Barnstaple & District Angling Association – Mid season Report

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                                        B.D.A.A                                                                27/6/2023

Don Hearn on the river bank at the start of the season back in March


Many thanks to Don Hearn for allowing me to share Barnstaple and District Angling clubs mid-season report below.


After an exciting start to the season with several good fish taken and seen we are now, as last year,  faced with extremely low water. The temperature was measured yesterday by the bridge at over 20 degrees and this of course can be threatening to migratory game fish. We have seen Salmon gasping on the surface and several casualties have been found. Some from mishandling, we think, but not by our members as far as we are aware. We are asking for restraint from salmon/sea trout angling during these drought conditions as any fish caught would be at risk of not recovering from the experience. You may have seen online that this is happening nationally and is disastrous for the species. We can but hope for rain. The Hall Estate up river from us has also asked beat holders for angling restraint until the water levels improve. Hopefully, as last year, we will get a decent run of fish when the rain finally comes.

We have now completed the new hut and after a bit of tidying of surrounding areas will soon be declaring it formally open! Hopefully this will last for many years and be a peaceful place to rest and shelter while watching the river pass by. This has involved a great deal of work from our volunteers but we all feel it’s worth it. The original hut was very substantial but in these changing times we couldn’t hope to compete. We are however proud of what we have achieved and hope it will serve its purpose for many years to come. With this downtime from angling at Newbridge work continues with strimming and clearing and if anybody has any suggestions for the beat they would be welcome. Also feel free to carry cutters etc and help yourself!

However, the restriction on the river doesn’t mean you can’t go fishing. One of the most popular options is fly fishing for Bass in the estuary. A greater challenge would be the Mullet. Both would give you a great scrap in lovely surroundings and well worth the effort. We do of course have course fishing at Aller pond which fishes well in summer with such deep water keeping temperatures down. Yet another quiet place to while away a few hours.

Whatever alternative you may find we look forward to getting back on the river when conditions improve and wish you, as ever, tight lines.

Don Hearn

Newbridge River keeper


My own comment :-

The low river levels as a result of prolonged dry conditions are a serious concern and if as is generally thought are a result of ongoing climate trends this does not bode well for the future. We all share the burden of potential climate disaster and need to consider how we should react. My own observations as an angler and conservationist are concerning. Indications that the natural world is in a bad place are all around. If salmon in the river are the proverbial canary in the mine then we should all be concerned.