Fishing for Grayling on the River Test

Fishing for Grayling on the River Test

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Grayling Fishing

Campbell Thomson spends a day fishing for grayling on the Test. During the middle of November a chance arose for me to have of a day’s grayling fishing on the river Test.

Despite the overcast conditions I was able to spot numerous brown trout holding station in some of the runs, although tempting they were out of season so I decided to wait until I spotted the ‘silver lady’.

This was greatly helped by wearing the Costa  ‘Jose’ Polaroid’s with 580P Sunrise lens – a lightweight, impact-resistant lens that allows maximum light transmission and enhanced depth perception. They also cut glare and allow anglers to see through the water more clearly in the early morning or late afternoon. These glasses won the top prize in the ICAST 2012 Best Eyewear category. A full range of these fishing sunglasses are available through Sportfish.

The Simms folding wading staff in action

In certain sections of the River, wading was allowed. Although the use of a wading staff may be considered ‘overkill’ on a river such as The Test, I was able to use it to assess the depth of water prior to stepping in as there were some sections that were deeper than they first appeared due to weed cover etc.

Find out more information on this great wading stick

Simms folding wading stick

Whilst wading the river I was catching brownies, which were in great condition even though they were out of season, rather than the grayling I was targeting. I decided that due to the overcast conditions I would have a better chance in spotting the grayling higher up from the bank. After spotting a few silver flashes in the river I finally managed to winkle out a couple of the elusive grayling. I had been fishing using ‘red tags’ which had been attracting both Brownies and the odd Rainbow. I changed my fly to a Golden Nugget Nymph fished New Zealand Style suspended below a floating dry fly rather than using a bite indicator, that done the trick.

I finished by trying to catch a Grayling which looked to be around the 2lb mark, however anytime any interest was shown a Brownie would appear and try to snatch the fly. As darkness fell I decided that after an enjoyable day it was time to go.


  1. The Itchen and Test are synonymous with chalk stream game fishing. They happen to be two of the most beautiful rivers I have fished. Both are gin clear, as all chalk streams are (well with the exception of the Kennet, but that’s another story) and they are full of thick flowing ranunculus in the summer months. They are both reasonably fast flowing. In the case of the Itchen, much of the river is a mixture of bends, fast shallow runs and some deep pools. The Test at Timsbury is wide and fairly straight, but a little slower flowing. The Test has the added advantage of having a couple of carriers available to the day ticket angler. One is shallow and fast and full of grayling, the other deeper and slower and more suited to roach.

  2. I and my brother might interested in fishing for graying/roach in November of this year. The carriers sound interesting for a 1 day set of permits. A number of queries …
    Can fly/course angling be mixed?

    Are waders required to get the best out of it.

    What are the likely river conditions during November ie Floods – waste of time.

    I would like to know details – price, availability, selectivity, access, parking, nearest pub/food
    thankyou derek

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