Trout in Paradise

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Anglers Paradise is well known for its Coarse Fishing but it also has a trout lake offering Fly-Fishing and lure fishing  for a range of species. The option of lure fishing for trout might be advantageous for those who have not mastered the art of Fly- Fishing. In my limited experience in most lakes the fly will out fish the lure most days.
The fishing is catch and release with barbless hooks only.
Trout Lake (Fly fishing or Lure fishing) for various species of Trout and our predator Lake Valhalla (Lure fishing only)for some fun Pike action.
Zenia Gregory and her family enjoyed a couple of hours family time on their trout lake and caught Tiger, Rainbow, Blue and a Brownie Trout.  Joe caught a Pike yesterday from Valhalla Lake on a lure.
Day Tickets are £20

To book your session, please call 📞 01409221559 strictly between 9am to 4.30pm.

Anglers Paradise

A TIME TO BOTH REFLECT AND LOOK TO THE FUTURE

http://www.bluefincharters.co.uk

                        A New Year dawns and an old year passes a time that we all tend to both reflect and look to the future. Hopefully anglers will have managed to get to the water’s edge over the Christmas holiday and in the days that have followed. If all goes well I will be out boat fishing when this goes to print hoping for a cod in the murky waters off Minehead.

(Trip was cancelled due to strong winds and swell)

Chris Bond with a cod from the murky waters off Minehead.

The winter cod season has been producing some excellent cod with fish to over twenty pounds boated already this season along with ray, huss and good sized conger. Archie Porter is taking anglers out from Ilfracombe on Reel Deals Sister boat “Predator 2”. Spurdog, conger and huss dominate catches in this part of the Bristol Channel with cod surprisingly scarce in recent seasons. The reason for this is open to speculation as there was a seemingly healthy cod population off the North Devon coast during the 1970s, 80’s and 90’s.

The dynamics of angling have certainly changed over the past twenty years or so as society changes. Boxing Day used to be a busy day in North Devon’s angling clubs fixture programme yet this tradition seems to have lost its popularity. I remember well when Bideford Angling Club always held a Boxing day fixture and Ilfracombe & District Angling Club held a match on Ilfracombe Pier. This decline in participation does not reflect a decline in the numbers going fishing for some disciplines of angling are in the healthiest state for many years. The COVID pandemic has perhaps encouraged many more to discover angling or rediscover its pleasures and benefits.

The angling clubs of North Devon have to some extent not seen the full benefit of this resurgence in angling participation as societies habits change. The ever changing workplace with many working throughout the seven day week has impacted upon weekend fixtures. Solitary angling such as carp fishing and sea angling is thriving whilst the social aspects are to some extent ebbing.

Anglers Paradise

Commercial Fisheries such as Stafford Moor and Anglers Paradise offer superb fishing for a wide range of species. Match anglers fishing bespoke match venues can regularly put together nets of fish well in excess of 100lb. Such huge bags of fish would have been rare a couple of decades ago yet today it has become the expected normal.

Carp fishing has boomed in recent decades with North Devon waters reflecting the countrywide increase in carp weights. When I started writing this column over two decades ago a twenty pound carp would have been noteworthy. I now report on thirty pound plus carp most weeks with forty and fifty pound plus fish included. I have mixed feelings about this as I remember with nostalgia a time when carp were viewed as almost uncatchable mysterious creatures that drifted through lakes where they were seldom caught except by the dedicated specimen hunter. In today’s carp angling World the long stay angler dominates bivvied up beside lake’s traps set waiting to hook carp that have been given names. The mystery has to a large extent been lost, a reflection that perhaps mirrors the wider world where the knowledge we gain in life sometimes subtracts from its richness.

Whilst the artificially created angling world booms the wild salmon and sea trout that once surged into our rivers have declined at an alarming rate. If the salmon and sea trout numbers continue to decline at the same rate since I started fishing for them back in the early eighties they could be all but extinct within fifty years. This is a sad indictment of how mankind has squandered the wealth of the natural world. The reasons for the decline in wild fish populations is complex though overfishing, climate change and pollution are all contributory factors driven by an ever increasing population that demands evermore from natures dwindling store cupboard.

I took my fly rod the Wimbleball Reservoir a couple of days before Christmas and experienced exciting fishing for the rainbow trout that have been stocked in this extensive reservoir high on Exmoor. This reservoir completed in 1979 is a fine example of how mankind can create a rich and diverse almost natural environment. The trout within this lake are hard fighting and fin perfect. Standing waist deep in the clear cold water looking out over a vast sheet of water as the light constantly changes it felt refreshingly wild.

I look forward to reporting on North Devon’s angling news in 2022 and would like to wish readers tight lines for 2022. Special thanks to all the sponsors of North Devon Angling News.

