Species
Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Grayling
Destination Type
Luxury Lodge
Fishing Style
Dry Fly, Sightfishing, Wading
Season
April - October
Fishing Days
4-6
Rate
$$$
Why We Go
  • Fish the classic English chalk streams including the Test, Itchen, and Avon
  • Experience the rich history and origins of fly fishing while wading the same legendary waters as some of our sport’s founders
  • Take in the stunning English countryside while enjoying first-class accommodations and meals
  • Enjoy world-class, wild-trout, dry fly fishing on cold clear rivers with manicured banks
  • Experience world famous landmarks in the south of England including the Salisbury cathedral and Stonehenge
Overview

England’s classic chalk streams are among the most beautiful, manicured, and productive dry fly fisheries in Europe. They are also steeped in a rich history and the home waters of fly-fishing luminaries including Isaac Walton and Frank Sawyer. This program offers anglers the opportunity to literally walk in their footsteps and cast into the very pools that helped form them as anglers and authors. Guests will stay in a range of quaint country homes with Michelin trained private chefs preparing all meals. From these bases, guests will set out to fish more than six renowned chalk streams including the Test, Avon, and Itchen with skilled professional guides. Fishing will be centered around sight fishing to wild trout in the 12-to 20-inch class with dry flies. Guests can also visit local pubs, distilleries, the Salisbury cathedral, and Stonehenge.

Fishing Program

Each day guests will depart with their guides to a designated private beat of water. Most of the fishing is done using dry flies, but sometimes guests will use nymphs. The standard ratio is two guests to one guide, but on some beats the guides can accommodate three guests. Single guiding is available at an additional cost if guests would prefer to upgrade. All fishing is done on foot, and typically from the bank without ever entering the water. The outfitter has access to many different beats of water on many different rivers. These rivers include the Itchen, Avon, Dun, Nadder, Bourne, Ebble, Allen, Wylie, and more. Each trip will have at least one day of fishing on the River Test.

Accommodations

Guests will stay in a variety of quaint, well-appointed country homes with a private Michelin trained chef preparing all meals. The atmosphere is very friendly and casual. Guests have the option to choose from single and double occupancy packages (priced accordingly) and there will be both private and shared bathroom configurations. Breakfasts and dinners will normally be taken in the dining room. Breakfast will be a buffet style meal with hot food cooked to order. Lunch will be a selection of cold foods taken as a picnic on the riverbank. Dinner will normally be a set, three-course meal. Meals are discussed on arrival so that the outfitter can provide what everybody wants.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive London Heathrow Airport, Transfer to the Test Valley

Day 2: Orvis Timsbury 5, River Test

A lower middle stretch of the River Test. It is stocked as well as having a good population of wild fish.

Day 3: Kimbridge Estate, River Test

A middle reach beat of the Test, an intricate beat some of which was man made in the 1980s as well as having some of the true Test as well. This has stocked fish as well as a good population of wild fish.

Day 4: Rest day for guests to tour the area. 

Day 5: Manningford, River Avon

The upper most fishable beat of the River Avon. This is a wild fishery with a great head of fish. It runs through fields and woods. There is something here to please everyone.

Day 6: River Avon

Upper middle stretch of the Avon, this stretch has a huge head of wild trout and grayling and is supplemented by a good stock of brown trout as well.

Day 7: Orvis Abbots Worthy, River Itchen

A stunning wild fishery with a fantastic population of wild fish. This isn’t the easiest of fisheries as the fish are wild and educated, add the water clarity and you are faced with a tough but rewarding fishery.

Day 8: Weston, River Lambourn

A crystal clear small Chalkstream that is clear and shallow. Probably the best example of a pure Chalkstream in the week. A stunning river with a great head of small wild fish and a few stocked fish as well.

Day 9: Depart

Rates & Details

2024 Rate: Per person based on double occupancy

Custom packages, rates average $950 to $1,450 per day

Included: Accommodations, meals and beverages including alcohol per itinerary, transport to and from London Heathrow International Airport, all guided fishing two anglers per guide, all guided activities, fishing licenses and club water permits, tourist tax, instruction if necessary

Not Included: International airfare and airport taxes, gratuities, alcohol

Species: rainbow trout, brown trout, grayling, pike

Season: Year-round with trout season running April to October.

Capacity: Parties of 2-6 are most popular but larger groups can be accommodated.

Fly Water Q&A

What are the top reasons to go?

  • Fish the classic English chalk streams including the Test, Itchen, and Avon
  • Experience the rich history and origins of fly fishing while wading the same legendary waters as some of our sport’s founders
  • Take in the stunning English countryside while enjoying first-class accommodations and meals
  • Enjoy world-class, wild-trout, dry fly fishing on cold clear rivers with manicured banks
  • Experience world famous landmarks in the south of England including the Salisbury cathedral and Stonehenge

Who is best suited to this destination?

