17 - 5 Amazing value UK fly fishing destinations

 
Looking for enjoyable fly fishing that won’t break the bank this holiday season? While the glossy magazines and YouTube clips might sell you visions of far flung angling places, there’s no need to travel a thousand miles for a memorable trip! Here are some of the best UK fly fishing destinations for those on a budget, along with some handy tips to make your money go further.
 
1) Cornwall's rocky coast and hidden rivers
 
Macintosh SSD:Users:macbook:Desktop:Flies ONline Travel:01_CORNWALL.jpg
Cornish bass offer a summer high, whether you hit the shore or hire a boat.
 
Fly fishing doesn’t get any cheaper than completely free- and if saltwater fly fishing is your thing, there are plenty of places to try in Cornwall. The bass fishing, in particular, is among the best in the UK. There are stacks of estuaries and rock marks to start off with- but you might want to get some initial pointers from a guide, or see if a local skipper caters for fly anglers. 
Aside from the open coast, though, there are also lots of pretty rivers that can be fished on a shoestring (well, not literally, something like a 7ft 3 weight rod would be better), with the waters of the Westcountry Angling Passport starting from just £6 a day (which can now be paid for with a neat new mobile phone app!). Should you need days out and activities to keep non-anglers happy, you’re also spoiled for choice in Cornwall.
 
Tip: Spare yourself the guesswork and hire a good guide to get you off on the right foot. Even if you only hire them for an initial day out, this is a huge head start and could be the difference between a great trip and a blank! 
 
If we could only pack one fly for here… 
It would have to be a Summer Sandeel (£1.750) for those hungry bass! As we reach late summer, these flies are a must to match these predators’ most common meal. 
 
   
2) Outstanding coarse fish and Grayling on Dorset’s Frome and Stour
 
For A-list fly fishing at real world prices, Dorset is a little bit special. It offers some prime water at a huge deal cheaper than most chalkstream fishing, for one thing, these days. Starting on the Frome, fly fishers can cast into idyllic, challenging waters for just £60 (or £40 later in the season) with Casterbridge Fisheries. A fraction of the price of the Test or Itchen, but with the potential to sink the net under some of the biggest grayling in the UK, with a 3lb fish a distinct possibility! 
 
Macintosh SSD:Users:macbook:Desktop:Flies ONline Travel:02_Stour_chub.jpg
 
 A typical Dorset Stour chub. Fish of this size are commonplace and highly susceptible to a big dry fly. 
 
For even better value, however, why not give the Dorset Stour a try? Ok, so the fish are of the “coarse” variety, but they are every bit as challenging and beautiful as trout- and the chub, in particular are a fantastic prospect. These average an impressive or so on the Throop beat (just a £15 day ticket from Christchurch Angling Centre), but can grow to over double that size- and with typical coarse tactics dominating, they are highly susceptible to the natural appeal of a fly!
 
Tip: When travelling between different rivers, do be mindful with wet gear and the risk of spreading unwanted plants and animals! Always check, clean and dry your kit between trips. Leaving waders and nets in bright sunshine till they’re bone dey is one simple and effective way to kill of unwanted bugs. 
 
If we could only pack one fly for here… 
Tricky, but with the chance for one of those incredible grayling it might have to be a jig-style nymph with a little something extra such as our Silver and Green CDC Offbead Nymph (£1.30), which packs the ideal weight and movement in one neat offering! 
   
3) Wild trout on the Usk 
 
Macintosh SSD:Users:macbook:Desktop:Flies ONline Travel:03_RIVER USK.jpg
The challenging, beautiful, rocky River Usk
  
With fabulously rocky waters and some big, predatory brown trout, the Usk is a river that sells itself! Not one for the beginner, it is boulder-strewn and wild, but the reward could be the fish of a lifetime. Trout of three pounds and over are caught every season here- and with prices starting from as little as £15-20, a short break is easy on the wallet, too. Should you be wondering where to start, the Wye and Usk Foundation has several bookable beats with a track record of excellent fishing.  
 
If we could only choose one fly for here…
Ok, so it’s not exactly subtle or traditional, but perhaps a weighted streamer is always worth a throw for big, angry trout. The Conehead Marabou Muddler (£0.95) makes a suitably meaty target for some serious jaws!  
  
4) Hit your Peak in the north Midlands 
 
Macintosh SSD:Users:macbook:Desktop:Flies ONline Travel:04_PEAK_DISTRICT.jpg
The Peak Angling Passport offers delightfully wild trout fishing for beer money.
 
For those in and around the upper Midlands, the Peak District offers beauty and seclusion within just an hour or so drive. Whether it’s a day excursion or a mini fishing break, there are lots of wild waters to try as well. 
 
Across Staffordshire and Derbyshire you’ll find plenty of tumbling streams to try your luck at bargain prices thanks to the Peak Angling Passport. Short rods are usually the order of the day with this stealthy fishing. You won’t go far wrong with classic smaller fly patterns, such as tiny dries, emergers and beadhead nymphs in sizes 14-20. 
 
Tip: For smaller wild streams, never despair if you spook the fish in a tasty looking spot. Just earmark it for later and within as little as half an hour you’ll often find you can come back for second time lucky! Hungry trout have short memories. 
 
If we could only choose one fly for here… 
The fish aren’t always rising, even in late summer. But in the typically peaty waters of the Peak District, something like a Red Flashback Copper John (£0.76) is an excellent fly to search all those little runs and pockets.  
  
5) Exceptional free fly fishing in the hill lochs of Scotland 
 
Macintosh SSD:Users:macbook:Desktop:Flies ONline Travel:05_Scottish_lochs.jpg
 
For the budget conscious fly angler who fancies an epic road trip, Scotland still offers the best potential for wild fly fishing in the entire UK. Bring walking gear and be prepared for a hike, and there are countless hill lochs on offer. Something like a nine or ten foot six weight is perfect- although you may get away with lighter in less blustery conditions. 
 
There are countless locations and no fishing licence required- while kids and non angling friends could always try a worm or spinner while you try the fly. Another good shout is to find accommodation within walking distance of several lochs from the same base. Once you have walked two or three miles, you’ll usually have the fishing all to yourself! Do bring lightweight waders and a supply of insect repellent, however. 
 
Tip: Always listen to local advice when you’re on the road! In more rural and remote locations, in particular, locals tend to be friendly and will know their local waters intimately. Point out that you’re just visiting and fishing catch and release and you’ll often get valuable information, so don’t be shy! 
 
If we could only pack one fly for here… 
Well, it would have to be something classic out of the loch style textbook. An oldie but still so effective, the original Black Zulu (£0.50) gets our nod. Fished on its own or in a team of two or three, it’s the next best thing to dynamite! At just 50p, you can pack some spares too.
 
 
All the best for the fishing and enjoy the holidays.
 
The FO Team