Estruaries of the Itchen and Test

albacore

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I’d be grateful for any advice as to how to fish the Test and Itchen estuaries for sea trout. I saw that a few people have reported success from the Redbridge area. I guess this is sensitive to some people so for what it’s worth; I just want to catch one and I’m not local to that area, so I’m unlikely to be pillaging the stocks. I fly fish but I’m not attracted to night fishing. So although I can see the fun of the Woodmill and Testwood pools, I’d like to try a different way. So far I’ve had little bass only. If people are willing, I’d like to know;

Is there an optimum depth for sea trout in taking lies in those estuaries? Incidentally Navionics does an app with a 14 day free trial period that which you can use to find deep holes, bars and so on in the estuary bed.

Reading forum posts; tide state seems irrelevant. It seems like different spots come alive at different states; what do people think about that?

How deep do people think they can get with fast sinking lines, in those estruaries, at various points of the tide? I’m finding that even with an 8 weight salmon Loop type 5/6 shooting head I’m certainly not hitting the bottom in the Itchen.

It would be great to find a new fishery in this area; this estuarine one. Whether or not it’s possible I do not know. Danish and Norwegian fly fishers would say yes, but everywhere’s different. In any case, I know nothing about it having caught exactly one sea trout in life, from the Ogmore at Bridgend. My feeling is that using depth finders like Navionics might make catches a bit more consistent than blue-moon.
 

Isisalar

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Can't speak for the Test but fished Woodmill for years and now concentrate on the river upstream. I'm sure it's possible to catch in the estuary during daylight, the only people I've seen doing it are locals and they say they're going for Bass.
I wouldn't try it because of the danger, it's extremely muddy and at low water a longish wade/walk is necessary to reach the water. Quite apart from the danger of getting cut off by the tide there's always the chance of a wake from a large ship swamping you. I've seen it in the Woodmill and it's not the sort of surprise you need when wading.
I'd advise Christchurch Harbour on the Avon /Stour. The sea Trout are taken in the daytime and night fishing is allowed. Civilised, not muddy as far as I know and about £16 for 24hrs from Davis tackle.
 

albacore

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Thank you. I should have mentioned I have a kayak. To be honest, I’ve never suceeded in making it work for migratory fish. I’m guessing it’s been because; wrong place, and then previously not being anchored in a way to be able to swing the flies right. I may have got a reasonable way to anchor now. Also, the online depth chart system has been a revelation. Certainly there are bass there and I’ve caught some both times I’ve been in the kayak. A good one of those would be nice; best I had was 12 inches at best. I guess I have a few days left this autumn when I might be able to get down to Southampton so it’ll be interesting until the point that it dawns on me that I’m sitting in a gallon of brackish water in the rain with a half hour paddle ahead. I think this Solent estuary sea-trout thing could be a hard sell! Good thing about that area for me is it’s a quick trip from London. I’ve been on holiday near the Royalty fishery and it looks very nice, but it would be a trek for an afternoon or night’s expedition.
 

JohnH

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The Lower Itchen Fishery at West End offers night sea trout fishing on a "night's ticket" basis. Only issue might be that it's a bit noisy with Southampton Airport, the main London to Southampton railway line, Eastleigh railway yard and the M27 all quite close by. But quite something that despite all that plus increasing local urbanisation, salmon, sea trout, brown trout, grayling and good coarse fish (including Itchen barbel at the downstream end of the fishery) are all there to be caught.
 

albacore

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Got one as is right and proper. I fear I’ll be making a nil return for this year though
 

vital

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Vis a vis the bass fishing/kayaking in Southampton Water, I knew someone who was catching really good bass regularly, off the Marchwood shore close by the power station, where the outfall warms the sea-water and there's a mega food-chain bloom. Further up the Itchen estuary towards Woodmill is Riverside Park, and one of the Fluff Boys tells of a guy fishing bread from that pontoon thingy for Mullet, but catching plump schoolies, one after the other. The only sea trout I've seen being caught was by a gill netter off Weston Shore, very shallow water, but that was a couple of years ago now (not sure if he was legal or not).
 

vital

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The Lower Itchen Fishery at West End offers night sea trout fishing on a "night's ticket" basis. Only issue might be that it's a bit noisy with Southampton Airport, the main London to Southampton railway line, Eastleigh railway yard and the M27 all quite close by. But quite something that despite all that plus increasing local urbanisation, salmon, sea trout, brown trout, grayling and good coarse fish (including Itchen barbel at the downstream end of the fishery) are all there to be caught.
Vis a vis “the Itchen barbel” the Irish guy who used to be the keeper on the Lower Itchen Fishery told me in the White Swan one day, that every time he fished a purple prawn through the pools that Salmon stopped briefly in, on their upstream runs, he would catch double figure Barbel instead
 

albacore

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Yes, it looks like a fascinating fishery up from Woodmill for that free stretch through to where the river comes against the road. Very subtle. I was up there in Riverside Park the other day. I think you would need to be very quiet and accurate and cast over and under the trees on the far side, across from the park side with all it’s walkers and disturbance. I saw a fish or two; probably chub or barbel. Caught nothing
 

vital

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The free stretch (Woodmill to Gaters Mill) bequeathed by Lord Swaythling, was once a fabulous Dace fishery; in winter the Roach would appear, and Grayling. Nowadays, under those trees, its mainly Chub and Carp. The sea trout tend to run at night, when the Salmon Pool hatches are opened, and are clear of the free stretch by daylight, usually. There is no doubt whatsoever that the two estuaries that make up Southampton Water do hold plenty of sea-run trout, and I should have mentioned that I touched upon that (slightly) in my rhflyfishing.blogspot.com blog, in Ed 15 'More dog days'. Further out, into the Solent, the Meon shore area used to see quite a few people fly fishing for sea-trout, but that may have been because the sea water there is always much less turbid than Southampton Water.
 
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