River Test – Chalkstream Fly Fishing

The River Test is a ‘must do’ for the avid trout fly fisher

Chalkstream fly fishing on the River Test must be the most famous trout fishing venue in the world. It is known not only for the quality of the fish but also for the past literary history and characters. By far the biggest of all the English chalkstreams, 30+ miles as the crow flies from source to sea it offers over 100 miles of wonderful fishing.

Walk in the footsteps of fishing’s greats

Over the centuries and man’s manipulation for irrigation and milling purposes have resulted in a braided river system of many carriers most of which are fishable. From the source ½ mile to the east of Overton at Ashe the River Test flows west to Whitchurch before turning south to continue the onward journey. Primarily the River Test is known as a trout fishery but at Broadlands and Testwood before the river spills into the Solent double figure salmon and sea trout are caught regularly.

The River Test is joined by four main tributaries of the Bourne Rivulet, River Dever, River Anton and River Dun and some lesser streams including the Wallop Brook and Blackwater.

The literary heritage is probably the richest of any river, with the writings of Peter Hawker, Plunket Greene, John Waller Hills and probably the most famous of all F M Halford.

Another notable to the river is William Lunn who was appointed in 1887 as river keeper to Houghton Club and devised some forty artificial fly patterns some of which are still in use today, the most famous being the Lunn’s Particular, Houghton Ruby, Sherry Spinner and  Caperer. When William retired his son Alf took over as head keeper followed by his son Mick who continued until his retirement in 1992.

For any avid trout angler, fly fishing on the River Test is a “must do” at least once in a life time, to walk in the footsteps of those that so influenced our sport is almost an epiphany moment.


Fly Fishing the River Test 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 River Test 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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