1877 Capt Arthur Mansel
1902 Capt R.Dymond
1917 Major A.H.Platt
1923 Brig Gen C.C.Hannay DSO
1938 Col R.M.Booth
1954 Lt Cdr D.B.Jeffery
1976 Mrs L.O.Crick
1975 Sqn Ldr J.J.Fisher RAF
1976 Wg Cdr M.C.Pulleybank RAF
1964 Fred Harris
1995 John Aplin
Mansel Arthur Capt. Honorary Secretary
Lyon Major R.H.G.
Medleycott Sir W.
Dorchester Angling Club was formed and fished the same waters as the Dorchester Fishing Club does today.
6th April – the formation of the Dorchester Fishing Club, when water was leased from the Duchy of Cornwall. Captain Arthur Mansel Honorary Secretary
Member number 32 in 1879 was G.S.Marryat , who was F.M.Halfords silent collaborator and teacher He is also remembered for his “Little Marryat” (pale watery) imitations and there is evidence that he was experimenting with artificial nymph’s before 1888 and passed on examples of these flies to G.E.M.Skues who has been labelled father of the nymph.
The keeper on the upper water was F.Phillips and the lower water T.Pomeroy. The club rented two cottages at Louds Mill for £12.00 (now Keepers Cottage St. Georges Road)
A tank was to be constructed for the purpose of rearing fish. The fish would be used to stock the Club waters and surplus stocks were to be sold. W.Taylor offered land at Louds for a rental of £5.00 yearly, the cost of construction would be £123.00
Capt. Mansel was elected Hon.Member for his services as Club secretary.
The fishing season was extended to 30th September and a shelter was to be built for the keeper on the lower water. First contact with the Ilchester Estates when a letter was written to Lord Ilchester requesting permission to fish the River Wrackle from the ‘Old Turnpike’ (Round House) to ‘Cuckoo Pound’.
The fish rearing tank were in full swing, but there appears to have been problems with one batch of trout that was sold, the minutes show that a disclaimer would be given to all applicants that wished to purchase fish.
The market for fish reared in the tank seems to have failed the keeper was instructed to sell yearlings as low as 23/- per 100 if it was found necessary.
More trouble for the fish rearing tank a sub-committee was formed charged with the task of making the tank more efficient. Major Clapcott, Parry and Capt.Mansel. The results of their efforts is not recorded and there is no mention of the enterprise after this date.
A donation of £2.20 was awarded to C.Knight to assist during his illness. The sewage discharge below Dorchester became a problem and W.Hutable was given the task to investigate the problem.
Major Clapcott proposed that 10″ fish be allowed to be taken from the upper water and a bonus of £2.00 for the weed cutters.
The entrance fee was also to be raised to £10.10 and out of each entrance fee £6.00 would be put into a separate fund called ‘River Improvement Fund’.
Major Clapcott proposed that the use of spinning flies should be prohibited.
1000 stock fish were purchased from the Itchen Fishery.
The subscription went up to £6.00 and a letter was sent to the Town Clerk requesting what action had been taken in constructing a new drainage system for Dorchester.
The Reverend Filleul caught a dry fly record brown trout 12 3/4lbs September 11. He landed it with the aid of a washing basket just below where the Town Stream enters the main River Frome. Read his full account
During the dry weather there were a good many attempts at poaching. Seven convictions were obtained. One fish of about 7lbs was wired above Grey’s Bridge.
The Frome Fishery Board imposed a tax on fishing 10/- a year or 1/- a day. Capt. Dymond said that the new tax would be unpopular and when he asked the Board why the need for a tax, he received no reply.
Major R.H.Brutton who joined the club in 1906 and served on the committee, fell victim to Malarial fever whilst serving his country in India.
The keepers were awarded £5.00 half yearly bonus for the duration of the war.
Major A.H.Platt (late Dorset Reg.) of Victoria Park Dorchester became Honorary Secretary
The Rev. S.E.V. Filleul retired from the club.
A new limit on the size of fish was also introduced – 11″ upper water and 12″ lower water.
Capt. Dymond died after his long illness.
