fly fishing south of London

Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 06:33 AM
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fly fishing south of London

My husband and I will be in London the last week of September. We are taking a day trip for him to fly fish while I explore on my own. We have these choices of towns: Newbury, Stockbridge, Salisbury, and Winchester. Any recommendations on which of these has great fishing, while also offering some nice exploring for me to do on my own? I'm happy just walking around a small town, seeing some sights, people watching, window shopping, etc.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 06:43 AM
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Winchester is my home town and as such I am familiar with both the Itchen and the Test. Both offer top-class fly fishing (trout), and there’s not much to choose between them to be honest.

I would take these two rivers over anywhere else in the area. That means that Stockbridge and Winchester are your choices.

Winchester is by far the more interesting. It’s much bigger (Stockbridge is tiny), has the Cathedral, Museums, and a greater choice of shops and restaurants (and LOADS of pubs!).

Stockbridge is a small town – more of a village really, which is full of very rich people (Roger Daltrey, most of Pink Floyd, London bankers (rhyming slang!) etc). It has some nice restaurants – one outstanding in the Greyhound gastro-pub. However there’s not a lot to do there otherwise.

This will give you an idea of what Stockbridge is like:

http://www.stockbridge.org.uk/Stockb...etail_Page.htm
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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 06:46 AM
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My husband has fished the Test from Stockbridge and would do it again in a NY minute! I love the town itself, lots of shops , antiques and galleries!

He had this url in his favorites , it may be of help.

http://www.thegrosvenor-hotel.com/fishing.htm

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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 07:10 AM
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I live near Winchester, and would agree with David. Stockbridge is very "quaint"
but not much to do once you get bored watching the fishing.

For exploring, I would say that I enjoy Salisbury slightly more than Winchester, but my overseas visitors seem to like them equally.

David - you are from Winchester but support Spurs ! Oh well, it could be worse, it could have been that stripey lot down the road.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 07:15 AM
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Yes a Winchester chap, with a north London father with very old-fashioned ideas about club loyalty.

Thankfully the possibility of ending up a Saints fan was never on the cards. (Athough I did used to go and see them a fair bit at the Dell).
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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 07:25 AM
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Question from my husband: Do you always have to purchase a beat to fish these rivers? Or are there any sections of the rivers that do not require a beat to be purchased?
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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 07:35 AM
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That’s one of those “difficult” questions. In theory there are bits of the rivers that are available for public use (you still need a rod licence though).. However those areas are free for a reason – they haven’t got any fish in them. More accurately they haven’t got the right type of fish in them, they simply have coarse fish.

Anywhere that you would want to fish is going to attract a fee.

Here’s a list of what’s free (BTW The Itchen Navigation is a muddy canal full of eels – not the same thing as the River Itchen.

http://www.dofreefishing.com/southernhampshire.html

It’s been a few years since I paid for a fishing spot – but it’s not cheap.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 07:38 AM
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Another thing I should point out is that those areas that are free are on open public land – ie parks and recreation grounds and as such are not suitable for fly fishing – unless you’re trying to hook children
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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 08:00 AM
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Thanks for your replies! Next question (I need to just have him get on this message board!)
He has been fly fishing for 10 years, so he feels he doesn't really need a guide, but just some suggestions on what flies are good to use and a good spot to go to. If he purchases a beat, can you recommend a certain part of the river where he can catch some good fish, and plenty of them without a guide, and how about getting recommendations for what flies to use?
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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 08:33 AM
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He won’t usually get a “guide” if he buys a fishing permit. This is rural Hampshire we’re talking about – not exactly “Deliverance” country! If he wants lessons he’ll have to book them separately (and at extra cost)

Also if he just wants to catch loads and loads of fish he should try places like Fisher’s Pond out near Marwell (you could go to the zoo while he’s at it). That’s a commercially run lake with no limit on catches and is very well stocked with rainbow trout. IMHO it’s as much fun as shooting the proverbial fish in a barrel.

