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Charity and chalk streams

About this time of year I press my nose to the window of the Wild Trout Trust’s annual fundraising auction. It’s a good earner for the Trust, £81k in 2021, it says on its website. Easy to see why when you look at the guide prices (often exceeded), especially of lots in my part of the world, the chalklands of southern England. I do have a liking for the chalk rivers and have even got to fish some of them, though not the super-famous beats on the Test or the Bourne Rivulet, perhaps the most celebrated of all the trout streams. But £500 for a single day’s fishing? There must still be some who can stump up this much in these indigent times.

Quite a few of these waters are not so exclusive that you can’t get on them other than via the WTT auction. Some are available through the fishing companies that have turned the fly fishing game into a cottage industry. As a matter of fact a day’s fishing purchased direct may well cost you rather less than winning the auction lot. Some are a bit more exclusive. Lots are offered to fish for les truites brune in France, the only other country in the world blessed with chalk streams. (I wonder if France extracts the quantity of water from or pours the amount of shit into them that we do ours.) I am relieved to see the overseas lots restricted to relatively local Belgium and France, with only one long-haul jolly available to Montana in the US. On offer is a private stretch, but for one third the money you can get to fish many miles of famous rivers, as the spiel makes clear. Perhaps the WTT read my last post on the topic.

I know, it’s in a good cause and the WTT does do some good work, and trout rivers need all the help they can get, and more. Yet when I see that some of the money is spent on these expensive and restricted rivers in the south, accessible to only a very few, I imagine I’m not the only angler to pause for thought. I would, though, be very sad to see their demise. So if you fancy a bit of Alice-through-the-looking-glass fishing, or just something cheaper away from Hampshire, head over to the WTT website. You have five days left. Meanwhile my nose is still pressed to the glass.

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