West & Fens Fishing: Relief the destination of choice

All eyes will be on the rivers this weekend, as the season gets under way. With 300lbs bream nets reported last opening day after a heavy pre-baiting campaign, the Relief Channel is sure to see a few anglers.

The bottom end of the Channel is now protected from saline ingress, after the Environment Agency finished a �1.8m refurb of the tail sluice.

Angling was praised as part of the culture and way of life of the Fens by MP Henry Bellingham, when he performed the honours and unveiled a plaque last week.

There was a fairly formidable-looking amount of water coming through when they opened the gates up; then again the Channel's basically a 12-mile-long reservoir that stores excess water between tides.

After a winter of little rain and sluggish flows, you wonder whether the recent monsoon weather's going to see the Ouse kick off with a bang. Locals swear by flow and colour when it comes to getting the bream on the feed. Opening day could test the theory.

Last season's other hot tip early season was the Middle Level, which was producing good mixed nets getting on for 100lbs from Pingle and one or two other places.

Another place which is going well is Springside Lake. One angler had 22 carp to low doubles and five tench, the best scaling 7lbs, in an amazing session.

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Pellet on the pole down the margin was all it took – it doesn't come much simpler than that.

There are warnings about blue green algae at Welches Dam. More worrying are reports of fish gasping on the top.

The area's just a few miles from Welney, where the Old Bedford suffered the worst fish kill the fens have seen in living memory a few years back after an algal bloom died off and heavy rain turned the water.