The River Wandle has centuries of history as a favourite place for freshwater fishing, as a chalk stream with fast flowing waters.
Sadly, as a result of the Industrial Revolution, its waters were badly polluted by the factories that lined its banks, reducing it to an open sewer by the 1960s.
Thanks to huge efforts by the Wandle Trust and other environmentally-conscious groups, the waters are once again clear and the Wandle has regained its place as an angler’s delight. The river has been described as ‘one of the UK’s 10 most improved rivers’ by the Environment Agency.
If you like to fish in company, the Wandle Piscators, founded in 2004, is a mixed-species, mixed-method fishing club. More recently, it has set up a junior branch – the Wandle Young Piscators – to teach good fishing and conservation practices and to instil a love for the river and its wildlife.
Famous fisherman, Frederic Halford
Halford fished the River Wandle at the end of the nineteenth century and wrote many books about fly-fishing. He was particularly interested in the art of fishing dry flies, and is sometimes, mistakenly, credited with inventing this way of fishing. In fact, he first witnessed the use of dry flies on the Wandle, and he and other enthusiasts improved upon these designs. Halford was very keen to produce flies which were an exact replica of the live insects and spent years researching and perfecting them.
Fish in the Wandle
Wandle trout have been famous since the Middle Ages, but the river also holds lots of other species, for instance chub, barbel, perch, roach and dace. To help preserve the Wandle’s fish for the future, anglers are encouraged to return them to the water, and are also advised against eating them since they may still carry residues from the river’s industrial past.
Fishing hints and tips
The good news is that as long as you have an Environment Agency rod licence – available from any Post Office – you don’t need a permit to fish most stretches of the Wandle. Please use barbless hooks, and take any litter home with you.
If you want to fish in Morden Hall Park, you’ll need to be a member of the Morden Hall Park Angling Club – click on the link below to find out more.
When you fish the Wandle, you’ll also need to stick to the legal fishing seasons: