The Lakes & Tactics
The three lakes at Avington Trout Fishery have been established since the late 1960s when they were created by the late, great Sam Holland, a pioneer in the world of stillwater trout fishing. The original lake was a continuous narrow one, but it was so silted up that only a few inches of water existed above the mud.
Sam set about widening, deepening and clearing the lake, dividing it into three smaller lakes totalling nine acres. He also diverted the main flow of the water to prevent silting again, and in the process produced the chalkstream carrier that still runs alongside the lakes.
Today, the lakes are fringed with marginal growth of sedges, flowering rush, yellow iris and marsh marigolds which provide cover for the stalking angler. There is also good shade and cover afforded to the trout and angler by large stands of trees including alder, crack willow, hawthorn and beautiful oak and London planes.
The lakes are stocked every day with high quality triploid rainbows which are all reared on site in the fishery's own stock ponds. The fishery record rainbow currently stands at 28lb, a fish caught by Paddy Hill in October 2000. From late Spring onwards brown trout are also introduced.
So where are todays' hotspots and which techniques and flies work best? The lakes are chalkstream-fed and the water clarity throughout the season is superb. In fact clear water stalking is possible even on heavily overcast days.
For this reason Avington is also an ideal venue for the beginner or novice angler as they can actually see the fish they are casting to which makes it so much more enjoyable and is a great confidence booster.
The smallest of the three and has depths from 6-8 feet. The bank next to the carrier has long been a favourite, especially in summer when fish take advantage of the shade from a line of giant lime trees. It is also a good place for the novice angler to have a go as there is plenty of space for the back cast.
The largest and has depths of 4 feet at the bottom end while the top end has deeper holes at 12-13 feet. Even in the summer the tree cover is open enough to allow the prevailing winds to ruffle the water's surface making for good top-of-the-water Buzzer fishing. The lake also has a lot of open bank space allowing for easy casting.
Very picturesque with depths at the bottom end of 15 feet and shallows at 4-6 feet at the top. Most of the banks are heavily wooded with alder which makes this a much more challenging lake, but it does create excellent ambush positions for the stalking angler. In many cases there is only room for a catapult cast which can make for difficult fishing, but it is worth it as the big fish can often be found lying in the shade canopy of the wooded banks.
Like any other fishery, the hotspots change from day to day. The most successful approach is to take your time walking and stalking each of the lakes and targetting individual fish which are lying tight in around the margins, under the shade of tree cover or close to the weed beds on the bottom.
The “chuck and chance it" method does work but the quality double-figure specimens often come to the angler who has stalked his quarry. The first line of attack is a floating line with a leader of 7 to 9.5 foot long. Clear low diameter and fluorocarbon leader material work best, making sure to use nothing less than 6lb breaking strain.
The most important piece of equipment you can bring with you is a pair of Polaroid sunglasses so you can cut out all surface glare and spot the fish. And also remember a big landing net!
As most of the fishing is sub-surface, (although dries can be used during summer months), weighted patterns are top of the list. From the Fulling Mill selection we suggest Alleycat, Spectra Bloodworm, CJ's Down 'N Dirty Damsel, Terry's Red Hook, Olive Spectra Bug, Goldhead Damsel, and Terry's Taddies. Always worth a try are Blue Flash Damsels, montanas, buzzers and damsels.
Anglers who want a break from the lakes can fish the chalkstream carrier for wild browns and grayling on a strictly catch and release basis with barbless hooks. Scale down the tackle as these fish are well educated. The carrier is given a token stocking of smaller brown trout during the season.