Exe Valley Offers Fine Festive sport

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Exe Valley Fishery is fishing well in this mild December weather with catch and release options ensuring anglers get the opportunity to enjoy superb value. Throughout the year the trout can be tempted using small immitative patterns the fact that the trout are sometimes slightly more discerning could well be because of tne catch and release policy. One of the joys of these small still waters is that they allow anglers of all ages to enjoy time beside the water as in the case of 81 year old Jim Hattin pictured further diown the page.

WINTER PERMIT OFFER – Buy 4 permits and have your 5th outing on Exe valley!

Don’t forget our Winter Permit Offer starts on the 27th December 2018

We are pleased to be able to announce a Winter Fishing Permit Offer *(subject to T&Cs) to those of you who would like to support the fishery when the fishing is great … but the weather isn’t the most pleasant!

From Thursday 27th December 2018 to Sunday 31st March 2019 inclusive BUY 4 PERMITS & GET THE 5th PERMIT – FREE!!! You are free to choose whatever 5th permit you like … the deal is you must visit and pay for 4 full price permits within the allotted time published above, that’s it!

* Terms & Conditions 1) Pre-paid gift voucher permits DO NOT qualify for this offer. 2) All permits MUST be completed in full to register as a visit. 3) Return slips MUST be completed at the end of each session to register as a visit. 4) A permit purchased and not matched to a return slip will not be counted. 5) ONE FREE PERMIT of the anglers choice (C&R, 2, 3, 4 or 5 fish) will be issued after 4 full price visits subject to the T&Cs 6) The FREE permit will be valid for one visit only which must be taken by 30th April 2019 7) This offer can be enjoyed more than once between 27/12/18 & 31/03/19 – e.g. Fish 8 times and receive 2 FREE PERMITS 8) The FREE permit is non-transferable and has no cash value.

(Above) Blair Woodlland with a cracker taken on Saturday 22nd, December . He and his 3 mates caught and returned 40 fish between them including several on dries!

(Right)Steve Edmonds took part in our Christmas prize draw and was first out of the hat, having fished with the South Molton club a couple of weeks ago. He went home with a hamper worth £50. Well done Steve, we hope you enjoy!

(Below)  Eighty-one year old Jim Hatim  was undergoing surgery just last week and yet a few days later he was enjoying the mild December weather and looking very pleased with these three prime rainbows.


Win a Christmas Hamper at Exe Valley

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We sold out of smoked fish last week, thank you to all those customers who spotted the sign, visiting us for the first time and placed orders in time for Christmas. More stock is now available including Smoked Trout, Duck, Cheese and even Nuts!

The lakes have been battered by the weather this week, but those venturing out such as Mr Crane have been catching fish and at times enjoying some stunning scenes. See more here https://www.exevalleyfishery.co.uk/…/fishery-news-christmas…

This week – come fishing, spend as little as £25 on permits and/or the shop and be entered into our prize draw for a delicious hamper including smoked trout, cheese, nuts & pickles! The draw will run from Monday 10th to Friday 21st December with the lucky winner able to collect their prize over the weekend 22nd/23rd December … just in time for Christmas!


SAT 22nd DEC – FISHERY OPEN ALL DAY / SHOP OPEN 9.00am – 1.00pm

SUN 23rd DEC – FISHERY OPEN ALL DAY / SHOP OPEN 9.00am – 1.00pm





FRI 28th DEC – FISHERY OPEN ALL DAY / SHOP OPEN 9.00am – 1.00pm

SAT 29th DEC – FISHERY OPEN ALL DAY / SHOP OPEN 9.00am – 1.00pm




WED 2nd JAN – FISHERY OPEN ALL DAY / SHOP OPEN 10.00am – 2.00pm (Normal Business Hours Resume)

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.

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.


I joined members of Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club at Exe Valley Fishery on Sunday June 10th and with a sunny day in prospect  I wondered how hard the fishing would be as blue skies and sunshine are not always an ideal recipe for good sport. It was great to arrive and meet up with Nick Hart who manages the fishery with his wife Sue. Nick and I always have plenty to discuss and it was a while since we had last met and there was plenty to catch up on especially with NIck now working away in a prestigious role with Farlow’s in London.

