The River Dever, Hampshire
The River Dever at Bullington is an exquisite example of a chalkstream. Its water is so astonishingly clear and gentle-flowing that I could observe the behaviour of its resident trout in microscopic detail. This really was a huge jump up the chalkstream crystallinity charts. With a catch and release limit of eight fish, it allowed me to take my time and pursue a selective approach, by stalking individual fish. It was a novel and deeply satisfying experience.
The weatherman had forecast a damp day, and I had driven through a patch of heavy rain to reach the river. Dark, ominous clouds hung low over the Test Valley and threatened to unleash their load at any moment. The ground underfoot was spongy and wet from recent rains. It rained very little in April and the land was due a good soaking.
Crossing the narrow bridge to my beat I spotted many large trout in the water, both downstream in my beat and upstream of the bridge in the next. My expectations soared.
I walked past some gorgeous water on the way back to the hut, everything the chalkstream of my wildest dreams. This middle section seemed to hold fewer fish though. I noticed that the trout tended to congregate at the upper and lower limits of the beat, where the water flowed with a little less zip.