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

South West Lakes Trout Fishing Report

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South West Lakes Trust Trout Fisheries Report

July 2020

Boat and bank fishing is available to anglers, with day tickets on sale through the SW Lakes Fishing website or via telephone (01566 771930). Due to Covid19 precautions, self-service permit huts still remain closed at the time of writing. Certain restrictions continue to operate and anglers are asked to read the latest Angling Trust advice with regard to health and social distancing – this information is also available on the SW Lakes Fishing website – https://trout.swlakesfishing.co.uk. Where boats are available, these must be pre-booked and strict guidelines must be followed regarding their use (see website for details). Catch returns also need to be completed online, where the latest weekly catch reports will be available to view.

Kennick – The Rhododendrons are now in full bloom and the fishery is looking stunning. Boat fishing over deeper water has generally proved to be the most successful throughout July and, although some fish have been tempted up to look at dries and Hoppers, most fish have preferred to stay in the deeper water where Blobs and Boobies have produced good results. Plenty of fish over 3lb have been caught, with some large bags caught on catch-and-release tickets; rods averaged 2.7 fish per angler. In addition to deep-fished lures, weighted nymphs (Damsels, Montanas and Diawl Bachs) have also caught fish. Michael Herring (from Thurlstone) caught the best fish of the month – a 3lb 14oz rainbow, fishing deep from a boat. Mr. M. Ure had some excellent sessions from a boat, catching bags of 19 fish, 16 fish and 15 fish on separate occasions. Mr P.Brown caught a bag of 17 rainbows, fishing from a boat over the deeper water.

Siblyback – The changeable weather produced mixed fishing at Siblyback, with some weeks producing excellent sport (averaging 3.5 fish per angler) and superb fish, while others proving to be more challenging. Stocky Bay produced consistently good sport, while Crylla Bay, Marshes and the North Bank all fished well. Fish were still looking up to feed, and dry patterns (Black Beetles, Sedgehogs and Hoppers) all tempted fish. Sub-surface nymphs and wets (Damsels, Montanas and Black Buzzers) caught well throughout the month, with anglers also catching on fry patterns and lures (Kennick Killer and Orange Fritz in particular). Jamie Gilman caught the best fish of the month – a 5lb 8oz rainbow, as part of a bag of seven fish. A late return from George Hext reported that he had caught a rainbow of 8lb 4oz back in May – the best fish of the season (so far).

Stithians – Weekly rod averages have been up to 2.3 fish per angler, with plenty of fish over 2lb, the best being rainbows of 2lb 12oz caught by Steve Glanville and Mike Freeman. The best locations included Goonlaze, Pub Bay, Mossops and Carnmenellis, with fish being caught on a selection of dries (Sedges, Klinkhammers, Black Gnats and Beetles) or sub-surface nymphs and wets (Pheasant Tail Nymph, Mallard and Claret, Black Buzzers and Black Pennel).

Burrator – With weekly rod averages up to 3.5 fish per angler, Burrator continues to fish well and produced some outstanding days’ sport – Paul Lee caught 28 fish from a boat using a selection of Boobies, Blobs and Dry patterns on sinking and midge-tip lines. Generally wet patterns and lures have produced the best results (Damsels, Montanas and teams of Buzzers, or Orange Blobs, Boobies and Kennick Killers), while Klinkhammers and Black Gnats attracted some fish to the surface. Longstone Point and Sheepstor bank produced consistent sport from the shore, while boat anglers enjoyed success off Lowery Point and in the deeper central water. Simon Jeffries caught a 3lb 8oz rainbow (as part of a full bag) from Longstone Bank using a Kennick Killer, and M. Baines also caught a 3lb 8oz rainbow from Sheepstor Bank, using an Orange Cruncher.

Colliford – Some nice grown-on brownies were caught over the month, with Dean Boucher catching fish of 2lb 4oz on two occasions and Chris Clarke catching a 2lb brownie on a Brown Nymph. In addition to keeping on the move to cover as much bank as possible (with Redhill Flats, Lords Waste, Browngelly Bay and Gillhouse Bay all proving popular), it pays to vary the fly pattern and type according to conditions – with Soldier Palmers, Zulus, Black Hoppers, Beetles, Hares Ear Nymphs, Diawl Bachs, Sedge Pupae and weighted Damsels all catching well.

Fernworthy continued to produce some great sport, with anglers averaging 2.5 fish per visit – amongst these were plenty of full bags. George Hext caught a bag of 11 fish using a Black dry Sedge and Black Beaded Nymphs, while Nigel Easton caught a grown-on brown of 2lb using a Bibio pattern. Fish have been free rising, taking emerging midges and sedges, with a selection of traditional dry and wet patterns all catching well (Kate McClaren, Silver Invicta, Bibio, Coch-y-Bondhu, Diawl Bach, Soldier Palmer, Sedgehog, Zulu and Klinkhammer). Most banks have produced sport, with Thornworthy Bank, North Shore, Fishery Hut Bay, Farmhouse bank and Lowton Bay all mentioned in catch returns, with fish often tight into the bank in less than 12” of water.

Roadford – At last the fishing has begun to pick up at Roadford! Jeff Ferguson caught 7 brownies to 1lb 4oz using small nymph patterns (Pheasant Tail nymph and Black Buzzer), while Duncan Kier (from Belstone) had a superb morning fishing from a boat over the boils – the fish were high in the water and took a fast pulled fly (Squinky) almost as soon as it hit the water. Duncan netted five fish – the best a cracking 3lb 8oz grown-on brown in superb condition. The fishing is at its best at Roadford when there is some good cloud cover – currently this seems to be a far more important consideration than the time of day.

Perch fishing (from the boat only) is currently available – this must be pre-booked (see website for more details), and some great fish as well as large bags have been caught. Bruce Elston caught over 60 fish up to 2lb 8oz on one visit and over 30 fish, with five over 2lb, on another while Mike Stone (from Starcross) caught a beautiful 2lb perch.

Fly Culture – Podcast

I was pleased to have the opportunity to chat with Pete Tyjas for one of his recent Fly Culture Podcasts. See link below – If you download you can play it on the phone; a good way to entertain on a long car journey or in my wifes opinion ideal cure for insomnia.

https://www.buzzsprout.com/402997/4765247-wayne-thomas-on-writing-and-fishing-in-devon.mp3?blob_id=18923708&download=true