Waveney Valley: Top marks to Maltings developers

PJ Livesay, the Ditchingham Maltings developers, have fully lived up to the promises made to the River Waveney Trust Association by making big moves towards restoring what had become a very sorry scene at the formerly dazzling little stream.

Before their involvement around 3,000 small roach, dace chublets and gudgeon perished in a down to dry run off which had become strewn with garbage.

In the summer they invited me to their property design launch, where a director confirmed his personal interest, and showed their fine intentions.

It is all praise to them today, for these people have really come up with the goods. A fine gravel bottom exists now over the 300 yards and the banks have been sensitively pared.

Unfortunately, below the stretch below the reach, much is in a bad old way, but soon the River Association will attempt a volunteer repair.

The Environment Agency has issued a batch of news for the Waveney this week, in particular of their intentions to improve the river in its endeavour to create a more hospitable environment for Elvers and to re-distribute the often meagre flow.

At Needham Mill, where a collection of weed and silt has congregated creating what is termed as a 'Berm', a large machine will endeavour to re-create the beneficial contours and flow.

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Lowestoft's grand hero George Howard, now in his octagenerian years, fished the Falcon Meadow above the weir on the second stand in, with 4 gms really close in on the pole at the weekend. Four roach over the pound and a nice train of 21 fine fat redfins of 6 to 12 ozs gave him a great bag in the steady flow.

Elsewhere on the main river it was hard going, but out of the way swims were okay.

About the only places to fish of late have been spots at the variety of commercial pools. Most are still reasonably priced at around �6, compared with the �10 now popping up in the places around South East England.

Some of these offer little more than the best of those here, although 200lb of carp at places such as Drayton Reservoir at a single sitting appears a bit like shelling peas.

Anglers tend to espouse that fishing is not like the 'old days' any more, and this may be the case for the rivers of the 1950 to 1980 period. But looking back further, to around 1920, arguably the greatest angler of all time, Jim Bazley of Leeds, won the All England National Federation of Anglers Championship twice with winning weights of less than 10lb.

In fields of around 1000 and an exponent of the crow quill his skill is still unmatched. A former NFA President from 1913 to 1925 he died after a fishing match in 1933 and is well worthy of an angler's Christmas toast!