The Itchen Carrier at Avington

thetrouttickler

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There is a lot of information on this forum about the lakes at Avington, but having gone back through the search function little is said about the section of river they have there, other than "it is cheaper than most of the chalkstream beats". Which is quite accurate.

What should I expect? I saw a little snippet of the stream at around 14 minutes into Paul Young's 'Hooked on Fishing' clip available on YT. It looked narrow and shallow. How long is the section? How long will it likely keep me entertained? The fishing agent who sells tickets says I will have exclusive use, but how does this work when the fishery sells lake + river tickets?

Otherwise it will be interesting just to see the place, a lot is written about this fishery.

Cheers
 

iainmortimer

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From the fishing breaks website: The River Itchen carrier at Avington is the perfect example of a small, gin-clear chalkstream where sight fishing is very much the order of the day. The fast flowing stream has plenty of small wild brownies, supplemented by brown trout that are reared at Avington.
This is all bank fishing where it is best to use a rod of around 8ft in the 3 weight range with dry fly or nymph, the latter allowed all season provided they are traditional chalkstream patterns. This is suitable for one rod or two friends.

The wild fish are likely to be very spooky and could challenge you all day if anything like the header waters I used to fish upstream. However, being supplemented with stocked fish should give you a fighting chance of avoiding the blank.

If you don't mind going through the beat 2 or 3 times it could well drive you nuts all day chasing spooky trout! I'd suggest ringing them to get the details from the horses mouth so to speak.
 

thetrouttickler

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From the fishing breaks website: The River Itchen carrier at Avington is the perfect example of a small, gin-clear chalkstream where sight fishing is very much the order of the day. The fast flowing stream has plenty of small wild brownies, supplemented by brown trout that are reared at Avington.
This is all bank fishing where it is best to use a rod of around 8ft in the 3 weight range with dry fly or nymph, the latter allowed all season provided they are traditional chalkstream patterns. This is suitable for one rod or two friends.

The wild fish are likely to be very spooky and could challenge you all day if anything like the header waters I used to fish upstream. However, being supplemented with stocked fish should give you a fighting chance of avoiding the blank.

If you don't mind going through the beat 2 or 3 times it could well drive you nuts all day chasing spooky trout! I'd suggest ringing them to get the details from the horses mouth so to speak.
Cheers Ian. Have you fished it before?

I had to make a last minute order of PTNs and Hare's Ears without beadheads, can't remember the last time I had to avoid the plop.
 

iainmortimer

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Cheers Ian. Have you fished it before?

I had to make a last minute order of PTNs and Hare's Ears without beadheads, can't remember the last time I had to avoid the plop.
Not that section but I used to be able to get on the Itchen header - that's where my avatar photo is from. Fly wise I'd suggest black and olive parachute dries in #16 and #18, deer hair emerger #16 and GRHE, pheasant tail and olive nymphs beaded #16 and #18. The plop can be a problem but I found copper beaded flies were okay. Certainly I wouldn't go any bigger than a #14 nymph. It may also be worth having a couple of mayfly patterns for they may trickle off into early June if they hatch that far up. It may not be silty enough though. Tippet 4lb should be low enough.
 

thetrouttickler

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Not that section but I used to be able to get on the Itchen header - that's where my avatar photo is from. Fly wise I'd suggest black and olive parachute dries in #16 and #18, deer hair emerger #16 and GRHE, pheasant tail and olive nymphs beaded #16 and #18. The plop can be a problem but I found copper beaded flies were okay. Certainly I wouldn't go any bigger than a #14 nymph. It may also be worth having a couple of mayfly patterns for they may trickle off into early June if they hatch that far up. It may not be silty enough though. Tippet 4lb should be low enough.
Thanks for the tips, all makes sense. I probably have tons of those flies in my box as I tend to fish smaller streams, but I can't help buying more... just in case!
 

iainmortimer

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Thanks for the tips, all makes sense. I probably have tons of those flies in my box as I tend to fish smaller streams, but I can't help buying more... just in case!
I know that feeling as I tie my own and so have wayyyyyyyy to many! Carry a hundred and use three....
 

roger h 10

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I have fished the carrier on a few occasions. I can't really add anything to what Iain's already told you other than to not go too light on tippet strength as there are ,or at least were when I fished it, some fair sized rainbows in there too. You'll know all about it if you hook one of those on light tackle,as the water is so shallow all they can do is run and they certainly do that.

Good luck and tight lines!!
 

