The Houghton Club


River Test at Stockbrige


The club was founded in 1822. Initially there were 13 members. The number has gradually risen over the years, so that there are 25 members today.


In the Houghton Club we have a unique record of river keepers. The Lunn family was involved as river keepers for over one hundred years. They all retained an everlasting passion for the river, the fish, and the fly life.

In January 1887 William James Lunn took over from James Faithful as Head River Keeper. William Lunn made a life-long study of fish and fly. It could be said that he developed Halford's researches further, paying particular attention to what the trout actually sees. He created no less than forty fly patterns, many of which are in frequent use today. These include the Particular, Caperer, Houghton Ruby, and the Orange Quill variant.

Its worth mentioning here, that the Red and Grey Wulff were first introduced to Houghton Club members by Lewis Douglas, one time US ambassador.

William Lunn's son, Alfred, took over from his father in 1931 and was Keeper in charge until 1962, when his son Mick Lunn became Head Keeper.

Ray Hill took over from Mick in 1992 with a hard act to follow. He has successfully run the Houghton Club waters, the fish farm, and the members since then. He is ably assisted by four river keepers.

Over the years the average weight of fish caught has remained fairly constant. For many years it stood at about 2lbs but it has gradually crept up and the average weight in the last season was in excess of three pounds.

There is no intention to increase this average. When the club was formed the minimum weight for a taken fish was 1lb and it stayed at this level for some time. There was a period during which the limit stood at 1lb 8ozs, but the present weight of 1lb 4ozs has been in place for very many years.

A large number of fishermen cast a fly over the Houghton club waters each year. They would surely agree with John Waller Hills who said in his book A Summer on the Test:

Stockbridge is the most famous of the world's fisheries: on its lovely succession of deeps and shallows, racing rapids and swinging stretches, all as though arranged to give the dry fly man every variety of shot.

England/TestandItchen Beat

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