South West Lakes Trust Trout Fisheries Report September 2020

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South West Lakes Trust Trout Fisheries Report

September 2020

Boat and bank fishing is currently available to anglers, with day tickets on sale through the South West Lakes website or via the telephone (01566 771930). Most of the self-service permit huts are now open, but anglers should confirm this before buying tickets on site. Certain restrictions continue to operate and, before fishing, anglers are asked to read the latest Angling Trust advice with regard to health and social distancing. Information is also available on the South West Lakes website – www.swlakesfishing.co.uk.

Where boats are available, these should be pre-booked, and strict guidelines must be followed regarding their use (see website for details). Catch returns can be completed online, where the latest weekly catch reports will be available to view. The fishing has generally proved to be hard on the Rainbow waters, with the best results had where there are Brown Trout or other species which can be caught on a fly. Fish will now start to feed again more actively as the conditions cool down.

Kennick – High water temperatures have meant that generally the fish have stayed deep, with boat anglers enjoying the best sport, generally fishing over the deeper central water, using sinking line tactics with either Boobie patterns, shrimp or tadpoles. Bank anglers have caught fish using intermediate lines, particularly in Clampitts Bay, using Damsel Nymphs and Pheasant Tail Nymphs. Michael Herring (from Thurlstone) caught the best fish of the month – a 3lb 10oz Rainbow, as part of a bag of six fish using an orange shrimp on a sinking line fished from a boat. The ever-popular Peninsula Classic bank competition will be held at Kennick on 11 October this year – later than usual because of the Covid restrictions which were in place earlier in the season.

Siblyback –The hot conditions and water temperatures made the Trout lethargic and the fishing very challenging – however, now that temperatures have started to drop and freshly stocked fish are introduced to the water, the prospects for some exciting sport in late September and October are promising, with Stocky Bay and Crylla the best locations to try.

Stithians – The Rainbow Trout fishing has been difficult during the hot weather at Stithians, but anglers have still enjoyed some exiting sport with the resident Brown Trout, as well as with the Rudd, some of which have been caught up to 1lb, and which on lightweight tackle, provide a lively alternative to the regular Rainbows. Recommended patterns to try include Deer Hair Sedges, Daddies, Yellow Mayflies, Black Buzzers, Greenwell Spiders and Parachute Emergers, fished on floating lines.

Burrator – The fish have been down in the deep water and not enthusiastic to feed. The best results have been fishing from a boat with a sinking line, using a Boobie pattern. Early in the month, Matt Baines had an excellent day’s sport, catching nine fish from a boat in Longstone Bay, using boobies on a sunk line.

Colliford – The Brown Trout at Colliford provided some excellent and consistent sport throughout the month, with plenty of rising fish to dry patterns (Sedges, Black Bits, Hoppers

and Black Gnats) – sometimes cast to rising fish and sometimes catching when fishing blind on a ripple. Sub-surface feeders were taken on Hares Ear Nymphs, Black and Peacock Spiders, Zulus and Soldier Palmers. Phil Messenger-Rogers caught a 2lb Brownie, while Paul Ackland (from Plymouth) caught a bag of six fish, which also included a Brownie of 2lb, using a wet Black and Peacock variant and dry sedges.

Fernworthy – The Brown Trout sport was variable at Fernworthy in September, with weekly rod averages varying between .5 fish and 3.1 fish per angler. On good days plenty of fish were rising, and could be caught on a variety of patterns (Sedgehogs, Foam Ants, Daddies, Black Gnats and Deer Hair Sedges). If the fish were not on the top of the water, subsurface Bibios, Crunchers, Soldier Palmers and Kate Mclarens, all fished well. Jeff Ferguson had the best result, catching eight fish up to 1lb on Black Sedge Pupa and Kate Mclaren patterns, while Paul Ackland caught a 1lb fish on a dry sedge.

Roadford – While fishing at some of the other waters proved challenging over the month, Roadford proved to be the exception to the rule, with the fishing just getting better and better! Anglers averaged 5.8 Brownies per rod, with dedicated specimen Perch fishing (boat only) also available. These Brownies are in superb condition, with a number of grown-on fish in excess of 2lb being caught. The banks at Daveys, Wortha, Big Oaks, North Shop and Grinnacombe all produced some excellent sport and, if small Perch became a problem, one just needed to find some water with a good ripple to get into the Trout again. Boat anglers were most successful when casting into the bays around the edge of the lake. While foam beetles and Daddies brought some fish to the surface, most Trout were caught on sub-surface patterns (Spiders, Soldier Palmers, Zulus, Bibios and Claret Pheasant Tail Nymphs), with lures such as Tadpoles and Zonkers on Di3 lines also catching well. John Rumbold enjoyed an excellent day, catching 14 fish to 2lb 4oz. Dean Boucher landed 50 fish up to 18” in four visits. Later in the month Dean landed another 41 Browns in three visits, with two fish over 2lb.

