Fishing the jungle

      Late last week I received an invitation to go and fish for trout on the upper reaches of the River Wissey, what an opportunity and to say it is an exclusive stretch of water is a major understatement. The water is where the Wissey runs through the Stanford Military Training Area and I imagine that nobody ever contemplates poaching a river where there are live firing exercises and military level security.

      The invitation came from a contact on the two terriers who commissioned me to print some Christmas cards of his Norfolk Terrier, called Dodger, for Christmas last year. Rick promised that when he was visiting Norfolk the next time, and during the trout season, he would be in touch so short notice or not all roads were leading to Stanford last Saturday. A rendezvous in a nearby pub for a quick pint and then off to be checked and passed through security, sign in, park the car and then head for the river. We didn't see another angler all afternoon just those curious fellows in the photograph at the top who were muddying the water.

      Lunch by the river and then, finally, to the fishing. The river was very low and crystal clear, the whole of the Norfolk area really does need rain. We headed downstream and this was real jungle fishing, low and crystal clear water, massive weed growth and lots and lots of trees.
      My reservoir trout fishing skills, such as they are, were somewhat redundant in this environment and it was the beginning of a whole new learning process. Several fish rose to examine the fly but with a contemptuous flick of the tail they all rejected it. We worked our way downstream for an hour or so but if ever a river needed a good flush out and the water levels topping up this was the one, in places it was only a few feet wide so great was the growth of reed, water mint and water cress.

      We slowly walked the bank and returned to the pool at the bridge but the routine was exactly the same, you could spot odd fish but not tempt them. The dry fly was changed for that old favourite, a Pheasant Tail Nymph, and in the clear water and at the edge of a crease there a good pull and a decent trout on and fighting all over the pool. Finally landed it was a wild trout and just perfect, we photographed it and rquickly eturned it to the crystal clear water.
      It was the only fish of the day but it made the day for me. Fantastic surroundings and wildlife, the river to yourself and good company. You cannot ask for more. Rick, a massive thank you for the day, the opportunity and being able to catch that wild Brownie in such a wonderful natural and unspoilt environment.
      Here's to next year. And some rain.


  1. Good morning John, Nice post. Many years ago I had the opportunity to trout fish at an army base (Picatinny Arsenal)in North Jersey, with a friend, who was a Major, living at the base. We had the stream to ourselves and we did catch a lot of trout. The MP's came by every hour, to check on our whereabouts. There was and still is a lot of classified work going on, at that installation.


  2. Thanks John, definitely an experience. Our 'small stream' blogger Alan would have loved it but the river needed water, it's a chalk stream too. All the best, John

  3. Fished this stretch some 37 years back and was even less successful. To be fair it was only my second ever trip out with a fly rod! But it stuck with me and when I started fly fishing in earnest three years ago it was to the small streams of Derbyshire that I gravitated. I've caught Gudgeon bigger than the two Grayling had out last week.



  4. Martin, driving home and I decided I'd fish it differently next time but it is that hope that gets you going back. Hopefully next year. The four weight 'Smuggler' travel rod was dead right but I was out of practice and my comfort zone. All the best, John


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