Major Platt left Dorchester in October and resigned the Hon.Secretaryship of the club, after holding it for 5 year. Brig. Gen. C.C. Hannay DSO Hawthorn Lodge Dorchester was elected Hon.Sec.
This season was a very poor one for the Club, the worst on record and the water being short of fish, fly and weed.
This season showed a great improvement on the last, although fly was still short, but there was a good head of water though out the season.
The water below Loud’s Mill was stocked with 150 12 inch fish and the size limit was again raised for this water to 14 inches.
The Annual Subs. rose to 16 guineas this was a rise of 3 guineas.
The season was a good one on the whole, there was more fly and plenty of weed. 120 fish were netted from the New Town Bathing Pool above Grey’s Bridge to be stocked in the Upper Water.
A new rule was passed that would allow retired members who place their name on the waiting list shall have priority of election over ordinary candidates.
Keeper Kimber had little trouble with Poachers during the Bath and West Show, when intercepted the politely asked for information as to the nearest ‘unwatched water! ‘.
This season was a very bad one not only for the Frome but throughout the country. The long cold spell in the spring followed by a drought was the chief reason.
The keepers netted the Charminster pool and took out four pike and sixty-six trout and stocked below Loud’s Mill.
The death of Rev. S.E.V.Filleul was reported this year, as one of the Clubs oldest members and perhaps the finest fisherman the Club ever had, he would be surely missed.
Due to the shortage of candidates, it was decided to waive 20 guineas entrance, and to allow Sunday Fishing.
5 otters, 43 heron and other vermin were destroyed this year.
Keeper T.F.Larkham was taken on this year on a wage of 40/- a year.
Keeper Knight retired in May after 45 year’s service, and Keeper Kimber retired on the 24th January only to die on the 25th. Keeper Kimber’s son took over his father’s position for a month but moved on to a better situation.
W.F.Hopkins an ex police man, was taken on with a wage of 40/- a week.
‘Nymphing’ rises of fish were very numerous in May and June, the fish were taking the nymph of the Blue Winged Olive.
Another average year, fly as of late years was scarce. The chief feature being the further improvement in the beat below Loud’s Mill, about 30 fish of 2lbs and over were caught there.
Capt. J.V.Filluel late reg. of Sandford House Wareham was elected on as member, he was the son of Rev.S.E.V Filleul.
Ex.Keeper Knight was awarded £10.00 for doing Larkhams work during his attack of para-typhoid.
Col R.M.Booth of Burleston, Dorchester took over as secretary.
The Keepers helped the Farmers at Harvest, and they also joined the local A.R.P. units.
Ex-keeper Knight died this year, he had performed valuable work for the Club over many years, and after his retirement continued to take great interest in its well being, his advice was most helpful.
The death of General Hannay was a grievous loss to the Club. He took an erroneous interest in its welfare and to its work and advice during the long period of his membership and secretaryship, the Club owed its present well-being. His death fishing the river he loved could not have taken place in more fitting surroundings.
Yet another satisfactory season. War conditions had made transport very difficult for Members living at a distance.
An Extraordinary Meeting was held in February, it increased the Annual Subscription to 25 guineas and raised the Entrance Fee to 40 guineas. A resolution was also carried restricting members to 50 days fishing and 100 fish per season.
The Improvements Sub-Committee, had already made itself felt, with a visit from Mr A.W.Lunn of the Houghton Club. His advice was most valuable and many improvements had already been effected.
There were reports of a good spawning season. 20,000 fry were also placed in the river.
Mayfly however, owing to the abnormally high winds, were a failure, but on the whole there were more hatches of fly than has been evident for some seasons.
The Managing Committee recommended that the Members should join the ‘ Anglers Co-operative Association’
B.F.M Jelf of Wingfield Great Western Rd Dorchester took over as Secretary.
A good season with an increase in fly life, again it was decided to kill all small fish of from 7-10 inches caught in the Upper Water.
The river was in excellent condition despite a dearth of water. The increase of fly noticed in 1952 was maintained, especially in the evening.
Lt. Cdr. D.B. Jeffrey was appointed as Secretary , after the sad death, in September, of Mr B.F.M Jelf.