WINTER PERFECTION

The trees were stark and dark looming out of the mist as night gave way to day. The line was punched out and allowed to settle the lures sinking slowly in the clear water. I began the retrieve attempting to impart life into the two flies. The cool water stung the fingers as I settled into the rhythm of fly fishing for Stillwater trout.

After five minutes the line drew tight with an electrifying tug and for a magical moment there was life on the line. It was short lived however the hooks failing to find a grip.

This brought the essential ingredient of anticipation to the hunt for a trout. The following fifteen minutes or so resulted in several missed takes but no actual hook ups.

I became immersed in the search relishing the cool fresh air, the ever changing light on the water and glimpses of birds upon the lake. Cool rain was driven by the Southwest wind but I hardly noticed as I focussed on the line as it entered the water expectant of that connection with life beneath in an unseen dimension.

After a quiet half an hour I moved fifty yards along the bank and restarted my quest. The line drew tight and life once again pulsed at the end of the line. After a pleasing tussle a handsome brown trout of close to 2lb was brought to the net and admired briefly before being slipped back to disappear with a flick of its tail. Another brown trout equally handsome followed a couple of casts later; half the size of the first.

After an hour without further success the nagging doubts began to set in prompting a move. Once again I cast out into the lake ever expectant. I watched anglers on the far bank and wondered how they were faring? I changed flies, small lures, large lures, small imitative patterns, slow retrieve, fast retrieve, erratic, smooth, deeper and shallower. This is the fascination of fly fishing on a large wind swept Stillwater. Whilst the trout are stocked the fishing has a feeling of wildness that is not experienced in the smaller commercial trout fisheries.

Location is of course vital in the search for success and after three hours without a winter rainbow I decided to move to the far bank. I walked back to the van, broke down the rod; loaded the gear and drove to the next car park.

A hot coffee from the flask and I set off to fish a new area with renewed optimism. I waded out and punched the line out across the lake. A stiff breeze was blowing and the water felt cool as I stood waist deep. It was now early afternoon and I sensed that the best of day had passed. Suddenly the line zipped tight and the rod hooped over as a hard fighting rainbow threw itself into the air. It was a relief to get a rainbow on the bank a pristine fish of a couple of pounds.

I fished on with  renewed expectation and was soon rewarded as a heavy pull resulted in connection with a super fit rainbow that took the line almost to the backing. The rod was hooped over as I relished the moments as the fish shook its head on a tight line making repeated powerful runs. After several tense minutes the rainbow was coaxed over the waiting net. Four and a half pounds of fin perfect perfection was given the last rites and laid to rest beside the other rainbow.

The winter sun eventually broke through illuminating the landscape. Shots from a nearby shoot drifted across the lake. I fished on content with success and was delighted when once again the line drew tight and a third prime conditioned rainbow was brought to the net after another exciting tussle.

The sun was now sinking closer to the hill tops and I decided to head for home after an exciting and rewarding days fishing. Wimbleball remains open until New Year’s Eve and is well worth a visit. I look forward to returning at the end of February at the start of a new season. Many thanks must go to Mark and Trudi Underhill for providing what is undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of South West trout fishing. Its not always easy but those rainbows are true piscatorial perfection!

Winter Solstice Reward

The Winter solstice, the shortest day of the year so with time limited and Christmas looming I decided on a short session at Bulldog Fishery in search of a winter trout. With a cold Easterly wind blowing this sheltered water was an ideal venue to grab a couple of hours sport.

I arrived close to 10:00am and was given a cheery welcome from fishery owner Nigel Early who was busy preparing Christmas turkeys.

The lake was crystal clear with very little weed growth remaining. I set up and took a wander around the lake glimpsing the occasional rainbow but none of the double figure browns or rainbows that have been recently stocked. I had tied on a small bead headed pheasant tail nymph and cast this to the middle of the lake where a few trout could be seen cruising high in the water. The first couple of casts resulted in missed takes.

The inlet area is often well worth a try and the sight of large trout rolling in the turbulent inlet water prompted a move to the far bank where I could cast my fly into the flow.

The line sailed out the small nymph dropping past the flowing water. I tightened the floating line and watched the tip intently. The line twitched and I lifted the rod connecting with a hard  fighting rainbow of around 6lb.

A large trout repeatedly swirled within my casting zone and I wondered if it was one of the lakes big browns? I persisted with the small nymph adding a couple more trout to the bag each full tailed rainbow in the 3lb to 4lb range.

The water was crystal clear yet the light was wrong to get a really good look into the water. The occasional good sized trout drifted into view but takes eased off a little. I experimented with a wet daddy longlegs to no avail then switched to the tried and trusted damsel nymph.

