South West Lakes Trust Trout Fisheries Report September 2020

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South West Lakes Trust Trout Fisheries Report

September 2020

Boat and bank fishing is currently available to anglers, with day tickets on sale through the South West Lakes website or via the telephone (01566 771930). Most of the self-service permit huts are now open, but anglers should confirm this before buying tickets on site. Certain restrictions continue to operate and, before fishing, anglers are asked to read the latest Angling Trust advice with regard to health and social distancing. Information is also available on the South West Lakes website – www.swlakesfishing.co.uk.

Where boats are available, these should be pre-booked, and strict guidelines must be followed regarding their use (see website for details). Catch returns can be completed online, where the latest weekly catch reports will be available to view. The fishing has generally proved to be hard on the Rainbow waters, with the best results had where there are Brown Trout or other species which can be caught on a fly. Fish will now start to feed again more actively as the conditions cool down.

Kennick – High water temperatures have meant that generally the fish have stayed deep, with boat anglers enjoying the best sport, generally fishing over the deeper central water, using sinking line tactics with either Boobie patterns, shrimp or tadpoles. Bank anglers have caught fish using intermediate lines, particularly in Clampitts Bay, using Damsel Nymphs and Pheasant Tail Nymphs. Michael Herring (from Thurlstone) caught the best fish of the month – a 3lb 10oz Rainbow, as part of a bag of six fish using an orange shrimp on a sinking line fished from a boat. The ever-popular Peninsula Classic bank competition will be held at Kennick on 11 October this year – later than usual because of the Covid restrictions which were in place earlier in the season.

Siblyback –The hot conditions and water temperatures made the Trout lethargic and the fishing very challenging – however, now that temperatures have started to drop and freshly stocked fish are introduced to the water, the prospects for some exciting sport in late September and October are promising, with Stocky Bay and Crylla the best locations to try.

Stithians – The Rainbow Trout fishing has been difficult during the hot weather at Stithians, but anglers have still enjoyed some exiting sport with the resident Brown Trout, as well as with the Rudd, some of which have been caught up to 1lb, and which on lightweight tackle, provide a lively alternative to the regular Rainbows. Recommended patterns to try include Deer Hair Sedges, Daddies, Yellow Mayflies, Black Buzzers, Greenwell Spiders and Parachute Emergers, fished on floating lines.

Burrator – The fish have been down in the deep water and not enthusiastic to feed. The best results have been fishing from a boat with a sinking line, using a Boobie pattern. Early in the month, Matt Baines had an excellent day’s sport, catching nine fish from a boat in Longstone Bay, using boobies on a sunk line.

Colliford – The Brown Trout at Colliford provided some excellent and consistent sport throughout the month, with plenty of rising fish to dry patterns (Sedges, Black Bits, Hoppers

and Black Gnats) – sometimes cast to rising fish and sometimes catching when fishing blind on a ripple. Sub-surface feeders were taken on Hares Ear Nymphs, Black and Peacock Spiders, Zulus and Soldier Palmers. Phil Messenger-Rogers caught a 2lb Brownie, while Paul Ackland (from Plymouth) caught a bag of six fish, which also included a Brownie of 2lb, using a wet Black and Peacock variant and dry sedges.

Fernworthy – The Brown Trout sport was variable at Fernworthy in September, with weekly rod averages varying between .5 fish and 3.1 fish per angler. On good days plenty of fish were rising, and could be caught on a variety of patterns (Sedgehogs, Foam Ants, Daddies, Black Gnats and Deer Hair Sedges). If the fish were not on the top of the water, subsurface Bibios, Crunchers, Soldier Palmers and Kate Mclarens, all fished well. Jeff Ferguson had the best result, catching eight fish up to 1lb on Black Sedge Pupa and Kate Mclaren patterns, while Paul Ackland caught a 1lb fish on a dry sedge.

