The Guash Fishing Club

The Guash Fishing Club was formed in 1921 by Major Bailey, the estate manager of Burghley Estate through whose land the river flowed.

For 70 or more years the Guash was the only river the club fished but in 1996 the club acquired fishing on the River Welland and now has 3 beats on the river at Harringworth, Duddington and Uffington. In total the club has access to over 16 miles of mostly double bank fishing. There are now 80 members all dedicated to river fishing and the challenges that it offers.

The River Guash or Gwash (the u is an ancient spelling) is a small limestone trout stream that runs in the valley from Braunston-in-Rutland to where it joins the Welland just downstream of Stamford.

Since the early 70s Rutland Water has intercepted the river and it flows into the lake at its western end and is released, sadly depleted, at Empingham. Fortunately its major tributary the North Brook joins the river at Empingham and the stream regains most of its jaunty vigour.

The water is exceptionally clean and the stream scores very highly on the Environment Agency aquatic invertebrate assessments. Brown trout are the dominant fish species but there are significant numbers of grayling and a few dace lower down the river.

The Club stopped stocking trout in 2002 and this has led to an increase in the size of the wild fish and fish of 1lb are not uncommon and recently a 3lb fish was taken. The fish are free rising and there is a good hatch of Mayfly and other ephemeroptera through the season. The fishing is challenging though owing to the wildness of the fish, often in shallow water with bankside trees and bushes willing to grab your fly before the fish does.

The River Welland is a much more substantial river and whilst the Guash can be guaranteed to be clear and fishable the Welland can flood spectacularly. The river is stocked every year with brown trout. The 3 beats the club fishes are very different in nature and lie in 3 different counties.

The Upper Welland at Harringworth in Rutland is a small river at summer levels with some nice riffles and deeply scoured pools, an abundance of minnows ensures the trout grow well and the record on this beat is just under 4lbs. There are wild fish but this beat is stocked. The Mayfly hatch can be very prolific. Otters are frequently seen here.

A little further downstream the Duddington beat (in Northamptonshire) is a larger river where a substantial weir backs the water up below Duddington village. A lovely sheep grazed field makes for very comfortable fishing with the backdrop of Duddington’s fine stone buildings. Below the weir the river is very streamy with many riffles. Otters are frequently seen on this beat.

The Lower Welland at Uffington is in Lincolnshire and the river here is wider with a gravel bed, very reminiscent of a chalk stream. This beat can fish well and has produced some very large trout in recent seasons notably one of 5lbs 2ozs. There is a good Mayfly hatch and sedges are found in abundance. Coarse fishing is available on the Welland in the trout close season and grayling fishing on both the Welland and Guash.

The Gwash Fishing Club waters are not open for day tickets and there is a 60+ waiting list for membership. Anglers wishing to join the club should email the Secretary, Richard Spiers through the Contact Us page.

Mono pictures from Gordon Turnhill in the 1950’s

By John Clare

WHERE winding Gwash whirls round its wildest scene,
On this romantic bend I sit me down;
On that side view the meadow’s smoothing green,
Edg’d with the peeping hamlet’s checquering brown;
Here the steep bank, as dropping headlong down;
While glides the stream a silver streak between,
As glide the shaded clouds along the sky,
Bright’ning and deep’ning, losing as they’re seen,
In light and shade: to where old willows lean,
Thus their broad shadow runs the river by,
With tree and bush replete, a wilder’d scene,
And moss and ivy speckling on my eye.
Oh, thus while musing wild, I’m doubly blest,
My woes unheeding, and my heart at rest.