Winter Trout – Blakewell

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On a stormy winter day small still-waters can offer the chance of excellent sport with hard fighting winter rainbows. Jeff Pearce and I met up with Dominic Garnett from the Angling Trust and his father John at Blakewell fishery where we hoped to connect with one of the recently stocked specimen brown trout.  Our arrival coinciding with strong winds and heavy showers a full English breakfast in the cafe beside a glowing woodburner was a welcome option and enabled us to chat at length about blogging, photography and the intricacies of fishing. We discussed the most important aspects of a fly. Dominic stressed the importance of a quality hook and its trout attracting features. Whilst I agreed with these vital ingredients I stressed that the most important aspect is that the angler has confidence in the fly or lure.  This generally leads to the angler fishing well keeping the fly in the water instead of constantly searching the fly box for inspiration. Dominic had also brought along his angling mascot the General who often features in Dominic’s musings in the acclaimed Fallon’s Angler magazine.

(Above) Dominic Garnett and the General with Turrall flies!

Eventually the call of the great outdoors became too strong and we ventured out to the lake. To our relief the water was still clear and had not been adversely affected by the torrential rain that turned the nearby river into a raging torrent.

The instant action we had all anticipated did not immediately occur and it was half an hour before Jeff hooked the first trout of the day. A pleasing rainbow a fish that thrives in the cold waters of winter.

Dominic and I had both expected the trout to respond to larger lures with perhaps a touch of colour. The trout had not read the script however and my first two fish and Jeffs were all tempted on small black flies or buzzers.

Many consider winter days to be drab and colourless but this is often far from true as winter sunshine and rainbows illuminated our day bringing pleasing winter vistas.

This was not one of those days when the trout attacked our offerings with gusto this was one of those days when persistance was essential. As the hours passed all too quickly the tally of trout slowly grew with the four of us eventually banking a dozen trout to just over 2lb.

(Above) Dominic Garnett nets a hard fighting Blakewell rainbow

BLAKEWELL CHRISTMAS COMPETITION 2018

Twenty Five of Blakewell Fisheries regular anglers attended the fisheries popular Christmas Competition where they enjoyed an unseasonably mild winters day with cloudy Skies that should have been ideal for trout fishing. Those anglers prepared to persevere and try different flies enjoyed a successful days fishing with six anglers taking their six fish limits. Small dark flies proved to be most effective with black and green combinations proving most productive.

Andy Facey with a fine brown trout of 3lb 12oz the biggest of the day.

The winner of the competition was Paul Grisley who banked six trout for 15lb 8oz. In runner up spot was Graham Turner with six for 13lb 10oz and in third Andy Facey with six for 13lb 5oz. In forth place was John Buxton with six for 12lb 7oz.

The competition was punctuated by a delicious chilli con carne meal followed by mulled wine and mince pies. John and Richard Nickel thanked all competitors for their valuable support following a difficult summer season when many thousands of pounds worth of prime quality stock fish were lost as a result of exceptionally high temperatures.  They talked of ambitious plans for the coming season with bank side improvements, weed cutting and of course every endeavour to ensure the fisheries stock fish are of the highest quality as the season progresses.

(Below) Small dark flies like this Black and peacock variant proved successful.

(Below)

The coming weeks should see some excellent fishing with several stunning big brown trout stocked.

(Below) Winter Trout Fishing at Blakewell

Fine winter trout at Bratton Water

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Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club held the first heat of their Winter Challenge series at Bratton Water where all members secured three fish bags by mid morning. The winning bag of three browns fell to myself (Wayne Thomas) and totalled 9lb 14oz. In runner up spot was Colin Combe with  9lb 12oz and in third Andre Muxworthy with 8lb 12oz.

(Above) Winning bag of three quality browns to 4lb

Bratton Water is nestled in a wooded valley protected from most winds which is always good especially when a bitter East wind is blowing as it was on the day of our visit. With a bright blue sky I wondered if we would struggle to catch but these fears were unfounded as the trout responded well to a variety of tactics. I chose to fish a light rod combined with a floating line and long 6lb b.s leader with a small gold-head PTN on the tip and small diawl-bach on a dropper. Casting a long line and allowing the fly to sink before commencing a very slow erratic retrieve. The choice of tactics was more to do with how I wanted to fish as opposed to what I thought would catch most. Other members succeeded using small lures fished on intermediate lines with speedier retrieves.

(Above)Three quality rainbows caught by Nigel Bird
Members take a break

South West Lakes Trout Fisheries Report (October 2018)

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South West Lakes Trout Fisheries Report (October 2018)

The latest report from South West Lakes Trust not much from North Devon but some news from South Devon and Mid Devon might be worth a trip away for a change of scenery.

