Flyfishing the Minor Southern Chalkstreams

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Across the south of England, flowing toward the English Channel, are numerous minor chalkstreams, lending their names to the towns, villages and landscapes on their banks.

Clear-waters
Chalkstreams are spring-fed with water that has percolated through the chalk (similar to a limestone spring creek). Rich in minerals, but carrying none of the sediment that other rivers do, the crystal clear  waters host the abundance of weed and invertebrate life necessary to support wild brown trout in large sizes and numbers.

These southern streams produce fantastic flyfishing to rival their more famous counterparts, but without many of the frills and fripperies to distract the focus from their wild brown trout. The carpet slippers appropriate on the Test and Itchen are replaced by waders and wellies as the banks grow wilder.

Howie-in-the-Frome-with-cows-SLIDER
Wading, frowned upon and even forbidden on the Test and Itchen comes into its own here. Overhanging shrubbery and an altogether wilder audience demand stealth, fly placement and casting skill of the angler.  
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Trout-in-net
Avon-brown-trout-grip-and-grin

SEASONS

Trout fishing is available from mid-April to early October: specific dates are set by each estate working within the legal framework and vary depending on the beat.

KIT & CLOTHING

There is no specific clothing required but neutral and natural colours are most suited.
Wading is not allowed so boots or shoes are fine.
Polarised sunglasses and a hat will not only provide protection but make spotting of fish easier.

Rod

7-9ft 3-5wt

Line

All Chalkstream fishing can be accomplished using a floating line with a tippet breaking strain of 2-3lbs

Flies

See Fly Box
Most beats insist on dry fly until part way through the season

Group Size

One or more anglers

VISAS & LICENCES

Travelling to the UK from within the EU needs no visa
Travel from outside the EU may require a visa at the port of entry

UK fishing licences can be arranged by Outside Days or purchased on-line.

MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS

None

INSURANCE

None required

TIPS

It is standard practice to tip the fishing guide at the end of the day or trip. Unguided days are less likely to involve the vagaries of tipping, although some rods like to tip the river keeper in acknowledgement of the effort put in to enhancing the fishing experience. The size of tip varies depending on the river (the more famous the river the bigger the tip expected), the number of days fishing, the number and size of fish caught, the amount of coaching and assistance requested of the guide, whether you are the host or the guest, and how much fun you’ve had. Of course tipping and the amount tipped are at your discretion, but there are a couple of different ways to work this out. One school of thought is to tip between 10 and 20% of what you are paying for your fishing. Others calculate it on a flat rate per day (usually somewhere between £10 and £50).

CURRENCY

GBP Sterling

TIME ZONE

GMT
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Fly-life

April

Dry (sizes 14-16): Large Dark Olive, Medium Olive, Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear, Greenwell’s Glory, Grannom, Hawthorn

May & June

Dry (sizes 14-16): Greenwell’s Glory, Tups Indispensable, Black Gnat, Adams in all its variations, Houghton Ruby
Mayfly (sizes 8-12): French Partridge, Grey, Green or Yellow Drake, Grey Wulff, Spent Mayfly

July

Dry (sizes 14-16): Daddy Long Legs, Greenwell’s Glory, CDC, Klinkhammer, Iron Blue, Pale Watery Spinner, Tups Indispensable

August

Dry (sizes 14-20): Daddy Long Legs, Pale Watery Spinner, Blue-Winged Olive, Lunn’s Particular, Sedges

 September

Dry (sizes 14-20): Daddy Long Legs, Pale Watery Spinner, Blue-Winged Olive, Lunn’s Particular, Sedges, Black Gnat, Orange Quill

October

Dry (sizes 16-18): Red Tag, Large Dark Olive, Iron Blue, Pale Watery Spinner, Blue-Winged Olive, Lunn’s Particular, Sedges, Double Black Gnat, Red or Black Ant, Black Beetle, Daddy Long Legs

Nymphs when allowed by beat rules

Nymph (sizes 14-18): GRHE, Grey Goose, PTN
Weighted and unweighted