This section of river was a Caps fishery for many years before being lost following a change of ownership in the 1990's. However, the Society was pleased to be able to regain the fishing in 2002. The river here is mainly a chub and dace water, with roach, pike and perch also present and the outside chance of bream and carp. There is usually a reasonable flow and quite a lot of weed in Summer. This area always had a reputation for big chub, and fish over 4lbs were landed in 2002.
Fishing commences immediately below the road bridge down from Wormingford village and continues downstream for about three quarters of a mile. Parking is in a layby about 100 yards from the river or at another small spot about 100 yards further on, where a second bridge crosses the old lock cutting. The river is about 200 yards away at the furthest from these parking places.
Wiston Mill Pool and below
Fishing commences immediately below the weir at Wiston. This weir is of the stepped variety meaning, unfortunately, that there is no great force of water coming through. Nonetheless, the entire area of the mill pool has a hard gravel bottom. The river runs in front of you, with the pool itself virtually an extension to the far bank. The area of the pool is about 50 yards across and 40 yards wide, with depths to 10 feet.
The usual river species (dace, roach, chub, pike and perch) are joined by bream, tench and carp. Pike and carp run into double figures, with occasional bigger fish. Chub have been caught to 5lbs, bream to 8lbs, perch to 3lbs and tench also to 5lbs.
For general fishing, the ground bait feeder can be very productive; it is probably the best way to target the bream and it will also pick up dace, roach, which sometimes make the 1lb mark, and perch. Closer range fishing with float tactics will also catch well in Summer.
There are usually some jack pike present with a few bigger fish. Carp visit the pool as part of their meanderings between Wiston and Nayland and tench are, perhaps surprisingly, more often seen in Winter than Summer.
Below the pool, the river runs at a reasonable speed with some noticeable bulrush beds down to the limit of fishing at the Bailey bridge. This area again produces good chub, with a number of likely swims and fish over 4lbs.
There is a gap of a couple of hundred yards before Caps fishing recommences on a stretch known as Water Lane, from where it continues to the A134 Colchester to Sudbury road. Again good chub can be found here and in past years this area had a good reputation for big roach. Some tench and bream also turn up here but the mainstays are dace. Depths vary along this section , shallower at the top end with some deeper holes along the way and at the lower end. Decent perch, which are re-appearing throughout the river, have been caught over 2lbs in this section.
Parking for Wiston is beside the road where possible, meaning a fair walk to reach the pool. In Winter it is often possible to take a car down the track to the Bailey bridge, but turning space is very tight. For Water Lane, there is a layby at the top end and limited parking close to the A134.
The river flows beneath the A134 and runs for about 500 yards before passing under the Anchor bridge in Nayland village. The whole of this stretch is reserved for residents of Nayland only, as the local Village Conservation Society purchased the land in 2003.
Fishing restarts immediately below the grounds of the Anchor pub. This is an area which has benifited from Barbel introductions. The Society introduced 500 fish in 1996, and in conjuction with the Environment Agency, a further 2000 in the last few years. Here the river runs fast and shallow, passing the point where the flood channel rejoins the river and on down to a wooded area with a small pool, which fills during winter floods to form a fry refuge.
This streamy stretch is ideally suited to dace, and matches here often see 10 to 15lb nets landed. In the area of the wooded bank, known as the Horkesley Hole, the river slows and deepens; the first swim can produce roach, dace, chub and gudgeon to trotting tactics. Fishing continues past the Horkesley Hole for about 150 yards on the Essex bank and about 500 yards on the Nayland bank to a point where Nayland common starts. Along the way are a number of enticing bends and deeper holes which are the haunt of good chub. 4 pounders are caught fairly regularly and in 2001, a fish of 5lbs 14ozs was landed. Some good roach and pike also inhabit this section.
In Nayland, there are no parking restrictions but the best parking spot is the layby near the Anchor bridge. There is a small parking area immediately North of the A134. Please do not park on grass verges.
From the parking areas mentioned, access to the river is a short distance.