General:

With a couple of early winter storms hitting the South West recently, the waters have been stirred up, levels started to rise and water temperatures continued to drop in the reservoirs across the region. Daddies and sedges on the water have meant that fish have been looking up to feed, and dry patterns have produced some excellent results. The South West Lakes Trust’s Brown Trout waters (Roadford, Fernworthy, and Colliford) closed for the season on12 October; the season at its stocked rainbow waters (Kennick, Siblyback, Stithians, and Burrator) will be extended until the end of November.

Fishing:

Kennick – Catch rates picked up as the month progressed, peaking with a weekly catch rate of 3.2 fish per rod. Clampitts Bay, Smithacott, The Narrows and The Lawns have proved the best locations for bank anglers, while boats had the most success fishing into the margins of the more inaccessible banks. With Buzzers and Daddies on the water, surface-feeding fish were most active in the mornings, and anglers caught fish on Claret Snafflers, Hoppers, Daddies, and Black Spiders fished in the surface film. Sub-surface feeders could be caught on Gold-head Damsels, Diawl Bach’s, and Montana’s, with a few deeper fish being caught on Boobies and Tadpoles.

The best fish of the month was a 4lb 7oz rainbow, caught by Dave Perks (from Newquay), which helped him secure top place (and a prize of £1000) in the South West Lakes Trust’s ‘Best of The Best’ annual competition, held on 7 October; runner-up was Paul Jones (from Wadebridge). Chris Bolt (from Newton Abbot) caught the best Brown trout, weighing in at 3lb 8oz).

Siblyback – Mornings and evenings continue to be the most productive times to fish, and with plenty of midge activity on the water (particularly in the evenings), and a lot of surface-feeding fish off the North Shore. Two meadows has produced consistently good fishing, with fish coming up to take Hoppers, Black Gnats and Ants, and Black and Peacock Spiders. Buzzer patterns fished at various depths have proved effective, especially in teams with a Damsel Nymph or Montana on the point.

Burrator – the water temperatures continue to drop (now around 16 ºc), and plenty of fish can be seen moving on the surface in the mornings – small black dry patterns (such as Black Gnats, Ants, and Black Buzzer emergers) have produced some good bags. Sub-surface feeders have been caught on Damsel Nymphs, Diawl Back’s, and small Montana’s, with deeper fish taking Boobies, Black Lures, and Olive Nomads. The most productive bank areas have been the point and banks on the Longstone Peninsula, while boats have consistently picked up fish between the two dams.

 

 

 

Stithians – Yellowort Bay has produced the best fishing, and with plenty of sedges about, dry patterns proved the method of choice – a selection of flies, including Klinkhammers, Sedges, Dung Files, and Bibios all caught fish. Brown Sedge Pupa caught sub-surface feeders, with a few fish also taking pulled lures in the deeper water.by the dam.

Colliford – Floating line tactics, often with pulled patterns such as Soldier Palmers and Bibios fished close to the water’s edge in the mornings produced some good results, especially along the east bank and by the dam, with anglers averaging three fish per rod. Dean Boucher caught the best fish – a brown of 2lbs.

Fernworthy – Surface fishing produced the best and most exciting sport, with a variety of dry patterns (including Light Sedges, Foam Beetles, Black Gnats) producing excellent results – G.Vernon caught eight fish using a Dry Adams, and Paul Ackland (from Plympton) caught six fish on dry Sedges. Sub-surface wets and nymph patterns also caught well (including Buzzers, Bibios, Kate McLarens, and Pearly Invictas.

Roadford – the season at Roadford finished with some excellent bank fishing, with a lot of fish showing all over the fishery, and fish being caught at Grinnacombe, Shop Inlet, Daveys Bank, Wortha Bay, and in the deeper water by the dam. Dean Boucher had a great session pulling teams of wets (the best combination consisting of Soldier Palmers and Bibios on droppers and a Black Tadpole on the point), catching twenty brown trout up to 2lbs, with the best results coming from fishing the rougher areas of water.

Chris Hall (October 2018)

 

ENDS

Issue date: 6 April 2018

For more information, please contact:

Alice Peters

Customer Communications and Marketing Officer

South West Lakes Trust

01566 771930

apeters@swlakestrust.org.uk

Blakewell – In prime condition for winter season

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Blakewell Fishery has undergone a major weed-cutting exercise following the long hot summer and is now in prime condition as we enter the cooler months when trout can provide exciting sport. The main road past Blakewell is currently closed but a short detour via Shirwell is well worth it. At this time of year a wide variety of tactics can work with a damsel nymph fished on a long leader a good bet.