First cast a large rainbow followed the lure before turning away after following for a couple of feet. Next cast the line drew tight and the rod bent over in a satisfying curve as a large trout shook its head in an effort to shake the hook free. The flanks of a large brown trout flashed in the clear water and a tense tussle ensued before the fish was safely in the net. I admired its boldly patterned flanks and slipped the hook from its jaws. The brown trout looked to be about 7lb a very pleasing result to celebrate the turning of the year. I held the fish for a moment in the cool water until with a kick of the tail the prize was once again within a different dimension beneath the cold surface of the winter lake.

I fished on for a while changing back to the pheasant’s tail nymph to take a last rainbow before heading for home in time for an early lunch.

TIME TO VISIT YOUR LOCAL TACKLE SHOP

The local tackle shop is an integral part of the angling scene and we are very fortunate in North Devon to have a network of excellent shops offering anglers a wide range of the latest tackle and bait. Recent years have been very difficult for the tackle trade with tackle shops like many other High Street outlets suffering from on-line competition.

Many shops have adapted to this and have successfully combined the at front shop outlet with an online presence combining the best of both worlds.

The tackle shop has always been an important meeting place for anglers where social intercourse leads to more fishing trips as a result of enthusiasm generated from fishy chats. There is nothing to beat face to face conversations even if it is behind a mask in these strange times.

Angling is fortunately booming in many areas as a result of COVID impacting upon many other activities. The joys and benefits of outdoor pursuits have been brought to the fore and it is to be hoped that this has a long lasting impact on angling participation.

I would like to thank the local tackle shops and the wider tackle trade who support North Devon Angling News via sponsoring the site. As Christmas looms ever closer perhaps the ideal gift for a loved one is a  gift voucher for your local tackle shop.

QUAY SPORTS is North Devon’s latest tackle outlet conveniently situated on the Roundswell Industrial estate near Sainsburys. The team offer up to date friendly advice on all aspects of angling with an extensive range of tackle and bait in stock.

SUMMERLANDS TACKLE North Devon’s long established family run tackle shop in Westward Ho! Always has an extensive stock of the latest tackle with a friendly greeting to all.

BRAUNTON BAIT BOX Craig Mc Cloughlin runs this tackle and bait outlet in Braunton and offers a flexible service for anglers unable to visit a shop during normal office hours. Focusing on sea angling Craig is a friendly and knowledgable  point of contact for advice on where to fish and what is being caught. He also  provides rod repairs and reel servicing.

HIGH STREET TACKLE Danny Watson and Pauline Chard run Ilfracombe’s tackle shop specialises in lure fishing stocking a very impressive selection of all the latest lures to tempt the bass that lurk along the North Devon Coast. They also stock quality live and frozen bait for the sea angler. They have an extensive selection of sea angling rods and accessories working closely with the Ilfracombe Charter Boat fleet.

 

South West Lakes Trust Season Report Summary

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Trout fishing report for the lakes and reservoirs in Devon and Cornwall.

General:

All South West Lakes Trust rainbow trout fisheries operated under Covid restrictions, Angling Trust, and Government guidelines throughout the 2021 season, with self-service permit huts closed, and tickets and boat bookings made available via the telephone or online through the Trust’s website. The rainbow waters closed for the season at the end of November (Brown trout waters in Mid October).

Season Summary:

There was some good fishing across the region, especially at Burrator, Kennick and Siblyback, while the fishing improved dramatically toward the end of the season at Colliford and Roadford in the last few months.

The Snowbee Team bank competition at Siblyback in April was won by the Innis Fishery Team from Cornwall, catching 23 rainbows weighing in at 30lb 5oz;

The Snowbee Top Rod competition in June was won by Alec Hoare (of Abbotskerswell), catching five rainbows weighing 8lb 12oz; the Peninsula Classic Bank Competition at Kennick (also in June) was won by Darren Penfold, catching seven fish weighing in at 12lb 1½ oz; the ‘Best of the Best’ final was also held at Kennick on 17 October, with the winner, Dave Johns (from Cornwall) catching 12 rainbows weighing in at 25lb 2oz, and taking home the first prize of a cheque for £1000.

The ‘Fishing For Life’ project (supporting people living with breast cancer) continues to grow, with regular monthly sessions throughout the season at various fisheries.

Fisheries Summary:

Siblyback: Best fish – 4lb 4oz brown, caught by David Ryder in April, using a Black and Green Cats Whisker.

Kennick:  Best fish – 5lb rainbow caught by Sharif Adams (as part of a bag of six rainbows between 2 – 5lb) using a Gold Damsel.

Stithians: Best fish – 7lb Brown trout caught by Adam P on 25 June. The best rainbow weighed in at 3lb 8oz, caught by Clive P in July.

