Salmon Fishing at Bisterne

To check the temperature of the water at Knapp Mill fish counter, click here.

Salmon fishing has a long heritage here at Bisterne, dating back some 200 years and yielding some typically large and deep Avon specimens. We have extensive records at the Manor.

Sir John Mills, the present owner’s grandfather, caught five fish in an afternoon, total weight over 100lbs. He later hosted the then Prime Minister – and luckily found him 3 fish. Very recently, one of our Rods caught 4 fish in an afternoon from one pool, and in 2021 a fish 46″ in length was caught. A 42″ fish caught later weighed in at 29.5lbs.

This year, 2022 is gathering momentum after a slow start. We have had 27.5, 13, 15, 11, 15 and 10 pounder fish caught so far at Bisterne, and some nice fish at Winkton.

We have a small paying syndicate who fish the three Bisterne beats in rotation, which is currently fully subscribed. We follow the Avon code on total catch-and-release. If you want to be considered, please kindly email the River Secretary, and ask to be put on the waiting list.


A glorious hand-tied “Popham” fly from about 1870, still with its original gut eye; a modern trout dry-fly to the right seems a pale parody of this fly-tier’s art.

The salmon catches on the Avon have improved greatly over the last few years – and it is not entirely clear which of the various factors are responsible: cleaner waters, less siltation from farms, cessation of weed-cutting, no netting  at Christchurch harbour, better policing of poaching, cleaner gravels or some factors external to the river such as less netting at sea.

in 2021, our star fish was a 46″ cock salmon caught on the Lower Beat. Using the usual tables, this theoretically converts to a 42lbs. salmon, but our honest assessment is that it was more likely a 35-pounder, as it was slightly red and out of condition. Still, nice to know that the famous Avon genetics are still around!

Two fine underwater shots of Avon hen and cock salmon, courtesy of Hugh Miles  ©