought to have entered the lake during flood conditions and are sometimes mistaken for carp when rolling out in the lake. The few that have been caught over the years have taken boilies or float-fished maggots but floaters are always a good bet.
Pike Fishing > The lake holds a good head of pike up to the 30lb mark. Every year several specimens over 20lb are caught but they are not easy to locate and often prove to be elusive. Simon Pask from Bedford caught a specimen weighing 25lbs+ during a pike match. One of the more productive areas in the lake is Deep Bay where shoals of silver fish congregate in the winter months. These food fish are regularly pursued by numbers of pike close to the surface during this time of the year. In the springtime, some big specimens have been spotted close to the margins waiting to attack spawning roach and rudd.
Other Species > Roach and Perch are present in the lake with the former being caught up to 2lbs and the latter to 3lbs. The roach have become more numerous following several years of cormorant depredation that finally seems to be abating. The lake has received two large stockings of roach, the last stocking numbering circa 8000 fish. Large perch have been often guilty of taking small roach off anglers’ lines although few anglers have tried to deliberately target them.
A number of chub are present with a specimen weighing over 6lbs being caught by Paul Webb from St Neots. These fish have mostly entered the lake from the nearby river during floods, as have dace and bleak. Pike anglers using dead baits have caught Eels to over 5lbs with Deep Bay being a good area. Please note that all eels caught must be returned to the water unharmed to preserve this species that is nationally in decline.
The periodic flooding of the nearby river Ouse means that it not possible to know all that the lake holds and rumours of some exotic species abound but largely remain as rumours!
The water is accessible via the Eaton Socon complex but is situated on the south side of the A428 river crossing and is one of the Wyboston Lakes’ fisheries. It is a short walk from the car parking area to the Pool. Night fishing is now restricted to night permit holders following excessive amounts of litter being left by thoughtless anglers. The venue has a total of 30 swims. It abuts a golf course and fishing is not permitted from the golf course bank. This presents little difficulty though as it is a long narrow water that can be easily cast across.
The water holds a number of double-figured carp to over 30lbs and was stocked with both mirror and common carp. Many of the larger carp hug the opposite tree-lined bank and can be caught on both bottom baits and floaters. Bream to 8lbs and Tench to over 9lbs have been caught. Also present are Pike, Eels, Roach, Rudd and a few Crucian Carp. Like Gingerbread Lake, the Pool is subject to flooding and some foreign fish have entered the water via this route over the years.
The Drift (River Ouse)
This stretch of the middle Ouse is some 600 yards long and is little fished by members so finding a swim is never a problem. Much of the stretch is tree lined and, as such, can offer some excellent protection from the wind on blustery days. Cars can be parked within a few yards of the swims in several designated parking areas so you can bring your home comforts with you. Night fishing is permitted.
Roach are the dominant species with fish to over 1.5lbs and weights over 20lbs not uncommon. Some large catches were made by anglers using stewed wheat as bait fished tight against the near margins. There is a monster shoal of bream that resides on the stretch with specimens to 7lbs present. Steve Gwynne from Royston had a bumper catch of over 100lbs of bream and perch during a single visit. In the winter months, Chub to 6lbs have been caught on ledgered bread flake and cheese paste. Pike, Perch, Dace, Zander, Tench, Bleak, Eels and Gudgeon can also be caught along the whole length of the stretch.
Over the years, some large Carp have been caught including a 33lb mirror by Alan Wilkie from Stotfold and a 32lb mirror by Robert Livock also from Stotfold. It is known that carp regularly patrol from Eaton Socon weir up to the outflow from Little Barford Power Station that is located near the top of the stretch. Very few anglers are prepared to put in the time and effort to catch these fish some of which weigh well over 30lbs and have lived in the river for many years.
TEMPSFORD ESTATE WATERS
Night fishing is not permitted on any of the Tempsford Estate waters.
- School Meadow (400 yards of bank space)
Situated alongside the A1 trunk road and is accessible from the High Street in Tempsford or from the Anchor Hotel. Car parking is available in the High Street and at the Anchor Hotel’s car park (please display the car parking permit printed in your club membership book. Anchor (250 yards) and Pylon Meadows (1000 yards) are best approached from the Anchor Hotel although, for the latter, vehicles may also be parked in Barford Road at the owner’s risk. The Jungle (1000 yards) is situated alongside Barford Road where cars can be parked. Anglers should walk directly across the farmer’s field to the water trying to minimise damage to any growing crops (see maps for further details).
