50 great river stretches to try on opening day

With the rivers fishable again on June 16th, we delve into the Gofishing.co.uk crystal ball to predict where the vast majority of fish will be caught...

Here we've broken down our list into the main river species and provided a brief guide to the best rivers to catch them so early in the season.

If it's anything like previous new river seasons, we think we've got it pretty much spot on...

 

Roach

Even-depth swims with a weed-free gravel bottom and a good flow are prime hotspots. The well-oxygenated water in the tail of a weirpool are also worth a cast, especially in low water, while bigger roach will seek sanctuary under moored boats and trees.
Great baits: Maggots, casters, hemp, tares, bread

River Don
The faster waters of Sprotbrough Falls are your best bet, with pegs around the Boat Inn and nature reserve the ones to head for. Waggler or pole are all you need, fishing maggots, casters and a little hemp.
Doncaster Angling Centre 01302 363629

Dorset Stour
The bottom end of Beat 2 going into Beat 3 is prime roach territory as it runs deeper and slower. The float works best using classic river roach baits like maggots, casters, hemp and tares.
Ringwood Tackle 01425 475155

Hampshire Avon
Avon roach are hard to find, but the Fordingbridge Park section does give you a very real chance of a fish of a lifetime 3lb specimen! A big fish approach is needed here, fishing float or leger with bread, maggots or corn over hemp.
Ringwood Tackle 01425 475155

River Nene
A moody river for roach, but the Railworld section in Peterborough and Stibbington, Water Newton and Oundle on the upper reaches always have good early-season form, with maggot or pinkie over balled-in groundbait best.
Wade’s Fishing Tackle 01733 565159

River Yare
Always a river to hit roach form straight away, pegs to the left of the Beauchamp Arms pub in Roach Bay are good, while if you don’t mind a walk, head off to the right just past the boards in the reeds. Fish long pole with maggot and caster over plenty of groundbait.
Angling Direct 01603 400757

Sussex Ouse
Haven is a famed section for good mixed fishing and it holds its fair share of quality roach. Any method will catch, although the float is best for redfins, with Iron Bridge, Boreham Street and Middle Bridge highly fancied early season.
Polegate Angling 01323 486379

River Trent
The Nottingham Embankment showed good early-season roach form last year, but a better bet is the Notts AA section at East Bridgford where the running line rules. Classic waggler and maggot or stick float and caster are the No1 approach.
Matchman Supplies 01159 813834

River Medway
Teston Bridge up to the weir at the top end of the section offers great roach fishing in swims with good flow. This is classic stick float territory with maggot, hemp and caster fished a rodlength out best.
Medway Tackle 01732 360690

Yorkshire Ouse
Below York, the Fulford stretch is good roach water with an average depth of 6ft to 8ft and a long rod approach with the stick float, fishing hemp and caster will score well.
York Tackle 01904 411210

River Thames
Roach are spread all the way through the Medley section, but the gate at the end of the track near the boatyard is favoured by locals. This is great waggler and maggot water.
Fat Phil’s Angling Centre 01865 201020

The Thames at Medley offers superb Roach sport

 

Chub

Any cover such as overhanging trees, reeds or weedbeds. Chub also like to hang around man-made objects such as bridges and moored boats. Failing that, look for parts of the river that have drop-offs into deeper water.
Great baits: Worms, maggots, bread, pellets, boilies

Hampshire Avon
The Concrete Plinth below the weir at Lifelands is prime chub territory on a day ticket and you can fish classic stick tactics with hemp and caster or a more static approach with big baits, such as pellet or luncheon meat.
Ringwood Tackle 01425 475155

River Thames
The Channel in the Botley Road area has produced some huge chub to 8lb plus in the past and is THE area around Oxford for consistent nets of fish. Fish a little waggler run through against the far bank with maggot.
Fat Phil’s Angling Centre 01865 201020

The Ivel lends itself to leger tactics for the many chub.

River Ivel
A classic river full of bends and far-bank vegetation, the angler wandering downstream of Biggleswade road bridge will find plenty of cracking swims. Leger tactics with bread, worms and maggots is as complicated it gets.
Walker’s Pitch 01767 316700

River Mole
The Dorking DAS water at Dorking and Leatherhead is a super chub water, with the Stepping Stones on the North Bank at Dorking or Mickleham famed sections. A little waggler with caster is all you need and you’ll normally find the chub in the shallowest water.
KC Angling 0208 6426222

River Dane
Bay Malton AC controls two prime stretches at Pimlott’s and Cotton Farm. Bigger baits, such as pellets and boilies, have scored in recent seasons, but old favourites like worms and bread will still catch.
Dave’s of Middlewich 01606 833853

River Ribble
Warrington AA controls the Hurst Green section, a noted area for chub, while Elston is always capable of throwing up a net of smaller fish to a small bait approach. Maggot and caster works for these chublets, with classic baits like bread and cheese to pick out a 5lb-plus fish.
Ted Carter Preston 01772 253476

