River fishing in and around Reading - Kennet/Thames/Loddon

andysan

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Oct 29, 2012
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I have just moved to Reading and have been trying to scope out potential spots for river trout on the fly. Kennet, Thames and Loddon all seem like they might be interesting, but the info online is ambiguous outside of well known or stocked beats in more rural areas (e.g. Gresham club/ Barton court etc.) I'd like to find somewhere within cycling distance of Woodley, so somewhere like Caversham/Waterloo Meadows/Sonning/Dinton Pastures. Are there actually trout in any of these areas or is it all just tall-tales of escaped stockies?

Any advice/info greatly appreciated (even if the advice is "don't waste your time" 😬)!
 

JohnH

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A, you are smack in the middle of a strong area for coarse fishing around Reading. There were a few (a very few) wild trout in the middle to lower Loddon when I lived around there back in the day, but the impact on the river of the constant development of Lower Earley and Woodley can't have done them any favours. Ditto the decline of water quality in the Kennet all the way to well upstream of Newbury after the K&A Canal was fully opened to boat traffic. The famous Thames trout always were somewhat of a specialist's target, and more with spinner or livebait than fly. So all in all you may be on a bit of a unicorn hunt, I'm afraid. If BobP sees this he may have some more thoughts.
 

tierradelfuego

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Not saying you are but I definitely wouldn't rule out the Gresham club, I'm a member (not that that is a reason to join of course :unsure: )

We have 8 miles of water split between the Loddon and Lyde for extremely good value, and the vast majority is not stocked, although of course, you can't stop trout doing what they do best...swim. The thing with all due respect to many of the members I love is that many are more aged than I, and are unable to fish the wilder, wading-required, non-stocked parts of the club. That said, those parts are nearer Basingstoke, so it depends on your cycling ability I suppose. I've fished two days this season, both recently, near Old Basing, and haven't met another fisherman or woman, experienced fantastic hatches of olives and mayfly, and a few score of free-rising trout have come to hand. I'd highly recommend it and guest tickets are pretty cheap...

The other option not too far away would be the Pang, which I think Sportfish have day tickets for. I fished there yesterday (not the same stretch) and again it was great fun with an excellent hatch and small wild free-rising fish.

The canal in Reading is so frustrating btw (it's where my office is located). There are huge mayfly hatches every year, some years as early as mid-April, and in 13+ years working there, I've seen one fish rise...such a waste.
 

andysan

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Oct 29, 2012
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@JohnH thanks for the details - looks like my cycling/staying local plan might be scuppered!

@tierradelfuego - thanks for the info - not ruling anything out at all and grateful for suggestions. I have a car, just that my preference is cycling/staying local for convenience. Gresham looks great, but I've got a baby coming in a few weeks so I wouldn't be getting enough use out of a season ticket (I think i read somewhere it's £500 for the season so I'd really need to be sure i was gonna get to use it a lot that price - maybe next year). Pang looks decent too, saw it on the Barn Elms site, but £50 a day is too steep for me. Where I'm from you can river fish for wild brownies for around £10/day £60/season! Probably sounds like I'm being really tight now...
 

benisa

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get hold copy Theo Pikes " trout in dirty places "

maybe a few place in the book near you
+ They are Free
 

JohnH

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Where I'm from you can river fish for wild brownies for around £10/day £60/season! Probably sounds like I'm being really tight now...
Not really - it's simply a different situation. You are now on the edge of Wessex ie Hants / Wilts / Dorset where there's good river fly fishing on the chalkstreams, but it's at a price. Reasons are complex. Supply and demand, the estates have an expectation of an economic return from their river beats, and wages for keepers responsible for care and maintenance of the rivers all play a part.
 

tierradelfuego

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@JohnH thanks for the details - looks like my cycling/staying local plan might be scuppered!