BobP

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I know that feeling as I tie my own and so have wayyyyyyyy to many! Carry a hundred and use three....
A hundred? Is that all? You some sort of cheapskate? ;)

When I'm guiding I carry 4 boxes of nymphs, 1 box of small dries, I box of large dries. I shudder to think how many flies there are in total and as you say not too many get used unless the clients get heavy handed. Most I lost in 1 day was 23.
 

iainmortimer

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A hundred? Is that all? You some sort of cheapskate? ;)

When I'm guiding I carry 4 boxes of nymphs, 1 box of small dries, I box of large dries. I shudder to think how many flies there are in total and as you say not too many get used unless the clients get heavy handed. Most I lost in 1 day was 23.
23 lost flies in a day! :oops: I take it relative beginners...

Yes I carry about 100, I'll have about 10 boxes in the car though just in case ;)
 

BrownieBasher

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Cheers Ian. Have you fished it before?

I had to make a last minute order of PTNs and Hare's Ears without beadheads, can't remember the last time I had to avoid the plop.
I have fished it many many times. It's a very challenging, small, piece of itchen carrier. the fish are primarily wild, but there are some escapee rainbows in there which will put a bend in the rod if hooked! there are also some surprisingly large browns to be found. it's very spooky fishing, and is quite overgrown on the bottom half. The pool by the bridge at the end of lake one alwyas has a few fish, as does the stretch immediately below the bridge there. The fish are not difficult to catch and re ready takers IF you can get a fly to them without spooking them, or catching an obstruction. As an aside,, the lakes have not seen as many decent fish as in the past. i know of many of the old stalkers who just don't fish there any more. If you're more interested in the river, that shouldnt be of consequence, but worth bearing in mind. There's also some nice river at Dever Springs nearby..
 

pati

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Fished it too, there is about a mile of river and so enough for a day as you will not be able to bash the water and cover it fast (that s recipe for disaster). It is a shallow gin clear small river, also note wading not authorised (nor needed ) unless rules have changed.

As long as you are stealthy it is full of fish and you will catch plenty. Many many browns and I am surprised to read they are mainly wild (would be worth checking that as I would have said 60/40 stocked/wild) with indeed a few bigger browns (biggest I ce caught was about 1.5kg) and some massive (in relation to the size of the river) rainbows (my best was about 2.5kg) that will give you a good run for your money!

To me the real exciting part though are the bigger graylings, easy to catch a couple of them in the deep pool at the end of the lake, but much harder and hence exciting on the rest of the beat. There are some 45+ cm graylings though they are hard to catch especially as in typically grayling fashion they will not spook and fly away like trouts do so if you spook them you might spend a lot of time trying to catch a fish that’s there but has noticed you and won’t eat anything !



Fly recommended above are bang on the money, although it sometimes pays off to surprise the fish with things they don’t see often: big terrestrials do work well on trouts and big size nymphs (size 8/10 GRHE) do the trick quite well. For graylings: small and bright seems to work very well.

Overall a very pleasant piece of water although a bit on the easy side and small format water
 
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BobP

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23 lost flies in a day! :oops: I take it relative beginners...

Yes I carry about 100, I'll have about 10 boxes in the car though just in case ;)
No, just two mates out for a day on a small chalkstream & decided to compete to see who could catch fish the furthest under the trees on the far bank. Pain in the ar*e the pair of them. I had to pick them up and take them back to the station in Andover & in the end I got £30 for a tip. Didn't even cover the cost of the flies. It's not often as bad as that, but I normally reckon on around 10-12 flies lost per day on average.
 

thetrouttickler

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Thanks to all for the advice. I usually fish small streams so I'm used to crouching or fishing from my knees, and as I get older I find I go slower and watch the water a lot more (overall just a lot more patient). Sounds like I have a lot to look forward to.
 

glueman

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Fished it too, there is about a mile of river and so enough for a day as you will not be able to bash the water and cover it fast (that s recipe for disaster). It is a shallow gin clear small river, also note wading not authorised (nor needed ) unless rules have changed.

As long as you are stealthy it is full of fish and you will catch plenty. Many many browns and I am surprised to read they are mainly wild (would be worth checking that as I would have said 60/40 stocked/wild) with indeed a few bigger browns (biggest I ce caught was about 1.5kg) and some massive (in relation to the size of the river) rainbows (my best was about 2.5kg) that will give you a good run for your money!

To me the real exciting part though are the bigger graylings, easy to catch a couple of them in the deep pool at the end of the lake, but much harder and hence exciting on the rest of the beat. There are some 45+ cm graylings though they are hard to catch especially as in typically grayling fashion they will not spook and fly away like trouts do so if you spook them you might spend a lot of time trying to catch a fish that’s there but has noticed you and won’t eat anything !