River Severn
Holt Fleet is a great day-ticket section and the chub live right in the weirpool and can be caught on either float of feeder. The Kidderminster water either side of Bewdley town is another good early-season stretch with Hawkesbatch perhaps the pick.
Mark’s Tackle 01299 871735

River Wear
Durham City Centre is noted for its chub throughout the year and they don’t move far in early summer. The Baths area and Feren’s Bridge are famous and standing in the river fishing waggler or stick float with maggot and caster in classic fashion will also take roach and dace.
Cleveland Angling Centre 01642 677000

River Ure
Above the North Bridge in Ripon offers day-ticket sport for the float angler fishing the waggler or a big stick float with maggot and caster or a tip approach with worm for the bigger fish.
Harrogate Angling Supplies 01423 883270

Warwickshire Avon
Locally it’s known as Wasperton, but the Leamington and Birmingham AA sections at Manor Farm are great for chub and the Aeroplane swim is particularly good, floatfishing maggot.
Bailey’s of Warwick 01926 490636

 

Barbel

Any swift, well-oxygenated area of water attracts barbel. Weirpools, side streams and shallow water holding good beds of streamer weed are likely spots, better still if there’s cover, such as overhanging willows. Avoid slow, deep areas which will be a little too turgid for barbel.
Great baits: Pellets, boilies, paste, luncheon meat, maggots

The River Trent produces lots of early season barbel, especially in the evenings.

River Trent
Close to Nottingham, the Clifton Grove and high numbers at Holme Sluice areas are well worth a look fishing pellet and boilies on a strong leger set-up. Beeston Weir can also produce early doors.
Matchman Supplies 01159 813834

Hampshire Avon
You’ll find barbel living happily alongside the chub on the Lifelands section and the Concrete Plinth is well recommended for a big fish. Sit-and-wait approach with big baits like pellet.
Ringwood Tackle 01425 475155

Dorset Stour
Throop is barbel heaven with Beat 2 good for numbers of fish on the float or feeder with pellet, paste and boilies.
Ringwood Tackle 01425 475155

River Thames
For good numbers of smaller barbel and free fishing to boot, the mouth of the River Mole at Hampton Court is a hotspot. The feeder or a straight lead with pellet is the method.
KC Angling 0208 6426222

River Ribble
The Elston section on the Wigan AA book is a good barbel section while on a day ticket, behind the Tickled Trout pub in Preston and the Bonsai Nurseries section hold barbel.
Ted Carter Preston 01772 253476

River Swale
The first two pegs at the point of access at Myton are noted barbel haunts with mid-river leger or feeder tactics working best. Small baits like maggot and caster work in clear water, a large piece of meat best in coloured conditions.
Harrogate Angling Supplies 01423 883270

Warwickshire Avon
The upper end of Wasperton is faster and shallower while in Stratford upon Avon, the Lido’s sand bar area and Lucy’s Mill hold a handful of barbel. Big baits like pellets, boilies and meat will avoid nuisance fish.
Bailey’s of Warwick 01926 490636

River Kennet
The Reading DAA-controlled Benyons sections are prolific and barbel can be found in most areas. Take your pick from a specimen approach with pellet and boilies or a more active maggot attack.
Reading Angling Centre 01189 872216

River Witham
The upper reaches hold few barbel but they are big and not too difficult to locate. Check out the weirs at Long Bennington and Foston fishing pellet, boilie or worms.
Dave’s Peg 01529 415896

River Great Ouse
Two sections in the village of Haversham are prolific for barbel, namely Whitingstone Park and the Galleon. Fish pellets, boilies and maggots.
Milton Keynes Angling Centre 01908 374400

 

Bream

Slow flowing rivers are prime bream territory, but they can be found in swift water as well. A typical area is down the middle of the river in the deepest water, which not only gives the fish maximum sanctuary but also a wide area of riverbed for them to browse over.
Great baits: Worms, maggots, pellets, boilies, sweetcorn

River Great Ouse
There are bream in most pegs from Ely through to Littleport in the heart of the Fens, but good areas in recent years have been the high numbers at Littleport, the Pymoor section just out of the town and the Wissey Mouth to Denver Sluice sections at Ten Mile Bank.
Benwick Sports 01353 721009

Twenty Foot Drain
A mass of water to go at here, but highlights for bream include the Chain Bridge section of the 20ft Drain at March or Beggar’s Bridge near Whittlesey where a small feeder or straight lead with worm will catch.
Wade’s Fishing Tackle 01733 565159

River Witham
National Bend at Southery is the stuff of legend among matchmen and the bream are still there. The bridges at Tattershall and Kirkstead also act as magnets with the dozen or so pegs either side worth putting in some time on.
Harrison’s Tackle 01522 523834

Bristol Avon
The Fry’s AA water near the chocolate factory is a noted hotspot with pegs from the mid 40s to 52 and 14 to 24 best while Bathampton AA’s water at Newbridge is prolific, especially pegs 50 to 64.
Bristol Angling Centre 01179 508723

