Stunning Bratton Browns for Wistlandpound Club

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Danny Fords winning bag of four trout for 13lb 3oz

Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club members enjoyed quality trout fishing at Bratton Water with some impressive bags of brown trout. Danny Ford won the D & D Cup competition with four trout for 13lb 3oz. Danny caught his fish using small buzzer patterns and spent time after bagging up sharing his knowledge with other club members.

(Below) Danny Ford with brown trout each weighing 4lb 1oz

Runner up in the competition was David Richards who landed  four trout topped by a fine specimen of 5lb 5oz that was winning the biggest trout of the day until David Eldred secured the biggest trout of the day prize with yet another stunning brown of 5lb 8oz. David Eldred secured third place with a four fish bag for 11lb 3oz and I took forth with an 11lb 2oz bag that included a fin perfect brown of 4lb 14oz.

[Above) David Richards with a beautiful 5lb 5oz brown trout
(Above) This 4lb 14oz brown trout is probably the best looking trout I have ever caught.

Fishing at Bratton Water was enhanced by the onset of spring with daffodils and primroses in full bloom and toads spawning in the lakes margins. Fishery owner Mike Williams spotted two house martins on the morning of the competition a sure sign that Spring has truly arrived.

Trout-masters at Exe Valley

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Exe Valley Trout Fishery hosted their  Troutmasters fish off at the end of February. This year was a very hotly contested match with 63 fish weighing 233lb 6oz caught by a total field of 15 anglers. That’s a 3.9 rod average with an average weight of 3lb 7oz!

Nick Hart Reports:-

Well done to Devon based rod builder Alan Riddell who caught his limit with 2 hours to spare winning with a total of 6 fish for 24lb 12oz including a 2lb bonus. Meanwhile special mention has to go to the juniors James & Alfie. Both stuck it out but once again James took his 2nd junior win in a row and if he hadn’t lost 4 fish during the match including one that was a definite double he may have won the match! He did manage to beat his Dad with 4 fish for 14lb and also caught a tagged Trout so went home £10 richer.

Thanks to all who took part in such good spirit and well done to Keith Ratcliffe & Alan Jukes who both bagged potential monthly Troutmasters awards by both landing Trout of 8lb 8oz Good luck in the finals Alan & James!

Junior angler James Mockridge into an early first Trout

Rod Licence update

The EA have introduced a revised rod licence system for the coming year with some welcome changes see info and links below.

To see poster on new rod licenses please click on below links.



The Environment Agency has also launched “Get a Fishing Licence” on GOV.UK to simplify the process of buying a fishing licence: This is part of a series of improvements to the service, which include:

  • Free licences for junior anglers, up to the age of 17, announced in November 2016
  • The fishing licence now lasts for 12 months from the day it is bought, rather than expiring at the end of March each year
  • The use of three rods now needs just one licence, rather than two.

People are required to buy a fishing licence in order to fish legally in England, Wales and along the Border Esk in Scotland. Sales of licences for the 2015/16 season raised £21 million. The money was used to restock rivers with 452,220 coarse fish, encourage over 35,000 people to try angling for the first time and bring 2,043 successful prosecutions against crimes like poaching.


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The latest report from South West Lakes Trust indicates some good catches from reservoirs throughout the South West. At recently downgraded Wimbleball several overwintered rainbows were landed. Wistlandpound Opens on March 15th following a substantial stocking of brown trout that will boost existing stocks of browns from last year and the resident wild population. The abundant rudd that are thriving in the lake could well result in some big brown trout in the years to come.

South West Lakes Trout Fisheries Report (Opening Weekend 2017)


The 2017 season opened earlier this year at South West Lakes Trust’s Rainbow Trout waters (4 March, with a preview day for season ticket holder on 3 March) and got off to a flying start at the lakes, with the opening weekend producing some outstanding sport, both in terms of the quality of the fish and their willingness to take the fly in spite of the cold, wet and windy conditions


Kennick – Rods averaged nearly 4.5 fish per angler over the opening weekend, with a number of fish over 4lb being landed. Very little insect activity is yet evident but fish were keen to take sub-surface nymph and lure patters, fished mainly on intermediate lines. The most successful patterns included Damsel and Montana nymphs, as well as deeper fished Tadpoles and Boobie patterns.

The best fish caught included a 4lb 4oz Rainbow, as part of a full bag, which also included another fish of 4lb, caught by Paul Lee from Ivybridge fishing with a nymph pattern from the bank. Mr Peppit caught a full bag, which included Rainbows of 4lb 4oz, 3lb 10oz and 3lb 2oz, while fishing from the bank.

