The Orvis Fly Fishing Report: Paul Procter reports on current fly fishing conditions in UK and abroad.

No. 48 Orvis Blog

March 2014
Written by: Paul Procter

The River Test

Storm clouds gather once more over an already angry looking river Test.

Saturated South
As predicted, cold conditions never arrived here in the UK and consequently, we've suffered our wettest winter since records began. Whilst all regions were affected, the south copped the brunt of it with our beloved chalkstreams taking a proper battering. In particular, Romsey and Winchester were inundated with floods. Needless to say, our man in the south John Slader has little to report except those chasing grayling have struggled to find suitable levels. Whilst it's a long way off, spring and summer are bound to see more decent flows so it's well worth reserving a day in advance. For bookings on our exclusive beat, contact Orvis Sporting Traditions on 01264-349515 or via email at

Wet Wharfedale
Orvis stalwart Steve Rhodes has pretty much had his wings clipped due to unprecedented rainfall throughout Wharfedale. So, rather than waste time searching out grayling in rising water, Steve dusted off his double-handed rod and headed north to try for spring salmon. Fingers crossed, with spring just round the corner the weather should start to behave itself allowing those Dale’s rivers to settle down for the off. One date worth penciling in the diary is Sunday 11th May, for the Wharfedale Fly Fishing Day held on the village green at Burnsall. Run by the Appletreewick, Barden and Burnsall Angling Club, in conjunction with the local S&TA branch, there will be casting/fishing demonstrations throughout the day as well as plenty of trade stands, making this a country show not to be missed. Contact Steve at:


Despite high water on the main chalkstream, a quiet corner or two could be found on carriers where anglers enjoyed winter sport for grayling.

Head for the Carriers
Whilst many chalkstreams have taken a pounding, those carriers that remain a trickle for much of the season are currently in good fettle, says Dave Martin. Dave got on to this when he was pushed off the main Test recently. Diddling in the side streams using small nymphs, his clients experienced top-drawer grayling fishing. Better was to come, though. By early afternoon, flurries of large dark olives brought up the fish when hare’s ear flies and the Beige Beacon worked a treat. On the back of such success, Dave has made it his business to sniff out these tiny channels where manageable flows mean visiting anglers have the chance of a fish or two. Find Dave at:

Down Under
Trying to escape our dreary UK weather, I recently headed down under to New Zealand. This promised land produces some spanking trout, though to see it at its best you ideally need bright, sunny days. Surprise, surprise the Kiwis have suffered one of their worst summers ever with rainfall more akin to that back home! Cloudy conditions made spotting trout nigh on impossible, but the occasional blast of sunlight was just enough to locate a feisty fish or two. Lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, we managed to tangle with some of those huge trout in stunning surroundings making that long-haul flight well worth it.

New Zeland

Given a glimpse of sun, New Zealand offered some unforgettable sport in stunning surroundings to make my 2014 visit memorable.

Barrow’s Season Starts with a Bang
Bristol reservoir Barrow Tanks opened only days ago and saw a decent turn out of fishermen keen to wet a line. Incredibly, the weather behaved itself when, following a frosty start, those who made the effort enjoyed some much-needed sunshine. As predicted, trout had packed into tight shoals around certain hotspots and, once discovered, the fireworks started. Successful methods included sinking lines armed with small blobs or a humongous variant, though by midday day those in the know had swapped to a midge tip or even floating lines to take trout on weighted nymphs. A dry-fly man through and through, Martin resisted the temptation and is instead waiting a week or two for buzzers hatches to get underway. On another note, interestingly, English Nature finally allowed Bristol Water a fleet of 10 petrol engine boats on Blagdon. These engines will have limiters fitted to prevent boats charging about the place and causing unnecessary disturbances. Welcomed by the angling fraternity, Martin believes this positive move will bring plenty of anglers back to this fabulous venue.

2014 Schools and Courses
Orvis have a great range of Schools and Courses lined up for 2014 which cover all aspects of fly fishing and this year look to include the Tenkara style of fishing. So whether you’re a beginner or more seasoned rod, chances are there’ll be something for you. As well as appearing in their catalogue, dates and venues can be found on the website here.

Orvis Courses
For further information and bookings, contact Orvis Sporting Adventures at Orvis.
Tel: 01264-349515

Earlier Reports