Sea Trout and summer grilse

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DSCF2660The Taw and Torridge are both at low summer level now but despite this a few salmon and sea trout are being caught. Bob Lewington fished the Weir Marsh and Brightly beats on the Taw to land a brace of fresh run grilse and Len Francis fished the beat to land a 3lb grilse. Charles Inniss tells me that several small sea trout have been landed from beats throughout the river Torridge along with one or two salmon. It is hoped that the rain that is forecast will freshen the river and bring in a few more fish.

Light touch for Blakewell Double

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Jeremy Johnson 11lb 6oz rainbow
Jeremy Johnson
11lb 6oz rainbow

Jeremy Johnson used a light approach at Blakewell fishery to tempt a fine rainbow scaling 11lb 6oz. Jeremy used a size 12 montana nymph presented using a 4 wt Orvis rod and 4 wt floating line. The montana nymph is one of my favourite patterns and a good choice at this picturesque well stocked water.


Grilse from the Rivers

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The Taw and Torridge are both in perfect condition following recent rainfall and fish are there to be caught. Clinton Marshall fished the Weir Marsh and Brightly Beats of the Taw to land a 5lb grilse and Len Francis fished the same beat to land a 6lb grilse. Both fish were fresh in from the sea with silver flanks and sea lice still attached.

I fished the Middle Torridge with the river in fine trim I expected a fish at anytime but not a pull. The sight of a kingfisher alighting on a branch opposite where I fished was reward for my effort plus the glimpse of two barn owls as I drove home.

At least seven salmon were landed from the Torridge from beats throughout the river all of them grilse up to 4lb. Martin Weeks and his party fish the Torridge every summer specializing in sea trout fishing after dark. Their latest visit to the river saw them land twenty six sea trout to 3lb in three nights fishing.

It is surprising how many sea trout can be in the river with anglers being unaware of their presence. Whilst there are a number of fishers who target the fish after dark there are far fewer than fish the famous sea trout rivers of South Wales. If more anglers adopted nocturnal habits it is likely that far more of these enigmatic fish would be tempted.

The best book on sea trout fishing is undoubtedly Hugh Falkus’s classic work Sea Trout Fishing published in 1962. It is surprising that this classic tome was written so long ago as its is still totally relevant to this day and well worth seeking out. A book that captures the atmosphere of sea trout fishing through the night is BB’s The Pool of the Black Witch.


Rising Sun for salmon news


Wednesday night is steak night at The Rising Sun at Umberleigh and an ideal place to catch up on he latest news from the River Taw. Landlord Julian Zealey is a keen angler and is always worth chatting with for the latest news from the river.


At least two salmon were landed from the Taw on June 29th including a 12lb fish from a middle river beat to the rod of Roland Eustace and 10lb salmon to the rod of Trevor Smith from the Mole. Several school peel have also been caught over recent days from beats throughout the river system.


Richard Johns landed a 9lb salmon from the Weir Marsh and Brightly Beats of the Taw along with a couple of sea trout to 2lb 8oz.

The last Thursday of each month sees a get together of salmon anglers at the monthly soiree with canapés and beers from 5:30.


On the Middle Torridge Stuart Eynon shared a catch of seven salmon from a middle river beat.


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The latest report from South West Lakes Trust shows that some fine sport has been enjoyed with the regions two brown trout fisheries offering great loch style sport. At Wimbleball catches have been impressive as Danny Fords latest report indicates :-


 Wimbleball The fishing still continues to produce top sport where bank anglers can enjoy a return of 5.2 and boats achieving 4.5 per angler.
Mr Vinall caught the fish of the week with a stunning 6lb 15oz Rainbow from the Dam end (pic attaced). Mr Vinall was using a Black Magic Nymph when the large fish took his fly. He also went on to return a further 4 rainbows and 2 browns. Well done! This fish is a strong contender for fish of the season, and I’m sure the largest in a few years. Ill check and get back to you. Terry Bridgman was also amongst the fish last week, catching and releasing 22 over 2 days.


Wistlandpound – The Beach, Hide Bay, Gordon’s Bay and the deeper water near the dam proved to be the best locations; Brownie Point is now accessible (levels are down by about 12’) to bank anglers, with boat anglers catching well at this location, especially drifting with a team of Nymphs. Dry patterns, especially Hawthorns, Sedges and Black Gnats, have caught well, particularly in the mornings and evenings, as have sub-surface patterns (Pheasant Tail Nymphs, small montanas and spider patterns) fished on a floating line throughout the day. Jon Ogborne and Peter Coleman-Smith had a very successful day on the boat fished loch- style, netting 29 Brown Trout between them.

Roadford – Wortha Bay is now open to anglers and starting to produce results, especially for boat anglers on short drifts. Although there is plenty of fly life about, most of the fish are being taken on sub-surface patterns (mainly dark, such as Small Black tadpoles, Black Pennells and Bibios) fished on a floating line. Stephen Jones caught the best fish of the month – a beautiful grown-on Brown of 4lb 14oz.

With water temperatures rising, boat anglers can expect some exciting sport, fishing over the boils, where some huge fish have been caught in recent years.


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Friendly rivalry at Blakewell Fishery saw regulars  Gavin Colwill and John Piper go head to head in a competition. The two anglers landed six fish each totaling 32lb! Gavin was deemed the winner landing the days biggest trout a fine rainbow of 13lb. John’s biggest was a fine rainbow of 12lb.

John Piper with a fine brace of trout

Perfect Conditions

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Perfect conditions
Perfect conditions

After recent spates both the Taw and Torridge are fining down nicely and reports are trickling in of salmon. I fished a middle river beat on the Torridge and conditions were as close to perfect for salmon and sea trout as it would seem possible.I fished through the known lies with care, searching with the fly swimming across the current. The occasional trout hit the fly and gave a brief moment of excitement. It was good to be on the river immersed in the surroundings as birds swooped over the water and the occasional mayfly lifted into the warm evening. Despite this there was also frustration that despite ideal conditions success was elusive.

I was very pleased to hear today of a fresh run 12lb salmon to the rod of Russell Crisp on a middle Torridge beat. It is often the case that the salmon are more willing to take a fly as they settle into their lies and can be reluctant to take as they run the river. It is perhaps the unpredictability of the salmon that make them so alluring.

I hope to bring more news from the rivers in the coming days. The solitary nature of salmon fishing and private inclination of its participants sometimes means that news is not as forthcoming as in other branches of the sport. I would encourage game anglers to send me their catches and pictures I will not divulge location of capture unless encouraged to do so.