Charles Inniss to Give Torridge Talk

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Angling Heritage are delighted to announce that Mr Torridge, Charles Inniss, author of the classic book Torridge Reflections is giving a talk about the River Torridge and its history, his life on the river and thoughts on the future at Torrington Museum (in the middle of Torrington) on Thursday 23rd August at 2.30pm. Entry is FREE, refreshments are provided so make sure that don’t miss this opportunity to meet the man and learn about the River Torridge.

Charles Inniss – A one-river man

Wimbleball – Wistlandpound Club

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I had been looking forward to Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Clubs Competition at Wimbleball  as I had been hearing good reports of hard fighting rainbows despite the hot summer weather. I was hopeful that the heavy rain prior to the trip would liven up the trout but dipping my hand in the lake it was obvious that the water temperature was still exceptionally warm. We were advised to fish deep and slow using a lure on the point and small imitative patterns on the droppers.

I was sharing a boat with Andre Muxworthy and we headed for the deep water off the dam. After a couple of hours searching the depths we had both failed to connect and realized that it was not going to be an easy day.  Matt Kingdon was fishing with Paul Grisley and we noticed that they were catching a few drifting across the middle of the lake. Andre eventually hooked into a hard fighting rainbow that fought way above its weight before eventually sliding over the waiting net.

Up until this point I had not even had a pull and was starting to fear a blank trip. A move to another area  eventually brought a change of fortune when I felt the welcome pull on the line and for a few seconds a bent rod. Sadly this one came adrift but it wasn’t too long before I hooked another that battled hard before succumbing. The next hour brought a few encouraging twitches through the line and my confidence climbed. Andre added a second rainbow shortly after this. I was using a black and green booby on the point with two droppers, a Diawl bach and a cormorant. It was now gone 2.00pm and the day was ebbing away far too quickly.

A move close the bank to start a fresh drift brought a solid take from a fish that fought deep before appearing beside the boat to reveal golden flanks and dark spots. A fine wild brown trout of 2lb that had unfortunately engulfed the fly and was bleeding profusely from its gills. Despite my attempts to release it turned belly up and floated away before being retrieved to take home for tea.

With just a few minutes remaining of the competition a savage take resulted in a full tailed rainbow that made the reel sing as it surged away cartwheeling out of the water. This fish was the heaviest of the day and scaled 3lb 8oz.

Back at the fishing hut for the results and Matt Kingdon once again proved how he has qualified to fish for England and the commonwealth having boated five trout. Matt had elected to fish on a catch and release ticket bringing back just two trout weighing 5lb 7oz. It was decided to award Matt the trophy his estimated total bag being around 12lb. Matt caught his fish on a variety of flies and changed his line three times during the day as the fish moved up and down in the water. Runner up was Dave Mock who fished from the bank to take three trout for 6lb 1oz. In third was myself with two for 5lb 9oz a bag that included the biggest trout of the day at 3lb 8oz.

August is a very difficult month for the still-water trout fishers and today’s result was far better than could be expected on many lakes at this time of year. As the water temperatures begin to drop I am sure Wimbleball will fish exceptionally  well with September fishing something to look forward to as these full finned rainbows go on a feeding frenzy before autumn and winter set in. There is also every chance of big wild brown trout from the fry filled margins.


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I have been sharing Eat Sleep Fish with readers of North Devon Angling News for the past couple of years as it has been an excellent read. Sadly this is the last edition but against modern trends the Editorial Team are launching an exciting new venture in the form of a hard copy magazine entitled Fly Culture that will follow a similar line to the Eat Sleep Fish on-line magazine. I wish the team well in this as I believe there is a place in the market for the hard copy that gives the reader a more traditional product. Whilst I spend many hours at a computer there is something more tangible and rewarding about sitting down and browsing through a  magazine with a cup of coffee or tea.

Long Dry Summer Brings Temporary Closure at Exe Valley

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Nick Hart posted this message today. Hopefully autumn will see the reopening of the fishery when conditions have improved. This long dry summer is certainly bad news for the game angler.

Unfortunately I am sad to report that I have had to close the fishery today. Huge thanks to Blair Woodland, Simon Autton, Chris Guest, Andrew Berwick, Daniel Osmond, Terry Humphries & John Ackhurst for all your efforts & strong arms.

We were close to sorting it and even as recently as this last weekend fish like this 7lb 8oz fin perfect Rainbow were being caught. However in the circumstances I am not prepared to stock fish into these conditions and due to the reoccurrence of algae, which has accelerated during the last week, the lake is unfishable.

I apologise for the inconvenience and hope to have the venue back up and running when the weather improves.

