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Fishery Report 17th to 22nd February inclusive

Well at long last we are open with fairly clear water and most banks and platforms now fishable.  Also all banks are now open. But please be aware and do take care as it is still very boggy in places and authorised cars must not go past the gravels on the north bank. Drivers please also do take care when turning round.

Now on to the fishing. Two stockings totaling 730 trout have already taken place and further stockings are planned for this Wednesday and next Tuesday. To date 144 trout have been caught for 73 member visits giving a rod average of just on 2 fish per visit and what cracking fish they are with nearly all fish being 2 lb + with a good sprinkling of 3 pounders and some more than that.! Best I am aware of is 5lbs and one member had an 8 fish bag totaling 24lbs giving a 3lb average. As is typical however early season the fish are well shoaled up and you most certainly had to be on the ‘hot spots’ to be successful with lots of areas appearing to be devoid of fish. The favourite areas have been the top bay on the south bank, the first 3 platforms below the Club Pavilion  and the last few platforms at the bottom of the south bank. Little is known yet of the north bank as very strong southerly winds over the last few days have kept anglers away from this area. As to successful methods these have been many and varied. I know of fish being caught on boobies and blobs on Hi D Lines. Intermediates and white snakes have caught as have floating lines; long leaders and gold head patterns. I expect medium sink lines with a range of lures such as black and green; white and green; olive and orange would also produce fish as long as you find where they are and fish differing depths until you have hit on ‘the taking area’.  Members fishing nymph patterns, as far as I am aware from feedback, have not been too successful so lures in their many forms would seem to be the best bet.  With no fish really rising yet please do be prepared to move around the lake until you find the areas where fish are being caught. It is unlikely with low water temperatures that the fish will move about much and ‘come to you’.

Anyway enjoy your fishing and please do comply with the Club’s Covid conditions as outlined in David Shannon’s last Newsletter. Do stay Safe.



Dear All,

The Lake is now OPEN including the west bank

After an inspection this morning, it seems safe enough now for anglers to be able to fish the West bank of Holkham Lake, as well as the other banks, but with great care!!! and under your own individual liability and responsibility!

However, those bringing vehicles lakeside are still not allowed to go beyond the gravels on the North bank.

The first fish stocking of the new season happened about 370 fish, some bordering on 2 and a half to 3 pounds and looking lovely!

Finally, the usual reminder – we are still in lockdown and social distance rules must apply, as does the requirement to wear gloves when opening gates and the Signing-in Hut.

Please let others know who are not on e mail.


1.    The Pavilion is to be considered completely closed until further notice. However, two chairs will be positioned – one at either end of the verandah – for limited use by members should they wish to ‘rest’ there; on the understanding that these chairs are not to be re-positioned during the period of use.

2.    Members should bring their own sustenance to the lake rather than using the Pavilion facilities.

3.    The Signing-in Hut will be open for members’ use, but solely for the purpose of signing in and out of the lake and recording the number of fish caught. Weights of individual fish should be estimated (rather than weighed on the scales). Time spent in the Signing-in Hut is to be kept to an absolute minimum with only one member in and around the vicinity of the Hut at any one time. A ‘collective’ pen will continue to be provided to sign-in and out, but see below regarding the use of gloves. The facilities in the Signing-in Hut are to be kept clean and tidy at all times – any further examples of the sort littering etc experienced before the lock down will not be tolerated.

4.    Similarly, the toilet will remain open for use, but members are asked to use it only in extremis, and also to keep it spotlessly clean and tidy!

5.    Disposable gloves are to be worn at all times: when locking/unlocking the Worthing Road, Car Park and Haul Road gates; when using the Signing-in Hut and/or toilet, and when using the chairs on the Pavilion verandah.  Hand gel (if available) should also be used to cleanse hands following removal of gloves and periodically throughout members’ visits to the lake, and your own antiseptic hand wipes should be used to wipe down locks and keys etc before and after use.