Where is the lodge? The outfitter uses several exclusive homes in the heart of chalk stream country. Most of the homes are located in the Test Valley in southern England.

How do I get there? Guests will need to fly to London Heathrow Airport (LHR). There they will be met by a lodge representative and transferred the approximately 1.5 hours to the Test River Valley.

When should I go? Fishing is available year-round. Trout season runs from approximately April 1st to October 16th, with the classic mayfly hatch happening at the end of May into early June. It is possible to fish for pike and grayling in the winter.

How will I fish? Most of the fishing is done using dry flies, but sometimes guests will use nymphs. The standard ratio is two guests to one guide, but on some beats the guides can accommodate three guests. Single guiding is available at an additional cost if guests would prefer to upgrade.

Is there wade fishing? There can be wade fishing on a few select beats, but most fishing is done from the manicured banks of the rivers. While guests are always on foot, getting in the water is often discouraged and in many cases, regulated.

Where will I fish? Each day guests will fish a different beat often on different rivers. The outfitter has access to many different beats of water on many different rivers. These rivers include the Itchen, Avon, Dun, Nadder, Bourne, Ebble, Allen, Wylie, and more. Each trip will have at least one day of fishing on the River Test.  

How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds? Most of the beats are very close to the accommodations. Travel times are usually 15- to 30-minutes but could be up to an hour.

What type(s) of fish will I catch? Brown trout, rainbow trout, and grayling.

How many fish will I catch? Most days guests can expect 5 to 10 fish per day in the 12- to 20-inch class.

Will I see other anglers? Not often. The beats are private and exclusive to the outfitter. There could be a beat that has another angler in it, but it is rare to see other people on the river.

What are the guides like? The guides are all experienced, safe, and personable. Many of the guides have been fishing these rivers for most of their lives. They are primarily relaxed and calm but if an angler would like to be pushed they can become more assertive.

What are the physical demands? The physical demands are light, and most levels of fitness and mobility can be accommodated.

Are there any special skills required? None really but guests that can make accurate short to mid-range casts and control the fly in the drift are going to have more success.

Does the lodge provide equipment? No, but equipment can be rented and purchased through the lodge. If you elect to rent wading gear,  please let Fly Water Travel know what size boots and waders are needed as soon as possible as there are limited sizes available.

What is your favorite setup for the trip? A 9-foot, 4- or 5-weight rod is the best all-around setup. Weight forward floating lines with a longer leader is generally used to keep the fly landing as lightly as possible. There are a few beats that lend themselves to Euro-nymphing.

What are the top flies? Very classic trout flies such as mayfly patterns, elk hair caddis, small CDC flies, klinkhammers and blue-winged olives. Nymphs should be approximately size 16, beaded, and drab in color.

What are the options if water conditions become challenging? It is unlikely that the chalk streams will blow out, but if the weather conditions are challenging there is sightseeing, pubs, and museums within a half hour of the accommodations.

What is a typical day like?

8:00 AM: Breakfast 8:45 AM: Depart for fishing 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM: Morning session 1:00 – 1:30 PM: Streamside lunch 1:30 – 5:30 PM: Afternoon session 5:30 PM: Transfer back to lodge 7:00 PM: Appetizers and refreshments 7:30 PM: Dinner

What is the general vibe, atmosphere and style of the lodge? The accommodations are very relaxed and have a traditional English style and feel.

Is there an on-site owner, manager or other point-person at the lodge? Yes. There is always a point of contact at the lodge.

Where do we eat, and what are the meals like? Breakfasts and dinners will normally be taken in the dining room. Breakfast will be a buffet style meal with hot food cooked to order. Lunch will be a selection of cold foods taken as a picnic on the riverbank. Dinner will normally be a set, three-course meal. Meals are discussed on arrival so that the outfitter can provide what everybody wants. All the food is cooked fresh by a Michelin trained private chef.

What is the alcohol policy? As a welcome to the week, the outfitter will provide most of the alcohol on arrival day. After that, there is a small honesty bar available throughout the week. A selection of local beers, wines, and spirits will be available. If guests have any specific requests please let us know before hand and we can make sure you are catered for.

Where do we stay, and what are the accommodations like? The accommodations are country houses in the heart of chalk stream country. There are a mix of room types available with double and single occupancy rooms. Some rooms have ensuite bathrooms while others will share.

Is there internet and/or cell service? Yes. There is free internet service and there is good cell service at the accommodations and at almost all of the fishing beats.

Are there other activities? Yes, lots! There is sightseeing, pub trips, and distillery tours to just name a few.

Are there any other expenses? All expenses, except for alcohol, in the package are covered. if guests would like to go to town or do a tour there will be additional expenses. There could be transfer fees depending on arrival location. Gratuities are not included.

Do I need a visa? No.

Are there any health concerns, dangers or annoyances?  No. We recommend that guests always consult with the U.S. Department of State and the Center For Disease Control websites for general travel information and guidelines.

Tell us about yourself and we'll reach out to plan the details of your trip