27th April water above Blue Bridge down to 10 Hatches was netted – roach , dace and 12 pike removed. There were very few trout.
It is particularly worthy of record that in June, a fish of 5lbs 4ozs, was killed by Major Filleul. The fish 22.5 ins in length and in very fine condition was taken on a B.W.O. on the Lower water between the Old Fishing Hut and Dead Mans Pool. The fish was landed at 11 o-clock at night.
Work was started on the new Charminster Sewage works above Gascoyne Bridge. The sewage main from the village was to cross the river just below the bridge, but work was postponed at the Club’s request until the end of the season.
A case occurred during the season of litter being left near the river bank on the Lower Water ( eggshells, paper bags and squash bottles). The Committee assume that no member of the Club will be responsible for such behaviour.
Weed growth was poor, particularly in places on the lower beats where the bed of the river was covered with brown, rotting algae. Strong winds from the middle of the season onwards very often made fishing difficult.
The hatches at Gifford’s Hatch were replaced by a sill which resulted in a lower level and faster flow along the Poundbury stretch.
Mr Larkham continues his conscientious and methodical work and members must be well aware of his ever watchful eye on the Club’s preserves.
In May Mr T.Larkham retired from his post as River Keeper, after 30 years devoted service. In July, at an informal gathering in the King’s Arms Hotel, the Chairman, Mr K.Marshall, presented him with a cheque from past and present members of the Club, and announced that the Club had granted him a pension of £1 a week.
John E. Crick of Mellstock Avenue was elected as the new Secretary.
The Annual Dinner was held at the King’s Arms in October, when twenty five members and their guests were present. These included Major Oliver Kite, the well known broadcaster, who gave a stimulating and entertaining talk.
The Annual Dinner was attended by Mr Frank Sawyer, whose advice on the fishery we have enjoyed in the past. He gave a valuable commentary on our waters, which he had inspected that day, and stimulated our ideas on fishery management.
In order to provide some addition to the sport in the slower reaches, and to add interest after mayfly, your Managing Committee decided to introduce a limited number of rainbow trout.
As yet U.D.N. has not appeared on this river; all members of the Club are asked to continue to encourage visiting fisherman to disinfect tackle and waders before fishing.
Proposals by the Wessex Water Board to abstract water from boreholes in the Sydling Valley, are being opposed by the Club.
The death of Douglass Pass, he joined the Club in 1941, was elected to the Committee in 1942, appointed Chairman of the Club in 1946 – 1960. In 1965, he gave the Club the fishing rights on the Upper Water
Hon. Secretary John Crick died in November and is a great loss to the Club and its Committee. His wife has kindly consented to carry on this part of the business.
The result of the Public Enquiry for the abstraction of water from the Sydling Brook was made known in September. The Minister refused the abstraction so that the water supply is maintained unaltered.
During May the drought started affecting the mayfly hatch and lasted throughout the season.
Fishing throughout the South of England was very bad in 1974. Two thousand 10″ fish were introduced into the Club water.
Sqn.Ldr. John J. Fisher was appointed Honorary Secretary.
The hatchery was closed down to save the Club from financial ruin.
The worst year in the history of the Club. The long drought, preceded as it was by the dry summer and winter in 1975. It is estimated that about 350-400 fish were lost.
The death of our Keeper, Fred Harris came as a great shock. The Club has been fortunate in obtaining the services of his son, Barry.
The Club’s financial positions is satisfactory and, subject to membership figures being maintained, your Committee hope to continue with a policy of regular restocking and fisher maintenance.
In the early part of the season fly hatches were average. In May and June fishing conditions were poor due to heavy rain and abnormal flooding.
Weed cutting has not been entirely satisfactory although liaison with the Water Authority has been good. There is unfortunately always a conflict of interest between drainage needs and fishery requirements.
Once again the River Wrackle fished well and produced the largest brown trout reported so far – 4lb 6ozs.
The number of Grayling appear to be on the increase above Bockhampton and these should provide good fishing during the latter part of the season for those members who are interested.
