Maybe it’s because I learned to fly fish on the limestone streams of central Pennsylvania, or maybe it’s because I have a real soft spot for a bucolic landscape with soft rolling hills, maybe it’s because I relate more to the understated quiet “tweedy” side of fly fishing than the X-games “rip-some-lips” version, or maybe it’s just the clear water, waving ranunculus weed and buttery, fat bellied wild brown trout rising to a dry fly, but I’ve been fascinated with the chalk streams of England for a while now.
But here’s the sad truth. Unless I hit the lottery I will never get to fish on one. That’s just the way it is. A quick side note here – if anybody in the UK reading this wants to invite me over for some time on a chalk stream that they have access to just use the contact page to get in touch with me (kidding … not kidding).
I try to be a person that recognizes the amazing good fortune and blessings of my life – rather than focusing on the negative things or on the things that I don’t and cannot have. But I have to admit when I read a book or article or watch a video about fishing on chalk streams the green-eyed devil of envy creeps onto my shoulder and sows seeds of discontent about how that type of fishing is unobtainable to me.
And so it was when I watched the documentary Chalk – Bedrock of Fly Fishing which is available to buy or rent via the Fishing TV Website. I was filled with covetous longing watching the footage of those brown trout coming up and sipping dry flies or leaping out of the water chasing mayflies. But in addition to the longing it was also a balm to my soul as I sit inside on this snowy day. In Chalk You’ll get to see various chalkstreams across England and hear from anglers, guides and river keepers about the streams and what they mean to each, you’ll learn about Halford, Skues and Sawyer. It’s not an instructional film at all though – so don’t expect that type of thing.
In addition to viewing on computer or handheld device if you have certain smart TVs (or and Amazon FireStick) you can get the Fishing TV app and watch on your TV. To purchase or rent things on Fishing TV you have to buy “coins” the more you buy at one time the less expensive they are (or you can get a year subscription). I’ve delved into the fly fishing offerings a bit and found some other things to watch too in addition to Chalk.
A Few Chalkstream Related Books
If you’re interested in reading a bit about chalkstreams and the life of a river keeper I’ve read two books on the subject that I rather enjoyed.
One is Keeper by Martin Donovan ( which I posted about previously HERE) and another is Life of a Chalkstream by Simon Cooper. The whole idea of how a chalkstream “works” and all that goes into maintaining one in top condition for angling sport was a foreign concept to me and these books shed a lot of light on that topic.