Burrator:  Best fish – 4lb  rainbow caught by Benjamin L in July. Al Lawson (from Plymouth) caught a 4lb brown trout on 22 October.

Colliford: Best fish – 2lb 8oz brown trout caught by Dean Boucher (part of a bag of eight fish) caught using Foam Beetles and Red Hoppers in early October.

Fernworthy:  Best fish – 3lb 1oz brown trout caught by Rodney Wevil in April.

Roadford: Best fish – 3lb brown trout (as part of a bag of twenty fish) caught by Jamie Gillman (from Plymouth) in September.

The season opening dates and prices for 2022 will be posted (along with other information) on the Trust’s website and on their Facebook page (Trout Fishing South West Lakes Trust).

SOUTH MOLTON ANGLING CLUB – Blakewell Christmas Competition

I Joined South Molton Angling Club for their Christmas get together at Blakewell Fishery where members hoped to win the Mac McCarthy Trophy for the biggest trout caught this season. The biggest trout up until this date was fine rainbow of 5lb 6oz from Wimbleball.

The morning was incredibly mild for mid December with an overcast sky that occasionally allowed glimpses of bright winter sun. I was hoping to once again slip into the bay where the trout had been shoaling the previous week. I joined club Chairman Ed Rands in the favoured spot and began working the bay with a damsel nymph.

Within an hour both Ed and I had secured five fish limit bags of quality fish with my five totalling just over 20lb and Eds around 15lb. We both chatted with Matt Kingdon who moved into the bay and continued to tempt the trout that had by now wised up a little. Strangely it seemed that the trout wanted a virtually static fly often taking the small black lure Matt was using as it sank through the water. It was fascinating to watch as Matt watched the end of the line twitch setting the hook with a quick strip of the line.

The River Torridge Fishery Association – Newsreel

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The River Torridge Fishery Association

President: Lord Clinton 

Chairman: Paul Ashworth                                  Secretary: Charles Inniss

                                                               e-mail: [email protected]

NEWSREEL:   WINTER 2021 

The Salmon Hatchery:

            Sadly, I have to report that the hatchery team plans to rear 30,000 swim-up fry to be stocked out into the headwaters in the spring will not be going ahead. The EA has closed down all access to their fish passes except for essential maintenance work by their fishery staff. This decision was taken after a fatal accident to an EA employee although the incident did not involve a fish pass and did not occur in the South West. As a result we have not been able to use the fish pass at the side of Monkehampton Weir to trap our brood-stock. The EA gave permission for six of us to try and catch the brood-stock with rod and line. During November we twice tried to catch our broodstock using spinning tackle. Our Fishery Officer, Callum Underhill, arrived with an oxygenated tank but despite our best efforts we had no success. Knowing how difficult it is to catch just one salmon these days the chances of catching several in a few hours was extremely remote.

The Torridge Hatchery Team in November 2020

            This also means that the plans to develop the South West Hatchery hub at Colliford hatchery on the River Fowey have had to be put on hold. Steve Phelps, our vice-Chairman, has liaised closely with the Colliford hatchery and together with the Axe Association we are all still determined to move the project forward. Hopefully next year 50% of our eggs will be reared at Colliford. As salmon stocks in our South West rivers continue to decline the aim is to expand the Colliford hatchery so that it can support several rivers.

The South West Rivers Association: Roger Furniss:

            Since helping to set up the SWRA over 25 years ago Roger Furniss has been the driving force: for many years as Secretary and for the last three years Chairman. At the SWRA AGM in October Roger handed over the reins as Chairman to William Entwistle. Roger will remain a Council member. The committee would like to thank Roger for all the help and sound advice which he has given on many occasions.

The Annual Dinner:

            Our Annual Dinner was held at The Half Moon at the end of September. It was a wonderful evening: well supported with good company and an excellent meal. The new proprietors, Haydn and Kim, joined us for the evening. We wish them well in their new venture. They are keen to support the Association in its efforts to improve water quality, stabilise river flows and restore migratory stocks to their former levels of abundance. Thank you all for once again for supporting the raffle so generously. We raised over £1,600 which will be used to make further improvements at our hatchery.

The Fishing Season:

Rod catches were disappointing. Due to Covid restrictions fishing effort was limited and even those of us who lived locally did not fish regularly. There were only a handful of anglers who did fish regularly and they all enjoyed some success. It is often said that 90% of fish are caught by 10% of the anglers. This season 95% of the fish were caught by 5% of the anglers. Let’s all make a New Year resolution to get out and fish our beautiful river more often. From the reports I have received 25/30 salmon and about 120 sea trout were caught. Several sea trout over 5lb were landed.

Best wishes to you all for the festive season. Charles