Wareham is in Dorset and on the opposite side of Poole Harbour to Poole.
Directions: Take the A351 towards Swanage. On leaving Sandford and coming in to Wareham take the road to the town centre. The first bridge is over the River Piddle. Go over this bridge straight on through the traffic lights turning left just before the next bridge. This will take you in to the car park at Wareham Quay. This is a pay and display car park on the banks of the River Frome.
Facilities: There are public toilets on the Quay and two public houses where you can get a drink. This is one venue where you can have a pint while you are fishing. The pubs and restaurants around the Quay serve food so you'll not go hungry.
Walking back to the car park entrance to the main rod there is a good tackle shop on the opposite side of the road just a few yards towards Wareham. The owner is most helpful and freely gives good advice. The bait is also very good.
The venue: Fishing is free for coarse fish downstream of the road bridge. All you need is your National rod license.
Most of the fishery is on the right hand bank looking downstream from the bridge. The river is tidal here but unlike the Thames fisheries that I am covering, we have what is called the "Isle of Wight effect". This means the tide comes up and then partly runs out and then comes up again before running fully out. The tide tables give times for first and second top of the tides as well as low water times. This means that on most days we have four top of the tides with two of them fairly close together. Tide tables can be purchased from the tackle shop. They are a worthwhile investment for any angler fishing this venue.
The tides at Wareham do not rise as much as they do on the tidal Thames. About a 4ft rise in water level appears to be about average for a good tide.
The River enters the sea at Poole Harbour which is less than two miles downstream.
Species: This is a very mixed fishery holding coarse, game and sea species. No doubt the big roach that are caught every year to over three pounds are the real prize. However visitors would be foolish to ignore other species.
The sea species that I have caught are mainly mullet and flounders but I understand that there are also other sea species appearing including bass.
The game fish that I have caught are mainly sea trout. These at times are fairly plentiful but must be returned. There are also brown trout and salmon. I have seen some very good salmon running under the road bridge on an evening tide.
Coarse species include those big roach, dace, carp, grayling and pike. The roach as I said earlier, run to over three pounds and the dace in winter can also reach specimen size. Grayling have been caught at times to over three pounds. Carp I am told have been caught to mid doubles and have possibly entered the river via the flooding of nearby lakes. Pike have also been caught to over twenty pounds.
Tactics: Totting with maggots can work well. Red or cocktailed red and white maggots appears to be favoured by locals. A high tide often brings better results. I have had some terrific bags of dace trotting two maggots on a size 18 hook with individual fish well over the 12oz mark.
A small blockend feeder also produces good results particularly when the river is running off from a flood. In cold conditions the fish really prefer a bait that is well nailed down. This tactic also produces the odd nice flounder.
In Summer, there are often large shoals of mullet present. Most of these appear to be of the thin-lipped variety that respond well to a spoon baited with rag worm. These will certainly give you a fight that you'll not forget. They are well worth targeting.
Conclusion: This is a first class fishery that has a lot to offer. The species change with the seasons and conditions. The best time for big roach appears to be a dull winters day with a good tide. For further up to date advice ring Deano on 01929 550770 for more information.