The upper Colne

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FloatFisher
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The upper Colne

Post by FloatFisher » Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:14 pm

Hello folks. I moved to Bushey, Herts in 1958, at the age of 11. It didn't take long to discover that just over the hill from where I lived, Bushey Mill lane crossed the River Colne, exactly at the point where the ancient Bushey Mill had been in earlier times. All that was left then was what I think was the old mill house, but upstream from this was a small weir, which I guess was to hold the water back so a head of water could be created to run down a leat and drive the mill. The shallows down from the weir were full of minnows, which we would take for live bait to catch perch from Elstree res. The weir pool had some bigger fish but I couldn't say what they were, I hooked one once but lost it. But above the weir, on the stretch up toward the new M1 which was under construction at the time, the water was much deeper, and held what we thought then were huge fish, half pound perch and roach, and my old mate Ray Croucher had a one and a half pound chub! Ironically the 1881 census shows Crouchers resident at Bushey Mill, but poor old Ray knew nothing of that!

All this has gone now, and due to re-alignment of the river, the destruction of the weir and water abstraction, that part of the upper Colne looked like a stagnant pool last time I looked. A shame for this to happen to a once sparkling little river, but I guess a common story.

Does anyone else have memories of this small stretch of river?

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Paul D
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Re: The upper Colne

Post by Paul D » Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:34 pm

Fished it around three years ago on the recommendation of Bill Rushmere ,not a touch, found it rather depressing, think you've sadly described it accurately. :Hat:
" I have no intention of changing my habits and fully intend to become even more weird as I age."
The Old Buffer

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Olly
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Re: The upper Colne

Post by Olly » Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:22 pm

The bottom end has/had a really good head of barbel a few years ago. Whether they are there now or eaten by otters I don't know.

However I will ask Bill over Xmas when I see him.

The Colne seems to have gone the same way as other Thames tributaries, Rib, Chess, Misbourne, Windrush, etc

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MGs
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Re: The upper Colne

Post by MGs » Fri Dec 16, 2016 1:18 pm

Even the middle reaches are a shadow of their former selves. They use to hold a good head of mixed species, but my last trip there yielded the same depressing results as you have found upstream
Old car owners never die....they just rust away

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Olly
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Re: The upper Colne

Post by Olly » Fri Dec 16, 2016 5:01 pm

I just found this in another website - posted today - when asking about barbel near the M25!

"""Any club with a stretch of the Colne, good little river with some lovely barbs""

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MGs
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Re: The upper Colne

Post by MGs » Fri Dec 16, 2016 6:07 pm

The lower end of the river was overrun by barbel and chub last time I was there. I fished it every week for 4 years and the only thing I caught apart from barbel and chub was a single 6lb bream.
Old car owners never die....they just rust away

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FloatFisher
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Re: The upper Colne

Post by FloatFisher » Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:42 pm

Hello again, I do think that back in the day this stretch of the Colne was not widely fished, it's not very far from the source I believe, certainly at the time the bit above the weir I've described, which ran off into Wall Hall college grounds, closer to Aldenham, grew increasingly shallow and more difficult to fish. Only a little downstream, the river flowed around the back of some old factories close to Water Lane in Watford, this stretch was fishless, then it flowed off by Hamper Mill, but to a few kids on bikes this was difficult to fish, ie too many adults told us to **** off! It was a very short and unique stretch. I suppose all us kids fishing the way our little gang did would have been seen as something akin to poachers! A scruffy crowd of erks on bikes with rods stringed onto crossbars and ex Army rucksacks from Simbles of Queens Rd Watford on their backs.

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FloatFisher
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Re: The upper Colne

Post by FloatFisher » Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:47 pm

And again, once the Colne has exited the environs of the Cess pit that is now Watford, toward Rickmansworth, it is in many ways a better cleaner river than it was, particularly when the gasworks was operating down at Bushey Arches and discharging effluent into the river.

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Mitch300
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Re: The upper Colne

Post by Mitch300 » Mon May 01, 2017 6:58 pm

Now there's something we have in common. I too starting fishing as one of a group of scruffy kids on bikes with rods stringed onto crossbars, but on the Colne at Thorney Mill near West Drayton---a stickleback paradise. Fortunately, no-one seemed too bothered by our `fishing' (interspersed with tree climbing, stone skimming, fort building, etc.) as the serious anglers had so many better places to go to in that area. Then we branched out to other free stretches like the Slough arm of the Grand Union and the Thames at Datchet and gradually became real anglers. We should celebrate scruffy kids on bikes having fun outside. There are all too few of them today.

G. B.

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FloatFisher
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Re: The upper Colne

Post by FloatFisher » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:38 pm

Found this lovely picture of the Colne at Watford, I would think pre 14-18 war.
River Colne Watford.jpeg
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