6.    Cars are to be positioned at least 2 metres apart within the car park and/or lakeside if permitted.

7.    Members are not to tackle up in the car park, but should do so when they arrive at their selected swim(s), having first signed in under normal procedures.

8.    A 2-metre minimum social distancing rule is to be applied at all times during members’ visits to the lake  – without exception – BUT anglers are to remain at least 5 metres apart, and (in line with Angling Trust advice) preferably 15 metres apart if at all possible, when actually fishing.  There is not sufficient room for two anglers to use the ‘ Point’ or ‘Gravels’ swims at the same time, and, if spaces permit, anglers should only use alternate swims. 

9.   Guest tickets are now allowed allowed for fly and/or coarse fishing. Also members are allowed to use such tickets and/or extension tickets once they have reached their seasonal limits.

10.    Members will still be able to bring their partners to the lake on the understanding that the partners are actually residing with the member concerned; and that they do not socialise within 2 metres with other members present.

11.    No competitions will be allowed until further notice.

These rules will remain in force until advised otherwise by the Committee, and failure to adhere to them will be met with the severest of sanctions, not only for the miscreant but also, possibly, for the Club as a whole!  Therefore, while I respect the fact that they sound draconian, and not everyone will agree with them, they are necessary if we are to continue pursuing the sport we have all missed so much.

As I have mentioned, the lake is currently ‘full’ of fish but, depending on water temperature and catch rates this week, we plan to have a further injection of fish on Friday 15th, and possibly a further two at weekly intervals during the rest of the month. All you have to do is catch them!!


Tight Lines,

David S

NFC Secretary

Argulus project report

Dennis Willis has just completed a written report on our ongoing battle with argulus in our lake. As you know argulus is not kind to trout and Dennis, Alan and Graham have worked very hard over the last three years to remove thousands of eggs from the lake. The results have been very noticeable.

Please take time to read Dennis’s report and the EA guidelines. If you want to share his report with anyone outside the Club please check with him as the report is his copyright.

ANOTHER FISHY TAIL – something to make you smile.


Two events of the above come to mind.

The first occurred back in the mists of time when I was a medical student. In those far off days , my fellow student David ( who now resides in tranquil relatively covid free safety in Queensland and who has fished many times at swanton morley over the ensuing years and who once stripped gallantly to the waist to attempt to retrieve a rod gaily thrown into the lake by a lady member when she lost grip on her forward cast !) and I used to travel to Hemingford Grey on the R Ouse for our fishing. Our means of transport was my 1964 BSA 500 Twin motorbike . I did have a small box on the back to carry stuff  , but the bulk of our gear had to be hauled in a large rucksack on poor David’s shoulders . It was 60+ miles from Paddington to Hemingford and it was winter and very cold ( remember cold winters?). but hey , we were young . When we arrived , I had to support him for a few minutes while his knees recovered sensation! I remember him telling me he could feel his feet and his upper thighs , but nothing in between!

We stayed in a small wooden shack on the river bank which was idyllic in the summer for the chub fishing , but not so great in the winter when the bottled gas was so cold that a 1/8inch flame meant waiting 30 mins to boil the water for coffee!

Anyway we were there to fish , so fish we did . On the second day , David hooked a small and lively jack on a plug from the old weir pool and unfortunately during the unhooking process , yes you guessed it , it kicked and rolled and sank the rear treble right into his right middle finger , past the barb! Tricks on how to remove hooks with loops of nylon were unknown to us then ( and anyway , those are really only for small hooks , not socking great galvanised trebles!), so what to do?

The only thing to do was go to the local Casualty Dept (A&E in modern speak). So , onto the motorbike and off to Huntingdon General Hospital. We went via St Ives , and David gaily signalled all the turns from the pillion seat with his pike plug dangling from his finger.(Incidentally I once almost collided with Joe Bugner in one of the small supermarkets in St Ives.He was HUGE!! And I mean HUGE!!)

