After a prolonged spell of dry weather recent rainfall has brought a very welcome rise in local rivers. The next few days should see salmon and sea trout caught from both Taw and Torridge as the river levels drop back and the water clarity improves. Windows of opportunity are often brief so it is essential to hit the river as soon as conditions allow.
I have already heard of a few salmon from the Lyn a river that very often becomes fishable within twenty-four hours of a spate. The Taw and Torridge tend to take a little longer to hit the perfect colour. I would expect salmon fishing to be very worthwhile over the next week with sea trout fishing likely to be excellent as the water clears with nocturnal forays likely to bring exciting sport.
Excellent salmon and sea trout fishing can be expected at Little Warm Fishery on the Torridge.
Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club visited Exe Valley Fishery to compete for their Holland Trophy electing to fish a combination ticket allowing members to retain their first three fish for the competition and release three on a catch and release basis. Omens were good as we arrived to purchase our tickets with an angler walking away from the lake with a stunning rainbow. Neil Kyle had tempted the 12lb 8oz rainbow using a small bloodworm fly.
On arrival at Anchor Lake trout were moving all around with rises and bulges on the calm surface. Members were soon into fish with a variety of tactics succeeding until as is often the case the fish started to wise up. I tempted a fish after a short while using a small booby on the point with two buzzers on droppers. A pleasing trout of around 3lb taking the booby on the point.
After this I struggled for a while and chatted with club secretary Dave Richards who had already taken his bag of three using a briskly retrieved lure. Not one to persist with finesse if it’s not working I switched to a large damsel nymph with long marabou tail. My bag was soon complete. It was now time to go catch and release and for this I elected to scale down to a 4lb point with a tiny grey duster dry fly. I spent the next half an hour flicking the fly at individual rising fish savouring that delicious moment of deception as the trout rose to the fly slurping the fly down and then feeling that moment of success as line tightened followed by a bucking rod and screaming reel. Strange how I had struggled to catch my three and then as soon as I went catch and release the fish came with ease.
As storm clouds gathered it was time to travel back home and enjoy the drive across the stunning Exmoor landscape. On the way I popped into Dulvertons’ excellent bookshop Rothwell & Dunworth where I picked up a pleasing book entitled ” Fishing a Highland Stream”A Love Affair With A River by John Inglis Hall.
The results of the competition were :-
1st = Dave Richards & Colin Combe both landing three trout for 9lb 8oz
2nd Wayne Thomas – Three fish for 7lb 4oz
3rd – Nigel Bird & Dave – with single rainbows of 4lb each
Colin Combes also released a fine rainbow of close to 10lb.
Many thanks to Exmoor Fly Fishing for letting me reproduce their report on the charity event at Exe Valley.
Fishing for FORCE the Cancer charity day organised by John Dawson was held at the superb Exe Valley Fishery by kind permission of Sue & Nick Hart.
The day started overcast and dimpsey in other words Exmoor weather! Jackie joined me to learn how to fly fish in no time she was throwing nice loops so it was on to the lake …no pulling lures here it was small flies from the word go . She was soon into her first fish of the day a quick burger and coffee then I took Rory under my wing it wasn’t long before I heard the shout “ I’ve got one I’ve got one” an epic battle ensued before a fin perfect Exe Valley rocket was drawn over the net….several more soon followed, the fishery is fishing really well and the Trout are up in the water and will readily take a dry.
Thanks must go to John Dawson, Sue Hart and the ladies from Force for putting the day on and raising lots of money for the charity.
I’m a keen freshwater and sea angler, and also passionate about nature.
The North Devon UNESCO Biosphere is launching a Crowdfunder https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/nature-needs-you to raise funds for a ground-breaking local initiative called Pledge for Nature! – to engage north Devon’s communities in nature’s recovery. We are extremely concerned by rapid declines in the quality of some habitats and populations of some of our key species like breeding cuckoos, lapwings and curlews in our farmland, salmon, sea trout and freshwater pearl mussels in the Taw and Torridge river systems, and even commoner species like hedgehogs, swallows and house martins, wildflowers and insects.
Nature needs more space and wilder areas to thrive. Pledge for Nature! aims to engage citizens and particularly farmers across north Devon in practical actions to tackle the damaging effect that decades of development and intensive land use have had on North Devon’s precious ecosystems. Their actions will help to boost wildflowers, insects and birds in farmland, gardens and greenspaces, plant trees and woodlands, and improve our rivers.
We are asking the National Lottery Heritage Fund to cover the majority of the coordination costs (and have passed the first round in the application process), but we urgently need to raise at least £10,000 as match funding to demonstrate to them that our community cares. Anglers are a really important group to help address some of these problems, and many are already very active (eg I’m a member of the Taw Fishing Club which is doing lots of habitat work).
I’d be really grateful if you could share the link to the crowd-funder site through the North Devon Angling website and social media and help spread the word in any way you can to friends and colleagues. I also attach a poster that can be printed and put up in community centres etc..
Many thanks for your help, and fingers crossed we can beat our target!
