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Friendly rivalry at Blakewell Fishery saw regulars  Gavin Colwill and John Piper go head to head in a competition. The two anglers landed six fish each totaling 32lb! Gavin was deemed the winner landing the days biggest trout a fine rainbow of 13lb. John’s biggest was a fine rainbow of 12lb.

John Piper with a fine brace of trout


Liam Lonsdale
Liam Lonsdale

South West Lakes Trust Coarse fisheries Jennetts Reservoir and Lower Tamar Lakes are both producing fine carp of over twenty pounds. Barry and Liam Lonsdale had a cracking session at Lower Tamar landing fourteen carp using sticky baits Manilla Boilies. Biggest was a 23lb 2oz common carp to Liam. Barry best was a stunning 21lb fully scaled mirror carp.

Barry Lonsdale
Barry Lonsdale

Chad Savage has been hauling the 20’s from Jennetts in the last couple of months. This 22lb 3oz common is one of fourteen different 20lb+ fish that he has banked in just eight short sessions.

Chad Savage
Chad Savage

The coming weekend sees South West Lakes Trust host a carp fishing pairs competition running from Friday to Sunday see home page events for full details.

Perfect Conditions

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Perfect conditions
Perfect conditions

After recent spates both the Taw and Torridge are fining down nicely and reports are trickling in of salmon. I fished a middle river beat on the Torridge and conditions were as close to perfect for salmon and sea trout as it would seem possible.I fished through the known lies with care, searching with the fly swimming across the current. The occasional trout hit the fly and gave a brief moment of excitement. It was good to be on the river immersed in the surroundings as birds swooped over the water and the occasional mayfly lifted into the warm evening. Despite this there was also frustration that despite ideal conditions success was elusive.

I was very pleased to hear today of a fresh run 12lb salmon to the rod of Russell Crisp on a middle Torridge beat. It is often the case that the salmon are more willing to take a fly as they settle into their lies and can be reluctant to take as they run the river. It is perhaps the unpredictability of the salmon that make them so alluring.

I hope to bring more news from the rivers in the coming days. The solitary nature of salmon fishing and private inclination of its participants sometimes means that news is not as forthcoming as in other branches of the sport. I would encourage game anglers to send me their catches and pictures I will not divulge location of capture unless encouraged to do so.

Stafford Moor Mid Week Open

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Winning bag for Ricky Johnston
Winning bag for Ricky Johnston

The mid week open fished on Tanners & Woodpecker. Had a continental payout.

Winner of the day was Ricky Johnston on Woodpecker lake peg 6 with 134lb 10oz fishing 8mm pellet on the bombing the edge.

2nd place was John Traynor Tanners lake peg 3 with 129lb 10oz fed 8mm & fished 11mm pellet.

3rd place was Dave Stockton woodpecker peg 8 with 74lb 3oz fishing the waggler

4th place was Adrian Wyatt Tanners peg 18 with 127lb 6oz fished 8mm pellet waggler & bomb

5th place was Scott Wilson Woodpecker peg 34 with 62lb 1oz

6th place was Lee Thomas Tanners peg 36 with 125lb 1oz fishing 8mm wag & lead

Longest Day at Wistlandpound

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Danny Ford
Danny Ford

It’s hard to believe that the longest day has passed us by already and the days are starting to recede in that ever revolving circle of time. I met South West Lakes Trust Ranger Danny Ford on June 20th at Wistlandpound just before 6.00pm with fours hours of fishing ahead of us, if only these summer days would last. I had fished earlier in the year when Wistlandpound had opened as brown trout fishery a new era in its development as North Devon’s largest trout water. Since those early season days a further stocking of brown trout have been introduced ensuring a healthy population of both stock fish and existing wild fish.


The evening was overcast with occasional glimpses of the sun and a light breeze. Ideal conditions I thought. We were using Wistlandpound Fly-fishing Clubs boat paired up with an electric outboard that gave us ease of maneuverability and was certainly easier than rowing. Danny suggested we try the deep water at the dam end of the lake as he had landed several trout from this location on his last visit a week before. A fast sink line, a black tadpole on the point of the leader and brightly coloured blob on the dropper was Dan’s suggestion. An erratic retrieve and the occasional pause allowing the fly to hang motionless in the water was the tactic to employ. Success came first to Danny, a handsomely marked brown of around 12oz. A few follows but no more hook ups called for a move and a change of tactics.

Danny Ford - brown trout
Danny Ford – brown trout

Putting the boat within casting range of the West bank we began a drift. With the occasional fish rising we both set up with floating lines. Danny using a dry fly whilst I opted for a bead headed pheasant tail on the point with a cormorant on the dropper. After a couple of drifts honors were even with trout falling to both dry fly and nymph.


