Make-over is working for the Nar

You might never have thought it worth a second look, as you cross it on the A10 by the little bridge at Setchey.

But you'd be surprised what's in the Nar.

Its upper and middle reaches have just been named one of Britain's 10 most improved rivers by the Environment Agency.

Coarse fish are thriving in its middle reaches, after engineers got to work on the morphology of the river.

The word, which caused some amusement on BB Radio Norfolk's breakfast show yesterday, describes the way a river flows and changes, silting here, scouring there.

The Nar was morphing about as much as a squished squirrel before the engineers got to work.

Like many of our lesser lowland rivers, it had been 'improved' over the centuries with its course straightened, banks raised and weirs built. Net result, a soul-less river.

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Improvements have included riffles, deeper pools and meanders. These are encouraging wild trout – both brown and sea-going – to stick about.

While the middle reaches don't look much as the river rushes between high flood banks, there are fish to be found for the stealthy.

There are chub – incredible hard chub, it has to be said – in the stretch between Pentney Abbey and Setchey. There are also pike lurking here and there under the streamer weed.

You need a Nar Valley ticket to fish some of this, downstream of High Bridge at Blackborough, it's free.

Talking of pike, the Broadland Pike Conference is taking place on Sunday (10am-4pm) at Sewell Park College, in Norwich.

Speakers include Eddie Turner, Neville Fickling, Graham Booth, Bill Palmer, and Steve Younger.

There will also be stalls including Chico's lures, Angling Direct, Billy's Backbiters, ET tackle, Seastrike Boats, Norwich Pike Club and the British Pike Squad.

There will also be books, rig-making and casting demonstrations. Admission is �5, with all proceeeds going towards a conservation DVD.

It's very much conference season for the next few weeks, with many heading to the PAC Convention at kettering on Saturday, October 1 – where this year's highlights include a day of free junior coaching workshops.

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