(Above & Below)) Weed-cutting machinery in action-

A fine rainbow caught during last years Christmas Competition.

With Christmas coming its a good time to visit the on site tackle shop that has a selection of tackle from West Country based tackle company Snowbee. There is also the opportunity to enjoy a hot coffee and slice of cake.

Wistlandpound Club – Visit to Exe Valley

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Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club members travelled to Exe Valley Fishery to compete for the secretary’s Shield.

The weather forecast gave the rain clearing away by mid morning but on this occasion this proved a little premature as heavy rain persisted for the first couple of hours with the Anchor Lake overflowing into an already swollen River Exe. The wind had however abated from the gale force winds of the previous two days that had been courtesy of storm Callum.

It was relatively mild and trout were rising from the start of the days competition. I started off with a damsel nymph and hooked into a hard fighting rainbow of around 3lb within ten minutes of starting.

A few more follows and takes followed but as is often the case the trout seemed to grow warier as anglers lines splashed upon the water. Noticing several trout rising a couple of yards along the bank I relocated; tied on a daddy longs imitation and fished it very slowly to quickly complete my three fish limit of fish to kill and take. Other members were also catching trout on a regular basis with small imitative patterns outscoring lures.

It was now time to snip off the barbed hooks and go catch and release for the remainder of the day. This proved both fascinating and frustrating for me as I successfully hooked a succession of trout on buzzers and diawl bachs all of them coming detached before reaching the net. This wasn’t really an issue as the most exciting part is hooking the fish and all appeared to be fish between 2lb and 4lb and whilst it is good to get them to the net its not important as it the successful deception that matters in this instance.

By mid afternoon all members had completed their three fish bags and gone on the enjoy some catch and release action.

The competition was won by Dave Mock who weighed in three trout for total of 9lb 14oz. Runner up was Colin Combe with three for 9lb and third myself with three for 8lb 14oz.

4th -Paul Grisley 8lb 12oz

5th – Nigel Bird 8lb

6th David Eldred 6lb 4oz

The trout averaged 3lb for the day with all members taking their allocated quota. The innovative pricing structure combining various options of catch and release and catch and kill gives excellent value depending upon individual preference.  The lake is can now be fished without hindrance from weed and the water remained clear despite the flooded river Exe racing past full of turbidity and flotsam.

PERKS WINS £1000 AT BEST OF THE BEST TROUT FISHING FINAL!

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PERKS WINS £1000 AT BEST OF THE BEST TROUT FISHING FINAL!


Dave Perks from Newquay has won the annual Best of the Best competition at Kennick reservoir near Bovey Tracey in Devon. Dave caught 6 Rainbow Trout for 12lbs 10oz to scoop the £1000 top prize.

The competition which is now in its fifth year is run by South West Lakes Trust, the largest provider of trout fishing in Cornwall and Devon. Snowbee, based in Plympton, who are a leading brand within the trout fishing industry were once again the sole sponsor of the competition.

The competition was held on 7th October at the stunning 50 acre venue which is heavily stocked with Rainbow and Blue trout. Dave’s bag of fish included a fine 4lb 7oz Rainbow. Dave finished runner up in the 2017 final and went one better this time holding off the challenge of Paul Jones from Wadebridge who was runner up for the second successive year. Paul caught 7 Rainbows for 10lb 4oz and collected £400 for his efforts.

Third place, winning £250, was Graham Watts from Bodmin who caught 6 fish for 10lb 3oz.

In total 97 Rainbows were caught by the 35 finalists for a rod average of 2.8 fish per person. There were also some cracking Brown trout caught and released with Chris Bolt managing the largest at 3lb 8oz. Fish were caught by a variety of fly patterns throughout the day.

Ben Smeeth, Head of Angling for South West Lakes Trust commented ‘it was a cracking final and many congratulations to Dave Perks on the win but well done to all anglers on qualifying for the final and a huge thankyou to Snowbee for sponsoring the event. Our Rainbow trout fisheries will be open for everyone to enjoy until the end of November’

Autumn Trout at Blakewell

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As the river season closes its time to start thinking of Stllwater trout to keep in practice.

Its been a challenging summer for still water trout fishery’s and fish farming with high water temperatures and prolific weed growth causing many problems. At Blakewell the Nickel’s have as always endeavored to keep the fishery ticking over offering anglers a special ticket option of an open ticket entitling the angler to keep visiting as many times as they like until their bag limit has been completed. This offer continues until the end of October when normal operation resumes.

Early in October a specialist weed cutting company will be visiting the fishery to eradicate the problematic weed in preparation for the winter season when trout fishing is at its best.

The imminent closure of the Barnstaple to Muddiford Road is no obstacle to visiting Blakewell as a short diversion around Shirwell will only delay arrival by ten minutes.

