Whilst the trout fly fishing season has not officially finished on the southern English chalkstream rivers, many estates have now closed their gates to the final anglers. As ever it has been an interesting and unique season, and it just confirms that no two seasons are the same.
With very little rain through the winter of 2016/17, there was a very bleak outlook for the condition of the chalkstream rivers through the season. Aquifers were at summer levels when they should have been brimming full, but that said with some excellent work from the river keepers the rivers have been fishable all season.
April marked the start of the season, and the dry, warm month offered some classic early season olive hatches. The hatches were smaller than usual, with the flies usually preferring the windy and wet days at that time of year. This gave way into some wonderful grannom hatches and a good hawthorn fly year.
Moving into May, there was still little sign of any rainfall of note but the rivers were running beautifully clear. The stable weather saw the mayfly arrive just on time, from about the second week in May we watched the hatches build and build. There were some terrific days on the water and the evening spinner dances over the trees where some of the biggest seen in recent years. Towards the end of May the temperature soared to the upper 20Cs and that seem to slow down the hatches.
June was another warm and dry month, but an explosion of flying ants combine with some small olive hatches made for some exciting but tricky fishing. Large brown trout could be found hiding under trees sipping small black ants off the surface.
July and August, often considered the dog days actually proved to be very productive as the wet weather coincided with the start of the school holidays. Good olive hatches as well as strong hatches of sedges in the early evening kept the fish looking up.
September, still one of the quietest times on the river for fishing once again offered some great dry fly action. The cooler wet weather brought on good hatches of blue winged olives and pale wateries with the fish responding well. Water levels were looking quite bare by this time but careful planning still offered some great fishing.
As the season has progressed it has become evident that there is a good amount of big grayling throughout all of the chalkstreams this year and they are just beginning to move off into the deeper water.
We are just beginning to get the first group day availability for next chalkstream fly fishing season and expect the first day rod availability this month and winter grayling days are now available.
If you are interested to find out more about chalkstream fly fishing please contact Alex Jardine or call our office on +44(0)1980 847389.