Siblyback – Anglers averaged 3.7 fish per rod over the opening weekend, with most fish being caught in Two Meadows, The Marshes and the North Shore, with fish following the windblown food source. Floating and slow sink lines proved to be the most successful, with darker nymph patterns, such as Montanas, Dark Damsels, Diawl Bachs and Black Pennells, or pulled lures (Tadpoles, Cats Whiskers, Orange Gold-heads and Baby Dolls) catching fish.

The best fish was a 4lb 6oz Rainbow, caught by Mr R. Cogar from Bodmin.

Burrator – With the reservoir full and boats not yet available at Burraor, fishing from the bank at Longstone has been the most productive, using mainly intermediate lines. Rods averaged just over 2 fish per angler, with Montanas and Gold-head green Damsel nymphs catching well, as did dark lure patterns such as Tadpoles and Black Boobies.

The best fish caught was a 3lb 10oz Rainbow, caugh by Pat Power, fishing at Longstone, using a White Strike.

Stithians – The harsh conditions meant that the fishing at this exposed site proved to be challenging, with Pub Bay and North Bank proving to be the most productive locations. Sub-surface nymphs and lure patterns fished on sunk lines proved to be the only method, with Gold-head Tadpoles and weighted Orange and Yellow lures the successful patterns.

The best fish caught was a 3lb 8oz Rainbow, caught by Mr. Docking from St Agnes, using a Gold-head Tadpole.

Drift – Rods averaged 3 fish per angler, which included a number of Blue Trout which seemed to favour small lures and Damsel patterns. The Badger Sett bank proved to be the most productive area, with teams of nymphs (Damsels in particular) catching well, as well as deeper fished Black Woolly Buggers and Pink/Orange fritz mini lures.

The South West Fly Fair was held at Roadford on 25 February, for the fifth consecutive year, and proved to be even bigger and better. In spite of poor weather forecasts, the rain held off to allow for outdoor casting demonstrations and clinics, while indoors there were fly tying demonstrations, along with numerous stands offering tackle, advice and information, as well as a masterclass Trout cookery demonstration from a local top-class chef. Show patron Charles Jardine was on hand all day and, when not giving demonstrations, was available for advice or just a chat.

The Trust’s Brown Trout fisheries open on 15 March. For detailed fishery information and prices for the 2017 season visit or visit one of the fishery-based self-service kiosks.

Rising water temperatures should see an increase in surface activity, with floating lines starting to come to the fore in the next month.

Chris Hall (March 2017)

Too much water for start of salmon season

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One week into the salmon season and barely a line has been cast as a result of both the Taw and Torridge being swollen by successive days of rain. The rain is however good news in the longer term as it should ensure fish are well spread throughout the river system when fishing does get underway. With water temperatures rising and plenty of water prospects have to be good for a big spring run fish.

A rather murky looking River Bray; ensuring that the Taw will up and coloured for several days.

The RIver Taw Fisheries Association are holding their Annual General Meeting on Friday 17th March 2017 at Highbullen Hotel, Chittlehamholt.

Guest speakers are Paul Carter, EA High Impact Enforcement Officer and Simon Evans, Chief Executive, Wye and Usk Foundation.

The Torridge AGM is on March 31st at the Half Moon Inn Sheepwash

News of stocking Barnstaple & District Angling Association ‘s club course pond at Aller Nr. South Molton

South Aller Pond

With the help of Paul Carter from the Environmental Agency B&DAA have added stocks of Tench and Crucian Carp plus further quantities of ‘Silver Fish’ for this coming year. Further extensive tree work and pond access is in the pipe line to enable easier fishing access with close car parking.

The game section’s water at Newbridge will, weather permitting be fishable as soon as we get a drop in water heights. The club also has subsidised ‘private beats’ available to it’s members on a day ticket basis on the Upper Taw, Lower Torridge & the famous Blackpool Beat on the River Exe.

There are still membership vacancies in both Course & Game sections at £35 for the whole season.

For further details please contact John Webber  [email protected] or membership secretary Colin Ashby on 01271 323017.