River Trent
Not too many bream show early in the season on the Trent, but Burton Joyce, at the bottom end of the road stretch, is normally reliable. A classic groundbait feeder approach with worm and maggot will produce.
Matchman Supplies 01159 813834

River Welland
The Spalding end is less weedy but noted areas are above Crowland Bridge on the bend or pegs in the late 500s and early 600s on the feeder with worm and maggot.
Wade’s Fishing Tackle 01733 565159

River Thames
The Canbury Gardens section at Kingston is free fishing with the Half Mile Tree just below Canbury very good. Standard bream tactics apply here, with groundbait feeder and a worm and maggot or caster cocktail sorting out the better bream.
KC Angling 0208 6426222

Tackle the Northwich town centre stretch of the Weaver for year-round bream sport.

River Weaver
Northwich town centre has the famous floating hotel and Dane mouth swims within close proximity of each other and they are great year-round bream areas on the feeder or long pole. Upstream, it’s well worth trying the bottom end of the boatyard stretch.
Dave’s of Middlewich 01606 833853

River Bure
The St Benet’s Abbey area is prolific with a groundbait feeder fished two thirds of the way over a great area especially opposite the mouth of South Walsham Broad.
Angling Direct 01603 400757

Warwickshire Avon
The slower, deeper water downstream of Stratford is bream territory and Luddington is a hotspot fishing groundbait feeder and worm although with colour in the river, the long pole can also score.
Bailey’s of Warwick 01926 490636

 

Perch

Being predators, perch will conceal themselves under cover to strike at prey. This makes landing stages, weir stanchions, lock cuttings, trees, reeds and lily beds all great spots. Smaller fish will swim in shoals and can be found in more open water where they feed on smaller prey.
Great baits: Maggots, casters, worms, livebaits, lures

River Tees
Last winter saw brilliant perch nets, including fish to 3lb but come the start of the season, they move into the Yarm area to spawn. You can find them anywhere through here and a chopped worm feeder with lobworm on the hook will pick out the big perch as well as a few bream.
Cleveland Angling 01642 677000

River Welland
The Stamford Meadows section holds good numbers of perch with a 2lb specimen not out of the question. Lobworms are the No1 bait fished on a light leger underneath or close to any far-bank vegetation.
Stamford Tackle 01780 754541

River Lea
Dobb’s Weir might be more famous for producing a former record chub, but its perch are also worth talking about and fishing for! Worms or a bunch of maggots presented in the slacks just off the main flow of the pool are likely spots, while the run-off will also hold perch hunting small prey fish.
Oakwood Angling 0208 8826821

River Thames
Weybridge Weirpool is a perch hotspot, but generally these fish are little elusive early on. The early pegs at Walton Bridge and Desborough Island are also places to have a cast and on the tactics front, straight lead and lobworm will do fine.
Apollo Angling 01932 340000

River Nene
Lock cuttings up and down the Nene are prolific for numbers of perch, with most fish weighing in at over 1lb and falling to lobworms. On more open sections such as Milton, Orton and the Peterborough Embankment, fishing worm against any marginal weed will always score, especially when the river’s clear.
Wade’s Fishing Tackle 01733 565159

 

Carp

It is often a case of setting a trap and waiting for river carp, and the best approach is to spend a bit of time scouting, looking for signs of carp. Good spots are those out of the main flow such as dead arms, quiet backwaters or long-term moored boats, but carp will regularly move out into the main flow to feed, so it’s well worth having one rod fished down the middle of the river.
Great baits: Boilies, pellets, paste, bread, sweetcorn

River Nene
The Milton area will be a carp hotspot this season as a lot of fish have already been seen in the pegs in the 350s, while best of all is the section above Milton Ferry Bridge heading towards Alwalton. This holds some huge fish, but a little scouting mission beforehand will be needed to locate them.
Wade’s Fishing Tackle 01733 565159

River Thames
The Thames is producing more and more carp and Donnington in Oxford city centre is famed, but a little off the beaten track is the mouth of the Seacourt Stream at Carrot’s Ham, where a big fish sit-and-wait approach can produce some surprising specimens!
Fat Phil’s Angling Centre 01865 201020

River Weaver
The boatyard on the edge of Northwich town centre is steeped in carp history and even produces match winners with one 20lb fish! Boilies fished under the boats is the method, but there aren’t masses of fish so it can be a sit and wait job but when you get a run, it could be a pb.
Vale Royal Angling Centre 01606 46060

River Severn
Small populations of carp live in Lincoln Weir just out of Stourport town centre and are often caught by barbel anglers fishing pellets. You might have to put up with barbel and bream but a dedicated angler should have a little joy – make sure you fish strong tackle!
Mark’s Tackle 01299 871735

Warwickshire Avon
There are loads of carp in the Avon now and if you fancy fishing in the shadow of history, Myton Fields in Warwick upstream of the castle is a good place to try. The fish range from 5lb well into the 20s and standard carp tactics with pellets and boilies will catch them.
Bailey’s of Warwick 01926 490636