Thursday May 13th

River Test at Broadlands

The Test is a beautiful river and I enjoy fishing there. However I confess to having ambivalent feelings about some aspects of this storied stream. The stocking of alien and preposterously large rainbow trout is to me a sad affair. The fish are often tailess, always clueless, and coming directly from a stock pond they rarely survive long. If they do; then they face a future of losing weight and condition. Surely this is not fishing as we want it? Then there is the hullaballoo of a corporate day where equally clueless fish and anglers meet. Is this part of our contemplative sport? Perhaps, but not for me I***m afraid.

So why, after these rather pointed comments, did I fish the Test? I fished Broadlands which is very much the lower Test. Here the river is fast and deep and powerful. The beats are stocked with brown trout of a sensible size and the correct number of fins. So far so good. But it does require a certain technique. Dry fly may work here at times, but nymph fishing is the rule. The trout are often in deep or fast water, or both, so a weighted nymph is required if the fish are going to see your offering.

The trout are fit things and with their inherent strength and the pressure of water, the fight from these brownies can be spectacular. Broadlands has a good hatch of mayfly, but with the long winter and the cold north wind, we saw just a smattering of these large spectacular flies on the day. Not enough to excite us or the trout. They should be on the water in greater numbers as soon as a warm spell occurs. Until then an accurately cast nymph will bring trout to the bank.

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River Test

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