Exe Valley has introduced an enlightened day ticket strategy that incorporates catch and release with catch and kill offering a wide range of options at different prices. The club members elected to purchase a three fish ticket that entitled the angler to retain three trout and then continue fishing releasing the next three trout. Catch and release fishing is strictly barb-less hooks, rubber meshed nets and fish to be returned as soon as possible with minimal handling.

After chatting with Nick  almost half an hour of the competition had already passed by before I strolled out to the lake that looked stunning on this hazy summers day. Several members had already caught their three fish quota and were enjoying a chat and a drink from their flasks.

With trout rising freely all around I decided on using a light weight outfit presenting a small Cul de canard dry fly pattern on a 4lb tippet.

Casting to individual rising fish it was not long before I enjoyed the satisfaction of connection as a trout leisurely devoured the dry fly in that delightful moment of deception savored by trout anglers over many decades.

A few yards along the bank fellow club member Nigel Bird was also enjoying dry fly action practicing catch and release after completing his three fish quota.

Two more trout succumbed to my dry fly in quick succession and gave spirited tussles on the light tackle I was employing. Casting a dry fly to individual feeding fish was great fun and very rewarding fishing. The last of my three fish on catch and release proved to be my best trout of the day and I estimated it at just over three pounds a fish that made my reel sing as it tested my light weight outfit.

With my fishing over for the day it was time to take a stroll around the lake with my camera and capture a few images of this delightful fishery.

Vivid flag Iris brought a pleasing splash of yellow whilst brightly coloured damsel flies flitted amorously  amongst the lakeside reeds and lush plants.

By early afternoon all members had caught their allocation of three trout and it was time to weigh in. Winner by a very large margin was Dave Richards with a three fish bag of 18lb 4oz that included a fine brace of rainbows caught within his first few casts weighing 8lb 8oz and 7lb 8oz.

Runner up was Dave Mock with 8lb and third Colin Combe with 6lb 12oz.

Exe Valley Christmas double !

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This fine double figure rainbow trout brought a smile to Nick Hart’s face as he travelled through the Londons Piccadilly on his way to his work at Farlow’s. Content in the knowledge that his wife Sue is keeping the home lake running smoothly. The cracking fish was tempted from Exe Valley Fishery by fishery regular Danny Ford.  Exe Valley wish everyone a fantastic few days break, and a Merry Christmas!


The salmon season over it was time to head off for a days Still-water Trout Fishing and hopefully put a bend in the rod. I was joining Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club to compete in their Rogers And Guard Shield Competition at Exe Valley Fishery. I can well remember Gordon Rogers who was one of the club members the shield was named after. Gordon was a Fishery Bailiff with the River Authorities of the 1970’s and a real character who many local anglers will have fond memories of.

The competition was due to start at 10:00am and I intended to get there in plenty of time so I set off just before 8.00am for an enjoyable drive across Exmoor.

A good days fishing is more than just a day casting a line it is often all about the entire day. As I negotiated the narrow lanes up onto the moor mist lay in the valleys as the sun climbed higher into a bright blue sky.

I noted several keen photographers out and about catching the morning light. On the high moor I glimpsed red deer blending into the bracken; the autumn stag were undoubtedly bellowing their challenge across the open moor. It was an awesome morning to be going fishing.

I arrived at Exe Valley to find that one or two members were already raring to start. I grabbed a coffee and began chatting with fishery manager Nick Hart and his wife Sue. Nick is embarking upon a new adventure joining www.farlows.co.uk in Pall Mall’ London. I have fished with Nick many times over the years and share his enthusiasm for fishing. After over an hour of chatting I decided I had better head out and do a bit of fishing. I had after all paid £35.00 for a three fish ticket + the option to release three trout, as part of the fishery’s innovative ticket choice system.

The sun was shining down on a mirror calm lake that was surrounded by a dozen or so anglers. I tied on a small gold head pheasant tail nymph and a black buzzer on the dropper. Trout were active all over the lake and a couple of members had already caught their three fish bags so I was on a catch up mission.

