River Nene Carp Fishing, Billing

A 2-mile stretch of river that contains more 30's than most of the lakes in the area.

River Nene, Weston Mill, Billing to Cogenhoe

Day ticket or syndicate: Day ticket but you probably won't see a bailiff
How much?: £3-£8
How do I get a ticket?: On the bank
How busy is it?: Empty other than match anglers
Can you drive to the swims?: A handful can be parked behind, in Billing Aquadrome for example.
On site facilities: None, unless you're inside Billing Aquadrome.
Nearest tackle shop: Billing Aquadrome
Average size: 12-18lb
Max realistic size: High 30's
Realistic catch rate: 0-2 per session
Best swims: Wherever you see fish or pre-bait
Best method: Stalking or pre-baiting several spots.
Best bait: Big baits to avoid bream, Boilies and Nuts.
Ideal fishing range: 0-20 yards
Strange rules you should know: Billing Aquadrome bailiffs are often not happy for you to fish nights, depending on who you get, despite it being permitted.
Skill level to catch: Intermediate/Advanced
Location: Weston Mill - Cognenhoe, Northamptonshire.

River Nene carp fishing, Weston Mill to Cogenhoe

I grew up right next to the Nene at Billing and although I came to fish it for carp late, I can only say I’m absolutely shocked by the amount of carp it holds.

A great stretch with loads of features on both sides to go at, for those willing to put in the effort there are some unknown huge fish to be caught.

Typically empty of carp anglers, the Nene around Billing Aquadrome is one of the best chances of a wild 30 in the country.

- Danny Chapman

What do I need to know?

The Nene around Billing Aquadrome has always been a favourite of local carp anglers, one that many will tell you they ‘will fish at some point’ and rarely end up doing so.

But, those that can find a way to combat the strange antics of the bailiffs on Billing Aquadrome, the hoards of bream, the pleasure anglers and the lack of accessibility are rewarded greatly.

Anglers have reported multiple 30’s (and a couple of quietly kept secret 40’s) caught in this stretch and the fish are mint, I mean absolute belters, proper Nene valley originals.

The majority of these fish were stocked decades ago into the lakes within the Aquadrome or to Ecton Lakes which is further downstream and have escaped over the years of flooding.

Anyone who has read up on the history of the stocking at either of these venues will be fully aware of why the fish are belters.

The stretch between the Billing Mill pub (including the marina) and upper end of Billing Aquadrome is certainly home to at least half a dozen 30+ fish with lots of others.

Which if you consider this area is probably only a dozen or so acres of water, it makes it one of the most highly stocked waters in the area.

I have personally witnessed 3 or 4 different large commons and several mirrors in this range, if not bigger, under my feet and have been witness to and seen photos of anglers landing several different fish over 30lb – usually commons – most off the top in the summer months.

With some pre-baiting on the far bank margin you can have them rooting around and watch them clearly within a few days and instantly draw up a picture of what fish are resident in your chosen stretch.

In recent years I’ve snuck in a few nights within billing and banking a few fish on each occasion.

With a few days pre-baiting you have a good chance, the central channel is nearly all gravel and very productive as boats cruise by.

Start with drawing in ALL fish species, use pellets and boilies of all sizes mixed with some tigers, bigger boilies and maize – this will attract all fish to the area, included the carp and get them clearing the area.

As the days go by stop with the bream-inducing baits and stick to the bigger stuff to keep the carp coming back.

Use strong, robust rigs and big baits you will catch consistently.

For me though, it’s a big undertaking to winkle one of these fish out and this is why they are only caught by roaming summer anglers fishing the surface.

It is very difficult to target an area consistently and this leads to people not sticking to it or shying away.

Others choose to fish the upper or lower stretches, which although have less fish in my experience, are more accessible and you can rely on being able to fish.

Largely this is because of the strange rules, irregular bailiffs and inconsistency on the Aquadrome itself. As an example, I have been turfed off the day after being invited by . the head bailiff to fish it by a security guard in the depths of night.

You get similar issues fishing the Billing Mill area, the rules are not set and there is no clarity of what you can and cant do or fish.

Your only sure-fire way of fishing this stretch unhindered by strange bailiffs and get some consistency in your fishing is to target the Marina lake on the Billing Aquadrome complex or venture up or down stream, towards Weston Mill or Cogenhoe respectively.

Fishing the garage bank of the Marina has been productive for many, as has the stretch between the top of Billing Aquadrome and the Weston Mill,  with bout outside of the control of the Aquadrome.

Beware if you’re on the garage bank of the marina, this area is not only covered in goose crap and the animals that dropped it permanently, it’s also a hotspot for the local boy racers of a night time.

If I was targeting this area again I’d travel light and fish the far bank of the river, parking down one of the lanes accessible around Little Houghton, keeping myself hidden at night.


Don’t go to the River Nene without these:


Chappers has been angling since he was five and has spent the last 10-years fishing across the World. Catching carp to 60lb, wild Arapaima to 400lbs, Siamese carp over 200lb, Maekong Catfish to 250lb and 100lb Redtail catfish.

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