It has been a strange old start to the English chalkstream fly fishing season. The winter had set us up perfectly with plenty of rain filling the aquifers and offering clean gravel runs and excellent weed growing conditions for certain parts of the rivers. Only to then find ourselves in lockdown through the large dark olive, grannom and hawthorn hatches. Then, as if written by an angling script writer, measures were lessened to allow a lucky few anglers following suitable guidelines to enjoy the current mayfly hatches.

Westfair, River Anton, Aardvark McLeod

There are still a handful of prime mayfly dates available here, but don’t be disheartened if you are not going to make the river at this time because there is a whole exciting season ahead. The joy of the chalkstreams is that it offers an almost year-round resource to the fly angler, with each season offering a different and wonderful experience. Due to the unique makeup of these chalk-based streams and rivers they are rarely affected by adverse weather, except in the most extreme cases, unlike their freestone cousins.

River Avon chalkstream fly fishing, Aardvark McLeod chalkstream fly fishing

Spring marks the beginning of the brown trout fly fishing season to this part of the world; and much like the hedgerows, forests and fields the rivers too come alive at this time. As spring progresses the dry fly fishing reaches its peak on these rivers, starting with the large dark olives at the beginning of the April and rounded off with the spectacular clouds of mayfly towards the end of May.

River Avon chalkstream fly fishing, Aardvark McLeod chalkstream fly fishing

Summer, often referred to as the dog days due to hot, sunny and tough conditions, but for those willing to fish early and late in the day it can offer some of the most memorable dry fly fishing. Fly hatches often occur early in the day and then, following a nice long relaxing lunch, those returning to the water in the evening can be greeted by impressive columns of dancing spinners and gyrations of newly hatched caddis.

Mayfly 2020 availability, River Anton, Hampshire, Chalkstream, Aardvark McLeod

Autumn is a time of beauty on the chalkstreams as nature puts on its final flourish before winter spreads through the valleys. The brown trout feed intently in the autumn, stocking up one last time before the spawning season. For the angler this is a wonderful time as upwing insects and caddis both hatch freely through these final months offering some spectacular dry fly fishing.

Grayling chalkstream fly fishing, River Frome Chalkstream fly fishing, Dry Fly Fishing, Alex Jardine, Aardvark McLeod Dry Fly Fishing

Winter, whilst a quiet time on the rivers there are still those who brave the colder weather to fulfill their desire to be by the water. The brown trout season may be over by this time but this is the season of the Lady of the Stream, the grayling, and pike. They both may not have the fight of the more sporting brown trout but they can be challenging and can offer hours of frustrating enjoyment throughout the long winter months.

Brown trout, River Test, Tufton, Aardvark McLeod

We are delighted to offer an ever increasing range of domestic fly fishing options throughout the chalk belt of Southern England to suit a range of fishing requirements.

If you would like more information about chalkstream fly fishing please email us or call our office on +44(0)1980 847389.