Wimbleball Report from Ed Rands – South Molton Angling Club

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A quick report on our trip to Wimbleball.
It was a mainly overcast day with a few sunny spells, there was a westerly breeze which became quite strong when we had a few light showers.
Roger Bray and myself shared a boat with a good, reliable petrol outboard and, after some good local advice we headed towards deep water.
Although the fishing was tough by 3 o’clock Roger had landed 3 and lost 1. I had got my 5 all on a sinking line on 5 different lures.
Steve Edmonds had 1 from his boat and Steve Bendle had 1 from the bank.
All fish were hard fighting rainbows between 2 and 3lbs.
I enjoyed our trip and look forward to going again next year.

A typical fin perfect Wimbleball rainbow caught during my last visit to the water.

Exe Valley Re-opens

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Nick and Sue Hart announce the reopening of this delightful Fly Fishery close to Dulverton.

Anchor Lake is once again open for fishing.  The fishery have received several inquirers from anglers keen to fish and have therefore opened the doors in time for the weekend. 

Please note that there is weed present in the lake although the algae situation is much improved.  Dry flies and top water tactics will be needed, long leaders tied to goldheads and heavy lures will result in frustration rather than good fishing!

We advise that all anglers check the lake prior to making a decision to purchase a permit (which must be paid for prior to fishing), please see the relevant rules and details regarding the current conditions in the permit hut.  A fresh stocking will take place in time for bank holiday weekend.

(Above) A fin perfect 7lb plus rainbow caught just before the fishery closed due to prolific weed growth triggered by the hot summer.

As cooler air moves in with rain and wind small stillwater’s will start to fish well. A dry daddy long-legs could well be the pattern to try with weed still problematic to anglers who fail to adapt to conditions.


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After a prolonged drought; the most significant since 1976 there has been some welcome rain though not enough. Local rivers have only risen slightly with each spell of rain and have dropped back quickly. Reports of any salmon and sea trout are scarce with a couple caught on the Lyn last week. If you have any news of fish from the Taw or Torridge please let me know.

I ventured onto a Middle Torridge beat in the middle of last week and found the river extremely low despite it having risen 18″ two days before my visit.

It was good to be back on the river however and I was initially hopeful that a few fish may have moved up with the rise in water. After a couple of hours without seeing a fish move I began to have concerns that the river was devoid of life. As I stepped into the river at the top of the beat I caught a fleeting glimpse of electric blue as a kingfisher flashed past. Following its flight up river I admired the view as evening sunlight broke through illuminating the trees.

I fished my way downriver searching the lies and noting the contours that were exposed by the low river. I would hopefully retain some of this info later in the season when the river is once again running at more healthy level. A savage pull on the line yielded a pleasing brown trout of close to a pound.

Its not been a good season for the salmon angler with no water equaling no fish. A few signs of autumn brought a slightly melancholic atmosphere  to the session as I wondered slowly back to car in the fading light.

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.