Conflict Sours Fabled Itchen

September 26, 2009 By: Marshall Cutchin

You don’t see this sort of flare-up very often. The long-time lessors of a three-mile stretch of England’s Itchen River, known as “the cradle of fly fishing,” are leaving the river because of a decision by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust to allow weeds to grown and pike to return to the river, part of a plan to improve the local wetlands. Valerie Elliott reports in the London Times. “It was along this stretch of water at Abbotts Barton in the early 20th century that the angler George Edward MacKenzie Skues developed a form of fishing with nymphs [the immature form of insects] that has been adopted worldwide. And the area was the home beat of Frederick Halford, the man who virtually invented fly fishing for trout.”