SPRING TROUT

         It seems to have been a slow start to Spring this year with relentless rain resulting in bank high rivers. Even the Upper reaches are pushing through hard making fishing challenging.

         With the rivers eventually dropping back and running clear I headed out to enjoy a couple of hours chasing wild browns. It was delightful to revisit the familiar river valley as new born lambs frisked in the fields.

         The river was racing past high and clear as I walked the bank looking for slacker water to drift my heavy nymphs.

It was good to feel the cool water as I focussed on the sight tip of the leader. In the first pool I fished a small trout was on briefly before wriggling free.

         I moved on relishing the smell of wild garlic in the fresh spring air. Chiff Chaffs song drifted through the valley and early bluebells were in bloom.

         I worked my way upriver searching for trout enjoying the spirited tussle that even the smallest trout gave on the light tackle. A good fish of perhaps 10” came off its crimson flanks glimpsed as the rod flexed.

         I drove away contented with a brief reacquaintance with the river.

         A few days later I joined Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club at Bulldog Fishery. As we threaded the line through the rod rings the lake lay mirror calm fresh green trees reflecting in the calm water.

         We chatted for a while before heading to the water’s edge. The water was gin clear and I decided to adopt an imitative approach presenting a PTN and buzzer beneath a foam buzzer that acted as an indicator.

         As I worked the flies slowly through the water I caught sight of a large bird of prey. After a few moments I was able to ascertain that I was witnessing the rare and exciting view of an osprey. These majestic birds migrate North from Africa each Spring and are occasionally glimpsed over large lakes and reservoirs.

         In addition to the rare osprey it was reassuring to glimpse swallows and martins arriving in the valley, a true sign that spring has arrived.

         My quest for trout proved harder than expected with no indications or pulls. Fellow club member Andre Muxworthy had caught a brace of fish and I wondered what he had been using.

         I changed to a gold headed damsel nymph on the point with a longer leader and moved to another area of the lake.

Andre walked over for a chat after completing his three fish bag and generously shared information as to his choice of fly.

         Fishing close to where Andre had enjoyed success my line zipped tight and a decent fish was momentarily hooked before shedding the hook.

         As is often the case a few casts later a hard fighting rainbow was brought to the waiting net. The next fifteen minutes I enjoyed several near misses as trout followed the fly their shadowy forms visible deep down in the clear and sheltered water. A spartic of a couple of pounds seized the fly and was netted after a pleasing tussle.  A couple of casts after landing this fish I watched the dark shadow of a trout following my fly, I paused allowing the fly to sink slowly before twitching it teasing the fish as it moved towards it. The fish appeared to lose interest and I again let it sink.  The trout promptly followed it down and I saw its mouth open, lifting the rod briskly I delighted in the life on the line. A tiger trout its vividly patterned flanks completing a pleasing three fish bag.

         Andre and I watched on as fellow club member Colin Combe hooked into his final fish of the morning.

A pleasing spartic of a couple of pounds that would give him a total bag weight of 9lb 4oz and most likely first place in the competition. Andre’s three totalled 7lb 13oz and mine 6lb 7oz. One club member remained fishing when we left so hopefully he went on to catch his bag.

 

Talking flies and lures

Fine Sport at Bulldog Fly Fishery

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Fly Anglers are enjoying some cracking sport at Bulldog Fishery with both rainbow trout and spartic trout making up bags.

 

(Above ) Grandson & Grandad Ryan and Pete had their first fly session here at Bulldog and they certainly weren’t disappointed! Both on a 6 fish ticket, they braved the appalling weather to achieve some amazing results! Both bagged out with hard fighting rainbows and 3 of the newly added spartic’s were also caught!

(Above) Phil and Malcolm after a day on the fly lake 
Biggest of the lot being a 4lb+ rainbow!

(Above) Not the easiest of days, but Carl persevered and managed his fish limit! 
Biggest of the 3 was estimated around the 4lb mark and was said to take off like a steam train! After a lengthy fight and some serious arm ache the rainbow was landed.

Rainbows and spartics at Bulldog

I joined Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club for their final Winter Challenge match of the season at Bulldog Fishery. After heavy rain the water was a little coloured and members struggled to catch for the first hour.

As the morning progressed I noticed rods starting to bend as members found the right formulae. I had been fishing a floating line with a bead headed black lure and had received just the one pull after an hour and a half of concerted effort.

I had tried several areas around the recently enlarged lake and noted that other members were catching from the very spots I had departed. I had to leave at lunch time and knew that if I was to catch I needed to change tactics.

I swapped over to an Intermediate Snowbee line, stuck with the black lure on the point and a Montana nymph on the dropper. After five minutes I had a good pull through the line and briefly hooked into a fish that came off after a few seconds.