Nayland Sewage Works to Boxted
This is a continuous stretch of river of about a mile and a half with entrance at three points: Nayland sewage works, Tendring Hall farm and at a spot about 400 yards above Boxted Mill.
At the Sewage Works, fishing starts at the point where the weir sidestream rejoins the river; there is still some flow here for dace, roach, chub and perch. At certain places, there are sharp bends and areas of Norfolk reed which funnel the river into a streamier flow.
As the river progresses to the central part of the stretch, flow decreases and the river is lined with marginal lilies. While roach and dace are still present, there are some shoals of sizeable bream here. As they roam the river, the best approach is to prebait a suitable spot. These fish are a good average size, with fish to 8lbs. Carp also feature, and again, the prebaiting approach is a good option. Pike numbers are quite good in this part of the river, with a few double-figure fish.
The central to lower section is much the same, although some good chub to well over 4lbs can be found; this part also produces some good roach catches, especially to hemp and tares. Fishing continues to a point where a sidestream leaves the river.
At the Sewage Works, there is a locked gate at the entrance to the track, with a Caps combination lock. Parking is outside the treatment works and the river is about 100 yards away. Tendring Hall farm is reached by a long track, with parking in the yard between two single-storey buildings. The river is about half a mile away, across three fields.
At Boxted, there is parking on an area of land beside a large old house. The entrance to the river is straight across the road, with the river about a hundred yards away.
The river section known as Langham begins in the second field below Boxted Mill and continues for a mile and a half to the downstream boundary, marked by a club sign.
The first half of the river from the upstream boundary down to the pool at the Langham Pumping Station is a streamy stretch, generally shallow with reed or lily margins. About halfway down this top section, there is a flume, where the water slides down through a narrow concrete constuction and a few large stones, generating an area of oxygenated water.
Chub, dace and roach are the main species; chub are present throughout, with fish to 4lbs. There are a few bream up to 7lbs towards the top end and during Winter there can be some good roach fishing in the deeper water above the flume. Below the flume similar species are present and in both sections 500 small barbel were stocked in 2002. In addition, there are a small number of barbel present from earlier stockings, which have been caught to over 6lbs.
At the pool, known as the Lowlift pool, the river slows and deepens and returns to the style seen upstream of Boxted Mill.
Good chub, bream, perch and carp have all been caught from this section, along with pike to around 14lbs. Again, during Winter or times of increased flow, there are good nets of roach, perch, dace and gudgeon caught to stick float tactics. Fishing continues past the junction of the River Box with the Stour for about 150 yards.
Parking is available at two spots; at a small layby near to Boxted Mill and at the end of a no-through road beside Langham pumping station. From the first parking spot, the river is about 400 yards away. From Langham pumping station, the Lowlift pool is 25 yards away.
Stratford St. Mary to Dedham
This is a picturesque stretch of the Stour in the heart of Constable country. There is about threee quarters of a mile of fishing from a point immediately below Stratford St Mary road bridge. The river here is very slow-flowing, with depths from three to eight feet and widths up to 25 yards. Surprisingly, there are dace and chub in this stretch, but the mainstays are roach and perch, with bream, tench, carp and pike.
The banks are quite open with reed margins and in Summer there is quite often a fair growth of weed. Fish tend not to be evenly distributed, but roach shoals are often found towards the bottom of the stretch in Summer. In Winter, if there is a flow on the river caused by extra water, fishing can be very good with a generally productive spot between the two road bridges.
Pike are mainly small, although there are some double-figure fish present and there have been captures close to 20lbs in the recent past. Carp exist in reasonable numbers, with some sizeable fish. As before, prebaiting is the best option for both bream and carp. Bream shoals travel this section and past years have produced big nets of fish, including 100lb weights.
Parking is in a layby beside Stratford village bridge or at Dedham mill pool or public car park. From Stratford, the river is immediately adjacent, while from Dedham a 400 yard walk is needed to reach the downstream boundary. As the banks are not cultivated, access through the stretch is very easy.