These waters have an abundance of species – Roach, Chub, Bream, Tench, Dace, Perch, Pike, Zander, Carp, Catfish, Trout and Barbel. Barbel have been caught to 6lbs from School Meadow although double-figured specimens are known to be present. Bags of Bream to over 100lbs have been caught from the Jungle and large nets of Roach exceeding 40lbs been caught from School Meadow, Anchor Meadow and Pylon Meadow. Large Carp to over 25lbs have been caught from these stretches and are well populated throughout. Chub average 3-4lbs but 6lb+ specimens can be caught with perch to over 3lbs putting in an appearance. Membership Secretary, Anthony Pogmore, caught an 8lb 12oz Zander whilst fishing for Chub in School Meadow. Another member reported catching a double-figured Zander from the river in 2006.
Campers Meadow (River Ouse, Tempsford)
Entrance is via Mr. J. Infield’s private road (no parking) (see map).
It is a good walk to this stretch (300 yards) so you can usually guarantee that you will be undisturbed. There are few swims available but the water holds plenty of fish including Chub, Roach, Bream, Tench, Carp, Dace, Pike and Zander. The winter months are a good time to target the water when boat traffic on the river is minimal.
Ouse Farm and Church Meadow (R.Ivel, Tempsford)
Entrances via Mill Lane and Ouse Farm (see map)
These stretches of the lower Ivel are a must for anyone who enjoys small river fishing and some exceptional fish are present. The water is fast flowing with a gravel bottom and sport can be fast and furious on occasions. The Environment Agency has stocked 600 barbel into the Church Meadow (250 yards) stretch in conjunction with the Association. However, a netting made prior to the initial stocking produced a small barbel showing that the species was already present. The fish can move freely from Sawmills Pool on the Ivel down into the middle Ouse in School Meadow. Some of the stocked barbel have been caught from School Meadow and from behind Ouse Farm. Also, one member reported loosing a double-figured barbel whilst fishing on the Ouse Farm stretch (250 yards) of the Ivel close to its confluence with the River Ouse.
Another species present on Church Meadow is perch. In 2004, a member caught a specimen weighing over 4lbs after he spotted a group of big perch pursuing small roach. Many species enter the lower Ivel from the Ouse in the spring to spawn including Chub to 6lbs, Barbel, Dace, Roach, and Pike and can offer some good early season sport.
The mill pool was acquired by the club for the first time in June 2006. It can be accessed from Church Meadow where the foot of the Pool can be forded when the river is at normal level. Alternatively, access can be gained via Ouse Farm. Fishing is permitted around the Pool except from the private property on the west bank. Please note that the latter part of Mill Lane is a private road and vehicles must not be driven up to the mill pool.
The water is one of the few mill pools that exist of the River Ivel but can be accessed by fish running upstream from the River Ouse. Consequently, the numbers of fish present can vary significantly throughout the season. There are carp, barbel, pike, perch, zander, bream, roach, chub and eels all present and the well oxygenated water means that sport can be good when other stretches of the river are not. The Environment Agency is constructing a fish ladder to enable fish to move to and from High Romper.
High Romper (R.Ivel)
Fishing is permitted on both banks upstream of the Sawmills Pool at Tempsford for 850 yards to the end of the meadows. Parking is available in Tempsford High Street and Mill Lane.
This is a canalised stretch with key features being a right-angle bend midway along it and a bridge pool close to the southern end. Fish can be caught along the whole length of the stretch but features such as over hanging trees and bushes can be more productive at times. It fishes best in the winter months when the weed growth has died away to leave a clean gravel bottom. Apart from the occasional dog walker, you can usually find the stretch undisturbed even at weekends.
The main species are Chub to 6lbs and Roach to 1.5lbs but double-figure Carp and Pike, Barbel, Bream and Perch are present too. The Chub are in super condition with an average size well over 4lbs and are best fished for using a roving approach moving from swim to swim throughout the day. Some good catches have been made on lobworms, bread and cheese paste and a couple of handfuls of loose feed can often make all the difference. Boilies are now beginning to make an impact and are likely to become a popular bait in future years. In recent years, roach have been making a come back and are now present in numbers along most of the stretch, the best swims being from the cattle bridge downstream to the right-angle bend.
Carp, both mirrors and commons, are present up to mid 20s and have been caught on boilies and floating baits in the summer months.
BRAMPTON (River Ouse)
Entrance to the stretch is via River Lane opposite the RAF barracks guardhouse at Brampton. Parking is available in the field adjacent to river at the beginning of stretch (see map). Night fishing is allowed.
Bream are the dominant species with fish to over 8lbs. Skimmers are present during the summer months along with Roach, Dace, Chub, Carp, Tench, Perch, Zander and Pike. This stretch has produced some large catches of quality bream and was a favoured venue for matches. However, it is only lightly fished so there is never a problem finding a swim far from the madding crowd!