A recently stocked spartic

Encouraged and with renewed confidence I continued to search the water moving a few yards to a small promontory. The line zipped tight and I was delighted to net a spartic trout of around 1lb 8oz. A few minutes later a chunky rainbow of around 4lb was safely netted after a good tussle. I fished on with confidence and completed my three fish bag by 1.00pm. Speaking with fellow members it was interseting to note that several fish had been tempted using flies with a touch of orange. I had caught on a black pattern; would I have tempted my fish earlier with a touch of orange? Was success down to depth and rate of retrieve? Or did the trout simply come on the feed?

My three fish bag including a 4lb rainbow and spartic.

Competition Result :-

1st Andre Muxworthy – 3 trout 9lb 3oz

2nd Wayne Thomas – 3 trout 8lb 8oz

3rd Nigel Bird – 3 trout 6lb 10oz

4th Colin Combe = 2 trout 5lb 10oz

5th Dave Mock –2 trout  5lb 5oz

Winner Andre Muxworthy with his three trout for 9lb 3oz.

It was now time for a quick catch up with fellow club members and to take a look at the drained carp lake with fishery owner Nigel Early. The lake has been drained, nuisance bream and small carp removed. The lake will reopen this coming Friday with plans to stock more carp over coming months. The lake has already produced carp to 33lb and will flourish over the coming months for sure. I have included a few pictures of the lake for future reference.

 

Spartic offer an exciting challenge at Bulldog

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Indi is a keen all-round angler and put her skills to use at Bulldog Fly Fishery tempting one of the first Spartic trout recently introduced into the venues trout lake. Spartic a cross between arctic char and brook trout  offer great sport and a welcome variation on the more common rainbow trout that are the more abundantly stocked trout.

Trout fishing

Our working farm has over the years built a great reputation for providing rainbow trout, a selection of which have held the stock record in Wales over a nine-year period as well as in England and Scotland for a time. We continue to rear trout for supply, however we now also carefully stock our own lake with our much coveted, hard-fighting rainbow trout, to enable fly fishing on site.

Our lake can host up to eight anglers at a time and can be booked for groups or corporate events. Food can be available via prior arrangement and includes our selection of burgers, sausages or smoked produce.

Opening times:

We are open all year, 7 days a week, dawn til dusk, except Christmas day – all by prior arrangement.

Prices:

3 Fish Ticket – £35

6 Fish Ticket – £45

Limits for all at Bulldog on a cold misty morning

Members of Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club assembled at Bulldog Fly Fishery on a calm cold winter’s morning. The bare trees of winter silhouetted against the misty morning light.

         The friendly Winter Challenge competition was due to start at 10.00am and lines touched down on the calm lake surface as members cast their lures.

         After half an hour I was surprised that I had not had a take as I searched the water with a damsel nymph fished in conjunction with an Intermediate Snowbee Line. As I looked around the lake at fellow competitors I was surprised at the lack of bent rods.

         I guessed the fish would eventually switch on and this proved correct as members rods soon started to bend as the lakes residents started to feed.

         Just  as I pondered upon changing to a different fly a good sized rainbow appeared in the clear water and engulfed the fly as I was about to lift it from the water. After a spirited tussle my first trout of the day was safely netted.

         I fished on keenly expecting more action but after half an hour I had received no more enquiries. I glimpsed a few trout moving close to the surface and changed tactics tying on a damsel booby with longish marabou tail. After a couple of cast’s, I watched as a good trout converged on the fly. A beautiful rainbow of close to four pound.

         I persisted with the booby for a short while losing what felt like a good trout after a few seconds of contact. With several fish moving close to the surface, I changed to a floating line and lost a fish on a team of buzzers. After a further twenty minutes I tied on the damsel again and after a couple of casts I hooked into another good rainbow to complete my three fish limit.

         By now most members had completed their bag. Club secretary David Richards arrived late at 1.00pm due to work commitments. This proved to be no disadvantage as his first cast produced the biggest fish of the day a well proportioned rainbow of 4lb 14oz. Within fifteen minutes David had completed his three fish limit and won the competition with 13lb 5oz.

         It had been a good morning  with the fish proving challenging enough to make the fishing interesting. It is far better when you have to work a bit to catch the days bag.

Full Results

1st David Richards – 13lb 5oz

2nd David Eldred = 10lb 7oz

3rd Wayne Thomas – 9lb 13oz

4th Dave Mock  – 9lb 8oz

5th Andre Muxworthy – 9lb 7oz

6th – Colin Combe 8lb 

7th Nigel Bird 7lb 14oz

All caught 3 fish

Wistlandpound Club – Enjoy Winter Sport at Bulldog

Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club held their Christmas Competition at Bulldog Trout Fishery with the club’s entire membership of eight competing.
The grey overcast mild conditions seemed ideal for a good day’s winter sport as members spread out around the lake to cast out into the cool clear water.

I put out a line on the water near the inlet to the lake were I have enjoyed success on previous visits. On the first two casts good sized rainbow could be seen following my fly to turn away at the last minute. I watched other anglers around the lake and noticed a couple of bent rods as is often the case at the start of the day.