I had heard that there were a few quality rudd being caught so I persuaded Danny to put us on a few rudd. Drifting close into the weedy margins soon brought success with these pretty golden flanked red finned coarse fish. The rudd proved a pleasing distraction for a short period with a double shot bringing a pleasing opportunity to capture the variance in the hues of these fish. There are those who curse the rudd that do not give a good account of themselves. But as they tend to congregate in certain areas it’s not too big an issue; though it is undoubtedly more difficult for the bank angler to avoid them.

A double shot of rudd
A double shot of rudd

After the rudd interlude we headed back out into deeper water and targeted the trout that were rising frequently. Danny and I both enjoyed success before the rise petered out. I picked up the sinking line once again and employed a fast retrieve with the occasional pause. This brought quick success in the shape of a brown of over 1lb. For the next twenty minutes or so we had several follows and a couple more stunningly marked browns.


As the battery was running low and the light fading we headed back to the dam end where I landed one more trout. The water surface became becalmed as dusk set in and what wind there was died away. The occasional trout punctuated the surface with a telling ripple. The sun sank behind the trees, the crimson sky reflecting through the trees onto the lake like a burning fire. Owls hooted in the trees and blackbirds cries echoed across the still water. It was time to go the longest day was as all days do ending.

Embers of a dying day
Embers of a dying day

We had ended the session with five browns each to around 1lb 8oz and five rudd each. The fishing is comparable to wild brown trout fishing savoured by many on upland tarns and lochs in the North of the country. Fascinated fishing in beautiful surroundings and at a very reasonable cost.

Wistlandpound Day tickets cost :- £15:00 for full details visit

Stafford Moor Sunday Open Result

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The latest result from Stafford Moor was reported to me by the enthusiastic owner Joanne Combes

Tanners and Woodpecker lakes had a field of 39 fishing in Stafford Moor’s Sunday Open on June 19th.
Weather conditions: rain all day!

Chris Davis - Winner of Stafford Moor's Sunday Open
Chris Davis – Winner of Stafford Moor’s Sunday Open

1st Chris Davis Woodpecker peg 17 with 176lb 7oz( fishing 8mm into the bank)
2nd Ricky Johnston Tanners peg 36 with 131lb 2oz ( fishing 8mm on the lead)
3rd John Heath Woodpecker peg 34 with 86lb 15oz (fishing 8mm on the lead)
4th Mark Hayman Tanners peg 18 with 113lb 1oz (fishing 8mm pellet waggler)
5th Phil Hardwick Woodpecker peg with 86lb 2oz ( fishing down the edge)
6th Mike Kempson Tanners peg 1 with 100lb 5oz

Silvers winners:
Dave Panny Tanners peg 34 with 20lb 3oz
Bruce Hunt Woodpecker peg 16 with 28lb 9oz

Section winners :
Lee Hicking Woodpecker peg 3 with 69lb 7oz
Dave Stockton Woodpecker peg 22 with 82lb 11
John Traynor Tanners peg 3 with 97lb 5oz
Dave Vigus Tanners peg 20 with 59lb 13oz


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Martin Turner
Martin Turner

Martin Turner earned victory in North Devon Match Groups Championship heat on Upper Tamar Lakes’s Cornish Bank compiling a fine net of fish scaling 34lb 6oz. Christoper  Morris was runner up with 30lb 4oz and Wayne Michell third with 26lb 9oz. Competitors landed some quality perch and bream from this prolific water run by South West Lakes Trust.



River Reads – The Westcountry’s premier angling bookshop

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Back in the year 2000, a small bookshop in Torrington pannier market was closing and Sandy Armishaw bravely took it on. Her husband Keith was a keen angler and so the bookshop was sorted and the angling collection was introduced together with an array of vintage tackle.

Keith & Sandy in River Reads September 2006
Keith & Sandy in River Reads September 2006

For the next three years the shop grew in stature and moved to larger premises at 21 South Street in Torrington in 2005. In 2007, River Reads started publishing limited edition angling books of the highest quality using hand-tooled leather binding. Titles include books of their own production such as Charles Inniss’ “Torridge Refections” , the “Recollections” series for Angling Heritage, and also special limited editions of books for iconic anglers such as Chris Yates (the titles include “Out of the Blue”, “How to Fish” and “Nightwalk”) and Jeremy Wade’s famous “River Monsters”.

As the marketplace changed, so has River Reads and has created its own website with all their books listed in on-line catalogues. Most of the angling books now also have photographs attached to the listing (completion is imminent). Customers are now able put an individual book, of collection of books together and the website automatically works out the combined weight and postage to anywhere in the world, and you can order using all major credit cards. The website is and is one of the most advanced in the marketplace.

River Reads are always on the look out for angling books and vintage tackle to purchase to supplement their range of stock.

Should you wish to visit the shop, you can contact them through the website or at the address below (Before visiting make sure you telephone first as they like to get out fishing too)

River Reads

Great Darracott



EX38 7HL

Tel 01805 625888

E mail SIARiverReads