The South Wessex area is famous for it's big fish waters be it the chalk stream waters of the Hampshire Avon and Dorset Frome or the clay filtered Dorset Stour and its tributaries. Much of the fishing on these waters are controlled by angling clubs and syndicates, but there are some stretches that are open as day ticket waters or free stretches and these can give anyone a chance to capture that fish of a lifetime.Tickets and more information on all the waters can be obtained from this guide or local tackle shops in the relevant areas.
Starting on the Hampshire Avon to the north of Salisbury at Amesbury there is a small stretch of river that offers roach, dace, grayling and pike.
Salisbury & District Angling Club offer two of their waters to day ticket anglers. The first is a three mile stretch to the north offering the angler a chance to catch the rivers specimen roach and grayling with the odd big chub. The second is a two mile part of the River Nadder. The tributary of the Avon is only a short walk from the city railway station and holds roach to 2lb+ and chub in excess of 5lb. To the south of the city the London Anglers Association control a five mile section of the Avon at Britford. This fishery offers the angler some excellent barbel and chub fishing on the main river with roach, dace and grayling from the vast number of small carriers in the area. More details can be obtained from the LAA web site at www.londonanglers.net.
Not until you reach Fordingbridge do you find the next available water for the day ticket angler. Fordingbridge Park offers a short stretch of the Avon where you will find some of the rivers' big roach. Fish to over 3lb are caught on float fished baits. This is a public area and can get quite busy during the summer and on weekends, but is well worth a visit.
Ringwood is the next stop down river. North of the town is the Lifelands Fishery. This Christchurch AC controlled water is very popular and offers excellent fishing for double figure barbel, dog chub and big pike. Immediately below is the Ringwood fishery. Again under the control of CAC this stretch also boasts big roach and perch along with the species already mentioned.
To the south is the famous Severals Fishery. The Ringwood & District AA controlled water holds a large head of double figure barbel to 15lb, chub to 7lb and plenty of roach over the 2lb mark. As you head towards Christchurch on the old road there is a short stretch at Bisterne that is only open for a few months of the year. This is another area that holds double figure barbel and can be very popular and busy when it is open. Just to the north of Christchurch is the Winkton Fishery. This is now controlled by CAC but day tickets are still available. The water offers a wide variety if fishing from weir pools where big chub and barbel hold up to long deep slow back waters holding big roach and pike.The final water is the famous Royalty Fishery. Now controlled by CAC the Royalty offers a variety of fishing from wild weir pools to relaxing days in a punt. There are big shoals of bream, double figure barbel, big chub and pike in the 20's. Although not the fishery of the past, this partly tidal venue is still good value for money.
Another famous water the Dorset Stour offers very little in the way of day ticket stretches as clubs control most of the fishing. There are however a few free stretches that make up for this. There is a short stretch of water controlled by Blandford Council that is free to fish offering some excellent roach fishing during the winter. It can be a bit weedy in the summer.
The free stretch at Longham is a popular stretch of the famous river starting from downstream of Longham Bridge on the right hand bank, where it is very shallow, and continues downstream to the lower end at Cudell Brook. The deeper water is found downstream of the island but take care, as the banks are high here and the water very deep when there is extra water around after the winter floods. A typical stretch of the river with plenty of weed and clear gravel runs, there are some big barbel and chub for the feeder angler to target.
The Muscliffe free stretch is a single bank fishery starting from the top boundary of the Throop Fishery and meandering upstream first through the trees of the nature reserve, along the Stour Way to the top boundary upstream of the water treatment works at Ensbury. A typical Stour venue with plenty of fast, shallow runs, between thick weed beds and islands of bull rush to long deep slow gullies full of eelgrass in the summer months. This is an ideal venue for the float angler.
Throop Fishery is the most famous fishery on the Stour offers miles and offers some of the best fishing in the South of England. Now controlled by Ringwood & District AA the venue can offer the anger huge barbel (over 14lb), chub (over 7lb) and roach (over 3lb) with carp (20lb plus), tench, bream, dace and pike also feature. This amazing stretch of river, with a mill pool, has weirs and many streams amounting to 14 miles of bank in total, offering gentle deep runs, gravel shallows and weir pools to meet the needs of all coarse anglers.
The Lower Stour fishery is controlled by CAC. This tidal stretch offers not only coarse fishing, with roach, dace and bream in abundance, but also some excellent mullet and bass sport in the summer months.
The River Frome is a chalk stream similar to the Hampshire Avon. Primarily a game water. The Town Free Stretch can be found downstream of the town's south bridge opposite the Quay. You can also fish from the Quay below the bridge. This 1/4 mile stretch of tidal water is controlled by the EA and offers quality bags of roach and dace plus carp, pike perch and grayling. The odd mullet gets caught in the summer months. Fishing is from the bank with most of the good swims in the first 100 yards below the bridge. Fishing downstream is possible but there are a large number of boats and moorings along the bank so finding a place to fish from can be difficult in the summer months.
There are a large number of stillwaters in the South Wessex area ranging from small 1 acre ponds to large 20 acre gravel pits.
Along the Avon you will find Waldens Farm and Witherington Farm near to Sailisbury. Further south is the New Forest Water Park near Fordingbridge. Just to the north of Ringwood, within the vast number of gravel pits in the area, you will find the CAC controlled Somerley Lakes, Ringwood's Northfield Lakes complex and Hurst Pond.
Over in to Dorset you will find a large number of small fisheries where Todber Manor is one of the bigger venues. Wimborne & DAC offer day tickets on their Kingsbridge Lakes complex, and others include Airfleet Mill Lakes, the Revels complex and Radipole Lake near Weymouth.