The Forty Foot

The Forty Foot Drain is considerably smaller compare to it’s bigger brothers, like the Middle Level and the Sixteen Foot. It starts at Welches Dam sluice just outside Chatteris and runs to Wells Bridge just outside Ramsey, where it joins the Old River Nene.

It contains a good head of zander especially at the Ramsey Forty Foot end and some very nice pike throughout.

There is also a good head of bream, tench and roach.

Most of it runs down the side of a busy road and can prove hazardous to get to. If you intend to give this a go, I would recommend you stick to the road bridges where you can park your car safely or the Ramsey Forty Foot end, where there is adequate parking.

Baits And Methods

Bream And Tench

Cage feeder tactics with a sweet ground bait mix laced with hemp and maggots are lethal here. I have had some cracking days in the summer especially when the tench are on the feed. Waggler tactics also do very well.

Pike And Zander

Sliding ledger tactics with dead course or sea baits do well. I have done very well, under the bridges, near supports or in the middle channel.

Chatteris working men’s club look after the Forty Foot Drain between Chatteris and Ramsey. Day tickets can be bought on the bank.

The Ramsey Forty Foot end is run by Ramsey Angling Club. I cannot find a website, but tickets can be bought on the bank.



39 Replies to “The Forty Foot”

  1. I really enjoy reading up on your website and follow your fenland fishing diary. I was just wondering if you’ve fished the forty foot at Ramsey recently and if you had any success.
    I fished it a couple of weeks back and struggled with just one lost fish.

    I look forward to your reply.

    1. Evening
      Sorry for the late reply been a bit of a hectic week. Glad you like my website and follow the diary. Not fished the forty foot at all this season. Been doing a lot on the 16ft, Great Ouse and local land drains. I have heard a few have been coming out, but not in quantity. At the moment there is a lot of water in it at the moment and very hard. I am determined to give it a go before the season is out though. I do hope this helps a bit.

  2. Evening
    Thanks for your reply as I was not really expecting one! I really enjoy fishing the drains, although it is sometimes a challenge to find an area that is fishable. I will be back there for sure and hope to snare a Ramsey zed, if you have any tips at all, I welcome all!

    1. Lol. No problem. I always try and reply to all my emails, even if it does take me a few days!
      Good luck and send me some photos if you are successful!

  3. Could you recommend a venue for catching zander of any size but with hopefully a decent fish or two? My friend and I are visiting for 3 days and night from the 11/7/14 any help would be most appreciated, kind regards Jeremy

    1. Hi Jeremy,
      Sorry I am late replying. Have been a bit hectic. Any way I hope you caught. If this helps, the Great Ouse can produce a few good fish, as well as the small ones. The Forty Foot Drain, has zander through out it’s length. I have had some good ones from there in the past.
      Hope this helps you for any future visits you have planned to the fens.

  4. Hi,
    Looking forward to some winter fishing and hopefully a good head of fish.
    I’m moving to Ramsey from Huntingdon.
    What would I be expecting to catch in the forty foot drain?
    I know of some decent pike there although I wont be able to travel as far as I want, due to having a bike


    1. Hi Adrian
      The Forty Foot has almost all the species of course fish, but is best known for it’s quality pike and zander fishing in the winter months.
      Hope this helps!

  5. How is Welches Dam fishing now for Pike? I went there this time last year and didn’t catch any. Spoke to a local who said a lot of the area had lost its Pike population due to people catching them to take home and eat. Was a very different experience to when I use to fish there 10yrs ago catching easily minimum 8 pike in a 5hr session.

    1. Hi Mike,
      Sadly, illegal netting and catching of fish including pike is still an issue in the fens and other areas of the UK. The EA and local angling clubs including some local police forces are all joined together, to try and combat the issue.
      The big pike are still out there, it just means more work and patience, to try and catch them. I have had a few double figure fish over the last couple of years, and seen plenty caught.
      As for Welches Dam, I haven’t heard much about this, for a while now. I’m sure the fish are there, just needs patience. Wandering approach probably best. Will probably have a go myself. Let me know how you get on, if you go back. Good Luck!

  6. Today we went past the Sixteen Foot Drain and saw so many pike anglers, with no success.
    So me and my mates stopped in forty foot for the pike and did some spinning but no luck.
    I think the water levels and last night freezing temperatures didn’t help.

  7. Hi 🙂
    My parents may be moving to chatteris this year, is there many zander still being called between there and ramsey? I have never caught one and I am really hoping to along here if they move.
    Many thanks

    1. Hi Jed,
      I am sure they are still there, but to be fair I haven’t fished for them in the forty foot for quite a while, but will make up for it this year.

      The best place to get your first zander, is probably the Ely town centre stretch of the Great Ouse. I have had a few PB’s from there and plenty of others.

      It also is where I caught my first zed. Good luck on your zander quest!

  8. Hi
    I was looking at fishing the Chatteris end of the forty foot. Are you able to camp on the bank as I would like to do a day and night fish looking for Zeds.


    1. Unfortunately the Forty Foot at the Chatteris end hasn’t got that much bank to be able to bivvy up for the night, as most of it is fenced of or by a busy road.
      Your best bet is the Ramsey Forty Foot end, but it depends on the angling clubs that look after it, whether they allow night fishing on there waters.

