April is a great month in the chalkstream fly fishing calendar as it marks the start of the trout fishing season. Through the month we have seen various beats and estates across Hampshire, Wiltshire, Berkshire and Dorset open their gates to the first anglers of the season.
It has been an interesting month, with weather conditions yo-yoing from extremely warm (for the time of year) to arctic chills brought in by a persistent north-easterly wind. The one consistent has been the noticeable lack of rain, this has meant that the rivers look brilliant for the time of year, with clear water and good ranunculus growth. Hopefully we will see some rain over the next few months though to bolster flows as we move into the summer and autumn seasons.
Below is a quick run through current river conditions, recent fishing experiences and the season outlook. If you are yet to book you mayfly and summer dates get in touch soon as space has been going quickly.
The River Test has our most diverse selection of beats during the trout fly fishing season from small carrier beats through to much larger sections of main river. Throughout the whole river the flows are steady and running very clear for the time of year.
The river has enjoyed flurry hatches of various small olives including large dark olives and medium olives, in addition to this there has been prolonged grannom hatches. For the most past the hatches have been intermittent with fish not always switching on to the surface activity.
On the warmer afternoons terrestrials have brought about success with good showings of hawthorn and also the small alder beetles which can often tumble off trees and stream-side grasses.
Despite the cooler air temperatures, I would not be surprise if we see a slightly earlier than usual mayfly appearance, particularly if the easterly winds give way to the more typical westerlies bringing some warmer and more unsettled weather.
The River Anton definitely sits up there as one of our favourite spring rivers. Rarely does the river carry too much discolouration in at the beginning of the season and it usually begins fishing well earlier than the main Test.
The river has seen many of the same hatches as the main River Test, and fish have often been found rising freely in the afternoons. On the colder days anglers have had good rewards on small pheasant tail and hare’s nymphs too.
As mentioned previously, with good showings of alder beetles already we expect many of the fish on our Westfair beat to hone in on these small black insects along the tree lined sections. We cannot wait for the mayfly to get going here too.
The River Wylye was noticeably more coloured than the Test system this April, but with spring progressing the river clears and fines down nicely moving into its prime in May and June.
Insect life here is predominantly small olives and grannom during the spring time, with trout often found by fishing dry flies with prospective casts. Some good fish have been spotted already this season and we are just awaiting reports of the first bigger fish to be caught.
Although often not sung about, our stretch at Langford also sees fantastic mayfly hatches through the latter part of May and into June and we still have some prime dates available for those that like wading wild chalkstream beats.
Like the Wylye, the River Nadder always starts the season with murky waters but this can often be to the anglers advantage with the brown trout less wary to anglers on the bank. The river boasts perhaps the best grannom hatches throughout the southern counties with the afternoons often a-buzz with little caddis fly.
The river is in fantastic condition and we cannot wait for the season to progress to the mayfly time as it truly is spectacular on this little Wiltshire river. We do still have a couple of prime dates still available.
The River Frome, although widely known for its grayling fishing, is a fantastic wild brown trout river too. Spring time it boasts excellent grannom and large dark olive hatches and as we move into may the mayfly really get going. The fish may not always be the biggest but they looks fantastic with their buttery colouration and bright red spots.
River Levels have been good, and the warmer days have seen some wonderful surface activity already. We cannot wait for the more consistent weather of May and June to really bring this river to life.
For more information, further chalkstream fly fishing availability or to book one of these days please do not hesitate to contact us by EMAIL or call our office on +44(0)1980 847389.