Middle Earth Angling Guide

The Baranduin River System

Lake Nenuial lies beneath the Hills of Evendim in central Eriador and is the source of the River Baranduim.  The ruins of Annuminas, the ancient royal city of Arnor, lie on its southern shores.

The River Baranduim (Golden Brown River) begins at Lake Nenuial flows into Great Sea north of Eryn Vorn.  The Baranduim's major tributaries include: Shirebourn, Stock-brook, Water, Withywindle.  The Braraduin forms the eastern boundary of the Shire where its hobbit inhabitants call it the Brandywine.  Brandywine Bridge is on the eastern border of the Shire and is where the East Road crosses the River. Bucklebury Ferry is raft-ferry, and the main crossing point of the River Brandywine from the Shire to Buckland, after the Brandywine Bridge.  Sarn Ford is the stony ford on the River Baranduin, on the far southern borders of the Shire.

Shirebourne: copyright (c) 2002 Kent Krumvieda
Shirebourne (c) 2002 Kent Krumvieda

The River Shirebourn begins in the uplands of the Green Hill Country, from where it flows south and then southeast.  At Willowbottom, it meets the Thistle Brook, and then flows eastwards until the Shirebourn itself meets the Brandywine.  The Shirebourn flows into the Brandywine beneath Deephallow, and at its mouth forms the boggy region known as the Overbourn Marshes, opposite the southern end of the High Hay.

The Stock-brook begins in the forested hills above Woody End, and flows eastwards and a little northwards out into the fields of the Marish.  It then passes through the southern end of the village of Stock, from which it takes its name and empties into the Brandywine a few miles north of Bucklebury Ferry.

Thistle Brook flows southeast round Woody End and through the village of Willowbottom before its waters empty into the River Shirebourn.

The Water begins in the North Moors of the Shire, and flows southeastwards 65 miles to Hobbiton where it turns east to meet the Brandywine just north of the Brandywine Bridge.  Long Cleeve, Needlehole, Hobbiton, Bywater, and Budge Ford stand on the shores of this river.  Long Cleeve is a village in the North-Farthing in the Shire near the North-Moors and the source of The Water.  The village of Needlehole is approximately 35 miles downstream of Long Cleeve and five mile north of the Rushock Bog.

Hobbiton is a large town in the central regions of the Shire, and was the residence of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.  The village of Bywater lies about 4 miles east of Hobbiton on the southern side of Bywater Pool.  Bywater has two nice inns, the Ivy Bush and the Greendragon.  Rushock Bog is a small marsh formed where The Water slows and spreads out covering around 15 square miles.  Bywater Pool is a small lake (approx. 1250 acres) formed by the confluence of The Water and an unnamed stream flowing south from the North Farthing.  Seventeen miles downstream of Bywater The Water splits into two streams and 5 miles later rejoins with an unnamed island in the middle.  Seven miles below the unnamed island is Budgeford. Budgeford is a small town in Bridgefields lying about 10 miles west of the Bridge of Stonebows.

Thewater: copyright (c) 2002 Kent Krumvieda
Thewater (c) 2002 Kent Krumvieda

The cold water from the North Moors gradually warms as it makes its way to the Baranduim.  The Rushock Bog supplies prodigious populations of midges and mayflies to feed the various species of fish in The Water.  Depending on location brooktrout, pike, greyling, catfish, bass, bluegill and crappie can be found.  The Water provides fishing year-round because the water temperature remains fairly constant throughout the year.  The volume of water in the river at any given time is hard to predict because of the demand for irrigation.  The water level fluctuates with the lowest water during the winter and the heaviest in the spring and early summer.  Flows vary from 600 cfs to 2000s cfs.

The river supports a good number of rock worms and leeches whose imitations (Woolly Buggers) are effective throughout the year.  The tiny Chironomid is the insect in greatest abundance here and imitations of midge larvae and pupae are very successful.  Midge imitations in all life stages are fished throughout the year with the greatest success from May through December.  Small Blue Wing Olives and other imitations of the Baetis mayflies are also effective. In the summer months, Elk Hair Caddis, Pale Morning Duns and light colored mayflies should be added to the menu.  On some days the a black or brown Wooly Worm will produce and the next day you need to use a #18 Pheasant Tail or a small Hare's Ear Nymph.  In places the river is 150 feet across and much to deep to wade.  Wading should always be done with care as the bottom can be grooved bedrock one minute, sand the next, then gravel, then muck.

Short casts will work in most places using five-weight line and rod and 6X tippet.  Floating lines should be the norm and when flies must sink quickly just add some BB shot on the leader.  The Water is considered a better nymph river than a dry-fly water, so plan to fish near the bottom.  Fish seem to congregate in the deep runs along ledges, between rocks and in depressions.

Withywindle: copyright(c) 2002, Kent Krumvieda
Withywindle (c) 2002 Kent Krumvieda

The River Withywindle comes down out of the Barrow downs and flows southwest through the midst of the Old Forest to join the River Baranduin below Haysend.  The Withywindle has a slow and lazy current and the water is dark brown in color.  As the sun sinks below the horizon a white mist rises and curls on the surface of the river, and clings to the roots of the trees upon it's banks.  Adjacent to the river are dense willows that change to oaks and ashes and eventually pine and fir as one gains altitude.  In the fall the river and banks are literally blanketed in yellow.  The tree trunks are of innumerable sizes and shapes and most of the trunks are covered with a greenish gray moss.  Those not covered with moss are coated with other slimy or shaggy growths.

The Shire, which borders the Old Forest has a host of tales regarding this region.  The Old Forest is ancient, a survivor of the vast forgotten woods of the Second Age.  Within it's boundaries live trees aging no quicker than the hills.  Trees, who are the fathers, of the fathers, of the trees who remember the times when they were Lords.  The hearts and thoughts of the trees are dark and strange, filled with hatred.  A hatred of things that go free upon the earth, gnawing, biting, breaking, hacking, burning and destroying.

Beware Old Grey Willow for he is a mighty singer and it's hard for folk to escape his cunning mazes.  His song is just one of his powers as he can cast sleep or worse on those foolish enough to rest against his trunk.  The trees watch those who enter, they may drop a branch, or stick out a root or grasp you with a long trailer.  Paths change from year to year but all paths in the Old Forest lead to the Withywindle.  All is not gloom and doom in the Withywindle valley for somewhere within it's boundaries lies a house upon a hill where Tom Bombadil and Goldberry, the river's daughter dwell.