A Brief History of the ATAA
The Association was formed in 1876 with the declared objective of 'preserving such parts of the River Avon and its Tributaries as may be arranged for.' It is difficult to be precise as to the extent of the fishing at that time as the Associations records were destroyed by enemy action in the Bristol Blitz of 1940; but a map of the waters, which can be dated to 1920, shows that the fishing on the Avon and the Frome were as at today, with a short stretch of the Midford Brook from County Bridge on the B3108 up to Tucking Mill.
In 1876 the total membership was restricted to 200 but it is not known whether that figure was ever reached. In 1922 the limit was reduced to 100 but by 1927 membership had dropped to 41. Over the years the limit has been increased from 75 to the present 175 full subscribing members together with concessionary members, junior members, honorary and life members.
The increase in the limits on membership reflect in part the extension of the available fishing. We were fortunate in being able to purchase the rights on a good stretch of double bank on the Cam and single bank on the Wellow in 1967 for the sum of £425. Later purchases include the other bank on The Wellow and more recently the land,with fishing rights, below the garages at Midford down to the flume. We now own or rent 8 miles of double bank and 4 miles of single bank fishing.
In 1928 the then President, J. Arthur Palethorpe, purchased the ponds adjacent to Dunkirk Mill and presented them to The Association to enable us to rear our own stock trout. The ponds operated with varying degrees of success until they fell into disuse during the war. They were reopened some time after the war and enabled The Association to stock 3000 - 4000 good sized (at times 3 lb plus) brown and rainbow trout each year. Unfortunately the water supply to the ponds diminished year by year to the point where a few years ago we ceased to use them and redesigned the stocking programme. Regulation changes also led to only rainbow trout being stocked.
The Association established the Five Valleys Trust in 2000 with the declared objective of conserving and improving the natural habitat of the valleys in the Freshford and Midford areas. This has resulted in the establishment of a healthy wild trout population on the brooks. The stretches on the Upper Wellow and Cam operate successfully on a 'catch and release' basis.
We are fortunate to enjoy the services of a Keeper who now works with small groups of volunteers on bank clearing, maintenance and stocking each year. This has enhanced both the habitat and access to the fishing whilst promoting the sense of the ATAA being a members' club.