History of the Norfolk & Suffolk Flyfishers' Society
The Norfolk and Suffolk Flyfishers' Society is steeped in history. Read on to find out how it all began and how they found their home in the idyllic lakes of East Tuddenham.
In 1974 several keen fly fishermen met in The Kings Head on Yarmouth Road, Norwich. Their plan was to find a lake or lakes close to Norwich that could support trout fishing. The group included Colin Parnell, Stan Appleton, Peter Gooch, Ron King and John Burton-Pye. It was decided to form a Society and adverts were placed in the EDP and EEN to recruit members. In the early days before waters were found, holidays were arranged to Denmark along with trips to Rutland Water and other reservoirs and monthly meetings were held.
In 1975 a suitable lake was rented at Great Moulton and members were invited to take out the usual rods and half rods. Because of restrictions placed by the landlord on the number of anglers allowed to fish at any one time, fishing had to be on a nominated day only and to change it was almost impossible. With an increasing membership in the late 70’s and difficulties in scheduling ‘fishing slots’ it was decided to seek additional waters in the area.
A move to East Tuddenham
In 1978, Neil Alston was approached regarding the construction of a lake at East Tuddenham. A survey was carried out and a model built showing the proposals. The lake was constructed by William Moorfoot during the later part of 1978 and allowed to flood, reaching its designed level on December 14th. Adverts in local papers attracted new members and the lakes opened on April 1st 1979 for members only, being stocked with 200 rainbows, generously paid for by Mr Alston as Society funds were low. With membership slowly growing, sadly most of the stock was lost in 1982 to an outbreak of eye fluke and Simon Harrop advised restocking with brown trout as these are not susceptible to the disease. To fund this scheme it was decided to introduce day tickets.
In 1986, blue green algae bloomed but barley straw was added to reduce its growth.
In 1990 with restrictions on its use and several years losses, it was decided to close Great Moulton and Neil Alston was approached regarding the construction of another lake at East Tuddenham and once again William Moorfoot set to work and the second lake duly opened in 1993.
Membership over the years has fluctuated due to fashion and the economic climate but day ticket sales have always remained healthy, as the lakes are regularly stocked with very good quality fish.
We have always encouraged a wide spectrum of age and experience in The Society and we are very proud to have enjoyed the membership and company of possibly the only still active fly fisherman in the country to have received his centenarian birthday card from The Queen – our very own Percy Norton. While at the other end of the age range, we particularly encourage youngsters to take up ‘The Gentle Art’ through our very popular ‘Try the Fly’ campaign and the Fishing4Schools scheme.
To date we have had eight Fishery Managers – the present one being Ray (Trout Magnet) Hopkins who recently took over from Ella Websdale, who bravely took on the post after we sadly lost her husband Derek, who for many years was the first face of The Society that visitors to his beloved lakes met – with the kettle on, bags of advice and a great big smile. We now have a very keen and enthusiastic committee in place who are all determined to see The Society flourish and be run the way the members want it and with even more anniversaries and milestones to look forward to. Long may that continue...
Tony Hull (Chairman)