@tierradelfuego - thanks for the info - not ruling anything out at all and grateful for suggestions. I have a car, just that my preference is cycling/staying local for convenience. Gresham looks great, but I've got a baby coming in a few weeks so I wouldn't be getting enough use out of a season ticket (I think i read somewhere it's £500 for the season so I'd really need to be sure i was gonna get to use it a lot that price - maybe next year). Pang looks decent too, saw it on the Barn Elms site, but £50 a day is too steep for me. Where I'm from you can river fish for wild brownies for around £10/day £60/season! Probably sounds like I'm being really tight now...
Not at all Andy, congrats on the baby... It must feel pretty crazy moving from somewhere where fishing is as cheap as you say to somewhere like here where £500/year is actually pretty cheap, and yes you're right that's roughly the cost. Maybe one option would be something like Reading Angling Club where you're fishing mostly for coarse fish on the fly, but obviously with a chance of trout... other than that I'm pretty much at a loss in this area I'm afraid, other than what's been said above.
 

kevin55

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Hi Andy

I'm also a Gresham member and would highly recommend it, though there is currently a waiting list and a joining fee

If you're willing to travel a bit there's Salibury & District at 1/2 the price but many more members.
I think they had quite a few members not renew last year because of covid and it was easier to get in - less than 1 year on the waiting list for a friend of mine when it used to be 7. As I'm now 65 I pay £240 there

Good luck
Kevin
 

andysan

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Oct 29, 2012
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@benisa I will check that out, looks like a good read!

@JohnH thanks again for info. Makes sense, rivers vs population in Scotland is a *very* different situation to the SE, and there's not much maintenance compared to chalk streams (no maintenance really). A lot less fish too I expect, I used to blank more often than not, so maybe that's another reason prices are a bit of a shock to me.

@tierradelfuego I shouldn't be surprised, everything in the SE seems to carry a SE premium! Reading the RAC website, it does say that some of their beats yield trout now and then. But to be honest, I'll probably just treat myself to a couple of days on somewhere like the Pang this year and get on a waiting list for a club next year, likely Gresham because it's close and seems to come highly recommended by its members (not just on this thread). Thanks again for suggestions.

@kevin55 thanks for the recommendations. I had clocked the S&D club on my searches but ultimately the extra car time is likely to put me off. I'm going to email Gresham about getting on the waiting list and will just have to find the odd day ticket elsewhere here and there in the meantime!

Thanks all

Andy
 

tierradelfuego

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@benisa I will check that out, looks like a good read!

@JohnH thanks again for info. Makes sense, rivers vs population in Scotland is a *very* different situation to the SE, and there's not much maintenance compared to chalk streams (no maintenance really). A lot less fish too I expect, I used to blank more often than not, so maybe that's another reason prices are a bit of a shock to me.

@tierradelfuego I shouldn't be surprised, everything in the SE seems to carry a SE premium! Reading the RAC website, it does say that some of their beats yield trout now and then. But to be honest, I'll probably just treat myself to a couple of days on somewhere like the Pang this year and get on a waiting list for a club next year, likely Gresham because it's close and seems to come highly recommended by its members (not just on this thread). Thanks again for suggestions.

@kevin55 thanks for the recommendations. I had clocked the S&D club on my searches but ultimately the extra car time is likely to put me off. I'm going to email Gresham about getting on the waiting list and will just have to find the odd day ticket elsewhere here and there in the meantime!

Thanks all

Andy
I'm sure Andy if you fancy it and have the time etc we could easily arrange a guest ticket day on the Gresham water, just shout of course (y)
 

andysan

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Oct 29, 2012
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@tierradelfuego very very kind of you to offer and I'll definitely take you up on that - I'll see what I can manage and fire you a PM sometime! I've mailed the Gresham secretary for some more info on waiting lists etc. Over the last couple of days I've realised what a great option it is.
 
