The River Test really is a superb Grayling river for fly fishers.  It has to be the best Grayling river in the UK for winter fly fishing. There is a consistently large population of Grayling with many in the 1lb to 2lb size range; it never floods; in the upper reaches it almost never gets coloured; and small nymphs and even dry flies can be used all winter long…no matter how cold the weather gets.

The Grayling season ended on all waters on 14th March and the last few weeks on the River Test have delivered excellent fly fishing.

James Hunt with a nice River Test Grayling, one of many he caught on 23rd January.

James Hunt with a nice River Test Grayling, one of many he caught on 23rd January.

River conditions have remained pretty constant since January with high water (for the River Test this just means 6”-9” above summer low levels) but generally not breaking the banks. That has enabled plenty of fishing access to most beats and whilst just a little colour has appeared when rain has been constant for three or four days, the fishing has mostly been good. Mixed in with spells of snow melt, quite a lot of new cold water has gone into the rivers and when combined with an easterly wind that can often spell disaster. However, most clients have managed to find some quality Grayling including some specimens up to and well over 40 cm – very good fish indeed. There have been less rising fish generally over the past few months, clearly as a result of the weather, but when hatches have happened predictably they are Large Dark Olives that float down the river looking the absolute perfect meal for a fish. Sometimes they have floated down ignored, but sometimes the fish have reacted and then the action with dry fly has been fast and furious. The Trout have a habit of getting to the flies before the Grayling but plenty of Grayling were caught on dry fly.  So the season has now ended for Grayling but the Trout season is just around the corner.