Dan Spearman fished Bulldog Fishery to take this stunning brace of double figure brown trout!
Big perch are a worthwhile target at this time of year with fish to over 4lb a real possibility from several venues. A prawn or lobworm bait is likely to bring results either beneath a float or fished on a running leger rig. Lures can also prove effective for these handsome looking predators. Matt Dart fished a North Devon venues where he tempted a fine brace of perch scaling 3lb 3oz and 2lb 8oz. Both fish were tempted using float fished prawn. Following his success Matt returned too the water to tempt another fine perch of just under 4lb.
Wimbleball Lake high on Exmoor is a beautiful expanse of water surrounded by rolling hills of pasture and woodland. The construction of the dam commenced in November 1974 and was completed in 1979. The concrete aggregate came from local quarries at Bampton and the structure consists of 184,000 cubic metres of concrete. It holds 21,540 megalitres of water within a catchment of 2910 hectares (370 Acres) and supplies water to the distribution networks of both Wessex and South West Water. Over 12,000 trees were planted around its perimeter providing a rich habitat for wildlife.
The Lake has been a popular fishery for many years and hosted several large angling competitions whilst it was run by South West Water and later by the South West Lakes Trust. Sadly, commercial pressures lead to a short period in the last decade when the fishery was down-graded initially to a low cost rainbow trout fishery and then to a wild fishery with no stocking of fish.
Many of the regular anglers drifted away to fish the lakes close neighbour Clatworthy that continues to provide first class trout fishing. In 2018 Mark Underhill and his wife Trudi took on the management of Wimbleball and were determined to turn the fishery around and bring it back to surpass its former glories as one of the West Country’s top Stillwater trout fisheries.
Over the past two seasons the Underhill family has stocked many thousands of hard fighting rainbow trout reared at their Rainbow Valley Trout Farm near Bampton. The trout are stocked from a weight of around 2lb 8oz up double figures.
An enlightened policy of catch and release fishing was introduced with anglers given the option of buying a five fish catch and keep ticket or a catch and release ticket with the anglers retaining the first two trout caught and then releasing all the fish they caught after this with barbless hooks mandatory to ensure quick and easy release. This format ensures that anglers travelling to the water can enjoy a long day savouring the fine sport on offer.
The latest addition to the Wimbleball experience is the acquisition of The George Inn that is set amongst the beautiful, rolling countryside of Exmoor in the quiet & friendly village of Brompton Regis, on the Eastern side of the Exmoor national park.
It was good to once again wander the river bank and swing a fly in the hope of a spring run salmon. The seasons come and go so quickly and it is hard to believe that twelve months have flashed past. Once again the wild daffodils are decorating the banks as natures calendar turns its pages.
The water is cold and fairly clear running at a perfect height. Several years ago on March 7th I netted a fresh run Springer of around 9lb so I am optimistic that success could come with any cast. I drift the Fly across familiar water and on one cast there is a brief tightening of the line followed a second later by a heaviness. Too gentle to be trout it could be a snag in the river. Repeated casts over the same spot rule this out so I change my Fly and cover the lie again. There is a brief tug and a flurry of spray as what was a good sized trout shakes the hook free. Im not convinced that it was the trout that intercepted the fly first drift. Salmon takes can be so subtle at times feeling like a drifting leaf has brushed the hook. I contemplate what might have been and fish on content that I have a full season ahead.
I always tend to associate Spring with trout and salmon fishing so when picking up the Tesco shop I indulged in the April Edition of Trout and Salmon Magazine. Browsing through its pages of pleasing images I was delighted to come upon local fishery owner Richard Nickell’s familiar smiling features.
The magazine has another excellent feature on trout fishing on Dartmoor with local cane rod builder Luke Bannister.
Brothers Aaron Bunning and our head Baliff Ashley decided to take advantage of their local Lakes here at Anglers Paradise and chose Nirvana’s Xanadu Carp Lake.
Aaron caught a stunning 22lb 2oz Common and a 18lb 8oz Mirror during his session using Nash Citruz pop up, flake and liquidised bread, and Ashley caught a lovely 20lb 14oz Common and also a 16lb Common using Nash Citruz Pop Ups over a bed of strawberry crush boilies. The fish are definitely warming up for Spring!
South West Lakes Trout Fisheries Report
At the time of writing, only two of South West Lakes’ rainbow trout fisheries have opened (Kennick and Siblyback), with Stithians and Burrator opening on 5 March for season permit holders and 6 March for day tickets. The brown trout fisheries open on 15 March (Roadford, Colliford, Fernworthy and Wistlandpound).
The fisheries will all be operating under strict Covid19 restrictions, in line with the Angling Trust and Government guidelines. This means that the fishing will be available to local anglers only, until the current travel restrictions are lifted. The on-site permit huts will not be open, so day tickets, season tickets and boats should be pre-booked online – www.swlakestrust.org.uk/trout-fishing.
Kennick – The season began with a cold snap, but with some superb fishing, with rods averaging 6.5 fish per angler in the opening week. As one would expect, the fish were lying deep, with fish often taking on the drop, with the best sport to be had in Forest and Clampitts Bays and the deep water by the dam, with weighted Damsel Nymphs, Montanas, and lure patterns (Boobies, Tadpoles and Orange Blobs) all working well. The best bag caught in the month was 20 fish (19 returned) caught by M.Dadd, with Mark M catching 14 fish up to 3lbs on a Blob fished on a sinking line from the bank.
Siblyback – The cold easterly winds made the fishing at Siblyback on the opening weekend challenging, with the sheltered banks in Stocky Bay producing the best sport as well as the most comfortable conditions, with Blobs and slow-fished Damsel Nymphs catching well. As the month progressed, and the wind direction changed, the North Shore and West Bank also started to produce fish, with Montanas, small nymphs and spiders on intermediate lines attracting fish, and rod averages improving to 2.55 fish per angler. P.Murphey caught the best fish – a 3lb rainbow, while G.Hext caught 11 rainbows and a superb 2lb Brown on his first two visits of the season.
The River Torridge salmon season is underway and the scoreboard is ticking over as regular Torridge angler Duncan Betts tempted a fine 9lb fresh run springer. A cast in the right place at the right time and a springer that most prized of catches could be yours.
I hope to bring more news from the rivers as the week progresses. On the Taw a 3lb sea trout was tempted from the Day Ticket Brightly and Weir Marsh beats.