BEESTON-SANDY WATERS (River Ivel)
Dead River, The Riddy including Sandy Mill Pool
Please note that night fishing is not allowed on the Riddy nature reserve and anyone flouting this rule faces prosecution by Sandy Town Council.
Car parking is available in Mill Lane and the in lay-by accessible from the northbound carriageway of the A1 trunk road at the end of Beeston village. See map for details of routes.
The Dead River is located upstream of the mill pool at Sandy and offers some exceptional sport during the harsh winter months. Roach and Dace are the predominant species with match weights exceeding 15lbs and often several anglers weighing-in double figure catches in the same match. Pike to well over 20lbs and perch to nearly 4lbs have been caught as they pursue the large shoals of silver fish into the stretch. The best pike reported weighed an impressive 25lbs. A large brown trout has been hooked and lost by anglers fishing this stretch too.
In the Mill Pool, Bream weights have exceeded 50lbs with fish averaging between 3-5lbs. Chub to over 7lbs have been landed with 4-5lb fish regularly caught. Also present are large Carp, Barbel, Tench, Rudd, Gudgeon and Perch. Pike to 27lb have been caught along with lots of smaller specimens. Carp run to 20lbs+ whilst the best reported Barbel weighed over 8lbs. Boilies have proved to be killer baits for these sought after species.
Along the 500 yards’ length of The Riddy can be found some very nice fish and where chub over 5lbs are not uncommon and double-figured carp are present. In January 2006, Peter Harrop from Royston caught a superb chub weighing 7lb 4oz on float-fished bread. Carp have been taken on floaters during the summer months as they hide beneath the weed. Fishing for carp is best at low light levels making both dawn and dusk good times to fish.
Langford Mill and Ivel Navigation (River Ivel)
Entrance is via Mill Lane, Langford. Travel past the mill over wooden Bridge, turn left and park on the other side of the Association’s gate. No parking is allowed in front of the mill. Night fishing is allowed on all of these waters.
The Association owns a 500yd stretch of the Ivel upstream of Langford Mill (right- hand bank) to just below the footbridge leading from the village. Members may also fish Wells Meadow, the left-hand bank of Ivel downstream of Mill Pool and the left-hand bank of Ivel Navigation upstream from its meeting with the Ivel (300 yards).
Note: Wells Meadow is shared with SHEFFORD A/C.
Roach are the main species present with fish to over 2lbs caught. Nets of 20lbs are regularly reported. Other species present are chub to over 5lbs, Bream over 5lbs, Rudd, Dace, Tench, Carp, Perch and Pike. The stretches tend to fish best in the winter months when the weed growth dies down.
BROOM (River Ivel)
Left hand bank upstream (1000 yards) above Ivel Protection Association’s stretch. Entrance is via Biggleswade RUFC in Langford Road or from Broom Mill. Members may use the Rugby Club car park. Do not drive on or around Rugby pitches.
The stretch holds Roach, Bream, Chub, Dace, Carp and Tench and is little fished. In 2005, perch to over 4lbs and chub to over 5lbs were caught from the stretch on ledgered lobworms and maggots.
MANOR FARM, LAVENDON (River Ouse)
This stretch of the upper Ouse is comprised of two large hay meadows and a heavily wooded length offering a variety of challenges to the angler. It is accessible from the B565 road linking the hamlet of Cold Brayfield, near Turvey and the town of Olney. The entrance is a cart track situated in a dip in the road adjacent to a disused sewage treatment works. Cars may be parked in the small fenced area at the end of the track. Night fishing is allowed.
The water holds some very large specimens of different species. The water presents classic upper Ouse fishing with a series of deep pools and shallow glides. Although heavily weeded in the summer months, many swims are fishable throughout the season. The previous tenants claimed to have caught barbel weighing up to 17lbs from the stretch. To date, our members have caught carp to 21lbs, barbel to over 10lbs, perch to 4lb 2oz, bream to over 10lbs and chub over 7lb. Also, several members have reported hooking and losing some really big fish thought to be barbel or carp.
PRIORY FARM, HARROLD ( River Ouse)
This stretch of the River Ouse is situated alongside the minor road between Harrold and Lavendon and lies upstream of the weir in the village of Harrold. It consists of four meadows and the river generally has a moderate flow. Access is via the grassy track that leads down to a small parking area between the 1st and 2nd meadows upstream. All the usual species are present including Barbel, Chub, Bream, Pike, Perch, Roach, Tench and others. Night fishing is permitted.
