Bourne Rivulet – Chalkstream Fly Fishing

Carefully managed catch and release wild trout fishery.

The majority of the fly fishing on the Bourne Rivulet from Hurstbourne Priors upstream is managed as a catch and release wild trout fishery. Behind St Andrew’s Church in Hurstbourne the stream drops through a hatch onto a steep raceway. This is known as the Cascades, once a part of the long destroyed Espiscopal manor house. This hatchway acts as a barrier and prevents any stocked trout or grayling from the River Test proceeding upstream.

Immortalised in “Where bright waters meet” by Harry Plunket Green

When fly fishing on the Bourne Rivulet every rise you see from the Cascades upstream to the viaduct bridge just outside St Mary Bourne will be a brown trout.

The stream was immortalised by Harry Plunket Green in “Where the Bright Waters Meet”. He wrote of it: “Only three miles in all, but those three miles are a dry fly fisherman’s paradise”. Of the valley and the village he writes “It ran through one of the fairest valleys and prettiest villages in the south of England … it ran twisting and turning, fast and smooth, under trees and in the open, chaffing and laughing itself into your heart.”

Much has changed since the book was published in 1924. But the clarity of the chalk stream water is still the same and wild fish of over 3 lbs are captured every year. The Bourne has good hatches of most upwinged flies but Mayflies (Green Drake) are scarce. The clean gravel bottom does not suit the nymphs of this species who prefer more silty conditions which occur lower down in the River Test valley.

The trout season runs in line with the River Test catchment but the riparian owners chose to start on 1st May and finish on 30th September.


Like the River Test, fly fishing on the Bourne Rivulet is in easy reach of London and many other main towns in the south of England. Whether you drive, fly or get the train it will not take long to reach the fishing.

For those looking for longer stays in the area, we can combine the Bourne Rivulet with other chalkstream fly fishing options in the area. There are numerous accommodation options suitable for all types of stay, from small B&Bs to full Country House Hotels.

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