Fly fishing on the River Itchen Fly fishing on the River Itchen Fly fishing on the River Itchen Fly fishing on the River Itchen

The River Itchen

The very best of the English chalkstream rivers

Along with the River Test the River Itchen is the very best of the English chalkstream rivers. G.E.M.Skues – the father of Trout nymph fly fishing techniques - fished the River Itchen in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Other famous fly fishing writers such as Sir Edward Grey and Frederick Halford also fished the river regularly during this era. Izaak Walton is buried in Winchester Cathedral close to the Itchen. The ancient city of Winchester is an ideal base for fly fishers visiting this very special river and the source of the River Itchen is just five miles to the east of Winchester. The Itchen enters the sea at Southampton.

Fly fishing on the River Itchen

Just a few lines to say thank you for your superb instruction and advice during the three days I spent with you on the Test and Itchen recently.

Nigel McCallister, Majorca

The River Itchen is located in the county of Hampshire around 70 miles south west from central London and is easily reachable from London by fast road and train. As with most chalkstream rivers the Itchen is noted for the high alkalinity and extreme clarity of its water. Prolific aquatic insect and shrimp life make the river a very fertile environment for fish. Hatches of upwinged flies start in late-April and peak from early-May onwards to late-June during which time the famous Mayfly hatches of Ephemera Danica take place. Summer evenings can provide excellent dry fly fishing and even on the hottest brightest days big Trout can be caught by sight casting un-weighted nymphs. Autumn hatches can be very good and although nymph fishing is important from the summer months onwards around half of all Trout and Grayling caught during the autumn will be taken on dry fly and those fishers that wish to stick to dry fly only can usually have good sport all day long. Some River Itchen beats only allow upstream dry fly for Trout.

We do guided fly fishing days at a number of locations on the River Itchen from the upper reaches upstream of the superb ancient city of Winchester to the very lower reaches near to the city of Southampton, including some middle reaches beats just downstream of Winchester. On some beats wading is allowed but on some beats it is not. Different beats have different prices and generally the more costly beats provide the best fishing for experienced fly fishers. Contact us for the specific prices of specific locations. Note that we do not provide just day rod beat access to fish without a guide/instructor.

We provide the best value River Itchen fly fishing days

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Fish species / seasons

The game fish in the River Itchen include Brown Trout, Grayling, Sea Trout and Salmon. It is most famous for its Brown Trout but it does contain some particularly large Grayling. The Trout season on the Itchen runs from mid-April to early-October. The River Itchen is an excellent Grayling river and superb fly fishing sport can be had right up to Christmas and beyond and we continue to catch Brown Trout while we target the Grayling. Grayling season rates start from early-October and the season ends on 14th March.

At certain scheduled times during the season the river is closed for fishing for weed cutting so in 2018 avoid planning days on the River Itchen between May 2nd and 7th, June 5th and 14th, July 4th and 12th and August 13th and 22nd.


The River Itchen is a medium sized chalkstream river and its total flow is often split across two or more smaller carrier streams. An 8’ 6” rod for a 5-weight floating line is the perfect set-up for Trout and Grayling fishing on most parts of the river although an 8 foot rod for a 4-weight line would good for the carrier streams and the upper river.


All chalkstreams, including the River Itchen, are usually fished by casting upstream. The main skills on chalkstreams are observation and stealth. The water is very clear and often shallow so much fishing is by sight casting to individual fish – either clearly seen in the water or seen to be rising regularly. Polarised sunglasses are a vital part of the chalkstream fly fishers equipment.

Go Fly Fishing UK have considerable experience in offering guided days on the English chalkstreams as well as fly fishing tuition days for beginners and improvers. We have access to excellent beats on the River Itchen in its upper, middle and lower reaches. Most River Itchen beats are limited on any one day to just one or two fishers. Given the density of fish and the need to fish the water very slowly and carefully only a short beat is needed for a full day of successful enjoyable fly fishing.


As well as providing a superb fly fishing guide service our guides will also loan all the required fly fishing tackle, waders, flies, etc. – or you can bring your own - and can provide a local railway station collection and return service for fishers. This would usually be from Winchester station (almost exactly 60 minutes from London Waterloo).As well as male fly fishing guides/instructors on the River Itchen we also have an excellent lady fly fishing guide. She also gives one-to-one lessons at Trout lake locations in Hampshire and West Sussex. If required some of our guides will also act as a chauffeur/guide for non-fishing sight-seeing as part of a fly fishing trip. Situated very close to the River Itchen are some of the United Kingdom’s most important historic sites such as Stonehenge, Winchester, Salisbury (inc. Old Sarum), Portsmouth (inc. HMS Victory), Southampton and the New Forest.

If you fancy making your fly fishing part of a short-break in the Hampshire countryside then we can advise you on the best accommodation options. These including manor house hotels, country hotels, inns and bed & breakfasts, each within a short distance of superb fishing.


River Itchen beat costs reflect the special nature of the river; its top quality fishing; river maintenance costs and the privacy and seclusion being offered. Prices are lowest from October to mid-March and highest in the mid-May to early-June Mayfly hatch. Our guided day prices in the Trout season start at £340 (from just £209 in the winter season) to include the guide and the beat and the price depends on the number of people fishing and the specific location and date. Please contact us for an exact quote for your day. Note that we do not provide just day rod beat access to fish without a guide/instructor.

For more detailed information about the non-fishing highlights of the River Itchen area please click here

Contact Dave at our southern office to discuss your preferred fly fishing location and date or to make a booking – telephone 07899 034728 or email

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Happy Clients

"Just a few lines to say thank you for your superb instruction and advice during the three days I spent with you on the Test and Itchen recently. I learned a huge amount and hope I have more time to put it into practice! Hope to be back soon."
Nigel McCallister, Majorca - Guided fly fishing days, River Itchen and River Test, Hampshire

"Dave, Thank you for two great days. Just what I'd hoped and pictured they'd be. The Itchen fishing will stay with me because the place was so perfect. Three of my best pics are of that beautiful tree on the right bank we fished under, the run below the weir and that almost 20" brown. "
Jeffery Hellerbach (New York) - Guided days, River Itchen - Winchester

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