With plenty of tree cover, terrestrials as well as aquatic insects play a large part in the diet of the trout at Arlington reservoir in East Sussex.

Arlington reservoir is a bit of a unintended secret really. It's a really lovely dedicated rainbow trout fishery usually operating from January to late summer each year located a stone's throw over the South Downs from the coast in between Lewes and Eastbourne in East Sussex.

With great views of the Long Man of Wilmington carved into the chalk downs to the south and some of the best looking and hardest fighting rainbow trout around, it is a popular destination amongst those locals in the know. At 120 acres is not overly large which means you can fish all around it in a day whether in one of their boats or circumnavigating it from the bank. With fishing as the only recreational activity allowed on the water, visiting anglers have the bank and the water all to themselves, a rare treat amongst reservoir anglers.

Well-known predator angler and owner of The Friendly Fisherman tackle store in Tunbridge Wells, Andy Lush, lands a fighting fit silvery rainbow trout.

Run by South East Water, their friendly and very helpful team of rangers will be able to help you with advice on recent catches, fly patterns and areas to try first. Anglers have their own dedicated car park next to the fishing lodge which has a small kitchen with tea and coffee facilities, toilets and scales for weighing your catch in at the end of the day. There are also picnic tables outside the lodge reserved for anglers only too so you can sit and watch over the water whilst having a break. 

As it is a relatively shallow reservoir the trout are very willing takers of nymphs and dry flies and drifting gently on a beautiful spring day in a boat can be extremely enjoyable and rewarding. Come late summer the trout turn nicely on to the pin fry that swarm around the margins which can make for some very exciting fishing with fish splashing in localised patches as they race around to gorge themselves on the banquet.

Access to the banks at Arlington reservoir is reserved for anglers only. 

As the reservoir area itself includes a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and is also classified as a Local Nature Reserve, there is lots to watch out for with both resident and migrant birds such as the magnificent Osprey for which the separate and very scenic public footpath for visitors called The Osprey Trail was named. All in all Arlington reservoir is a great place to visit for fly anglers looking for a relaxing day's fishing but also family friendly too for picnics in the bucolic surroundings. It is also useful to know that the famous Drusillas Park aimed at the younger family members is only 10 minutes away down the road.


View the Arlington fly fishing brochure from South East Water - click here!



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