Species and seasons:
Wild brown trout to over 2lb (1 April to 30 September)
Dace to over 8oz, roach to over 1lb (16 June to 14 March)
Location, access and parking:
Free fishing from the 'Causeway' alongside the Hempton Road between Fakenham Mill and the first bridge upstream (easy access platforms), from the public area left (north) bank downstream of Goggs Bridge (Goggs Mill Lane), and from the public footpath side downstream of Fakenham Mill (about 1.5 miles).
Parking at Goggs Bridge or the Aldiss Community Park car park behind Wensum Tyres, just south of the bridge at the bottom of Bridge Street, Fakenham.
Club water is the right (south) bank from Bridge Farm (first bridge upstream from Fakenham Mill) upstream for about 2.5km (1.5 miles) to below Sculthorpe Mill.
Day tickets available, must be bought before fishing from Dave's Tackle Shop, Bridge Street, Fakenham. Not available on Sundays.
Parking at Goggs Mill Lane, either at Goggs Bridge or the small lay-by opposite the access to Wilsmore Lake. Access to the river above the A1065 by a stile on the south side of the bridge over the river.
Careful catch and release using barbless hooks only.
A small river - mostly 3 to 6 metres (10 to 20 feet) wide with depths ranging from about 0.5 metres to 2 metres (1 to 7 feet) in a few places, fringed by willows, alders and reeds - the upper Wensum is one of the hidden treasures of north Norfolk. It's recognised as one of England's special and characteristic chalk rivers, largely fed by springs with rich, clear alkaline water in which aquatic plants and insects flourish - and fish grow big! Much of the Wensum, including the river around Fakenham, is both a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) in recognition of its importance in both national and European contexts for its special nature conservation interest. Although affected by dredging, straightening and widening, and siltation in more recent decades, restoration work and careful management mean the river is now recovering well. It provides interesting and rewarding fishing for those who appreciate natural river fishing, with something of a 'wilderness' experience above the A1065. Even if the fish aren't responsive, wildlife such as marsh harriers (in summer), barn owls, kingfishers, water voles and otters can make for a special visit.
Surrounded by marshes upstream of the A1065 - worth taking insect repellant and suitable protective clothing in warm, damp weather!
Fly fishing for trout is productive from April to about June, after which aquatic weed growth makes things increasingly difficult, although remaining possible in places with dry fly. A shortish rod and light (#2-4) line are easier to use in the often confined spaces and provide the delicate presentation often needed for wary wild fish.
Small standard river wet fly patterns and nymphs work well early in the season, either up or down stream, with dry fly patterns becoming more useful as the season progresses. Olive hatches are relatively sparse but can be good at times. Terrestrial (e.g small bibio species) and midge patterns also work well at times. Warmer evenings can see good hatches of olives, midges and sedges. Mayflies, although limited in numbers, can produce memorable sessions.
When the aquatic weed has died down, from around November, the roach and dace provide enjoyable sport on light tackle. The fish tend to shoal towards the downstream end of the stretch, towards the A?? road bridge and Fakenham Milll. A roving approach using light long-trotting tackle to locate the fish, using maggots or bread and feeding lightly, can make for an enjoyable few hours.