The River Avon is an exceptionally biodiverse chalk stream in the UK, with one of the most diverse fish populations. The best trout fishing on the Avon is upstream of Salisbury, where Wilsford Manor is located. Those passionate about fly fishing tend to prefer it to any of the other major English rivers, as throughout its length it is generally less manicured and has a timeless beauty.
The Wilsford Manor fishery comprises about a mile of double bank fishing on the River Avon, as well as an interesting side stream. It is wide for this part of the upper Avon and is wonderfully kept, with a huge number of brown trout, from small wild fish to monsters in double figures (see Catches) – the result of some quite deep water that holds large fish and an innovative fishing policy.
The fishery is normally stocked, although not necessarily every year, with trout of around 2lbs, which grow quickly in these food-rich waters. All fish caught over 15 inches are returned to the river, making it easy to spot fish of 5lbs to 10lbs or more, and to catch shadowy glimpses of some real monsters (the best brown trout caught, and returned, on this stretch was over 17lbs). All rods are entitled to keep two fish per day measuring between 12 and 15 inches.
Fishing is for a minimum of 2 and maximum of 4 rods per day, although additional non-fishing guests are welcome. Bookings can be made for weekdays and Saturdays from mid-April to the end of September. Mayfly on this stretch of the Avon are generally prolific and continue for a much longer period than on most rivers.
The fishery benefits from a river-bank fishing hut providing services including indoor and outdoor seating and eating space, a barbecue (supplied with charcoal), a well-stocked fridge, hot and cold drinks, snacks, and of course shelter from weather (it is supplied with both heating and electricity). In addition, there are lavatory and changing facilities available in an adjoining hut.