On the Beat: Mayfly

Written by: Jason Swinerd (Orvis River Keeper)


Photo by Richard Banbury

Well, after a cold dry spring with early hatches in moderate numbers, the Mayfly emerged with uncanny regularity and once again we have had good hatches on our Test and Itchen beats, despite the cold winds that prevailed through much of the month.

Each year, the way these precious and complex chalk river eco-systems engineer such an iconic natural food item for the trout and bird life never fails to take your breath away. There can be fewer more beautiful places in the world than the verdant chalk valleys of Wessex in May.


Photo by Richard Banbury

River levels are obviously quite low at the moment due to the lack of winter rain, but despite this the beats are looking beautiful and the low water is probably making life a bit easier for our anglers. In a wet spring, with high and coloured water the fish can be more reluctant to surface feed. Of course, we may pay for this later in the season and some very careful weed management will be required to maintain levels. Having said that, it will probably now rain all summer such are the vagaries of our weather!

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