There were 200 x 12″ fish stocked into the Club’s water towards the end of June, and thanks are due to those who assisted in the distribution of the fish on that day.
On 28th April the Lower Water was electric fished and a large number of eels were removed, a fair number of Grayling were also removed, but the number of trout seen was disappointingly few.
There was a poor and short hatch of Grannom and the Mayfly season was much shorter than usual. Conditions were erratic and there was an abnormal number of days with high winds
John Grindle joined the Club and caught a 3lb 5oz brown during mayfly.
The grannom hatch was poor but mayfly lasted longer than expected with spasmodic hatches of fly.
Three week “letting on” period for river weed at the end of the season.
Leslie Carter (past chairman) who died in February made a bequest to the Club of the fishing rights of about 1,300 yards of double bank fishing to the east of the Lower Burton road. Which is now know as the Carter Water.
The Dorchester western bypass was started in April and crossed the Club’s water at Whitfield Hatches.
First year of electro fishing by Kingcombe Aquacare.
This season was the longest and driest summer since 1976. Several pools were dug on the Upper Water.
The committee were concerned about the proposed Poundbury farm development!
Neil Attryde died on 16th July, Neil was the Club’s most senior member, he had been a Town Rod from 1957, a Committee member from 1979 and a Trustee since 1985.
Mayfly was again spasmodic.
There was a weed cut for the first time in two years. The Dairy Stream on the Lower Water was no longer part of the agreement with Brigadier Floyer Acland.
Mayfly was generally poor & spasmodic!
Wessex Water Authority laid the pipe across the river at Fisherman’s Hut (Upper Water)
Maurice Pulleybank died on the 6th August, Maurice was a member of some 18 years, which time he was Honorary Treasurer for five years and a trustee for nine years.
Grannom hatches were good and mayfly started in the second week on May, which made for some fine fishing.
W.E.C.Mallam (Bill) died 4th August, Bill was a Club member for some 27 years during which time he was Chairman and Trustee (1976-81) and Honorary Member (1986-1994). Mrs Margery Mallam donated a sum of money in memory of her husband.
John Aplin was appointed as River Keeper with effect from 1st April 1995.
W.E.C.Mallam memorial seat was erected at Whitfield Hatches. The work was kindly undertaken by George Allan free of charge.
John Grindle was elected Honorary Secretary.
John Fisher was thanked for his twenty years service to the Club. (1975-1995)
First July Newsletter was produced.
Weed growth was excellent with cutting continuing throughout the season.
Mike Weaver fished the Club’s water for an article in Trout & Salmon.
Mike Weaver’s article in Trout & Salmon was published in January and a record number of day tickets were sold. The membership waiting list started to grow.
Mike Weaver gave an illustrated talk in March.
Club held a BBQ to celebrate it’s 120th anniversary. Many thanks to Peter Ward for contributing some most excellent beer.
Dorchester suffered its wettest April for 32 years.
Fencing was replaced on the Lower Water and installed for the first time on the Upper Water – Whitfield Hatches to Fishing Hut.
A casting Clinic was held in March.
BBQ was cancelled due to rain.
The AGM was held on a Saturday with two guest speakers – John Aplin and Dr Allan Frake from the Environment Agency.
Heavy winter floods washed away years silt, leaving sparkling gravel. The ranunculus also made a remarkable recovery.
Shared BBQ with Salmon & Trout Association.
Another 2,000 meters of fencing was installed – Loders Garage to Whitfield Hatches
New groynes at Blue Bridge.
Instream hatchery installed at Whitfield Hatches .
AGM held again on a Saturday with talks from John Aplin on river improvements and John Grindle talking about fishing in Colorado.
April & May were a complete washout.
First weed “let on” for many years.
Club’s internet site was created
River Cerne stretch was purchased
John Colton talked at the AGM. about his company from conception until present day – Kingcombe Aquacare
Dorchester Show held at Cokers Frome.
FOOT AND MOUTH – fishing was banned until 26th May and then with restrictions on the Upper Water.
Brian Pitman (Riverkeeper 1986-1995) died.
Water meadows on the Lower Water were restored.