A small amount of local anaesthetic and a small nick with a scalpel and the offending plug was removed , returned to its owner and taken back to continue fishing duties.

The other plug/pike related episode concerned myself. Some of you may remember that the late Peter Nisbet , long time NFC member and past committee member , and I , used to fish together for years.

Peter was a resident of Hoveton and had obtained permission to fish the Little Broad , which along with the Great Broad are privately owned by the Blofeld family. The original permission had been granted by Sir John Blofeld’s father but the judge was happy for it to continue. (Henry Blofeld is of course of the same stable.)

To reach the broad itself in those days one had to row across The Pound , a small backwater of the main broad . It was in the time before some serious mud pumping of those waters was done , so at certain tide states you found yourself trying to propel the boat ( which were classical double ender shooting punts)over liquid mud( the expression is “fleet”). So I soon discovered why Pete was so keen to have me along! Yes there was a time when I was young and strong!

I suppose we must have arrived at about 8am , and therefore fishing by 9am, and quite soon after ,I was into my first pike on a plugbait.

A reasonable fish I remember , low double I think, and yes it was my turn to be impaled!

As I reached for my pike gag and long artery forceps ( can’t remember which hospital I nicked those from) , the blighter rolled and sank one of the tines of the tail treble , large and galvanised once again , right into the ball of my right thumb ( my dominant hand of course). Wicked barbs on those things , so it wasn’t coming out the same way that it went in!

Now we hadn’t been there very long , and there clearly was promise of more pike to be had , so I was blowed if I was going to waste the day trudging off to A&E , not to mention the difficulty rowing with a large plug in the thumb! So , again , what to do?

Then I remembered that in my tackle box I had a pair of wire cutters. They were there to cut alasticum wire to make up new traces in situ in case of loss. I hadn’t worked out that ordinary scissors would have done just as well at that time. Pete was sitting in the other end of the boat suggesting we went to A&E ( and offering to row!!), but I reckoned what I needed to do was just push the hook round and back out of the skin so I could cut the barb off and then withdraw the barbless section. So that’s what I did , and I still have and use that plug , now with a double rather than a treble hook on the tail. A few minutes of firm pressure stopped any bleeding although there was some deep bruising of course.

Pete’s face at that point was noticeably pale ! I remember that so clearly!  But we went on to catch several further pike that day , which we very very carefully dehooked .

And if anyone thinks I’m telling tall tales , I’ll happily show them the two point scars on my thumb a centimetre apart still there after 30 years!

Another ‘fishy’ tail for you all.

I was standing on my platform, looking hopefully out from the second stage up from the South East corner, waiting for a fish…any fish… to take my dry fly when a young chap, a rarity by any measure, came up and pointed out there was an orange streak moving slowly through the water about 5 metres out.

It looked like a fly line, and putting two and two together, we deduced that it was a line lost by a senior member of the club (that narrows it down I’m sure) who was fishing at the outflow. He was broken by a fish earlier in the morning and his line had snapped at the start of the backing. Moving at the speed of greased indifference I stumbled gracefully into action and cast my dry fly over the orange line hoping to snag it. I’m sure at this point you have worked out why I failed. Yep. Dry flies don’t sink. Doh. So to effect a quick(ish) rescue I hooked my dry fly though the eye of a gold head black and green lure and cast over the fly line which was just under the surface. My first cast sank the flies beautifully into the jaws of a waiting trout, which held on running around the end of the rogue line and eventually into my net.

A second cast at the rogue line saw a neat pick up and a gentle retrieve brought part of the line into my waiting hands. On completion of the rescue a second trout (over summer fish) was dispatched.

I coiled the line and returned to the grateful owner.

I now have three dilemmas about breaking club rules.

  1. can a member fish with a double pointed hook (dry and lure in the same place on the line)
  2. Is hand lining legal, or should I have used a rod to land the second fish?
  3. Should I have given the offending trout to the line owner ?

I throw myself on the mercy of this court.

From an anonymous Treasurer