There are only a few weeks to go before we start to see the first appearance of the magical mayfly on the rivers Test, Anton Avon and Itchen, for many fly fishermen the main event of the year on our chalkstreams. At first there will be just the odd fly then a few flurries building up to the massive hatches around the 2nd half of May and the beginning of June.

River Test mayfly fishing

Slowly the bigger fish come on the feed and it is at this time when we can expect to see and hopefully catch some of the leviathans that have been lurking unseen in the rivers for the last year or more.

Those mayflies that survive the feeding frenzy of fish and birds take advantage of the surrounding bushes, trees and bank side foliage for safety where they go through a moult emerging to become fully mature insects.  Given suitable weather, in the late afternoons and evenings the males are often seen dancing together in huge plumes over the meadowland and on the lee side of trees waiting for their chance to find a willing female and mate.


Once this task is accomplished the females return to the river to lay the fertilised eggs flying low over the water and dipping every now and again to drop a cluster of eggs and so start the cycle of life over again. Once all the eggs have been deposited the spent females die over the water giving the trout another opportunity of a meal, whereas the males once their job has been accomplished usually die over land.

The mayfly spectacle is certainly something that should not be missed and there is still some limited prime availability during the last two weeks of May.

For more information on chalkstream fishing please contact Alex Jardine or call our office on +44(0)1980 847389.