South West lakes Trout Report – July

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The below report from South West Lakes Trust is sadly lacking any news from North Devon as we now have limited trout fishing in the area. I believe permits are available to fish at Wistlandpound where wild brown trout can be tempted. Large shoals of rudd are now present in the lake with lots of fry. With the reservoir level now very low there is the potential for the water to throw up a surprise as I am sure big brown trout lurk within and could be tempted if they start feeding on fry during late summer early autumn.

South West Lakes Trout Fisheries (July 2018)


The prolonged period of hot, dry, bright and sunny weather continued throughout July (with air temperatures approaching 30 ºc) resulting in water temperatures consistently well over 20ºc (up to 26 ºc near the surface) and water levels continuing to fall throughout the month. The Trout have remained dour, particularly the Rainbows, with most of the fish activity in the mornings and evenings – they have tended to stay deep and inactive during the main part of the day.



Kennick – Although catch rates have generally been around one fish per angler, a few anglers have caught decent bags of up to ten fish per visit, with 3lb Rainbows caught by Roy Robinson, from Newton Abbot, fishing from a boat using a Cormorant, and Phillip Watts, from Dartmouth, using a Beetle while fishing in the Narrows. Boat anglers fishing the deeper water in Clampitts Bay, by the Valve Tower, and the central areas of the fishery have enjoyed the best and most consistent sport. Apart from a few fish taking Beetles off the surface, sinking lines with Goldhead Damsels, Diawl Bachs, Cormorants, Boobies and Blobs have proved to be the most effective method.

Siblyback – Fishing has been slow at Siblyback, although a number of feeding fish have been topping at Two Meadows. In addition to a healthy number of midges on the water, there are plenty of fry in the shallows which should result in some exciting bank-side sport as water temperatures start to drop.

On 15 July over 40 people attended Siblyback’s “have a go” fishing day, ranging from children to grandparents. Everyone enjoyed having some casting instruction, tying a few flies and the free BBQ. The event was run in conjunction with the newly formed Siblyback Fly Fishers Association.

Burrator – There have been hatches of midges at Burrator, although only a few surface feeding fish. Longstone Bank has proved the most successful, along with the area between the dams for boat anglers, with anglers catching fish on small Black Gnats, Damsel Nymphs and deeper fished Boobies, Blobs and Black Lures. The water level is now well below 50%, with a lot of fresh bank exposed.

Colliford –.Plenty of fish rising at this Brown Trout water, with a selection of Olives, Midges and Sedges hatching and fish up to 2lbs have been caught on dry Sedges and Beetles on fine tippets (try a small #16 Adams on 3lb nylon), particularly from the banks near the dam. During a recent Carp removal exercise (80 fish removed), a monster wild Brown of 9lb 8oz was caught, and carefully returned, which, along with another very large fish recently spotted from the bank near the toilet block, shows that there are some cracking resident fish at Colliford.

Fernworthy – The Browns here have been aggressively jumping to take damsel flies in flight above the surface and anglers have had some success with bushy black dries, Hoppers and Sedgehogs, as well as sub-surface feeders taken on Black and Red Buzzers and Pheasant Tail Nymphs. The best location has proved to be the North Bank, opposite the permit hut.

Chris Hall (July 2018)


Drought Hit North Devon

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The River Taw showing its bones a couple of weeks ago. (photo Dr Mike George)

Whilst this long hot summer has its delights it also has a serious downside in that many of our local rivers are at all time low levels. In the short term this results in a catastrophic season for salmon and sea trout fishing and related businesses. It can result in fish kills when any pollution enters the watercourse, as there is minimal dilution. It also causes serious problems for fish farmers who often suffer heavy casualty’s as oxygen levels plummet in the high temperatures. Lakes are also prone to serious issues with oxygenating equipment sometimes required to maintain a healthy environment. If you have concerns about fish stocks or water quality ring the Environment Agency’s Hotline 0800 807060.

Local Reservoirs like Wistlandpound are also showing signs of a dry summer and this can be an advantage to anglers if they take time to look at the features that are uncovered as these can prove valuable at a later date when water levels return to normal. The same applies to rivers where depressions in the riverbed or location of boulders can be an indication of a place where salmon or sea trout could lie up when the river is at normal height,

Wistlandpound Reservoir view from top water level.

Torridge Salmon Season -No Extension

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The Environment Agency have decided not to extend the salmon Fishing season on the River Torridge this year. Over recent seasons anglers have enjoyed an extension to the season from  September 30th to October 14th and this has been a welcome addition with good numbers of salmon landed. The decision will come as a bitter blow to fishery owners and local businesses who receive welcome revenue from visiting anglers. It is to be hoped that dwindling stocks of salmon will recover and that this decision will be of benefit to salmon stocks.

