The autumn is my favourite time of the whole fly fishing year.  Fly hatches are usually peaking; there are often lots of rising fish; and there is a choice every day of fishing dry fly or nymph.  Add to that the changing autumnal colours and given half-decent weather it is an absolute pleasure to be out on the riverbank.  On the chalkstreams if there are two two-week periods at each end of the season that for me have consistently provided the most magic fly fishing experiences it would be the first two weeks of May (before the Mayfly hatch starts) and the first two weeks of November (just before the main fall of leaves).  While the chalkstreams provide some dry fly fishing opportunities on most days throughout the winter it is the period up to Christmas that gives the best chance of targeting rising fish.  004

Of course from mid-October onwards we are targeting the Grayling, but as the Trout and Grayling eat the same insects and thus take the same flies, we cannot avoid catching the Trout.  We mustn’t try to catch the Trout but they are an exciting and inevitable addition to a Grayling fly fishing day.  Most days you are likely to catch more Grayling than Trout but some days it is the other way round.  And at the other end of the season its surprising how many Grayling we catch on the chalkstreams in May.

The River Test and River Itchen are superb Grayling fly fishing rivers.  Often we can sight cast to either individual large fish or small shoals of bigger than average fish and I find it very exciting to try to tempt specific fish by an induced take to a nymph or maybe a Klinkhamer, Adams or Tups dry fly.

Another big benefit of the Grayling fishing on the chalkstreams is the much reduced cost of beat access.  Typically in the Trout season we are paying £100 to £200 per rod per day to fish the Test or the Itchen but in the season from mid-October onwards this drops to £40 to £45 – the best value chalkstream fly fishing of the year.  And there is one beat with a big stock of Grayling and big fish that only charges £20 and, amazingly, there are free stretches on both the Test and the Itchen!

So carry on fly fishing.  If you’ve never fished the upper River Test in a November hatch of olives you don’t know what you are missing by putting your rods away for the winter in early-October.

Give me a call (07899 034728) or drop me an email ( if I can be of any assistance in helping you to get some great fly fishing sport this autumn.