September, probably my favourite month of the season for chalkstream fly fishing in southern England. After the hot summer months, the cooler nights and some very welcome rain of late have given us a much needed reduction in water temperature, we have seen a very noticeable increase in fly life activity with hatches of small brown sedges, black sedges, iron blues and a second generation of blue winged olives.
The rivers levels have generally held up very well over the summer months especially where there is some gradient and the ranunculas has continued to grow unmolested by flocks of swans. All are now running crystal clear providing something of a challenge but the shortening daylight hours and cooler water temperatures have acted as a trigger for increased trout activity. Feeding at every opportunity and taking advantage of nature’s bounty before the rigours ahead of spawning and the leaner winter months.
Fly life over the last week has been generally good with hatches of small brown sedges, black sedges, pale wateries and still some blue winged olives.
We are also seeing some big emergences of the Crane Fly or daddy longlegs in the meadows surrounding the rivers and streams and these will get blown onto the water providing and good mouthful for a hungry trout or grayling. Experts are predicting that this year we will see bumper hatches as the combined recent warmth and wet weather conditions have provided ideal conditions for these land bred insects.
Against all logic the “Robjent’s Daddy” is producing the goods on many waters especially on the middle and lower Test where many rainbow trout are stocked. According to Alistair Robjent the inventor, his fly has now accounted for fish in over xxx countries around the world. His shop in Stockbridge High Street always has a plentiful supply.
I had the pleasure of guiding Jan and his friend Paul the winner of a WTT auction lot on the Upper Test last week. This is very exclusive beat normally only fished by the owner and his close friends. It is rumoured that an ex-president of the USA was refused access to the beat even after offering a substantial amount of money for the privilege. This year was the first that the owner kindly offered the beat to the WTT for auction.
We had fly hatching and fish rising from the moment we arrived on the water at 9am through to mid-afternoon and then again in the evening from 6:30pm until dusk when it was too dark to see. The lull allowed us time to have a superb picnic lunch and a good relaxed catch up discussing flies and tactics. He had originally planned to come at the beginning of July but had to postpone as British Airways cancelled his flight from Ireland at the last moment. Looking back I think this was very fortunate as I am sure we had a much better day. A classic September chalkstream day and a real pleasure to be at the waterside in great company and expert fishermen.
Although there are a few fisheries where the season ends on the 15th October our beat on the Avon included, most especially in the Test and Itchen catchments finish at the end of this month. There are still some very good openings on most fisheries for the next few weeks to get out and enjoy the back end fishing and collect some fantastic blackberries which are now adorning the hedgerows in many places.
Now is also the time to be thinking about grayling fishing into the autumn and winter months there are some exceptional beats available at great prices. Beats on the River Test and Anton can be booked from October onwards to the end of the year.
If you would like more information on any of our chalkstream fishing please contact Alex Jardine or call our office on +44(0)1980 847389.