The Perch fishing continues to be a great success, with plenty of fish to 2lb being caught. The best Perch of the month was a beautiful 3lb 4oz specimen – a personal best for George Hutton who, on a previous visit, had caught 50 Perch up to 2lb 2oz, when fishing with his father, Pete.

Please visit the South West Lakes website (www.swlakewsfishing.co.uk) for more information and the latest updates.

Chris Hall (September 2020)

For more information, please contact:

Rosie Vine

Customer Communications and Marketing Manager

South West Lakes Trust

01566 771930

[email protected]

Angling Generations

Norman Bird was a founder member of Combe Martin Sea Angling Club and I was fortunate to join the club ten years after his son Nigel who joined the club in 1963. Nigel and I fished together with the club on many occasions during the seventies and early eighties and now fish together from time to time with the Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club. I was pleased fo receive this picture from Nigel showing his grandson George enjoying his first fishing trip with his grandad at Bratton Water where they enjoyed catching a fine bag of rainbow and brown trout.

It is great to see the generations as they discover the joys of angling. For many years I enjoyed trips out of Combe Martin on George Eastmans boat Star of Scillionia PW265.  and was also privileged to help out from time to time hauling lobster pots and taking trips around the bay. Those glorious summer days were greatly enhanced by Georges great grandad George Eastman of whom I have many fond memories . Much has changed over the years but I still feel a sense of belonging when I stroll upon the foreshore at Combe Martin reminiscing upon a lifetime of encounters within the bay.

Footnote – Nigel traced Star of Scillionia PW265 around the West Country over the years from the Isles of Scilly to the Helford Passage were she was finally decommissioned and broken up.

An Autumn Salmon

It is hard to believe that it is early September as I approach the river as the sun slowly climbs above the trees sending shafts of light across the river. The river is in perfect order running at a good height with pleasing  a tinge of colour that one could almost describe as that of fine ale.

I wade out into the cool water and begin my search, optimistic as an angler must be expectant that at any moment the line will zip tight. I absorb the familiar surroundings and listen to the soundtrack of the ever flowing river as it ambles to the sea. Wagtails bob about and a kingfisher flashes past. Fry are abundant in the margins giving hope for future seasons.

The seasons passing is obvious as leaves drift past and I notice a large number of ash leaves undoubtedly a sign of the ongoing of ash die back.

I have fished the river in perfect conditions several times this year and last with four or five years since my last salmon. After fishing the beat carefully drifting my flies across the favoured lies I work my way to the bottom of the beat covering the lies for a second time.

The salmons view as the fly drifts across the river

It is clear that the salmon are not  as abundant as they were when I started fishing this Middle Torridge beat ten years or so ago when leaping salmon and sea trout were a common sight. The picture of a twenty pound salmon further up river is of course an image that maintains hope in the knowledge that the fish had swum past the waters I am fishing.

The sun is now well up in the sky as I place my fly inches from the far bank. As it swings across the river there comes that electric pull down the line and in a magic moment that contact is made with throbbing life on the line. I hold the rod high and savour the moment as the rod kicks before the reel sings. I keep a tight line leaning into the fish as I step sideways allowing the salmon to push up river. The fish hangs deep in mid river; the rod bends, the line pointing into mid river, the salmon holding station in the strong current. For a while the salmon powers up river but as the pressure tells the fish seeks help from the current heading down river as I attempt to maintain a position opposite the fish . I glimpse a wide powerful tail and the flash of silver.

Its always a tense experience playing a salmon hoping that the hook will stay put and the knots hold strong. After around ten minutes I detach the net from my back and the battle continues with the fish on a short line. This is a tense time for many salmon are lost  during that time when the fish is so close to the net.

Then suddenly the fish rolls and is in the net as I give a call of triumph. “Yes!”

I carry the salmon to the margins and slip the barbless double hook from the top jaw. The Go Pro is clipped to my rod handle strategically placed at the water’s edge. I hold the salmon above the water for a brief self-take shot. The flanks of the 10lb plus hen fish are already showing subtle hues of the autumn season. Its image will remain etched upon my mind for the rest of my days fuelling the return to the river in search of silver.

The salmon is held in the cool water head upriver for a couple of minutes until I feel its strength return. It is a great feeling when the fish powers strongly away into the river to continue its amazing journey to hopefully spawn in the next couple of months.

Twenty Pound Torridge salmon

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This 21lb beauty was caught by Barry Mills this evening in Boat Pool at Little Warm Fishery; using his newly acquired ‘weigh net’, which came in pretty handy with a fish this size!

I also fished the River Torridge downstream of Little Warham with conditions perfect  I fished with optimism drifting my flies across proven lies. I failed to connect with any silver tourists but I did see a sea trout leap from the water and glimpsed the electric blue of a kingfisher. With the river now running at a good height i expect salmon to be caught from both Taw and Torridge for the remainder of the season.

Angling Milestones

Two North Devon Anglers set significant personal miles stones this week in different angling disciplines.

