The trout season on the English chalkstreams kicked off the typical northeasterly winds in April bringing a mix of good and tough days but it was not long before early mayflies kicked in on the River Itchen. A bit later, the lower and middle stretches of the River Test saw a strong hatch, followed by the Upper Test joining the party. It was the River Kennet that stole the show with the heaviest mayfly hatch of the season in early June. Anglers had a field day, enjoying diverse hatches across rivers, though some days tested patience with sparse activity. In the end, it wasn’t just about catching; it was about navigating the twists and turns of nature’s rhythm on the UK’s rivers, and the odd long lunch.

Testcombe River Test, Chalkstream Fly Fishing, Aardvark McLeod

Season: Fishing Not catching

In short, the trout fishing season on the English chalkstreams was about a really good mayfly season after a cold start in April then late June mayfly on the Kennet. The September fishing was fabulous with early morning olive hatches followed by afternoon and evening sedge hatches making fishing at both ends of the day very enjoyable. Some days saw long periods of no hatches in the middle of the day, often giving meaning to the phrase “it’s called fishing, not catching”.

Mayfly 2020 availability, chalkstream fishing, Aardvark McLeod

In the heart of the English chalkstreams, the trout fishing season unfolded with anticipation. April’s chilly grasp tested the patience of anglers, but as May unfurled, so did the mayflies. On the River Kennet middle to back end of June, fashionably late, showcased a mayfly spectacle that whispered promises of an exceptional season.

During the height of summer, this season we largely managed to avoid the high temperatures and long dry periods which meant that fish remained quite active throughout the day. Anglers fishing through the day at this time did often need to resort to sight fishing with nymphs as the hatches, as they so often do in this period, appeared early and late in the day.

Testcombe River Test, Chalkstream Fly Fishing, Aardvark McLeod

September arrived, and with it came the splendid dance of a variety of smaller olives. The river embraced the evening with sedge hatches, painting the twilight with the fluttering elegance of insects. Anglers found joy at both dawn and dusk, casting lines into the symphony of nature.

Yet, the trout were elusive on certain days, playing a game of hide and seek beneath the reflective surface. The art of fishing took centre stage, with the “fishing, not catching” mantra echoing among the anglers. Patience became the virtue, and the challenge of those quiet moments only deepened the appreciation for the lively ones.

Mayfly fishing, Wherwell Estate River Test, chalkstream fly fishing, river test

In the end, it wasn’t just about the catch, but the journey down the river, where each cast wove a tale of resilience and reverence for the unpredictable beauty of the trout fishing season.

For more information, about Chalkstream Trout , Guided Pike , Grayling and other opportunities or check availability please contact Justin Hancock or call our office on +44(0)1980 847389.