A fishing beat on the Tyne owned by the same family for more than 100 years is expected to go for double the asking price when bidding closes today.
The stretch of fishing at Eltringham, near Stocksfield, Northumberland, is believed to be the first beat on the Tyne to go on the market since the 1970s and generated a huge amount of interest after it went on sale for £85,000 last month.
Estate agents Smiths Gore are handling the sale and yesterday said they expected it to go for around £170,000 after receiving more than 20 bids.
The Tyne has improved greatly as a fishing river over the last few decades thanks to clean-up operations and restocking by the Environment Agency.
The Kielder Reservoir project also releases about 560,000 salmon fry into the river each year and has contributed to a current rod catch of up to 4,000 salmon and sea trout annually, transforming the Tyne into the best in England and Wales.
Philip Scrope, partner at Smith Gore's Corbridge office, said: "We've had a phenomenal amount of interest and expect the fishing beat to go for around double the asking price.
"It is the first fishing beat on the Tyne, where the freehold has been available, to go on sale in 30 years, so we expected the demand to be high, but it has probably exceeded our expectations. Fishing of this calibre is very rarely available and this stretch is one of the most accessible of the entire 90-mile river system.
"The River Tyne is beyond doubt the most improved fishing river in England. It's been a real success story thanks to the Environment Agency and Kielder. There are now more salmon caught in the Tyne than any other three rivers in England or Wales combined." Mr Scrope said the stretch of fishing, located just below the renowned Bywell beat, had been leased to an angling club for the last 30 years, but had been owned by a Northumber-land estate for more than a century.
He added: "The beat has been owned by the Humble family from Eltringham for the last 100 years or so. It had been let to a Newcastle angling club, the lease has now expired and the trustees have decided to sell.
"The beat doesn't have any records, because the club who leased it weren't interested in salmon or trout, so it's a bit of a guessing game as to how much of a bargain it could turn out to be."
Environment Agency fisheries technical specialist Phil Rippon said: "There have been major improvements to the quality of water in the Tyne, and the Environment Agency has built on this by stocking with fish from its Kielder hatchery, and installing fish passes."