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shropshire_lad

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May 31, 2017
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Too far away from the wild places!
I have just moved to Reading and have been trying to scope out potential spots for river trout on the fly. Kennet, Thames and Loddon all seem like they might be interesting, but the info online is ambiguous outside of well known or stocked beats in more rural areas (e.g. Gresham club/ Barton court etc.) I'd like to find somewhere within cycling distance of Woodley, so somewhere like Caversham/Waterloo Meadows/Sonning/Dinton Pastures. Are there actually trout in any of these areas or is it all just tall-tales of escaped stockies?

Any advice/info greatly appreciated (even if the advice is "don't waste your time" 😬)!
Andy, welcome to Reading. I live not far away from you, in Earley. We have been here for over 20 years.

Reading is actually quite a decent place to live but as you will see from my Avatar it's too far away from the wild places for me. I have done very little trout fishing since I have been here - had a few visits to Farmoor but never bonded with the place, probably because I have never had much success there.

We are at the other end of the family pressure graph to you - we are very involved with elderly parents at the moment and grown up kids - and thus find it difficult to find any time to go fishing. However, we have cycling in common. When I do get an opportunity I take off on my bike down the K&A cycle route which is beautiful (once you are out of Reading). From Woodley, follow the Thames upstream to Kennetmouth and then just follow the signs along the Kennet.

I have thought about having a bash at pike on the K&A but have never got round to it.

My real love is fly fishing the wild lakes of Wales where I have had moderate success. I'd rather catch a wild 1/2 lb brownie than a flabby ragged finned monster from some stocked fishery round here.
 

andysan

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Oct 29, 2012
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Andy, welcome to Reading. I live not far away from you, in Earley. We have been here for over 20 years.

Reading is actually quite a decent place to live but as you will see from my Avatar it's too far away from the wild places for me. I have done very little trout fishing since I have been here - had a few visits to Farmoor but never bonded with the place, probably because I have never had much success there.

We are at the other end of the family pressure graph to you - we are very involved with elderly parents at the moment and grown up kids - and thus find it difficult to find any time to go fishing. However, we have cycling in common. When I do get an opportunity I take off on my bike down the K&A cycle route which is beautiful (once you are out of Reading). From Woodley, follow the Thames upstream to Kennetmouth and then just follow the signs along the Kennet.

I have thought about having a bash at pike on the K&A but have never got round to it.

My real love is fly fishing the wild lakes of Wales where I have had moderate success. I'd rather catch a wild 1/2 lb brownie than a flabby ragged finned monster from some stocked fishery round here.
I hear you. I'd probably rather blank on wild trout on a beautiful beat in the middle of nowhere than pull stockies out of a pond (not to bash people who enjoy fisheries, each to their own - my dad loves them and we usually have a wee trip together once a year or so). I too have considered pike on the fly, had a bash in the Forth and Clyde canal once but blanked. Wouldn't be the first time I've had a pike run off with a particularly flashy trout fly... I'll take your advice and get my wheels on the K&A cycle route. Ta!
 

shropshire_lad

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Too far away from the wild places!
I hear you. I'd probably rather blank on wild trout on a beautiful beat in the middle of nowhere than pull stockies out of a pond (not to bash people who enjoy fisheries, each to their own - my dad loves them and we usually have a wee trip together once a year or so). I too have considered pike on the fly, had a bash in the Forth and Clyde canal once but blanked. Wouldn't be the first time I've had a pike run off with a particularly flashy trout fly... I'll take your advice and get my wheels on the K&A cycle route. Ta!
If you need any fly fishing bits, you can take in the Sportfish place at Theale on your way ;)
 

BobP

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There is a free stretch of the Lambourn in Newbury and it is in walking distance from the station. You'll have to hump your chest waders. Alternatively get a Weir permit from the EA. Pangbourne, Caversham and Sonning Weirs are all fairly close.
Finally, check out the Civil Service Angling society. They have a stretch of the Kennet at Thatcham & used to have a trout section. A decent mayfly there, but wading will be necessary.
 
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