Torridge Fly Fishing Club members and guests are enjoying some great sport at Gammaton with plenty of quality rainbow trout to over 4lb. Day Tickets allowing 3 fish are available from Summerlands Tackle at Westward Ho!
The areas rivers are already at summer levels bringing concern amongst salmon anglers that we could be in for a repeat of last year’s disastrous season when rivers ran low for most of the fishing year. A brief rise last week after localised rain encouraged at least one fish into the Taw with Bob Lewington tempting a fresh run grilse of 6lb from the Weir Marsh and Brightly Beats. There are positive stories from the Taw and Torridge in that the brown trout fishing has been excellent with wild trout to over 1lb caught on Half Moon Beats of the Torridge. Anglers have also caught and returned good numbers of silver smolts on their way back to the sea a sign that all is not doom and gloom.
With salmon and sea trout scarce, I contacted Snowbee Ambassador Jeff Pearce and suggested an evening fishing the middle Torridge for wild brown trout. Jeff was keen to visit a new stretch of water and I picked him up whilst the sun was still high in the sky.
Arriving at the river the lack of recent rain was apparent with the river running very low. When I say there has been a lack of rain this not entirely true as localised heavy showers had brought a short spate the previous week bringing the level up three feet. As is often the case in recent years the dirty river dropped very quickly as a combination of dry ground and thirsty trees mopped up the welcome water.
Despite its subdued and sedate flow rate the river and its surroundings looked resplendent in its late spring flourish of vivid life and colour.
I expected to see plenty of trout rising as fly life seemed abundant with insects flitting above the water illuminated by the slowly sinking sun. We walked to the top of the beat discussing the various holding pools as we passed them. Each pool held its memories and I enjoyed recounting stories of salmon and sea trout caught during previous seasons.
I had tied a small grey duster dry fly to my light tippet and started to wade carefully up a long glide. I cast the fly to likely spots as I scanned the water for signs of feeding trout.
A splashy rise twenty yards upstream raised expectations and I waded stealthily to get within range.
After a couple of casts there came that most delightful of moments as the waters surface was broken as the dry fly was taken in a sublime moment of deception. A flick of the wrist set the tiny hook and the water bulged, the rod flexed and line was ripped through the rings as I was forced to give a little line. A twelve ounce wild brown trout gives a pleasing account on a three weight rod. Jeff was soon at hand to capture the moment and commented that such a fish could be the best of the season.
I fished on for a while rising a couple of more trout that came adrift after a few moments. Fishing the upstream dry fly to rising fish is perhaps as close as one can get to the true essence of the hunter fisher. This searching and seeking is so different to the trapping mindset of the static bait fisher.
Don’t get me wrong I am not setting out one type of fishing as superior to another just highlighting the contrasting approach. Non anglers find it difficult to contemplate upon the diverse nature of angling. Why we need so many rods, reels, lines and tackles.
I am in danger of wondering into complex waters so to return to the night in question. Jeff was fishing a slower section further down and had found several trout sipping flies from the surface. I watched him place his fly delicately upon the water and hoped to see him connect. As I turned to walk away down-river I heard a triumphant exclamation. The Snowbee Prestige G-XS Graphene Fly Rod ( Matched with a Thistledown 2 Wt line) was well bent as a good trout battled gamely on the gossamer thin line. After a few anxious moments a delighted Jeff gazed at his prize in the rubber meshed net. A pristine wild brown trout that would probably weigh close to 1lb 8oz. A splendid prize that was twice the size of the trout I had returned a few minutes earlier.
Jeff held the fish close to the water at all times lifting it only momentarily from its watery home to record a pleasing image to take away. It would be difficult to surpass this success and as the sun sank the temperature dropped and we both changed over to nymphs and spider patterns fished down and across.
This style of fishing is less demanding than the upstream dry fly and allows the attention to wonder slightly absorbing the sights and sounds of the river and its banks. The electric blue flash of a kingfisher, the yellow wagtails, the handsome cock pheasants and the lively brood of beeping ducklings all part of the rich scene.
We both enjoyed success with hard fighting trout tempted as the light faded. Hopefully as summer arrives and a little rain the brownies sea run brethren will provide some more exciting sport.
Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club Members assembled at Blakewell Fishery the lake looking stunning with fresh green foliage forming a stunning back drop. Members elected to opt for the sporting ticket allowing two fish to be retained before continuing on a catch and release basis.
The competition was run on the first two fish caught.
1st – Colin Combe – 3lb 9oz
2nd – David Eldred – 3lb 7oz
3rd – Nigel Bird – 3lb 5oz
4th – Andre Muxworthy – 2lb 10oz
5th – Wayne Thomas 2lb 4oz
Small imitative patterns worked well in the clear water and bright sunshine with all members catching their allotted brace and then enjoying some exciting catch and release sport. From mid may until the end of June the English countryside is at its very best with everything a vivid green with bird and pond life flourishing all around.
Seth Tuson won Torridge Fly Fishing Clubs annual competition and Keith Wright won the cup for biggest fish .
The lakes at Gammaton are both fishing well. A day ticket angler got his 3 in 4 casts recently. He’s now joined the club !