The River Rea - Shrewsbury

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The General

The River Rea - Shrewsbury

Post by The General » Sat Nov 07, 2015 11:59 am

I was wondering if anyone on the forum has fished or still fishes the River Rea (pronounced Ree), better known by locals as the Rea Brook. It rises in Marton Pool and flows for 20 miles before entering the Severn near the English Bridge, Shrewsbury. This was the water on which I cut my teeth as an fisherman. Back in the early 1960s it had a good diversity of fish, including excellent chub, splendid shoals of dace, reasonable roach, a few perch and the odd pike, it also held brown trout. At Meole it was never wide nor very deep, it was predominantly streamy water, with some quieter pools, not least the famous 'waterfalls' at Meole Brace, mill sluices leading into a large tree-lined pool. Thanks to the vandalism of the Severn Trent Water's anti-flood scheme this pool was literally wiped off the map, the trees cut down, and the river there lined with unsightly stone-filled gabions.

I wrote about the Rea Brook in two Waterlog articles, the first in Summer 2007, no 60, p.87 Rea-markable, and the sequel in Winter 2008, No.66, p. 88, And the Falls Came Tumbling Down. I should add that the rod I mentioned in the first article, I now know to have been a MARCO (Modern Arms Company).

The river's wildlife was rich and abundant, with a very large 'water rat' (water vole) population, and so we were told, though I never saw one, otters. Birds included sand martins, moorhens, kingfishers, grey and yellow wagtails.

If you have fished the Rea, or still do, I would love to read your memories. Are the stories true that I hear about grayling in the Rea and barbel too?

The picture below is not one of mine, I found it on a blog here: ... own-trout/
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Re: The River Rea - Shrewsbury

Post by Paul D » Sat Nov 07, 2015 1:19 pm

What a delightful looking river General :Hat:
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Re: The River Rea - Shrewsbury

Post by Kingfisher » Sat Nov 07, 2015 5:09 pm

I fished it once or twice when I was younger with a friend who took me to fish it at Meole Brace but that was years ago and I can't remember that much about it. I do remember we stopped fishing it and favoured fishing the severn at the park in Shrewsbury and also Atcham on the (I think) LDW stretch, which is where I caught my first Barbel at 8lb 4oz.

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Re: The River Rea - Shrewsbury

Post by Plot36 » Sat Nov 07, 2015 7:25 pm

I've never fished it but a friend of mine used to fly fish it and caught many a wild brown trout. I'll ask him if he ever had a grayling.


Re: The River Rea - Shrewsbury

Post by Rock1nRobin » Tue Nov 10, 2015 3:23 pm

I fished this delightful little river for the first time earlier in the year on a short session whilst on holiday. Found a nice spot where I could get in to the river and wade downstream. Found it to be choc full of grayling, nice ones too, many netters although nothing much over a pound, plus the odd trout and chublet which made for a really nice day.

The General

Re: The River Rea - Shrewsbury

Post by The General » Thu Nov 12, 2015 4:04 pm

Thanks to all who have responded. Well, it seems that this little river is being transformed from a predominantly coarse fish river to a game fish environment. It used to be a great chub river, with free-lined worms, crust and bread paste being the best baits. A 2lb fish was not unusual and the best I landed was a tad over 4lbs, more than once bigger fish smashed my usual 4lb BS line.

Overall, I think I'm sorry to hear about the change, though not surprised that introduced grayling - unknown in my day - are thriving, as they are in other south Shropshire tiny rivers, like the Clun. Next spring or summer I'll have a day there, hopefully, and try to rekindle old memories.


Re: The River Rea - Shrewsbury

Post by Rock1nRobin » Thu Nov 12, 2015 7:55 pm

That's interesting General as I just assumed it was always a Grayling river as like you say many are up there. Lovely little river.

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Re: The River Rea - Shrewsbury

Post by Shropshire Lad » Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:49 pm

I learned to fish on this little brook in the 1970s around the Bayston hill & meole brace areas, it used to have a much more diverse variety of fish in back in the 70s and early 80s huge dace to the 1lb mark lots of chub 1lb-3lb with the odd bigger fish nice roach, eels ,minnows, large gudgeon, bullheads and stone loach also the odd brown trout but I think the club at hook-a-gate put these in, also I would see quite a few water voles back then. Then disaster struck I think it was 1985 it was badly polluted with slurry from a farm and pretty much destroyed the river. I remember seeing all the dead fish and shedding a tear it was in the school holidays, also when the new by-pass was constructed my favourite chub swim was gouged out of existence and turned into a lifeless canal like stretch. I have fished it on occasion notably last season and caught a few grayling but the river is a shadow of what it once was, the smaller species such as millers thumbs, stone loach and gudgeon just did not come back after the terrible pollution in 1985.

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