Ron Meyers died 5th July – he had been a member since 1976 and served as Honorary Treasurer 1983-1994.
Low winter rain fall, but heavy rain in April May topped the river up nicely.
Club is donated a Thomas & Thomas rod by the Wild Trout Society for river improvement projects. Over £1,000 is raised from the raffle. Peter Ward won the rod.
Grayling spotted in the Upper Water.
Otter Holt was built on the Upper Water.
Upper Water fenced from Gascoyne Bridge down to the Fishing Hut.
Joe Tallents designs the new Club Logo and produced as a badge.
Lease of the Wolfeton Fishery.
First of the “new” members days.
Cycle path behind Loders garage was built.
Plenty of ranunculus and good hatches of grannom & mayfly.
AGM. switched back to a Monday night.
Richard Slocock joined the Managing Committee on their annual river walk.
Maurice Edwards died in February having joined the Club in 1958.
Extreme low rainfall left the Frome shrunken and desperate for winter rains.
River Frome appeal is launched to help salmon over two major obstacles, Loud’s Mill & Bindon Mill.
River improvements on both the Lower Water & Upper Water are planned. This will involve English Nature, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency.
Very cold start and the low winter rains were showing it’s effect. Floods during the start of mayfly season, but reports of some big fish being caught.
We shared a stand at the Dorset County Show this September. It was a very tiring three days and a lot of interest was generated from our pond dipping samples and casting displays.
The work to build a fish pass at Loud’s Mill has been put on hold after they encountered an engineering problem. The whole project is back in the melting pot, because of the increase in the costs – we sit and wait!!
The Loud’s Mill fish pass is now complete and it is a very impressive construction, it’s remarkable how slow the flow is at the bottom of the slope. It will be very interesting to see how many more salmon redds there will be above Dorchester in the coming years.
The summer was awful and broke all the records for the most rain during August, but a few hardier Members battled with the elements and caught some big fish.
The Club secures the lease on the Southover Farm fishery on the River Piddle.
John Grindle stands down as Honorary Secretary after thirteen years, with Richard Miller taking over the post.
The Club secured the purchase of the fishing rights at Wolfeton from Club member John Streeter during the summer.
Peter Leatherdale retired as Chairman that he has held since 1986. The incoming Chairman Bryan Sennett presented Peter with a travel rod, for his invaluable contribution to the Club over the past years.
River was low due to lack of rain and a general lack of Ranunculus Aquatics across the Club’s water. So much so we had several work parties to plant bunches of weed.
Rainfall for the months of June, July and August was a whopping 41 per cent above average, which meant the river was very high & coloured for long periods of the summer. July had the most media coverage ever for the Frome valley, a month’s rain in a few hours, horrendous flooding. Improvement work on the Lower Water & Poundbury continued in September.
New easy access stiles & footbridges built over the winter and paid for by the West Country Rivers Trust. The Lower Water was sold by the Floyer-Acland Estate and the new owner is Lord and Lady Fellowes. Thankfully our lease of this excellent water will continue.
Hopefully next year we will also see the welcome return of abundant weed growth on the lower water extending above Dorchester. Again the prospects look favourable, with patches of green across many gravel beds at the moment.
Sadly we said goodbye to Joseph Tallents – ‘Joe’ – 1938 – 2016, who died on the 15th September. He was a Member of the Club since 1988 and in 2010 he was made an Honorary Member for his long service with the Club. Read more about Joe
The Club is a private one, founded in 1877, of approximately sixty-four members and six Town Rod subscribers. The Club’s waters consist of about 12 miles of wild brown trout & grayling fishing in the main River Frome, River Cerne and River Piddle, together with attendant carriers and side streams. The waters extend both above and below the town of Dorchester and the Club employs a part-time keeper.
If you see any fishing, netting or trapping you think is illegal, please don’t tackle it yourself.
Contact the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60
For more details
Angling’s representative body, the Angling Trust, has a web site for anglers to record sightings of cormorants, goosanders and mergansers throughout the UK: www.cormorantwatch.com The site is easy to use and will gather vital data to help persuade government of the need for action to protect fisheries.