Dedicated mullet angler John Shapland spends many frustrating hours targeting grey mullet a species with a reputation for being difficult to tempt. John landed his 100th mullet of 2020 this week!

Ian Blewett is a keen all-round angler with salmon top of his agenda for much of the year. Ian took advantage of perfect conditions on the Taw to land the 100th Atlantic salmon of his angling career. He followed the feat up during the same session with his 101st!

Perfect Conditions on Rivers

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Recent heavy rainfall has resulted in perfect conditions leading into the last month of the salmon fishing season. Paul Carter kindly allowed me to use this stunning image of the River Torridge at Beam Weir.

I look forward to reporting on catches from both the Taw and Torridge. Day Tickets are available for the Taw at Weir Marsh and Brightly via Chris Steer on 07761285169. Day Tickets for the Torridge can be obtained from the Half Moon Inn at Sheepash or at Little Warham Fishery. The West Country Passport Scheme also gives access to many excellent beats.

A promising seasons end ?

An early start on the middle Torridge this morning as the river starts to drop and the colour starts to clear there should be a silver tourist somewhere ready to take a fly? The mournful cries of young buzzards and the croak of a raven hangs in the warm air as I walk to the river.

The rivers running high and full of hope as I drift my flies across time proven lies. I start with bright and bold hues of orange, yellow and gold. Then I go subtle with a silver stoats tail.

A kingfisher flashes past, a squirrel darts from branch to branch, wagtails flit to and fro. In the shallows pinhead fry dart as I wade the shallows. Vivid blue damsels alight upon the riverside grass. Bees gather upon the pink flowers of the invasive Himalayan balsam. Hazlenuts, blackberries  and seed-heads tell of the passing season. The river is topped up and flowing well with more rain in the forecast it could be a good end to the season on both Taw and Torridge. Big tides at present and rough seas all bodes well for the September so often the salmon fishers best.

Todays blank trip is all to common but ever the optimist. Its good be at the waters edge as always.

RIVERS IN DECLINE – Who Cares ?

See Below message from Alex Gibson of the River Taw Fisheries Association. I have repeatedly stressed the need to report incidents and concerns to the relevant bodies. It is sadly true that they may do nothing but at least our concerns are registered and if there is enough concern shown then just maybe something will be done.

The River and the Estuary; the EA and IFCA

While the cat’s away the mice will play.

As you all know our EA Enforcement Officer, Paul Carter, retired earlier this year. As things stand it is not clear when or indeed if he will be replaced. This presents us with a major problem not just for the river, but also for the estuary. Paul was cross-warranted to IFCA.

It is therefore even more important than ever for members to report pollution, poaching, illegal abstraction and other untoward events on the river as well as suspicious fishing activity including fixed long lines on the estuary where no netting is permitted except for sand eels. By putting reports into the EA we will demonstrate the importance of having an EA enforcement officer on our river. IFCA which is Brixham based with no North Devon presence or cross-warranting currently will send officers to the estuary to look into illegal fishing activities if there is appropriate intelligence information.

EA Hotline 0800 80 70 60

Devon & Severn IFCA (Brixham) 07740 175479

Alex Gibson

DIRTY WATERS – My Personal view – Wayne Thomas

I was wading down through the River Torridge a few weeks ago with a good height following heavy rain. I enjoyed my couple of hours swinging the fly across well known lies but I was down hearted by the lack of response in near perfect conditions. As I walked the river I struggled to get a grip on the slippery stones. It was as if the river bed had been coated in a layer of grease and eventually I lost my footing and fell heavily onto the stones. Fortunately my pride took the biggest blow and I fished on with a wet arm vowing to buy a new set of studs for my waders.

Last night I was wading the foreshore casting for bass waring the same waders and I reflect now that the rocks were not slippery. They were not coated in a film of slime like those in the river. Reading the article in the Guardian below I can relate to how our rivers are sadly being allowed to decline. It is a sad story and we must do all we can to stem this sad decline born of neglect and lack of focus. We must put this higher on the political agenda for surely the health of our river and environment is priceless?

I grew up in the village of Combe Martin and fished the River Umber that is the heart of the long valley that I once called home. Precious childhood memories abound of a stream full of life, crimson spotted brown trout with bellys of buttercup yellow hues. Elvers ascended the river in early summer and could be found under every stone close to the rivers mouth. I was chatting with a fellow villager  a few weeks ago and he related to the river of our youth. “Don’t see any trout in the river these days, not since the sewage works was built up river”. The sewage works was of course built to end the disgusting practice of discharging effluent directly into the sea. I can well remember the turds floating in the sea at Camels Eye close to the outfall. Whilst this was not an ideal situation and not acceptable I sometimes wonder if we have just hidden the problem shifting the issues. Investment is of course the answer but who pays?

In a corrupted world it is the environment that pays the price. But eventually we will create a vast cesspit and from what I have seen with the litter left strewn around there are those who would not mind this.

See below link to an article that recently appeared in the Guardian.

Wayne Thomas

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/12/government-britains-rivers-uk-waterways-farming-water-companies?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other