After a few casts I had had no takes. With fish showing all over the surface it was obvious that the trout were near the surface. I concluded that a lighter fly would be more likely to succeed and tied on a lightly dressed cruncher pattern.

First cast with this fly and the line twitched on the retrieve, the hook was set and the water erupted as a rainbow trout leapt from the water before putting a serious bend in the rod and stripping several yards of line from the reel.

Nick took a stroll around the lake and captured action with the next trout I hooked’ a handsome rainbow of close to 3lb 8oz. It wasn’t long before I had completed my three fish bag that was my competition entry for the day.

I took the opportunity to have a walk  around the lake and preserve a few memories of the day with my camera. I was surprised that not everyone had bagged up whilst the trout were in an obliging mood.

The introduction of catch and release during the cooler months at Exe Valley has on the whole been welcomed by anglers who can choose various options combining catch and release and catch and despatch. The fishery has imposed strict rules to ensure that catch and release works as well as possible. Anglers must use barb-less hooks and rubber meshed nets. Trout should not be taken out of the water unless a quick picture is required as a memento of a special fish.

I decided to pay a quick visit to the site shop and buy a couple of barb-less flies and borrow a landing net with a rubber mesh. I returned to the lake with a fly known as an owl on the point. The number of trout rising had now decreased but a few were still showing and it was these fish I targeted. Watching carefully I attempted to drop the fly in front of cruising trout twitching it soon after letting it settle. Twenty minutes later I had returned two more hard fighting trout.

It was now time to head back and weigh in my fish with fellow club members. My three pulled the scales to 9lb and secured me the honour of winning the Rogers and Guard Shield.

It was now time for a coffee and a further chat with Nick about fishing past, present and future. One topic we discussed was the seasons of trout fishing. These small Stillwater trout fisheries are undoubtedly more productive during the cooler months. We both concurred that that there is value in revising the traditional trout fishing seasons. The trout season traditionally casts off in the spring and this is I suspect a follow on from the days before Stillwater trout fishing grew in popularity and wild fish were the target. A closed season during the winter months gave the fish protection during spawning time. This made perfect sense in rivers and where wild fish spawned. Modern day trout fishing on still waters is generally for triploid trout that are sterile.

During the cooler months the trout are more active and fight far harder. It perhaps makes sense to close many trout fisheries during July and August when weed growth is more prolific and water temperatures high. The English climate is not too severe and with modern clothing comfort is ensured.

We also discussed trout fishing tactics the importance of observing the fish to decide fly patterns and the idiosyncrasies of anglers. We could I am sure have talked for many hours. That’s part of angling’s joy for it is the trout and nature that make the rules that we anglers take great joy in analyzing. Before heading home I had a few more casts on the lake relishing the opportunity for one more catch and release rainbow before I left for home. It turned out to be handsome trout of close to 4lb.

It will be business as usual at Exe Valley for the foreseeable future with Sue taking care of the day to running of the lake while Nick embarks upon a new venture working with one of the countries mots reputable fishing tackle companies.

Wistlandpound Club – Visit Exe Valley

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The above rainbow of 3lb 6oz was part of the three fish bag of 9lb that secured to spot for me(Wayne Thomas) in Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Clubs Rogers and Guard Shield Match at Exe Valley Fishery. Runners up were David Richards and Steve Edmunds who landed three trout for 8lb 12oz. Forth was Andre Muxworthy with with 8lb 8oz.

Members enjoyed an excellent days sport in the warm autumn sunshine. I will be publishing an in depth feature on the visit later this week.

Many thanks to Nick Hart for these two stunning images. It is business as usual at the fishery with Sue Hart looking after the day to day running of the fishery whilst Nick takes on an exciting new role with Farlows.


Anchor Lake has been fishing its head off ! One angler  had 9 in under 2 hours and there have been a couple of 7lb fish in amongst some limit bags including this cracker caught by Daniel Stocker which was also tagged so he  headed home with £20 and an Easter Egg! Despite the concerns about C&R making the lake hard we see no evidence of it and today of the 14 anglers fishing 7 are on sport tickets, all catching using a variety of tactics including washing line, straight nymphs & dries.