This season has been a very poor fishing season as a result of the prolonged drought conditions that have persisted since May. The start of the season was blighted by snow melt and very high water. In the longer term it is to be hoped that weather conditions results in good fishing once again. Such weather conditions have been experienced before with older generations recalling the drought of 1976 when rivers and local reservoirs ran very low.

A fine salmon caught at Liittle Warham during last years extension.

Fly fishing for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Great Torrington Army Cadets take on the trout

Fly fishing for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Captain Trevor Cook

ACF Instructor

Fly Fishing for D of E skills element ,,

20th February 2018 Saw the start of a new challenge for five young members of Great Torrington Army Cadet Force who decided to take on fly fishing for the skills element of their D of E Award scheme.

Prior to the course starting we arrange a Sunday morning visit to Monkokehampton Salmon Hatchery on the 4th February to learn about their work, kindly laid on by Charles Innis, who explained to the Cadets about the life cycle of the Salmon from egg to return, we looked at the setup and walked up river to see the weir, the Cadets found this visit very educational.

Over the past 5 months Cadets Sjt Daniel Lobb, L/Cpl Tyler Bolt, L/Cpl Jack Pledger L/Cpl Sam Newberry & Cdt Harvey Hodge have learnt and practiced all the skills needed to become proficient fly fishermen.

The course covered all elements such as types of rods, reels, lines leaders, knots, casting techniques and types of flies and how to fish them, which was then followed up by a day tying their own flies for them use on the two lake days.

The course also included two guest speakers, the first being Paul Carter, Environment Agency Water Bailiff who gave the Cadets an insight into his job role, Licensing and environment, the second was Allan Crawley Commons Conservators River Warden, Allan gave the Cadets an insight into his role and how they were working on better access for anglers along the commons riverbank. We also had a third speaker Keith Armishaw lined up from the fly fishing section of the Torrington Museum, unfortunately Keith was taken ill, the Cadets found Paul and Allan’s presentations really interesting. I’m sure Keith’s presentation would have been equally as good, we do hope Keith is on the road to recovery and wish him well for the future.

Months of hard work practising paid of on our two lake days, the first being at Simpson’s Valley Coarse & Trout Fishery nr Holsworthy on Saturday 26th May 2018

This was a good days fishing and despite it being hard work all five managed to catch a nice Rainbow Trout, the first fish of the day was caught by Col Ashley Fulford OBE, Chairman of the Army Cadet Force Association and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Advisory Panel who joined us for the day being a keen fly fisherman himself.

The heaviest fish of the day was caught by L/Cpl Tyler Bolt, a nice Rainbow weighing in at 3 ½ pounds. Everyone went home excited having caught their first ever Trout, thanks to Paul Cozens & Andrew Moores for making this possible for us, we really appreciate it.

Our second lake day was held at Bratton Water Trout Fishery, Loxhore Cross, nr Barnstaple, This proved to be another cracking days fishing where after a slow start all five caught their second ever trout. The first fish of the day was caught by L/Cpl Sam Newberry and the largest was caught by L/Cpl Pledger. Thanks to Mike Williams for all his help setting this up and accommodating us on the day , really appreciated.

This Course is the third one we have run but this year we have built a lot more into it and it has gone so well these five Cadets have started buying their own kit and asking for more lake days in the future.

Great Torrington Army Cadets would like to express their sincere thanks to the following people for their help and support this year it really has been appreciated, thank you.

Charles Innis : visit to Salmon Hatchery

Paul Carter : EA Bailiff

Allan Crawley : Commons Conservators River Warden.

Paul Cozens & Andrew Moores : Simpsons Valley Coarse & Trout Fishery

Mike Williams : Bratton Water Trout Fishery

Keith Armashaw : Great Torrington Museum

Again many Thanks

Capt Trevor Cook ACF Instructor.   Lt Matt Sanders OC Great Torrington Detachment

Great Torrington Army Cadets started fly fishing for D of E two years ago, buying six starter kits directly from Airflo at a special price thanks Glenda Evans (Airflo) and funded by a grant from Great Torrington Town Council.
We now have enquiries from Cadets about the next course.
From this years five Sjt Lobb has now used fly fishing for his Bronze, Silver & Gold Awards
L/Cpl Pledger for his Bronze & Silver
L/Cpl Bolt, L/Cpl Newberry & Cdt Hodge for Bronze.