A little River called the Tillingbourne runs through all of the Albury Estate’s Surrey fisheries. In this small stream, tiny wild brown trout can be caught by anglers with enough stealth. The Powdermills venue is now sadly season-ticket only, so I looked to Weston and Vale End fisheries to try to snag a wild brownie.
The river here is truly tiny, and very overgrown. If it wasn’t for the brick wall along one bank, I’d bet I could clear it with a two-footed jump. Apparently it “holds a good head of wild brown trout”. I’ve never seen one here before, but if you don’t try…
I made for the start of the beat past the large Millhouse Lake. Disconcertingly, a number of dead rainbow trout were floating belly up. The low oxygen levels due to the heatwave had clearly taken its toll.
My nine-foot hardy was triple the ideal length for this stream. Threading the line between the nettles was closer to keyhole surgery than fly fishing. I was therefore totally surprised when a six-inch trout took my GRHE #14. It took me into a snag, which I recovered from. I then pulled the hook from its mouth. I must learn to be more gentle with such small fish, and a relatively ‘heavy’ rod. Gutted. I persisted but couldn’t repeat the feat.
I left the river and made my way up to the Wood Lodge Pool, and the newly dug Kingfisher ponds. The latter were covered with surface weed, so I tried the Wood Lodge Pool where a couple of other anglers were already having some success. The fish were in a feeding mood, and it should have been like, well, shooting fish in a barrel; a scummy, weedy barrel at that. My nymph would clog up with weed on every cast. The only hope was if the fish would get to the fly before the weed. Eventually, I hooked into and landed a 2lb rainbow.
Blank averted, I returned to the river, but no amount of effort could entice the fish. I lost my last GRHE on a tree. I resolved to try the river at Vale End.
Trying a barbless beaded hare’s ear, I probed the shady pools of the Tillingbourne running the length of this fishery. My polarising glasses allowed me a glimpse of a few rainbows in the river, but none of the elusive browns. I dangled the fly into the fast waters at the head of the large pool at the exit of Mill Lake. A fish took the offering. A roach. I didn’t know there were any roach in this part of the river. A bit of a surprise.
I battled on through the drizzle, but couldn’t tempt any more trout. The members logbook recorded another angler had three wild brown trout, but you needed ‘tact’. I’ll work on that.
- 1 Rainbow Trout (Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear (Tungsten Bead))
- 1 Roach (Hare’s Ear Black Barbless)