River Windrush -Any hope?

andygrey

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First post on this forum so can I start by saying Hello!
I have set myself the task of catching a barbel from the river Windrush but everybody I talk to tells me the otters have had them all! I quite regularly fish the river for chub and trout in the summer and have seen barbel spawning in 2 different areas in early spring but so far all my efforts over the past few months have ended up fishless.
I have access to a couple of good lengths of the river around Burford and Witney and some below. Am I wasting my time fishing for fish that aren't there in any real numbers any more or should I persist?

Cheers

Andy
 

theartist

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Hello mate, nice first post.

Don't know the area in question but if youve seen Barbel there then they are there to be caught.

You will definately blank staying at home!
 

richiekelly

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i have seen them at the back of vauxall pit a number of years ago but havent been there since it got popular,i doubt very much if otters have wiped them out but they may have moved to due predation,as the artist said if you have seen them there must be some left,its a question of finding them they are not that difficult to catch once found.
 

andygrey

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Thanks for the replies. I have concentrated my efforts of areas close to where I saw fish. I understand that at this time of year barbel will shoal up and be difficult to catch. I've be using a roving approach spending about half an hour in each swim, fishing a halibut pellet and lightly loose feeding smaller pellets.
I'm not sure if I should revisit these swims a few days later as I may have attracted fish into them or try different areas. I suppose that I should really try bread and maggots as well...

Andy
 

Ray Daywalker Clarke

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First Welcome to FM.

I havent fished the windrush for a number of years, used to get some good Roach and Chub.

Now for the Barbel.

If i was fishing i would feed 3 swims, have a cuppa, then start on the first fed swim. If your fishing all day, i would fish each swim equal, 9 hours, 3 hours each swim.

Barbel can take a long time getting their heads down to fed. I have seen Barbel spawn but never caught them on their spawning ground, i think you will find they will move away from this area, thats what i have found.

I doubt the otters have had all the Barbel, it just the same with all fishing, Location. You cant catch them if they are not in your swim.

Good luck and let us know how you get on.
 

andygrey

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Thanks for the encouragement. Just what I needed to hear! I'm going to get out on the river for the next 3 or 4 days so will take your advice and rotate a few swims over each day.
More news as and when it comes in!

Cheers

Andy
 
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peter crabtree

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Many years since I fished the Windrush but used to go on the Rose revived section . At this time of the season I would try a big lump of crust or double lobworm. I would be confident that if a barbel was there in the swim I would catch it fairly quickly....
 

geoffmaynard

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Welcome to FM

I have heard a lot of anglers say that the otters have had all the windrush barbel - but we've also had reports from people who have caught lots of barbel throughout the season. So it's hard to reach any firm conclusions yet about the extent of the predation but it's certain that there are still barbel there to be caught.

Try single maggot on a size 14 strong thick-wire hook with a sensitive quiver tip in this cold weather - and hit every twitch. Pellets with whack-around bites are a lot rarer in winter than summer.
 
A

alan whittington

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Where you are on the river used to be full of barbel at spawning times 10-15 years ago,otters have made inroads,but there are still some barbel around,trouble is fewer fish,mean less confident ones and on the Windrush thats not ideal as this translates into any disturbance,empty swim,i would say the old Adams Mill trick with your rig in a pole cup is favourite,maggots(loose fed),paste,hnv or cheese(with none fed in),im sorry to say lots of blanks are inevitable.
 

cg74

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I'm not starting a 'where have all the Windrush barbel gone' debate but Alan IMO you're way off the mark with your attribution of blame, yes otters have predated a few but since the glory days of 15+ years ago things have changed.

Next summer take a walk along the river anywhere between Witney and the Rose Revived, one thing should be ever evident long before you look into the water (what water there is), the water just isn't there to sustain a healthy barbel population.
This summer the back stream (west arm) became so shallow on some riffles it was possible to walk from bank to bank in trainers and not even risk getting wet feet.
Medley Brook barely even existed any more and the 'main stream' (east arm) which always was a classic pool riffle river, more ressembled a pool dry gravel set up.

Why so little water?
A couple of factors which combined have destroyed that river.
All the hundreds of acres of exposed watertable water via gravel/aggregate extractions leads to huge (unquantifiable) amounts of water being evapourated.
Couple this with two decades of exceptionally low levels of rainfall, result; a river literally bled dry!
Bearing in mind that the Windrush is a chalk stream and as such sources a huge quantity of its water directly from the watertable.


Back on topic, Andy, now I've filled you with doom and gloom, there are still barbel left in the river to be a viable target but TBH I'd leave it until next season.
About early May before the barbel will have spawned and the trees and rununculus weeds are in full spread, walk the banks looking for over hangs with clean gravel reasonable flow and depth.
These areas are where you should concerntrate your efforts.

Which club(s) are you a member of?

I should add, Burford to Witney has only ever (in living memory) had limited areas of strong holds.
 
