The Society was founded in 1891 by a small group of Nottingham gentlemen. In the early years the Society had waters around Nottingham itself as well as some of the waters that we still have today at Averham, Staythorpe and Rolleston. Those were the days when the Trent occasionally froze over.
Membership was quite small at the start but by 1916 it had grown to 160 (and today it is in the region of 750). Many famous Trent matchmen have been members over the years, but other famous people have been associated with the Society. One was Fred Kitchen, a music hall star, who was allowed to fish Society waters when in Nottingham. By way of thanks he presented the Society with the Kitchen Cup, which is still an important match on the calendar. The river at this time would have been typified by scenes such as this one at the Bromley Arms in Fiskerton.
In the early part of the 20th century salmon were still caught in numbers on the river. It is encouraging to note that they are now gradually being re-introduced. The rise of coal fired power stations made the fishing particularly good in winter, but even so, over the years, the fishing has changed tremendously. Chub, roach and dace almost disappear for 2 or 3 years before making a comeback. There is no doubt that the clean Trent of today is responsible for the return of roach and dace. However, it is the barbel that dominates today with fine specimens and all year classes present.
When looking back it is interesting to see that many of the problems of yesterday are still with us today – poaching, otters, boating incidents, and so on. However, there is one relatively new phenomenon that has had a dramatic effect on the river – the cormorant. Flocks have devastated small fish populations. However, the river has a way of re-inventing itself and, as it does, so the Society changes in empathy.