Chalk Springs Visit

GEK79

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May 16, 2020
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Irleand
It's pretty standard south of the Thames, unless you happen to live near one of the few southern reservoirs still operating as trout fisheries. There are quite a few small stillwater trout fisheries within an hour of me, and all cost about the same - i.e. a lot! None are much under thirty five pounds for a two fish limit (which can easily be reached in half an hour) and those with larger than average fish are somewhat more expensive. A four fish limit can easily set you back upwards of sixty quid. The fish rarely remain in the water long enough to lose their stock-pond reflexes, and in most cases the successful method is to try and elicit a response by moving the 'fly' quite quickly - very rarely will you catch on anything remotely natural, unless there's a good hatch of buzzers and the fish get keyed into them.

It's about as far removed from fishing for wild browns on a river or loch as you can get, but we don't have lochs down here and most of the rivers that support a head of wild browns are either private, or let on a day rod basis at upwards of a hundred pounds a time. Fortunately true wild trout fishing is somewhat more challenging than hoiking out farmed rainbows, but for the less-accomplished, well-heeled fly fisher one get a day on one of the stocked stretches of the classic chalkstreams - Test, Itchen, Kennet - for two or three hundred quid.

There are a few places where fishing for wild trout can be had cheaply, or even for free (I know of a handful in my area) but if just 1% of the fly fishers in the locality knew about them and fished them once a month, they'd soon be in decline. They certainly couldn't provide reliable and comfortable fly fishing for everyone who wanted it. Hence the success of the small stillwaters, which probably do look like a rip-off to those who, by geographical advantage, are able to avail themselves of good trout fishing at nominal expense.

Like most things, supply and demand dictate the cost, if not the value.
I am truely blessed living here in Donegal..
 

JohnH

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May 18, 2006
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4,414
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Near Southampton
Excellent analysis and conclusion from three rivers, to which I would only add that probably 10 million people live within an hour's drive of Chalk Springs. Mile after mile of the south-east, central southern England and the south midlands is urban, suburban, ribbon development or intensively worked farmland. Assynt or the Irish western wild loughs, it ain't.... I always think we are lucky to have the wildlife and fishing we do, but that it comes at a price should be no surprise.
 

steve collyer

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Aug 4, 2009
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Location
East Sussex
I think a lot of people seem to be missing the point.
When I fished Chalk Springs I never fished blind & always went for the browns or larger fish when I could.
I'd say around 45-50% of all the trout I've taken from around a dozen visits to CS since the late 1980's have been browns. You can't really get that kind of quota at many other put & take fisheries in the SE.

Yes, you can bag up in 20 minutes if you're not really into your fishing, or you're a moron. ;)
 

three rivers

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Apr 13, 2017
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109
I think a lot of people seem to be missing the point.
When I fished Chalk Springs I never fished blind & always went for the browns or larger fish when I could.
I'd say around 45-50% of all the trout I've taken from around a dozen visits to CS since the late 1980's have been browns. You can't really get that kind of quota at many other put & take fisheries in the SE.

Yes, you can bag up in 20 minutes if you're not really into your fishing, or you're a moron. ;)
I have strung out a two fish ticket on these waters for half a day many times, but it involves an awful lot of time spent looking and not fishing to make it work, and that doesn't suit everyone. Besides, if the water doesn't hold browns or big rainbows to target, all that looking is academic; sooner or later you'll have to cast at something, or you may as well have saved forty quid and gone for a walk.
 

iainmortimer

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Apr 5, 2014
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3,031
Location
West Sussex
That's a pretty accurate review for Chalk Springs. Its only 15 minutes down the road from me but I've only fished it a handful of times in over a decade for the reasons you say you wouldn't return. It can be tough but its very unusual to blank with it often getting harder as the day progresses and the fish get bored of seeing flies - it can also get crowded Strangely at such times a wee shiny beetle or buzzer almost stripped like a lure works! Not really my cup of tea though.
 

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