Piscatorial Quagswagging

...the diary of a specialist angler in around the Warwickshire Avon and its tributaries.

Saturday 19 August 2017

The Tiny River Ise - Flake Faith

As a fisherman we are always looking at opportunities to fish, and when the Wife booked a lodge for a cheap weeks break away through a disabled charity that owns and runs it, I was on to google maps like a flash.

Now recently turned 6 year old Sam accompanies me now and lots of my outings and even he asked can we go fishing when we are on holiday. I couldn't believe it to be honest, the River Ise was literally the end of the lodge and the Ise, in the past has been home to big Roach, and Big Roach is what I'm after to increase my blogger challenge points.

I know spots on the Warwickshire Avon chock full of Roach especially in the winter, but I've yet to bag anything remotely decent despite catching a bucket load of them, excuse the pun.

Now the Northamptonshire Ise after a little googling a tributary of the River Nene. The river rises in the very field that hosted the Battle of Naseby at the north-western tip of Northamptonshire. Flowing east past Desborough and the Eleanor cross at Geddington, through the grounds of Rushton Hall it then turns south and passes Kettering, through Wicksteed Park, past Barton Seagrave, Burton Latimer and Finedon before joining the Nene just south of Wellingborough.

Apparently It is also the only watercourse within Northamptonshire to contain grayling (thymallus thymallus).

In the past the large and big Roach population has diminished and the river changed in character aplenty from it's heyday and from what I found out largely unfitted these days. Then again what brook is, a commercial fishery is just round the corner.

Now on arriving, I was shocked just how chocker it was with reeds, and lilies and all manner of other plants, it also appeared to have little or no flow.

Time for a bit of exploring, the sun was up you see, and perfect conditions for fish spotting....

And look what we found, there were a few clear areas, and my God, it was tap water clear, but within a 100 yard stretch there was more than enough fishing spots to dangle a bit of bread flake.

After 10 minutes exploring fish were spotted, a group of Chub, biggest looked around 4lb, a Pike a tiny Pike and what I was after, the red fin. You see under an overhanging tree there was a group of Roach that were sat in their sanctuary, enjoying the peace that they won't have for long.

A baited with a bit of bread mash and let them get their heads down.

Over the 5 evening trips I was gradually working the swims out....

The Chub were as spooky as hell and I despite a big pieces of bread flake under their noses they didn't take it.

The was to catch them was to fish, really difficult to access shady swims where they wouldn't likely see a fisherman's bait.

The evening was a different proposition, from half an hour before dusk the fish started to feed, the smaller Roach were happy to feed before this, but they out numbered the larger Roach tenfold which meant they couldn't get a look in.

Bread and only bread was fished and one particular swim there was two Roach that were well over a pound, doesn't sound much for the avid Roach fisherman, but for me it was a revelation, I ain't seen a stamp of Roach this big before. 

Sam joined me for all the trips bar one and that was the trip that I managed one of the bigger fish out the swim, 1lb 4oz's of it. 

Which although a mediocre PB, is a PB after all. 

The other bigger fish sadly remained elusive in the last trip, but I really do miss fishing these types of rivers, there must be some real gems of fish to be had considering I only fished a section of it. To be honest some of it needs cleaning up as it was neglected, traffic cones, tyres, scaffolding poles, is not what someone wants to see over a bridge.

Now if anyone knows of any decent Roach on my Warwickshire stamping ground, please let me know.


  1. Nice bit of bonus fishing Mick. Always fun trying out new rivers with limited information.

  2. Love these sort of venues, need something like the ise near us, especially if there is big roach in it.

  3. I have fished the Ise in Northants since the mid 70s and in its hey day it was featured in the Angling Times twice for its big roach. The biggest I saw was 3 pounds 2oz by Jack Burgess in 76 I think. You are right that it has changed as it used to be as clear as a canal with good flow in winter and colour fron Geddington to Wellingborough where it joins the Nene. There are still big roach but not as many and they are smaller and if you put any bait in I find the chub get it first. Rarely is there any colour or flow to get the roach feeding nowadays. I have not had a roach over a pound and a quarter for 25 years now. You may get one accidentally. My son had a fish of 2 pound six ounces while chubbing at Burton pocket park 6 years ago where your chances of a huge river fish are still best. The way to catch the big chub or roach is to put in a big piece of bread after dark with a ledger in any deepish hole and hope a small chub doesn't eat it. You can use the rod tip as indication, a big roach will pull it off the rest. The chub go to 6 pounds. The good news is the Perch are making a comeback as this was a brilliant water for these in the 50s and 60s. You will still have to get a bait past those small chub though. Thank you for writing about the Ise.

  4. I caught a nice roach from the river ise in northamptonshire just before end of year 2018, put up a great little fight. A shame I can't tag a photo :(

    1. I’ll welcome a picture sent to me though, contact me button on the main page. I’m back again for another go this year, but will fish a bit further upstream where I’d seen some bigger ones.

  5. Unable to send you it so tagged you in a post I shared

  6. Do you need a permit and where would you get it from?

    1. Free fishing around Kettering and also at Burton Latimer so no permit required just your rod licence. dee

    2. I still cannot believe how forgotten it is,would love it in my neck of the woods, some proper gems to be had by the sounds of it

  7. Myself and a couple of mates have been fly fishing the Ise in and around Kettering for the last 3/4 years.
    I've seen several roach up to around 1.5lb and maybe a touch bigger during that time although not landed anything bigger than about 12oz. They are really hard on "fly" though as there is always something small, swimming with the big red fins, that hammers the fly 1st!

    The river is stuffed with small chub, roach and perch plus a few dace and jacks. A few big chub too - had one in the summer of around 5lb which was easily the biggest I'd seen or caught from the brook/river.
    Two of us fished it today at an area that is roach central. I had 90 up to around 8oz and Simon I was fishing with had 43 up to 10z. No big ones for us but 130+ roach on tiny nymphs (weighted flys) in the middle of winter is unheard of fishing!
    You can read some of my reports from the Ise here:
    It's quite a long read but will be of interest to any Ise anglers. My posts are "skateboard Dave" and the Ise isn't mentioned but it is the "wonder brook" or "Northampton gem" about two pages in.

    One day I'll get my 1lb+ Ise roach on a fly.



    1. Nice one Dee, appreciate the reply, best of luck for the big Roach

  8. Incidentally I’ve a little tenkara rod tucked away might have to dig it out for my next trip down at the end of October


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