      If I go after the Zeds at night, I tend to just to stick with short evening sessions.

  9. Can you help?

    I know there used to be ‘fishing peg’ numbers/ markers along the forty foot bank but is anyone able to tell me if these are still visible or is there a reference I could access to find a specific area of the bank?

    Thank you.

  10. Hi,

    I’m down near Sleaford for a few weeks and always have a spinning rod in the boot.
    Is the Forty Foot Drain worth a visit or has it been decimated by people netting pike to eat?
    Is there anywhere else nearby that you could recommend for the odd day spinning to catch pike in the area?

    Not trying to steal your favourite swims, just a bit of advice for someone who doesn’t know the area very well.


    1. Hi Pete,

      I haven’t had a chance to get on the 40ft for the pike yet, and not heard much about it either.

      The pike are still there, as I spotted some nice ones chasing the shoals of Roach around, whilst on a tench session during the summer months.

      The best part to try is the Ramsey Forty foot stretch, as there is plenty of parking and it is bailiffed frequently aswell.

      If you struggle here, then you have the Old Nene nearby, 16ft drain and not miles away from the twenty foot (Bevills Leam) at Pondersbridge.

      Hope this helps and tight lines!

    1. Hi John,
      It looks like you are referring to the Twenty Foot Drain. You can get day tickets on the bank.
      Hope this helps!

  11. Hi,
    I have just booked a cottage near March for a week in Early September. I don’t have too much care about Zander and Pike but decent bags of bream and tench would be very welcome. Where in the drains would be good to try. Reading between the lines of your replies, it seems that bank access is not great. As an oldie, I don’t like to walk too far from the car!!

    1. Hi David,
      If you fancy a good bag of Tench and Bream, then I would suggest the twenty foot river at Whittlesey. Nearly all of it is accessible from the car, and not too far to walk. Another suggestion is the Middle Level drain.

      If you go to, you will find all the info you need here.

      Hope this helps!

  12. I have a licence from the environment agency to catch crayfish for personal consumption. Do you know which club runs the old river nene through benwick?

    1. Hi Paul,
      I think it may be Benwick Angling Club, but not sure as not fished it for a very long time.
      Your best bet is to contact Millview Fishing Tackle in March, they should be able to help you better than I can.

  13. Going on holiday soon near Skegness.
    I would like to catch a zander. the nearest river is the steeping are there any zander in there or where is the nearest drain or river.

  14. Hi,

    I love your site, it’s great for info. I’m thinking of trying out one of the drains this Saturday. I’m hoping to catch some nice bream, tench or roach, but anything that bites would be most welcome.

    I live in Huntingdon so the 40ft drain near Ramsey appeals for driving distance. But if it were you, where would you recommend? Something reasonably car accessible would be bonus of course, but I’m fairly flexible!

    If the 40ft or any other river is a good suggestion, then can you fish any section of it with a day ticket? Any hotspots? Without knowing the drain too well, the section where it meets the River Nene sounds like a good shout.

    Any advice from someone who knows what they’re talking about would be great!

    Thanks so much,


    1. Hi Adam,

      Sorry for late reply, but do have some info that could help for future visits.
      The 40ft is a good place to go, along the whole length and day tickets can be bought on the bank.
      However, most of it runs along the road, so can be a bit hazardous.
      The stretch at Ramsey 40ft is also good. Then there’s raveley drain, which I am hoping to visit myself this season.
      Hope this helps!

  15. Hi ,

    Really useful reading here.

    I’m hoping to do a day over Christmas with the step dad when I’m back from my studies. Have caught plenty of pike but never a Zander so the chance to slip the net under one would be good!

    Any recommendations on a good spot where day tickets are available and won’t be too busy? (Appreciate not many will be mad enough over Christmas to be on the drains ha)



    1. Hi Ryan,

      Really sorry for late reply, but I hope this info will help you for future planned visits.

      The Zander are getting more and more harder to track down in the fens, and I am not sure why.

      I have only had two over the last couple of years years, which is rather low, compared to what I am used to!

      However the Middle Level has produced a few this year. Worth a visit if you can.

      Link Below:

  16. Hi,
    I was thinking of going to the 40 foot on the 12th of February. I have not been before and I wondered if free to fish or pay day ticket ? The other thing obviously is it open to fish or will there be a match on as I have a long way to come.
    Many thanks Marc

    1. Hi Marc,
      The Forty Foot is controlled by two clubs. Ramsey AC and the Chatteris Working Mans Club. You can buy tickets on the bank from both sections.
      As for matches, I know the Ramsey AC hold quite a few matches on there section. As for Chatteris Working Mans Club, they do hold matches, but not as many.
      Hope this helps.

  17. Hi i was hoping to fish the 40 foot ,looking on the map i was thinking of the ramsey end near the George inn ? ,i was going to have a day spinning roving the bank for Pike /Perch your suggestions would be appreciated , I am not sure where i can park and will be travelling from nottingham thank you.

    1. Hi Brian,

      The area you are talking about is a very good area to fish. I fished it for the pike, during the lass few days of the last season, and had a cracking session. It belongs to Ramsey Angling Club, which look after the fishing in the area.

      As for parking, there is a green meadow on the opposite side to the pub, where you can park.

      Day tickets are also available on the bank.
      Hope this helps!

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