The Duke of Northumberland owns Albury, through which picturesque village, and in the shadow of the North Downs, runs the diminutive River Tillingbourne, en route to the River Wey, which it joins near Guildford. Toward the western edge of the village is a fishery called Vale End.
Here, the stream offers flow to refresh two man-made lakes which are stocked with rainbow trout for still water preferees.
The shallow stream passes gracefully by the lakes, under the protection of Belmont Wood, and its deciduous heights. It is sandy and gravelly.
The Tillingbourne has a natural stock of small wild brown trout, so there can be no reason to stock the stream, because the more aggressive US ‘arc de ciel’ will likely eliminate the tiny indigenous locals. But escapees, there must be, and so I found there to be.
I have fished it before here, and didn’t (!), and said I would return, and did today on a grey late April morning with the temperature fighting hard to hit double digits, and wrapped up accordingly. There was no fly life or hatch this day, so any residents would be ‘eyes down’ and I set up a duo rig on light tackle for a hoped for, couple of hours entertainment.
When a greedy rainbow realises it is hooked in a seven feet width of stream, it has choices. It can go up and up, or down and further down, or up and down. It can seek refuge in the multitude of tree roots at its disposal, and whichever, on light tackle, the rod holder needs patience. Writers talk about the angler ‘bullying’ the fish into submission, as opposed to the fish bullying the angler. I get that with sailfish in the Indian Ocean, but in a Surrey stream, and a 3-weight…come on!
But I did, and twice.
The first, a solid muscled beaut of about 3lbs,
and the other, a rather pallid and sky blue version of maybe 1 1/2lbs.
….but no browns!