Ely Great Ouse

This is my local stretch of this great river. The fishing here is fantastic all year round.

In the summer, the town stretch is good, but can get very busy. It is best to fish here during the early morning or evening, that’s if you can get a space between all the boats!

I tend to fish the Coopers stretch during the summer months. This is basically a water meadow, about five minutes walk from the town centre. I have had some fantastic bream and tench fishing here. It also is much quieter than the town but you do get a few dog walkers. Best methods here are the waggler and feeder methods.

In the winter, the fishing is best in the town. All the roach and skimmers tend to shoal up here. The predators are also not far behind.

The pole and feeder do very well, this time of year. Try against moored boats, regularly throwing free offerings of maggots and small balls of ground bait. This works very well, especially if there is a bit of a flow. The moored boats act as a refuge for the fish.

Baits And Methods

All methods do well here, but if you want the better quality fish, feeder is by far the best method.

As for baits, double red maggot, sweet ground bait mixed with hemp does very well. Hemp and tares on the hook also do well. Especially if you are after some decent roach.

Pike And Zander

There are some decent pike and zander here. I have had pike just short of 20ib, and know of 25ib+ pike here.

A couple were caught over the last few years.

Baits And Methods

The best methods are patenostered or float fished  live baits and ledgered sea baits. Sardine and mackerel seem to do the business for me.

As for zander, you can catch them during the day on lures and baits, but I tend to do all my zander fishing at night. This is when the fish are at there most active and the area.

I have had a few lower doubles. There are a lot of schoolies here as well. Best baits are ledgered dead roach and live baits. The smaller the better. Also if you want to get your first zander, this is where I would go. I had my first ever zander here. That was a day to remember!

The fishing in the town is completely free. However if you want to fish the Coopers Stretch, you need a season or day ticket. Details below:

Day Tickets are £5 on the bank. Season Tickets are £10










28 Replies to “Ely Great Ouse”

  1. 30+ years ago I fished with a club that regularly booked matches on the Cresswells stretch.

    Is this stretch available on a day ticket?
    I’m thinking of having a few days revisiting some venues that I fished as a teenager with that club.

    1. Hi Neil,
      This stretch is still available on a day ticket, and it now belongs to coopers angling club. Day tickets are £5 on the bank or £10 for the year. It produces best in the summer which is when I fish it, but you do get the predators making there appearance in the winter. However, there are still regular matches most Sundays. Hope this helps!

  2. Hi there,
    Just wondering if you can confirm where abouts the free section of the Ely Ouse is please?
    And do you have any tips for pike?! Cheers

    1. Hi Ben.
      The free section of the Ely Ouse starts from the A142 bridge heading towards town. Keep following the river until you come to a second railway bridge and the fisherman’s car park.
      As for the pike, I tend to do well with a simple sliding ledger rig, using sea baits.
      Mackerel and Sardine seem to produce the most fish for me. Also coarse baits dead or alive, produce very well and of course the lure rod. Hope this helps.

      1. That’s great, many thanks. I took a walk down there today and looks like I will try and have a few spinning sessions!!

  3. Hi ya I would like to know when fishing starts this season plz as I went fishing the over day and I got told fishing season is over an I didn’t know as I would like to go fishing thank u

    1. Hi Robert.
      The river season starts again on June 16th.
      However, you can fish some still waters and some canals all year, but you MUST check with Angling Clubs who look after them first. If you don’t, you will face a nice hefty fine from the EA and risk having all your fishing tackle confiscated.
      Hope this helps, and tight lines!

  4. Hello mate, do you or anyone else know of any affordable dayboat / small dory hire on the fens? Want to get out for the day with the old man for his birthday and get amongst the pike.


    1. Hello Rhys,
      To be honest, I am not sure of many day boat hire places in the fens. Don’t understand why, as the fishing in the fens and there is potential for this sort of business.
      I suppose the best place to try would be Denver Sluice. There is a guy in Ely who does boat hire, but only has one boat and I do not even know if he hires out in the winter months.
      Sorry I cannot be much more help.

    1. Hi Thomas,
      This stretch can be night fished, but be prepared to be disturbed by dog walkers and possibly boats trying to moor up. Despite this, worth a shot.
      There is space for a bivvy, but some areas can be tight. Better off setting a bivvy up in the coopers stretch. Hope this helps.

  5. Hi
    Can you put me on any hot spots for quality Roach on the lark and is it worth join local clubs to gain access .
    I live in Mildenhall and was told the prickwillow strech was one to try, being i was spoilt moving away from Bournemouth area and the River Avon.
    Any advice most welcome
    tight lines
    terry davis

    1. Hi Terry,
      Prickwillow is very good stretch to try.
      It seems to be at it’s best in the winter months. Most of the quality roach, tend to shoal up by the bridge.
      The River Lark in Mildenhall itself, has been known to produce some surprises aswell.
      It is worth joining the Cambridge Fish Preservation And Angling Society (http://cambridge-fpas.co.uk/). They look after the fishing in Prickwillow and other quality waters in the area, including the River Cam and Great Ouse. You can also get tickets on the bank.
      Hope this helps!

    1. Hi Nat,
      Some lakes are open all year, depending on the angling clubs that run it.
      However, all rivers and drains are closed until June 15th.
      When the season is open again, the fishing can be very productive in the Ely area.
      Hope this helps!

  6. Hi John

    I will be holidaying near the Great Ouse, Littleport, at the end of June and intend to fish on the river for Zander.
    Is it worth fishing for them in that area?
    If so, any tips that you could give me would be much appreciated.

    If the Ouse is unsuitable, could you recommend somewhere close by where I might catch my first Zander?
    Kind regards and thanks in anticipation.

    1. Hi Tony,

      The Great Ouse is by far your best bet, to catch a Zander or two. It is where I have had most of my Zeds.
      The best times I tend to find are either, dusk, dawn or through the night. You do also get them through the day, but I have found this to be not very often.
      The Littleport area is also a good fish holding spot.
      Hope this helps!

  7. Finally fished the Coopers stretch, £10 is a bargain for membership. Only took a few roach/skimmers but will give it another crack.

    How do you set your feeder rigs? I get some issues with them tangling, normally I have a cage feed on a snap swivel on my main line, a bead, another swivel and then my hook like tied on.

    Are you using the lift for tench? I’m looking for a good venue for a night session on the feeder / float. I need a big fish for your gallery 😉



  8. Hi John, I posted on 29th of May. I visited the G Ouse in June and had my first Zander and then the following evening a 7lb 4oz fish. Thanks for your help. I will be back next year, Tony.

  9. Hi John, was aiming to make a trip from London and aim to fish the stretch below the A142 bridge in the oposite direction to the town. Are day tickets available for this on the bank? Cannot find exactly where the Coopers AC stretch is unless this is part of that?


    1. Hi Alan,
      The Cooper AC stretch is back towards town.
      Keep following the footpath along the river until you come to a second railway bridge.
      It is just the other side. The nearest road to it is Willow Walk. Parking at he bottom.
      If you come in from willow walk, go left under the railway bridge.

  10. Hi John,
    Do you tend to fish the swims that are more towards the railway bridge? I had a go up the far end where they are building the boathouse but didn’t get a single knock. I’ve got next Friday off so just trying to decide if I should fish the Coppers stretch or Prickwillow.



    1. Hi Joe,
      The area I use a drop shot setup, is usually the Great Ouse in Ely.
      Plenty of areas to try. The rail bridges and around moored boats, will be your best bet.

      Hope this helps!

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