Most swims need little attention with a minimum of bankside vegetation. The water has produced barbel and bream into double figures. Our match secretary has reported catching quality roach fishing at various depths and the presence of some large barbel and bream to double figures and carp to nearly 30lbs.
SANDY LAKES FISHERY
From the A1 at Beeston enter New Road heading towards the mainline railway station in Sandy. After crossing the river Ivel, entrance gate to the fishery is situated about ¼ mile on the right-hand side and is the entrance to the roadway leading to the gravel company’s workings situated at the rear of the fishing complex. Under no circumstances are vehicles to be parked on the roadway that could obstruct vehicles entering or leaving the gravel workings. Also, members must not enter the gravel company’s workings. The entrance gate is left open during the working hours of the gravel company but members must ensure that the gate is kept locked out of hours.
Persons wishing to fish overnight on the two lakes must first obtain a night permit by applying to the Membership Secretary. Permits are limited to 60 and will cost £100 each.
- Swan Lake
This former trout fishery holds a good head of bream to well over 14lbs and pike to over 25lbs. Big eels, perch, roach and rudd are also present. The lake is developing as a specimen carp water and was stocked with some fast growing mirror carp in 2005 up to 8lbs by AJS Fisheries. In May 2006, another consignment of both mirror and common carp were introduced from Sporting and Leisure Fisheries Ltd. and a third consignment was stocked from Fisher Pond in early 2007. A small number of carp were already present in the lake and fish to 30lbs have been caught.
The lake has been stocked with several thousand small but fast-growing mirror and common carp obtained from both AJS Fisheries and Sporting and Leisure Fisheries. The largest fish introduced weighed no more than 5lbs but already fish over 20lbs have been caught. The lake has benefited from flooding from the nearby river Ivel and a variety of fish have established themselves. Carp to 20lbs+, Bream to 12lbs, Tench to 9lbs, Pike to well over 20lbs, Perch to 4lbs, big Eels, roach, rudd , golden rudd, orfe and hybrids are all present.
The Association is establishing the water as a well-stocked fishery to provide good sport throughout the year.
The lake has been stocked with crucian carp to over 1lb and tench to over 6lbs plus roach, rudd and bream.
The small deep water has been stocked with bream, rudd and roach. Further stocking of this water is planned.
River Ivel – Willow Hay
Approximately 300 metres of the east bank of the River Ivel immediately upstream of Stratford Brook to the brick bridge at the lower end of Biggleswade Common. Vehicles should be parked at the south end of McGregor Lake and access to the river is over the locked gate and along the track past Grace Lake. Do not fish the opposite bank which is now part of Manor Farm Fisheries.
This stretch of the Ivel is known to hold a good head of chub to over 6lbs, bream, pike and perch. There is also the chance of catching carp or barbel.
IVEL PROTECTION ASSOCIATION WATERS (River Ivel)
We are founder members of the IPA and, as such, members may fish all IPA waters.
- Head Waters
- Langford: Left-hand bank downstream from Boot Bridge to the end of the first meadow (shared with Shefford AC).
- Broom: Left-hand bank upstream for 300 yards from Jordan’s Mill to end of rugby club’s ground. Also, the left-hand bank downstream from Jordan’s Mill to the former mill in Biggleswade.
- Biggleswade: Back Meadows. Parking is available in the Dan Albone car park adjacent to the road bridge. Fishing is available on the right-hand bank upstream in the first meadow.
- Biggleswade Common: Park in the Dan Albone car park. Fishing is from the road bridge on the right-hand bank downstream until the first bridge opposite Manor Farm.
- Sandy: New Road. Fish the left-hand bank upstream to the confluence with Stratford Brook to the south of McGregor Lake and the left-hand bank downstream to the weir and part of the Dead River until the start of our own stretch.
- Island Stretch: Fishing is from the former mill bridge on the left-hand bank upstream to the weir and then the right-hand bank of the Ivel until the footbridge in Sandy.
- Girtford: Fish the right-hand bank downstream of Girtford Bridge to the end of the first meadow.
- Blunham: Park next to the Salutation P.H. and fish the right-hand bank behind the pub.
Not recognised as being major fisheries although holding some good fish in places.
Left-hand bank downstream from Astwick Bridges to a point 200 yards before the railway at Arlesey.
Left-hand downstream from just below mill to Ford bridge.
Right-hand bank downstream on the River Hiz from Arlesey station for about half a mile.
Willow Hay, Manor Farm
West bank of river downstream of brick bridge at Willow Hay to the end of the adjacent lake.
These are mixed fisheries holding barbel to over 20lbs, chub to over 7lbs, carp to 20lbs, pike to 25lbs and other species.