The Middle Level rivers provide some of the best coarse fishing in the country and are regularly used for various National Championships.

The Commissioners issue Notes providing further details of the fishing facilities.

Of the major watercourses of the Middle Level, some, such as the Old Nene, are regarded as riparian owned and the fishing rights will normally be vested in the relevant land owners.

Others are owned by the Middle Level Commissioners and details of our current fishing tenants are set out below.   In addition there is free public fishing adjacent to March Town Bridge.


Many Middle Level waterways have public footpaths along the banks, which are relics of old towpaths.

The Hereward Way long distance footpath also crosses the area. Some public cycleways run across or alongside Middle Level property.


Swimming in rivers, or wild swimming, is becoming more and more popular. This is an activity controlled by our byelaws. Currently we are not requiring swimmers to contact us before entering the water but the Middle Level Commissioners reserve the right to remove consent for swimming on any or all lengths of Middle Level Waters at any time.

Swimming is neither encouraged or discouraged within Middle Level waters and anyone who does so is swimming at their own risk. Below is some advice provided which may be of assistance to those who choose to swim.

  • 100 miles of the Middle Level system is navigable so expect to see power craft almost wherever you go, the busiest sections and therefore the ones ideally avoided are on the link route between Stanground and Salters Lode – see red route on the plan.
  • If you are entering water from private land you should first seek the land owner’s permission.
  • Boaters are unlikely to be expecting to see swimmers so keep to the edge and stay clear of boats when they pass.
  • The system is fished and you should be aware that fishermen and their equipment may be present.
  • You should make yourself as visible as possible, use a tethered buoy and bright swimming cap at all times.
  • Don’t swim alone if possible, as having another person with you will help if you find yourself in trouble.
  • There are around 80 pumping stations (which are unattended and automated), together with inlets, outlets, weirs and other structures. Steer well clear of these as there may be currents, some hidden to the eye (undercurrents). The locations of pumping stations can be found on the plan below.
  • You should be aware that there may be submerged obstacles not visible, these can be but are not limited to, eel traps and fly tipped rubbish.
  • Reed fringes and other flora and forma can be a vibrant habitat for water voles, otters, nesting birds and other creatures. It is illegal to disturb nesting birds or the homes of water voles, please take care and look after your environment. It is especially important to take away anything you have brought with you, please don’t leave litter.
  • Plan your entry and exit route before entering the water. Be aware that the banks of our water can be high and relatively steep and on occasion slippery.
  • Jumping or diving from any lock, bridge, or other structure not specifically designed for swimming is dangerous and strictly prohibited.