Sunday, 8 February 2015

In search of Grayling on the Chew

After a break from game fishing for a while I decided to go out this beautiful February day to try and find some Winter Grayling. The banks were barren with Snowdrops bursting through in the sunshine to make it feel like Spring was just round the corner.

The Chew holds pockets of Grayling in a number of areas mainly where the current runs fast but they are not prolific and the fish rarely exceed a llb. The river was low and clear with little in the way of woody debris. It appears the recent high water has cleaned the gravel but also washed down any debris. First fish was a small Grayling to the nymph which gave me comfort after covering numerous runs without success. I had missed a rise through a turbulent riffle but things were slow to say the least.
Noticed lots of Otter or possibly Mink tracks on the silty berms on the inside of bends - I had convinced myself they were the reason for lack of success. Next fish a good wild Brownie quickly released - it was slow and lethargic but definately a wild fish taken close to the bank and roots of an Alder. Unfortunately my leaky waders were beginning to numb my feet so I had to leave but it was nice to be back out if only for few hours on the nicest day of the year so far.


  1. Hi, I'm looking to join Keynsham AA with fly fishing in mind. I'm new to the area and was wondering what the fly fishing is like with Keynsham? Thanks for your help, enjoyed the blog!

  2. The Chew is not the best of rivers for fly fishing due to its more often than not slow meandering nature and inaccessible banks. If you are prepared to wade and engage in a bit of jungle warfare it can provide excellent fishing particularly at Mayfly time on a short 3wt rod. The Keynsham AA stretch is more suited to fly fishing at the upstream end where the river has variety of shallower runs and deep pools. Down towards Keynsham the river slows up and deepens but still holds good numbers of WBT, the odd Rainbow, Dace and Chub that can all be caught on fly. The ticket is well worth it even if you only make a couple of trips. Good luck, cheers Mike.

  3. Hi Mike, how far up the Chew do you reckon grayling get. I fished the Knowle water pretty hard today. But it was a great deal more sedate than I expected. I'm starting to think Compton Dando if about the top limit What do you think.


  4. I have not caught Grayling upstream of Pensford weir. Bathampton water holds Grayling upstream of Compton Dando. There are faster runs in places upstream but I think much of the Knowle ticket is fairly slow and the adjoining land is more intensively farmed - Grayling don't like pollutants. They are a good barometer of the health of the river - unfortunately I think numbers have dropped more recently. Knowle is predominately WBT and stockies - did you catch? Cheers Mike.

  5. Hi Mike,
    Two small brownies and overwintered rainbow on pink shrimp. But from Byemill to Stanton Drew there was only 1 "pool" with a bit of fast water at the head to hold the fish in a group and allow you to fish a dead drift. Even though I walked form the Viaduct to the stone circle (and don't try that on the north bank) that was the only place I caught.

  6. Yes that stretch is not great for upstream fishing on dead drift. Occasionally a fallen tree creates a bit variety but more recently these and other bank cover have been cleared. The wallpaper on my blog is just a hundred meters up from Bye Mills a few years back but things have changed a lot and there is very little variety in habitat for WBT. Good you connected with a few though.

    1. I was a member of the club 5 years ago, and to be honest Sunday confused me. It wasn't the way I remembered the river. Your wallpaper is closer to my memory.
      I think one or two fallen trees are needed in the water to speed the flow, create some shallows and encourage the right kind of weed to growth