Arlington Reservoir is now open for trout fishing and to celebrate the new season reporter Amie Morrell visited to find out what the sport is all about.
Having never been fly-fishing before, I was naturally dubious and a little unsure of what to expect when I strolled up towards the South East Water cabin at Arlington Reservoir on Friday (April 4).
But the nerves soon melted away as I took in the beautiful and magical surroundings of the reservoir and listened to the gentle lapping of water and bird calls.
Fishing is the only form of recreation allowed on the reservoir, which ensures anglers of all abilities can indulge in excellent fishing in peaceful surroundings, with the South Downs and Long Man of Wilmington as a backdrop.
Just under 6,100 Rainbow Trout will be stocked at Arlington for this year’s season, which opened on February 1 and runs until June 30, with boat fishing commencing from April 1.
I was lucky enough to get a casting lesson from Simon Lohrey, Sussex Ouse Catchment Project Officer
at South East Water.
He explained how the rod is put together, and how to best cast the line with a quick movement of my arm.
He also showed me the different flies anglers use. Beautiful and intricately designed they mimic the insects that may be hovering over the water during the season to trick the trout into taking a bite.
After a practice on land I was let loose on the water for a go.
Despite two hours of fishing on the water, I didn’t get one nibble. But photographer Peter Cripps did catch a trout and he said it was delicious.
Standing among the plants in the sunshine with the downs up in front, and the breeze gently blowing across the water, it was easy to see why so many people indulge in the sport.
But surprisingly, despite how much fun fly-fishing is, the centre said it had trouble attracting young people to the sport and is looking for youngsters to join and help keep the sport going for many years to come.
Young people are being encouraged to take up fly-fishing and are welcome to join one of South East Water’s beginners’ days at the reservoir.
On hand for the days on April 26 and May 10 will be qualified game angling instructors who will give expert tuition on how to get started in the sport. All the equipment needed will be provided and there is no need to purchase an EA Rod licence for the day.
Arlington Reservoir Fly Fishing gift vouchers can be used on the beginners’ days or by experienced fishermen who wish to fish on their own either from the bank or on a boat.
The 120-acre Arlington Reservoir site lies at the foot of the South Downs in Berwick and is designated as a Local Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Recreation Team Leader Tom Todd said: “The reservoir is full and well stocked with rainbow trout.
“The arrival of spring is providing both experienced and novice anglers with some excellent fishing.
“People can either fish from the bank or from one of our boats which can be hired for the day.”
The cost for the Beginners’ Day is £20 for adults, £15 for juniors and £25 for adult and junior, with all prices including a two fish ticket.
For experienced anglers a day ticket for non-members ranges from £20 for a two fish permit to £30 for an eight fish permit.
Anyone wishing to fish at Arlington, wanting to book a place on a Beginners’ Day or buy a Fly Fishing Gift Voucher should contact South East Water’s Fisheries Office on 01634 276310 or visit www.southeastwater.co.uk/fishing.