The Itchen Carrier at Avington

pati

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Nov 20, 2012
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Yes you need to be stealthy there, but yes you were unlucky on your day, the 2-3 times I went both my fishing buddy and I averaged well in excess of 30 fishes (each)!

Did you try bigger flies especially big Nymph and terrestrials?

Your approach was right on the face of it: stay away from the bank and once you settle in a spot don’t move for 10good minutes so fish can relax and settle too...

So I guess you were either unlucky or it s simply that the river has not been stocked for a while!
 

thetrouttickler

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Yes you need to be stealthy there, but yes you were unlucky on your day, the 2-3 times I went both my fishing buddy and I averaged well in excess of 30 fishes (each)!

Did you try bigger flies especially big Nymph and terrestrials?

Your approach was right on the face of it: stay away from the bank and once you settle in a spot don’t move for 10good minutes so fish can relax and settle too...

So I guess you were either unlucky or it s simply that the river has not been stocked for a while!
I tried several patterns, including a #10 mayfly nymph and other #12 nymphs. I mixed it up a lot, trying to crack the code.

I didn't try any large terrestrials though. Something about seeing fish spook at a #18 klinkhamer suggested it would have been a fruitless exercise :)

I probably only saw 5 or 6 trout longer than 12 inches, and the water is clear so you get a good look into it, so perhaps you hit it soon after the bucket was tipped in. The vast majority were small little pinballs.

I am fairly experienced and like a challenge, so it says a lot when I class this as one of my most difficult days ever :)
 

Reg Wyatt

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A few years ago trouttickler I was fortunate to fish the Bourne at Hurstbourne Priors a tributary near the top of the Test. It is the beat that Plunkett Greens 'where the bright waters meet' was based on and stunningly beautiful. Some of it had to be waded and some could be fished from the bank and it was of course pretty wild and sounds a little like where you were fishing. I found it almost impossible to catch the first time I went there and tried everything in my fly box and very long leaders etc. All I did was shepherd the fish upstream for fifty yards and then they'd all make a dash downstream past me again. I approached it the same way as you with stealth and time but to no avail.
The second time I went I visited Plunkett Greens gravestone in the church there and as tradition goes, left a blue winged olive on his headstone. Well you've guessed it, I couldn't stop catching fish! What could possibly have changed? Same flies and leader etc but the fish were very settled and a good cast resulted in a take.
Could it be the old fella was pleased with my offering!?
Very fickle these little wild brownies but hit it at the right time and all is good.

Reg Wyatt
 

Onnylad

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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, but 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.
Trouble with stocked streams bud , also with no water the trout would be struggling and with temps ... just a dog day ....
Anyway at least you fished and know what that’s all about .
 

thetrouttickler

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A few years ago trouttickler I was fortunate to fish the Bourne at Hurstbourne Priors a tributary near the top of the Test. It is the beat that Plunkett Greens 'where the bright waters meet' was based on and stunningly beautiful. Some of it had to be waded and some could be fished from the bank and it was of course pretty wild and sounds a little like where you were fishing. I found it almost impossible to catch the first time I went there and tried everything in my fly box and very long leaders etc. All I did was shepherd the fish upstream for fifty yards and then they'd all make a dash downstream past me again. I approached it the same way as you with stealth and time but to no avail.
The second time I went I visited Plunkett Greens gravestone in the church there and as tradition goes, left a blue winged olive on his headstone. Well you've guessed it, I couldn't stop catching fish! What could possibly have changed? Same flies and leader etc but the fish were very settled and a good cast resulted in a take.
Could it be the old fella was pleased with my offering!?
Very fickle these little wild brownies but hit it at the right time and all is good.

Reg Wyatt
Ha, well put!

Trouble with stocked streams bud , also with no water the trout would be struggling and with temps ... just a dog day ....
Anyway at least you fished and know what that’s all about .
True, nothing lost!
 

pati

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Nov 20, 2012
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632
I tried several patterns, including a #10 mayfly nymph and other #12 nymphs. I mixed it up a lot, trying to crack the code.

I didn't try any large terrestrials though. Something about seeing fish spook at a #18 klinkhamer suggested it would have been a fruitless exercise :)

I probably only saw 5 or 6 trout longer than 12 inches, and the water is clear so you get a good look into it, so perhaps you hit it soon after the bucket was tipped in. The vast majority were small little pinballs.

I am fairly experienced and like a challenge, so it says a lot when I class this as one of my most difficult days ever :)
Definitely not the same experience, every time I went there it was full of fishes and relatively easy fishing, and definitely full of 30cm+ trouts and graylings ! On the upper part only, above the bridge, I remember catching about 10 good size browns over about 1h30....

As a matter of fact the reason I m not going anymore is that the fishing was to easy and the beat lacks a bit of variety and « personality »
 

iainmortimer

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Apr 5, 2014
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West Sussex
That sounds pretty much like most Itchen and Test carriers during hot, bright summer conditions when the challenging conditions can often mean no fish as they spook at the mere thought of something to spook at! As already said though, hit it right and it can be very rewarding although that sounds more featureless than most!
 

three rivers

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Apr 13, 2017
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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.
The river Chess in Hertfordshire also had at one time a self-sustaining population of rainbows, though I doubt they are still present. My first ever trout was one such, caught in the mid-eighties on a weighted nymph below the road bridge at Scots Hill.
 

roger h 10

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The lesser Stour in Kent used to have a breeding population too until so much water was extracted that it dried up.
The death of a chalk stream!:mad:
 

three rivers

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The Chess is a shadow of what it was thirty-five years ago, thanks to abstraction in the Chilterns. I believe it only exists at all downstream of Chesham because it takes all the treated effluent from the sewage works. When I first fished there it was the most perfect example of a chalkstream I've ever seen, and I've fished a few. Last time I saw it was maybe twenty years ago, and I was horrified - the white chalk bed and clean gravels were replaced with silt; the ranunculus beds that gave a carpet of white flowers in late May had been replaced with encroaching reeds and semi-submerged grass.

I saw the heaviest hatch of mayfly I've ever witnessed on that river in May 1985. It was so thick at 5pm you couldn't see the far end of a two-hundred yard stretch.
 

tjjm

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Jan 27, 2015
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Fished the Itchen again yesterday with a buddy, forgot the name of the beat but near allbrooke hill.

Saw one fish all day and caught nothing, very disappointed as this is the 4 th time in as many weeks drawing a blank for both of us , the river looks dead no rises
Nothing.
Was told they stocked 100 fish on Thursday 80 three weeks prior.


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