Contact: Bob Bailey Phone: 01488 658905 mobile 0860 252717 Fax: 01488 658804
Web site: www.riverkennet.co.uk
Address: East Lodge, Barton Court, Kintbury, Hungerford, Berkshire RG17 9SA
Directions: From Hungerford follow the A4 for about 2 miles. Turn right at the sign for Kintbury and Ink pen. The entrance is the second turning on your right.
Fishery: A total of about 3.5 miles of River Kennet and carriers. Fairly shallow and clear water - a typical chalk stream fly fishery for brown trout.
Season: 1st April to 30th September
Stock: Mainly brown trout with a few rainbows. Grayling are a natural inhabitant of this section of the Upper Kennet.
Tickets: £900 for a full rod, £450 for a half rod. There are also some day tickets available at £50 but you will need to check for availability.
Facilities: W.C., fishing hut, picnic facilities in beautiful surroundings.
A days fishing on Barton Court
I decided to walk to the end of the lowest beat on the river and work my way upstream. My tackle was to be an 8.5ft A.F.T.M. number 4/5 rod with a double taper, weight 5, floating line, to give good presentation with sufficient casting weight to cover the whole width of water. The leader was made up of 8ft of 2.5lb b.s. Maxima ultra green because it is so reliable.
I started to fish with a size 16 gold bead pheasant tail nymph searching and looking for any interesting shapes when I saw the shape of a good fish on the bottom. Taking a very low profile on one knee I made a cast that landed about 9 inches in front of the big fish. I was just in time to see the white of his lips as he took the nymph so I struck. The fish stripped several yards of line off me as it shot off upstream at a rapid rate of knots and then ran for cover to the far bank. This was certainly a lively fish that made me think that it was a rainbow. The fight was spectacular and I soon caught sight of a fin perfect rainbow of over 4lb. This was the first rainbow that I had ever taken from this section of the river so I was surprised.
I worked my way upstream covering several other fish until I clearly saw a nice brown lying on a gravel patch just above a small weir to the side. This fish had the temerity to ignore my nymph on the first two casts but took on the third attempt. I was very pleased with this perfectly marked brown trout that weighed about 2.5lb.
About an hour later, as I worked upstream, there was a nice grayling in a very fast run below a small weir that claimed my attention. I am no purist and love to catch the odd grayling on fly. The water was so fast that I decided that I needed to change the fly to something a little heavier. I had some Lee Kitchen tungsten bead hairs ear nymph in size 14 and replaced my nymph with one of these. I certainly could feel the extra weight as I cast it out to cover the fish. The grayling took on the first cast and after a spirited fight was landed and returned. It was a nice fish pushing 1.5lb.
Moving upstream, I could see a trout rising in the distance under a tree on the far bank. This was what I had come for, a chance for some dry fly work. Quickly I changed over to a small black gnat dry on size 16 and went into stealth mode to get in casting distance of the fish. Taking my time, I made a cast to just in front of where I had seen the fish rise. Again, first cast it came up boldly, taking the fly - and the fish was on. This turned out to be another two pound plus brown trout that like the first brownie was in perfect condition.
The session finished with another similar sized brown trout falling for the same tactics about an hour later. Three nice browns and that rainbow completed my bag on this great chalk stream. I was most impressed with this fishery in every respect. It is certainly a fishery to fish if you want traditional English chalk stream fishing on a well cared for fishery in the cream of the Berkshire countryside.