There’s no guarantee of success. Brown trout are bloody difficult to catch. That’s where the fun is – the sense of achievement when you do catch one. You’ll do well to catch one at all.

As to the best bits of the river: the answer is depressingly predictable. The best bits are the most expensive bits – mainly in the watercress areas and through the Watermeadows.

This site has lots of useful information and sells day licences (not too pricey either – around £85.00)

http://www.itchen-fishing.net/

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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 08:43 AM
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"a certain part of the river where he can catch some good fish, and plenty of them" - not likely that he will catch "plenty" of fish anywhere and if he lands 1 or 2 it will be a VERY successful day. Fly fishing is an art and there are no guarantees. Just use david_west's links/suggestions since he is a local. (I'm not nearly as familiar w/ fishing on the Test or Itchen - more re Scotland)
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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 09:21 AM
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I've just been wondering if there's anywhere that you can catch "plenty" of fish with a fly? I can't think of anywhere in Europe. Are American fish a bit thick?

In all seriouslness catching just the one is a hell of an achievement for a first time visitor to a trout stream. Anymore than one is the work of a ninja (or possibly a warlock).

One final thing. Although you are allowed to keep the fish you catch - please don't. Brown trout taste pretty grim - especially the older ones and they're the ones that breed. Take a photo and chuck 'em back!

Rainbow trout taste better, but you can buy them from the fishmongers from sustainable fisheries. Roger Daltrey's fish farm is just up the road from Stockbridge (I think he's flogged it now though)
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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 09:47 AM
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I guess saying he wants to catch 'plenty' of fish was my bad wording. I don't fish - so I interpreted my husband's wish to catch 'some' fish as plenty of fish!

On our honeymoon a couple months ago in Canada, we went to a beautiful national park and he went fly fishing in a river there. He did catch several trout, they were all very small, and I felt bad that he didn't catch anything that he was really wowed by. He does throw them back, he just loves the experience, not actually eating them.

We went to a stocked pond in Canada and he got yelled at by the guy there for throwing the fish back. We didn't speak French (as they do in Quebec) so we didn't understand that we had to keep and pay for the fish he caught! So we ended up catching 2 fish and bought them, and then wondered what in the world we were going to do with these 2 gutted fish in the trunk of our rental car : ) Luckily our bed & breakfast hosts had a camping grill that they let us use to make a nice trout dinner!
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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 12:40 PM
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Although my wife and I seem to alternate between trips to Salisbury and Winchester, we do prefer Winchester. The walk from Winchester College past the ruins of Wolvesey Castle to the river and to The Broadway and the City Mill is particularly enjoyable. The High Street is a continuation of The Broadway and is vehicle free for shopping.

BTW, your husband might enjoy a visit to Winchester Cathedral to pay homage to Isaac Walton. You can visit Jane Austen.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2005, 04:09 AM
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This place has a reputation as being full of really big fish (and "plenty" of 'em):

http://www.avingtontrout.com/

But it really is for weekend fishermen who just want to be able to say that they've bagged a big trout (and the fish themselves must get a bit miffed at the constant interruptions). Not my sort of thing - but horses for courses and all that.

Has he considered tickling them? He could practice on you!
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Old Sep 3rd, 2005, 07:12 AM
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In today's Telegraph (Weekend section) - unfortunately I can't seem to find it on their on-line issue; maybe it'll be updated on monday? - their is a great little column by Neil Collins about night-time fly fishing on the River Test nr Winchester for Sea Trout. Sounds like an interesting variation which you may like to research by visiting www.famousfishing.co.uk where William Daniel "organises nights to remember among other high-class chalk stream expeditions."
So that might fill your brief for a guide and coincidentally be a pretty unique experience into the bargaining - that way your husband could enjoy an additional fly-fishing trip without it eating into your tourist-agenda filled days in Hampshire!

Dr D.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2005, 07:16 AM
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Doh! "their" (sic.) what was i thinking?
Obviously should "there" - before any grammar/spelling police arrest me.

Dr D.
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