Fly Fishing the Chalkstreams
When you picture fishing a chalkstream the famous names like the Test and Itchen spring to mind. Although these are great rivers in their own right there are still plenty of other chalkstreams that lie in the shadows of these famous rivers. Saying you have cast a fly on the Test or Itchen is like visiting Lords for a test match and for many is a sort of pilgrimage for fly fishers, not just from the UK, but also from around the world.
The fishing is very rarely cheap and the fish not always wild, but the settings are beautiful and spotting fish in crystal clear waters is a real treat.
Talking about the Test first. It runs for 30 or so miles before it joins the sea near Southampton. There are also a number of smaller chalkstreams that join it namely: The Bourne, Dever, Anton Wallop Brook, The Dun all providing fishing for trout and grayling.
The Itchen is slightly shorter than the Test and is made up with the joining of 3 streams: the Arle, Tichborne and Candover Brook. The river runs right through Winchester and out again heading towards Southampton.
The above rivers are the “famous” ones but there are many unsung heros in the background that are sometimes as good, sometimes better and often a little cheaper to fish.
Some of these worth looking for are:
The Avon, Nadder, Ebble and Wylye in Wiltshire
The Frome, Allen and Piddle in Dorset
The Kennet, Pang and Lambourn in Berkshire
It is often thought that the chalkstream rivers are handy for the fly fishers of the South East but there are also 2 chalkstream in Yorkshire, namely Driffield Beck and Foston Beck.
There are some day tickets available on Driffield Beck and it is worth the journey to fish it. I came across some the gentlest taking fish of my fishing career.
As mentioned before, chalkstreams can command hefty prices and a good way of getting access to them is to fish them for Grayling in winter when prices are a lot more affordable.