After half an hour with no contact I decided upon a move to a fresh spot. I was using an olive damsel on the point and a small drab diawl bach on a dropper with an intermediate line. The move proved to be a wise one as the line soon tightened as a hard fighting rainbow seized the dropper. This was followed a few minutes later by another rainbow of close to 3lb. It seemed that I had either located the fish or they had come on the feed for within five minutes I added a 3lb 12oz rainbow to complete my three fish bag.

I spent the next half an hour chatting to fellow club members and capturing a few action shots as they too connected with the lakes hard fighting rainbows.

Andre Muxworthy with a fine Bulldog Rainbow

Fishery owner Nigel Early and his son Tom arrived at the water’s edge with delicious burgers and warming toddy, hot coffee and a tray of mince pies. Convivial chatter and Christmas cheer filled the grey winters day as we chatted of the club’s future and plans for 2024.

The enlarged trout lake has the capacity for a dozen or more anglers to fish in comfort. The clear waters offer exciting sport with rainbows presently stocked up to 8lb plus with some large browns to be introduced in the New Year.

I left the lake at lunch time with Christmas preparations pending at home. Most members had caught their three fish but a few had yet to finish.

Colin Combe with a good rainbow

Nigel Bird with a 3lb plus rainbow

David Richards with the biggest rainbow of the day at around 4lb

David Richards won with three trout for 10lb 5oz. Andre Muxworthy and Dave Mock were runners up with three fish for 9lb and myself fourth with three fish for 8lb 2oz. Colin Combe banked three for 7lb 14oz.

Winter Trout Sport at Bulldog

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The cold frosty days of winter are to be enjoyed as the rainbow trout seem to relish the cooler waters. The recently expanded lake at Bulldog Fishery is certainly giving fine sport to visiting anglers.

Tim and Andy were certainly glad they made the 100mile round trip to fish Bulldog today!
After making the trip the boys wasted no time in wetting the fly.  After a slightly slow start, the bites soon came in hard and fast in the afternoon. The result – a fantastic day on the bank!
Biggest of the day weighing in at 4lb4oz with a lot of the catch not being far behind!

CHRISTMAS GIFT

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift this year? Look no further how about surprising your loved ones with a gift voucher for the fishery!
Simply call or message with the details of what ticket you’d like to gift, and we will post the voucher directly to you 📬 It couldn’t be easier 🎄🎅
Ticket prices:
Fly lake
3fish = £35
6fish = £45
Carp lake:
24hrs =£25
(Payment via bank transfer)

Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club – Bulldog Fishery

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Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club held their latest Match at Bulldog Fishery where David Richards secured top spot with three rainbow trout for 9lb 2oz the best a fish of 3lb 9oz.

Dave Mock was runner up with three for 7lb 15oz and Colin Combe third with three for 7lb 13oz. The club are holding their Christmas Competition at the venue on December 17th.

 

SOUTH MOLTON ANGLING CLUB VISIT BULLDOG

I joined members of South Molton Angling Club at Bulldog Fishery for one of their monthly fishing competitions fishing for the Mac McCarthy Trophy. The trout fishing lake has undergone a significant transformation since my last visit and is now twice the size of the previous lake with the dividing roadway removed to create one large lake. This has been generously stocked with rainbows to 7lb and a mix of spartics and browns.

A good number of club members were in attendance in addition to a few day ticket visitors and it was immediatly apparent that the lake could now  host a dozen or more anglers in comfort. A strong South West wind was blowing up the valley with occasional drizzle driven over the lake. Despite the rather gloomy weather it was at least mild and everyone was in good spirits as they tackled up and took up places at the waters edge.

I set up with an intermediate Snowbee line and tied on the ever reliable damsel nymph with a black cormorant on a dropper. I chose to fish close to the lake inlet with the raging and murky River Yeo racing down behind me. The water in the lake was surprisingly clear despite heavy rain over previous days and I could see the occasional rainbow trout cruising in the margins. I put out the line allowed the the flies to sink slowly before beginning a slow irratic retrieve.

After three or for casts  the line tightened and I felt the pleasing tug of a trout. A hard fighting rainbow was eventually pulled over the rim of the net. I added two more full tailed rainbows over the next twenty minutes to complete my three fish bag,

I poured a coffee and took a walk around the lake catching a few images of other anglers enjoyed tempting the lakes trout. Several trout to over four pound were caught including some good fish by anglers trying fly fishing for the first time. It was interesting to note how some experienced anglers were struggling to complete their bags whilst others were catching the trout with ease. Subtle differences in presentation can make all the difference to success whilst at other times trout determine that the lucky angler bags up.

The late Autumn and Winter months offer great sport at small Stillwaters with weed growth at a minimum and trout in tip top condition in the Cool water.

( Above) Brian Sedgebeer with a fine 4lb rainbow
Danny Boyles with a brace of rainbows