MID Cheshire offers a wealth of opportunities for natural coarse fishing which anglers the length and breadth of the country would give their eye-teeth to have on their doorstep.

Whether it’s trotting for specimen chub in the mid and lower River Dane; dead-baiting for monster pike in a crisp frost on the River Weaver; or even casting a dry fly for surface feeding rudd on one of county’s famous shallow meres - there really is something for everyone.

Perhaps you’ve been thinking about that rod, reel, and landing net gathering cobwebs at the back of the shed for a year or two, or maybe you’re a more regular angler who’s stuck in a rut of expensive stocked commercial waters. Why not make this weekend memorable, and get yourself out for a few hours on some of Cheshire’s spectacular wild waters.

Just one wild fish caught on your local river in a few hours after work is worth a whole keepnet-full of pasty-sized carp from an over-fished, expensive commercial water. Trust me.

River Dane, Northwich

Northwich Guardian: A beautiful River Dane chub caught by Graham Edwards on a brief evening visitA beautiful River Dane chub caught by Graham Edwards on a brief evening visit (Image: Graeme Edwards)

Most of the Dane’s fishing is controlled by well-run local angling clubs, with nearly all  offering easily bought and inexpensive day tickets for the occasional or out-of-town fishermen.

Both banks of the stetch between Northwich town centre and the viaduct are controlled by Northwich Anglers, along with the right bank from the viaduct up to the A556.

Access is easy from either the Dane Valley, or the Memorial Court car park.

If you’re a bit rusty, simple feeder fishing for chub with maggots and bread can be very effective, especially if the water is slightly up and coloured. For the more experienced, and when the water is a bit lower, long trotting will let you to search every nook and cranny of the swim, and will really trigger those hunting instincts as you test your float control skills.   

River Weaver, Winsford

Northwich Guardian: Cheshire 'perch maestro' Michael White knows a thing or two about catching perch on a spinner Cheshire 'perch maestro' Michael White knows a thing or two about catching perch on a spinner (Image: Michael White)

While the Weaver around Northwich is canalised and can be fished like a still water, if you’re looking for adventure, head south and get a day tick from Winsford and District Anglers.

Targeting pike with a spinner is a winter activity: they tend to attack more fiercely in summer, leading to deep-swallowed baits which can be dangerous for the fish – and for the fisherman.

However, a smaller spinner cast for perch at quieter times – when you won’t get in anyone’s way - can give fantastic summer sport. And nothing could be simpler and more active than patrolling the snaggier reaches with a small spinner setup.  

Perch love structures, both manmade and natural, so fishing around Newbridge Island, just north of Compass Minerals in Bradford Road, can offer fantastic sport.

And if you see schools of small roach fluttering across the surface, that's certainly the place to cast.

If that gets your juices flowing, return after October with heavier gear and try for a big pike in the same area. Dead baits under a big float work well too.

UPDATE: As of June 1, 2023, Winsford Anglers no longer sell day tickets. Full membership costs £50 per year, and gives access to all their waters. 

Shakerley Mere, Knutsford

Northwich Guardian: Kevin Hall proves bream come in big numbers, if lady luck is on your sideKevin Hall proves bream come in big numbers, if lady luck is on your side (Image: Kevin Hall)

Cheshire’s still waters have just as much to offer anglers as its wonderful rivers.

Controlled by Lymm Angling Club, Shakerley Mere is a renowned carp water, with fisherman travelling miles to bag one of its 30lb plus carp and 40lb plus catfish.

But for the more causal angler, the lake’s specimen bream are a great species to target. They may not be the hardest fighting species, but a five-pounder is still a treat to land, and when you get in amongst a shoal, the fishing can be truly none-stop.

Even large bream have relatively small mouths and are known to be tackle shy. Try to stick to fairly natural baits, maybe a couple of maggots under a small waggler float, and don’t forget to catapult a few in every so often to get the attention of a cruising shoal.

As bream often disturb the bottom as they feed, large areas of discoloured water with bubbles are a good sign you’ve chosen the right spot.

Day tickets cost just £5 for a single rod and can be easily bought online.