Fly recommended above are bang on the money, although it sometimes pays off to surprise the fish with things they don’t see often: big terrestrials do work well on trouts and big size nymphs (size 8/10 GRHE) do the trick quite well. For graylings: small and bright seems to work very well.

Overall a very pleasant piece of water although a bit on the easy side and small format water
one assumes the Rainbows are stockies as they only bread in one UK river in Derbyshire
 

pati

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one assumes the Rainbows are stockies as they only bread in one UK river in Derbyshire
Fished it too, there is about a mile of river and so enough for a day as you will not be able to bash the water and cover it fast (that s recipe for disaster). It is a shallow gin clear small river, also note wading not authorised (nor needed ) unless rules have changed.

As long as you are stealthy it is full of fish and you will catch plenty. Many many browns and I am surprised to read they are mainly wild (would be worth checking that as I would have said 60/40 stocked/wild) with indeed a few bigger browns (biggest I ce caught was about 1.5kg) and some massive (in relation to the size of the river) rainbows (my best was about 2.5kg) that will give you a good run for your money!

To me the real exciting part though are the bigger graylings, easy to catch a couple of them in the deep pool at the end of the lake, but much harder and hence exciting on the rest of the beat. There are some 45+ cm graylings though they are hard to catch especially as in typically grayling fashion they will not spook and fly away like trouts do so if you spook them you might spend a lot of time trying to catch a fish that’s there but has noticed you and won’t eat anything !

Overall a very pleasant piece of water although a bit on the easy side and small format water
The rainbow are 100% stockies, browns I would say are mostly stockies for fish above 25-30cm, but the beat also has a good head of wild fishes (typically smaller although there are a few decent size wild ones)
 

Bongoch

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one assumes the Rainbows are stockies as they only bread in one UK river in Derbyshire
There's (or at least there used to be) a population of wild Rainbows in the river Chew above Chew Valley Lake. I've caught a few small Rainbows (palm of your hand sized stuff) myself and I know others who've done likewise.
 

thetrouttickler

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Feedback after my day. The river is only around 500 metres long. The upper beat is around 150m and the lower beat around 350m. Much of the upper beat isn't fishable because of vegetation growth on the only bank. That bank has a narrow path shared with anyone fishing the top lake. Anyone walking on that path would send the fish scattering. The river is very shallow (ankle deep in many places) and extremely slow flowing, especially lower down the stretch. Very, very slow flowing. No ranunculus or starwort to really speak of, so it didn't really feel like a chalkstream. It was quite featureless and actually a bit silty in the lower beat (reminded me of a canal). Because of this flow deflectors have been installed in the lower beat, where the river was slowest.

There was a lot of fly life - mayflies, olives and caddis especially - but I saw only four rises in the river all day. I could hear fish rising in the lakes though! Pity, because I was hoping for a little more surface action. It was a hot, bright and very still day. That doesn't make for the easiest fishing in skinny water... Now for the crunch. These were some of the spookiest fish I have ever seen. I have fished for spooky fish before (double figure browns in NZ's South island are quite spooky) but this was next level. I walked very slowly upstream, and had to resort to walking about 4 to 5 metres away from the bank in the shaded trees on the other side of the road track, trying to conceal myself while I searched for fish. My knees are still red and bruised from the crawling I did when trying to get into casting position. These little fish (the wild fish averaged around 8 inches) would scatter like pinballs at the slightest movement or even the sight of a fly drifting towards them. They had a long time to see them in the slow moving water.

There were a few escapees, some browns and some rainbows, around 3 to 4lbs. I saw 5 or 6 fish over 12 inches long. All but one were sitting on the bottom dead still, not feeding or moving (the other was visible only by its large tail, sitting under a tree branch in the water, an impossible lie. It was feeding though). I trundled many flies past the doggo lumps hoping to annoy one into taking, more than anything. I even put my rod into the water and touched one of the immovable browns, expecting it to flee at the touch, but it just lazily moved an inch away. Very strange behaviour.

Fortunately I managed to catch one little brown trout, with a CDC & Elk, late in the day. That saved the day. I also hooked two grayling on the nymph but lost them both. Arrgh.

I must have either caught it on a bad day, because this was one of the hardest days I have ever experienced, or you guys up thread are just far superior fishermen :)

Would I return? Honest answer, no. It wasn't what I was expecting. The main river Itchen outside the gate to the fishery was a damn pretty picture. Now that looked amazing. The beat at Itchen Stoke goes at a single rod day rate of £480 though...

Post edit. Before anyone asks, I was using a 14 foot leader with 6x (3lb) tippet. Very rarely have I felt the need to use 7x in the UK but I wished I had some. I was also predominantly using #18 flies, but experimented with 14s, 16s and a 20 too.
 
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