After the wet, mild conditions of the last few weeks we, in Suffolk, are now several degrees below freezing, with a constant shroud of freezing fog hanging over the East of the country. The river though looks to be in fine fettle. A bit of colour is still hanging in the water and despite the rapidly falling water temperature the chub, and probably the roach, will also put in a bit of an appearance.

The chub, which are not at their best during the height of the floods, are already feeding well and will continue to do so for the next few weeks. Look for them anywhere that there is a bit of feature. My favourite swims at this time of the year (as they are so often overlooked) is where the current runs tight under the bank. Simply allowing a bait to swing around in the current, coming to rest tight to the bank will lure a chub out from the undergrowth. These undercuts are almost impossible to fish from the far bank, yet when you can get directly above them they are a cinch. Yet, how many people have the confidence to fish these swims, often in less than two feet of water?

I really cottoned on to these features years ago when fishing the Thames. So often I would catch a good fish when the waggler I had been casting to the far margin was left in the edge, while I ate a sandwich, that I decided to change tactics and specifically target the near bank. I haven't looked back since, and it still remains one of the most consistent spots.

One of the beauties of fishing under the near bank is that it is easy to bait up. My all time favourite bait for these swims is flake. Feed a small amount of mashed bread down the edge and at least some of it will come to rest under the bank. A nice big chunk of flake won't last for long if there are any chub present.

While exploring a little stretch of the River Dove a few years ago this technique resulted in seven chub all from the same little feature. In this case, the cover was provided by the platforms that the controlling club had put in the margins. By letting my bait swing under the next platform downstream I could almost guarantee a good bite.

Whereas chub can be expected to take a big bait in a winter river, unless conditions are absolutely spot on, I think your best bet for roach comes with the maggot. I would also say that nine times out of ten you are better off fishing with a small swim-feeder than the float. Now, this might not suit the purists, but the fact remains that there are now so few big roach in many of our rivers that this simple approach can pay dividends. Rather than working the swim, trying to catch a bag of roach, I look to extract just the one or two. Perhaps this is just the case on the rivers that I fish, but most of the time the bigger roach are found in such small groups that a whole days fishing in the same swim is a waste of time. An hour or two in each likely spot with a small amount of bait presented tightly via the swimfeeder is the best option - if the dace will leave you in peace. Loose feeding, which will invariably spread bait over a larger area, will only split the fish up and make them more difficult to catch. No, for practicalities sake, it is the feeder that wins every time.

While roach can turn up just about anywhere, I find some of the most consistent swims are where a backwater, or ditch enters the main river. A good friend of mine believes the roach will enter the shallow water at night, while spending the day in the main river. Whatever, the fish are obviously attracted to these features and so they are worth a shot. Bridges are also, funnily enough, something that I am drawn to. It has to be quite a wide bridge though, one that casts a perpetual shadow over the river beneath. The roach love these low light levels and can often be caught when conditions are bright and clear from such swims.

So, just because the rivers have been over their banks for weeks, doesn't mean the fishing will be any less productive in the weeks to some. If anything, the fishing will be better as the rivers fine down. With Christmas looming, I know where I will be heading.