Chalkstream fly fishing with Fishing Breaks

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River Fishing in Sussex

Fishing Breaks offer brown trout dry fly and nymph fishing in the county of Sussex.

Our rivers | Your guide | Places to stay | Fishing advice and flies | Maps

Guide, Alan Middleton
on the River Ouse

Whilst Sussex cannot boast the chalkstream heritage of Hampshire it has three fine river systems in the Arun, the Adur and the Ouse.

It is a well-kept secret, but all these river systems have a considerable run of unsually large sea trout that migrate up the river twice a year to spawn.

For much of their flow all the rivers run through the grand estates of Sussex. The downside of this is that it can make access difficult for the occasional fisherman, but the upside is that the rivers have changed very little in recent years and run through beautiful countryside.

With the Sussex Downs forming the backdrop for polo matches and stout stone manor houses on the skyline, this is a truly splendid county.

Our rivers


The River Ouse rises near Lower Beeding, passes through Lewes and the South Downs and joins the English Channel at Newhaven, East Sussex. The river is known for the unusually large Sea Trout that migrate up the river twice a year to spawn have the highest average weight of any population found in the British Isles.

The river flows largely over a fertile silty bed, rich in invertebrate wildlife. Each winter the river is cleansed with a series of floods, which enliven the whole ecosystem for the coming year.



Great Bentley is local Fishing Guide, Alan Middleton’s, pride and joy. Over the past three seasons he has nursed it back to health after years of neglect. However, this is testing fishing and the access is down steep banks.

As you climb into the river (you will need chest waders) you enter a secret world, for one of the great delights of the Ouse is that over the centuries it has worn a gentle ravine in the peaty Sussex land.

The beat is essentially a series of pools, with shallow gravel riffles in between. Roll casting and nymphs are very much the order of the day unless the fish are on top. The beat is ideal for one Rod or two friends.

Ratings explained
Aternatives to consider


May 1-September 30

£35 per rod

Passport Ticket

£275 annually

Fishing Guide (optional)

145 half day (4 hours)

For further details, please complete our enquiry form or e-mail

Your fishing guide - Alan Middleton

Alan’s Geordie accent belies over three decades of Sussex living, where he has explored every inch of the county rivers. He is something of a fly tying whiz and this reflects in his great knowledge and enthusiasm for the chalkstream fly life.

He started fly fishing in the early 1960’s in the rivers of Northumberland where there were only wild brown trout to be caught. His interest in the feeding habits of the quarry soon had him tying his own flies.  

“I served a hard apprenticeship on the rivers of the North West, where the wild brownies only respect the right fly, presented in the perfect manner. It has stood me in good stead because the Sussex trout are every bit as choosy!”

For the past thirty years he has been based in Sussex teaching fly tying and fly casting to old and young. He is a qualified fly fishing instructor and founder member of AAPGAI. He is currently Chairman of the Flydressers’ Guild.

You may read more about Alan Middleton on the Fishing Guides page. If you wish to pick Alan’s brain, email him direct at All diary and booking enquiries should be made direct to Fishing Breaks

Places to stay and visit

Top Luxury Hotel: South Lodge Hotel, Horsham 

Top Country Pub: Royal Oak, Chilgrove

Top Spa Hotel: Alexander House Hotel and Utopia Spa, Turners Hill

Top Gastro Pub: The Royal Oak, East Lavant

Top Place Visit: South Downs Way and Devil's Dyke

> View the full Fishing Breaks accommodation guide

Fishing advice and flies

In broad terms the fishing season runs from May to September. The Hawthorn hatch generally coincides with the opening week, with the Mayfly running from mid-May to the end of the second week in June. There are no easy pickings in the second half of the season, but small flies, delicately fished are the secret weapons.

Top Sussex Flies:

Bibio (12)


Grey Wulff (10-14)


Adams Parachute (12-16)


“F” Fly (16-18)


Crane Fly (Daddy Long Legs)


Sedge patterns

For days when the wind is in the northwest take a few Pheasant Tail Nymphs.

Recommended outfit: 7.5-8.5ft rod, of 3-5wt. Floating line. Tippet to 2lb/8x. Flies size 14-18, barbless or de-barbed. Waders required.


County map

1 Great Bentley

River Ouse


County overview

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