The Northumbrian Anglers Federation was originally founded in January 1894 under the name of the Tyneside Anglers Federation; this was altered in 1896 to its present name. The waters controlled were leased from the Duke of Northumberland. In those days, the then Duke, was unhappy about the non-sporting antics being used on the riverbanks of the River Coquet. Poaching and snatching were prevalent and the loss of the lease was considered but after persuasion from Northumberland County Councillors, he decided against the action and the Federation gained control of the waters with conditions attached to their agreement. An annual rent of £5 was to be paid; a separate committee was to be formed, approved by the Duke; with accounts kept; and that it should be a non profit making organisation.
The Duke promised a donation of £50 at the end of the year, should the fishing be run correctly. This was done and paved the way for 50 years of tenure for the Federation at an annual rent of one shilling (5p) a year. During the early 1950's the Duke of Northumberland closed the tidal waters to the Federation again due to large-scale snatching of salmon/sea-trout by dragging large heavy flies across the salmon lies in the hope that the hook would find its way into the fish’s body.
1956 saw Jim Hardy of Hardy Brothers elected as Chairman of the Federation and he approached the then Duke of Northumberland and persuaded him to re-open the tidal waters to anglers. The restrictions were now to be much more stringent; these conditions are still in force to this day. This was an example of history repeating itself as in 1897.
The River Coquet rises in the Cheviot Hills running east to the North Sea entering at Amble. The river winds its way through some magnificent country none more so than that controlled by the Northumbria Anglers Federation. The Rothbury and Felton waters contain some lovely fly-fishing. The Tidal reaches, adjacent to the spectacular presence of Warkworth Castle are very productive but more difficult to approach with the fly. It has been a long known fact that the federation controls much of the Coquet’s best fishing with many fine holding pools. The season runs from 1st February to 31st October with the river receiving good spring runs of salmon and late runs of predominantly sea trout. The Coquet sea trout are among the best in Britain with fish taken almost every season approaching 20lb in weight.
The Federation fishing also takes in some fine water on the main river Tyne in the Parish of Ovingham. Part of the water is leased from the Duke of Northumberland and the remainder, which formerly belonged to the Manor of Ovingham, is owned by the Federation. Lower tidal waters are also leased at Stanners near Ryton Golf Course.
While many anglers are not trophy conscious the Coquet Trophy presented to the captor of the river’s first salmon of the season has become an institution on the Coquet and the holder will receive three years free permits and a replica of the trophy to retain. The Federation introduced two new trophies in 1994 to commemorate its centenary, one for the largest salmon caught on Federation waters i.e. Coquet and Tyne, and the other for the heaviest brown trout.
In recent years the Federation has acquired fishing on the River Till
, a major tributary of the Tweed where permit holders can fish for sea trout, salmon and grayling allowing anglers, should they wish, to fish all the year round!