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alan whittington

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Cg,i didnt intend to say otters were too blame,i did mean to say basically the same as you(that they made some inroads[ate some?]),the river is like her mother river the Thames(only its just low flow rates and associated problems),suffering for water during any amount of dry weather and the Windrush was never the best river for holding water(being of a chalksteam basis),there are many rivers suffering from abstraction,the upper Lea being another,i dont know what the answer is apart from reintroducing the black plague.
 

Fishingdownthewindy

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Having fished the windy nearly all season, it will take patience and more patience.

cg74 hit the nail on the head with the flow and depth, some reliable chub haunts are well not reliable anymore and this over only a period of 3 years

As for barbel, I go with an open mind that I am after chub and might catch a Windrush barbel........it happened only once this season! so despite been told ALL have been eaten is not true, I have spotted a few too.

Roving is essential and as mentioned feed a few swims and return to them.....you do not need to worry about someone jumping in your swim as I never see anyone fishing.....apart those after crayfish, are you fishing during the day?

I have never fished the Burford stretch is it any good?
 

andygrey

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I've found the chub to be a pretty reliable catch, (along with quite a few out of season tout). The odd dace has made an appearance. There is no doubt that the Windrush has not had a very consistent run in terms of water flow for the past few years though there are quite a few pools in the Newlands stretch that always seem to hold fish.
I think that as suggested to specifically target barbel may end up being a very frustrating experience so I think that I'l go down the line of targeting big chub and hope for some luck!
To answer the question about the Burford stretch, I'm assuming you are referring to the town stretch? I have not fished it for about 10 years, the stretches that I have access to are between Burford and Witney and Stanton Harcourt.

Cheers

Andy
 
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Fishingdownthewindy

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Hi Andy
I meant the stretch between Burford and Crawley, wondered if you or anyone fishes that stretch, I know it has a few pools along the stretch and it belongs to the Burford AC I think?
I am not just interested in the Barbel, anything really as I take my son out fishing regularly on a free stretch of the Windrush and its becoming a bit samey for him, to be honest I fished the Wye a few times this year and have not blanked with Barbel, but an hour and a half each time it’s not for a spontaneous fishing.
Cheers
Adam
 

andygrey

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Hi Andy
I meant the stretch between Burford and Crawley, wondered if you or anyone fishes that stretch, I know it has a few pools along the stretch and it belongs to the Burford AC I think?
I am not just interested in the Barbel, anything really as I take my son out fishing regularly on a free stretch of the Windrush and its becoming a bit samey for him, to be honest I fished the Wye a few times this year and have not blanked with Barbel, but an hour and a half each time it’s not for a spontaneous fishing.
Cheers
Adam

Hi Adam,
I'm assuming that the free stretch your referring to is somewhere between Crawley and Witney town centre? I've never been too sure about free stretches on the Windrush but would like to know about the stretch to the north of the town at New Mill.
From what I already know the fishing on the river is divided as follows:-


Burford AC have a very small stretch below the bridge at Burford, their main water being upstream of the roadbridge. The water downstream of Burford to Crawley bridge is either Cotswold Fly Fishers, Minster Lovell Angling Club or private.
The field below Crawley Bridge is affiliated to a few different angling clubs, Newlands being one and it is also an O.D.A.A water (as is Burford Angling Club). Below Crawley the fishing rights become a bit murky (New Mill area, think that this may be Witney angling club??) until you reach Newlands AC main stretch that starts about level with the main church in Witney and down to Gill Mill on the east arm and Cokenthorpe school on the west. From here to the Thames it's a mix of private, syndicate and club water.

Cheers

Andy
 

Fishingdownthewindy

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Cheers Andy

I will have to check out the Burford ticket next season and have a walk along the banks of what they have.

(New Mill area, think that this may be Witney angling club??) At the moment that stretch is free fishing all the way to Woodford mill, this has been confirmed by States and a couple of local anglers.

I have caught numerous chub from the free stretch and my son has caught grayling, chub, dace, brown trout and plenty of minnows (not bad for 6 year olds first season in clear river conditions).

Be warned of dog walkers with dogs off leads, the dogs usually go running over knock over our maggots eat your luncheon meat and in one case tried to bite through my rock sack to eat my garlic cheespate, this in turn alerts a fairly large heard of cows with a bull, although they do not bother you they do not like dogs and can approach with aggression.....this does not happen all the time of course.
 

andygrey

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Hi Adam,
That's really useful info, thanks.
Good to hear that there are grayling in this part of the Windrush. I know there about further up stream but nice to hear about them nearer Witney.
I had a walk along the river near New Mill yesterday (got into the meadow from the public footpath on Crawley Road) and there look to be quite a few fishy spots. Might try to get a few hours next week to trot a float down...

Cheers

Andy
 

andygrey

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somewhere on the banks of the Windrush is a small memorial stone to Peter Stone the angler? Anyone found it?
I know about the plaque at on Wolvercote Bridge but have never heard about a memorial on the Windrush. Any clues as to it's location?
Andy
 

andygrey

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Found today...
Not a barbel but Mr. Otter has certainly been busy with this Windrush chub.
Rod/reel for size reference.



Not an uncommon site on the Windrush.

Andy
 
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