The lake at present at the end of September has weed covering 50% of the lake but as you can see from these pictures I took today large areas are weed free allowing plenty of water to cast a fly. At this time of year a bushy daddy long legs imitation  will produce exciting takes on most days. A muddler minnow stripped across the surface could also work well as will all the normal buzzers and nymphs. Plenty of trout were showing as I walked around the lake with anglers telling of of browns to over six pounds in recent weeks. If your on holiday and have no tackle with you this is no obstacle to enjoying a day fishing as top quality Snowbee Fly Fishing tackle is available to hire.

Fun fishing is also available for children with a heavily stocked trout pond where children can catch the families supper.

The cafe offers a delightful place to call in for a coffee or cream tea with a tasty looking array of hot for to choose from. On a sunny day sit beside the stock ponds or on  cold day sit beside the wood-burner!

A matter of perspective

A matter of perspective

Fishing is at times a complex pastime full of paradoxes’, dilemmas and moral issues that can stimulate passionate debate. Fly Fishing by its nature is perhaps even more prone to this than other forms of angling though I say this in part because this article is aimed at the Fly Angler. As an all round angler I am far from a fly fishing purist and resist the elitist view that fly fishing is somehow superior to other forms of fishing. Many hold fly-fishing in esteem as a more worthy style of fishing when compared to bait fishing or lure fishing. But where does this view come from?

As a young boy I fished a tiny stream and caught plenty of wild brown trout with buttercup flanks and crimson spots. My chosen technique was a wriggling red worm or pinch of bread flake. It was beside this tiny stream that I learned to read the water and develop that knack of knowing where to cast. Sadly that wonderful stream of my youth is devoid of fish but that’s another story.

As time went by I learnt to cast a fly and find fly-fishing an invaluable string to my angling repertoire. On its day it can be a very effective way to catch fish and on most days I would expect to catch more trout from a small stream armed with a lightweight fly rod than with a pot of worms. It is true that the worm might tempt that big trout living deep in a shady pool or one that has grown large as a result of cannibalistic tendencies but in general the delicate fly fisher will out fish the bait dangler.

When I developed a love for angling literature I delved into classic tomes that told of chalk streams and water meadows. In classic books such as “ A Summer on the Test” by John Waller Hills or “The Book of the Dry Fly” by George A.B Dewar these authors and others of that era were of course members of the upper classes who lived privileged lives that enabled them to cast into the almost sacred waters of the Test and Itchen. It was in these waters where the dogma of Halfords Dry Fly Purist attitudes where born.

I fished the Test once several years ago and whilst it was a costly days fishing I enjoyed every minute of it. I caught on both dry fly and upstream nymph. It was a privilege to fish from manicured banks and tread the path of those with more money than I. I almost used the word wealth at that point but held back for money and wealth are different. The fishing was very enjoyable but in truth not as challenging as I had expected. These were not wily wild fish but stockfish in what has become an artificial fishery like many small Stillwater fly fisheries.

Trout waters are many and the trout within them varied. Each river, lake, loch and reservoir has its own peculiarities and it is this rich variation that gives fishing its fascination. There are different approaches to trout fishing and we as anglers contrive to introduce a complex web of rules and values.

Modern trout fishing has many parallels with society reflecting morals and desire. The put and take trout fisheries that emerged in the late seventies brought an expectation amongst many to get their limit of big trout. As a result prices were driven up as fishery owners tried to cater for the demand for big trout. Anglers measured their success with the size of the fish they caught a plump 10lb or even 20lb rainbow being the dream.

Sadly as time has passed by many anglers have developed unrealistic expectations and have lost sight of the true essence of fly-fishing. Fortunately I see a slow change as many are now seeing the value in wild fish in tumbling brooks and streams. A fishing world in miniature where it is not the size that matters, more the beauty of the quarry and the natural surroundings from which it is caught. The brief admiration of a jeweled trout before it is slipped carefully back into clear water.

There is undoubtedly a place for well-stocked artificial waters and at times it is fun to catch a big stocked trout. It is also exciting to catch stocked rainbows from reservoirs using modern methods but it is surely that moment of delightful deception that is equally thrilling from a rambling brook especially if the whole act can be witnessed in clear and healthy water.

The measuring of fish by sheer size is perhaps that reflection upon society where we want it all bigger better and now. Surely utopia is a day of fishing ahead where there is no rush and all that matters is to momentarily connect with the pulsing life in that world beneath the surface. To put it in monetary terms where lies the best value? A full day wondering the stream for priceless spotted jewels surrounded by natures finest or a dash to catch a limit of stockies in a well kept stew pond?

Wayne Thomas

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.