For millions of people around the world, fishing is the ultimate way to relax. From the serenity of casting your rod by a river bank to the joy of hooking a silvery salmon or trout, fishing is a hobby that rewards and rejuvenates.
One of the most popular types of fishing is fly fishing, and it’s remarkably easy to get into. With the right equipment, flies and guidance on how to cast, fly fishing is the ideal pastime for a leisurely day out. And with so many excellent fly fishing spots across the UK, there’s no excuse not to give it a try.
The UK’s best fly fishing spots
One of the best spots for fly fishing in the UK is, surprisingly, not too far from London: Hampshire. Trout fishing is particularly popular in Hampshire, with its wide variety of fishing sites attracting both novices and seasoned professionals keen to hook the plentiful supply of trout and grayling up for grabs. The River Test is one of the most popular with fly fishers, and it’s easily reachable from London by road or train. As fishing expert Simon Cooper – author of Fishingbreaks.co.uk – explains, there are many different places to fish along the River Test. You simply need to find the setting that best suits you, whether it’s in a private estate or public parkland. Other popular places to go fly fishing in Hampshire include Meon Springs and the Rockbourne Trout Fishery.
In the north, Yorkshire is teeming with excellent fly fishing spots, and is a great place to catch trout and grayling. Rivers in Yorkshire that are particularly popular with fly fishers include the River Wharfe, the Ure and the Ribble, all of which are easily accessible from major Yorkshire towns like York, Leeds and Scarborough. Yorkshire is also a great place to fish for wild brown trout. In the Yorkshire Dales, the Malham Tarn nature reserve, owned by the National Trust, boasts stunning limestone scenery and an unforgettable fly fishing experience but you’ll need specialist equipment to fish there. Go Fly Fishing UK offers guided days out for people who want to fish at Malham Tarn.
Scotland is known across the world for the beautiful silvery fish in its rivers, so it’s no surprise that it’s also one of the UK’s leading places to go fly fishing. The River Tweed on the border between England and Scotland is a particularly popular fly fishing destination that’s easy to get to, offering a range of fish including salmon, grayling, sea trout and brown trout – or “broon troot” as Scottish fly fishers would say. Further north, the Highlands and Aberdeenshire are also brilliant places to go fly fishing, though you may need a car or a guided tour to access more remote areas.
Where to find out more about fly fishing
Thanks to the wide variety of fly fishing tours and expeditions available in the UK, it’s now very easy to take up this relaxing pastime. Companies like Go Fly Fishing UK, Fishing Scotland and Famous Fishing offer you a range of ways to take up the sport, from private lessons and one-on-one tuition to days out for groups and corporate fly fishing days. They also offer gift vouchers for a unique Christmas, birthday or perhaps a Father’s Day present.
For those who simply want to learn more about fly fishing, Simon Cooper’s Fishing Breaks is a treasure trove of expert information, although it is restricted to sites in England. Alternatively, You Fish Scotland is a great resource for those heading north, Visit Wales offers more information for fly fishers in Wales and Fishing in Ireland is a great resource for anglers planning a trip to the Emerald Isle.
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