Trout Masters at Simpson Valley

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Simpson Valley – Jenny Wren Trout Lake near Holsworthy – Latest report from Paul Cozen’s

Jenny Wrens annual trout masters competition went well this morning despite the frequent heavy cold down pours of rain. Attending this year was Terry Allcorn, Richard Cooper and brothers Mark and Richard Hopson.
Fish came on the feed straight away with Terry kicking it off with a nice rainbow caught on a damsel nymph followed closely by Mark with another rainbow on a Montana. All anglers caught their 3 Fish bag limit by dinnertime and we’re glad to get out of the rain.
Winner this year was Mark Hopson from Barnstaple with a bag weight of 8lb 1oz who gets a place in the trout masters final at Draycote trout fishery this October.
Runner up was Richard Cooper from Lyme Regis with 7lb 13oz followed by Richard hopson with 7lb 8oz then Terry Allcorn with 7lb 1oz.
Well done to all and keep sending the trout masters tickets in for your chance of a monthly badge and a place in next year’s Fish offs.


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Well Meteorological Spring is officially here, but I feel we can see the signs for ourselves, primroses, daffodils and snowdrops are in abundance and Magnolia trees are starting to blossom. The last few weeks have been kind to us, the weather has been reasonably mild and the water temperatures are at ideal spring levels.

The lake itself is looking superb, the water is crystal clear and the trout are cruising just below the surface, nymph activity is increasing so now is the time to dig out those nymph patterns.

Eric Battison recently proved the point with a double 6 fish ticket; nymph fishing a damsel with a blue flash was by far his most popular fly. But don’t be tempted to stay big, on another day buzzers will be equally as deadly, in fact we are witnessing some good early season buzzer hatches with red’s and blacks being the favoured colours along with gold head and bloodworm patterns.

With the mild end to winter, don’t confine your tactics however to the nymph, as well as the buzzer many other species of fly have been hatching including some pond olives so keep a keen eye in the margins and if you can match the hatch you may be in for some bonus dry fly fishing.

Richard Nickell with a fine brown trout ready to stock!

Annual Fly Fair Attracts Over 250 People to Roadford

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Simon Kidd of Snowbee talks to Fly Anglers

The South West Fly Fair got the Trout fishing season off with a bang on Saturday (25 February) as fly fishermen flocked from all over the region to attend the annual show, held at Roadford Lake and hosted by South West Lakes Trust.

This was the fifth year for the show and it keeps going from strength to strength. It’s the perfect opportunity to grab a bargain from the leading suppliers in the South West, talk to the organisations involved in running the fishing the Westcountry has to offer or get in some casting or fly tying practice before the season kicks off.

The show was opened at 10.30am by one of the country’s most respected fly-fishing gurus, and patron of the show, Charles Jardine and featured fly-tying demonstrations from both local and nationally renowned experts, with a chance to ‘have a go’ as well as the opportunity to pick up useful tips and valuable advice.

Charles Jardine tying Flies

Activities throughout the day included casting demonstrations with Charles, who gave an entertaining and impressive display with the Trout rod, and Gary Champion, a local expert who travels worldwide teaching people to fish and give demonstrations.

Over 40 people took advantage of the free fly casting lessons and clinics for both newcomers to the sport and experienced anglers feeling a little rusty after the closed season. There was also the opportunity to try float-tubing with the British Float Tube Association. The chef from the local angling hotel, the Arundell Arms, gave a fantastic demonstration on ways to prepare and cook your Trout once you have caught it with samples to taste.

There were a variety of angling conservation organisations including The Westcountry Rivers Trust, The Salmon and Trout Conservation Trust UK and two local custom rod makers, Alan Riddell and Luke Bannister, who has built up an international following for his beautiful hand-crafted split cane rods.

(Above)Artist and Author Robin Armstrong

South West Lakes Trust’s Trout suppliers, Milemead Fisheries and Torre Trout Farms Ltd, were on hand to talk to anglers and show a sample of the fish they could expect to catch in

  1. There were some stunning Golden, Tiger, Brown, Rainbow and Blue Trout on display for people to view. Those looking for new fishing opportunities in 2017 were able to speak to representatives from various fishing clubs throughout the region and ‘Get Hooked’ magazine who were also on hand to advice.

There was also a large selection of angling trade stands including impressive displays from the shows sponsor Turrall, with the opportunity to handle, try and buy this year’s latest equipment as well as an astounding selection of fur, feathers and specialist fly-tying equipment from suppliers based all over the country.

With 250 visitors to the event, it proved to be as popular as ever and South West Lakes Trust are already looking at a bigger and better show in 2018.

The 2017 Trout fishing season on the South West Lakes Trust Rainbow Trout reservoirs starts on 4 March and Brown Trout on 15 March. Full details and this year’s prices are on the Trust’s website –