Roadford – While fishing at some of the other waters proved challenging over the month, Roadford proved to be the exception to the rule, with the fishing just getting better and better! Anglers averaged 5.8 Brownies per rod, with dedicated specimen Perch fishing (boat only) also available. These Brownies are in superb condition, with a number of grown-on fish in excess of 2lb being caught. The banks at Daveys, Wortha, Big Oaks, North Shop and Grinnacombe all produced some excellent sport and, if small Perch became a problem, one just needed to find some water with a good ripple to get into the Trout again. Boat anglers were most successful when casting into the bays around the edge of the lake. While foam beetles and Daddies brought some fish to the surface, most Trout were caught on sub-surface patterns (Spiders, Soldier Palmers, Zulus, Bibios and Claret Pheasant Tail Nymphs), with lures such as Tadpoles and Zonkers on Di3 lines also catching well. John Rumbold enjoyed an excellent day, catching 14 fish to 2lb 4oz. Dean Boucher landed 50 fish up to 18” in four visits. Later in the month Dean landed another 41 Browns in three visits, with two fish over 2lb.

The Perch fishing continues to be a great success, with plenty of fish to 2lb being caught. The best Perch of the month was a beautiful 3lb 4oz specimen – a personal best for George Hutton who, on a previous visit, had caught 50 Perch up to 2lb 2oz, when fishing with his father, Pete.

Please visit the South West Lakes website (www.swlakewsfishing.co.uk) for more information and the latest updates.

Chris Hall (September 2020)

For more information, please contact:

Rosie Vine

Customer Communications and Marketing Manager

South West Lakes Trust

01566 771930

[email protected]

An Autumn Salmon

It is hard to believe that it is early September as I approach the river as the sun slowly climbs above the trees sending shafts of light across the river. The river is in perfect order running at a good height with pleasing  a tinge of colour that one could almost describe as that of fine ale.

I wade out into the cool water and begin my search, optimistic as an angler must be expectant that at any moment the line will zip tight. I absorb the familiar surroundings and listen to the soundtrack of the ever flowing river as it ambles to the sea. Wagtails bob about and a kingfisher flashes past. Fry are abundant in the margins giving hope for future seasons.

The seasons passing is obvious as leaves drift past and I notice a large number of ash leaves undoubtedly a sign of the ongoing of ash die back.

I have fished the river in perfect conditions several times this year and last with four or five years since my last salmon. After fishing the beat carefully drifting my flies across the favoured lies I work my way to the bottom of the beat covering the lies for a second time.

The salmons view as the fly drifts across the river

It is clear that the salmon are not  as abundant as they were when I started fishing this Middle Torridge beat ten years or so ago when leaping salmon and sea trout were a common sight. The picture of a twenty pound salmon further up river is of course an image that maintains hope in the knowledge that the fish had swum past the waters I am fishing.

The sun is now well up in the sky as I place my fly inches from the far bank. As it swings across the river there comes that electric pull down the line and in a magic moment that contact is made with throbbing life on the line. I hold the rod high and savour the moment as the rod kicks before the reel sings. I keep a tight line leaning into the fish as I step sideways allowing the salmon to push up river. The fish hangs deep in mid river; the rod bends, the line pointing into mid river, the salmon holding station in the strong current. For a while the salmon powers up river but as the pressure tells the fish seeks help from the current heading down river as I attempt to maintain a position opposite the fish . I glimpse a wide powerful tail and the flash of silver.

Its always a tense experience playing a salmon hoping that the hook will stay put and the knots hold strong. After around ten minutes I detach the net from my back and the battle continues with the fish on a short line. This is a tense time for many salmon are lost  during that time when the fish is so close to the net.

Then suddenly the fish rolls and is in the net as I give a call of triumph. “Yes!”

I carry the salmon to the margins and slip the barbless double hook from the top jaw. The Go Pro is clipped to my rod handle strategically placed at the water’s edge. I hold the salmon above the water for a brief self-take shot. The flanks of the 10lb plus hen fish are already showing subtle hues of the autumn season. Its image will remain etched upon my mind for the rest of my days fuelling the return to the river in search of silver.

The salmon is held in the cool water head upriver for a couple of minutes until I feel its strength return. It is a great feeling when the fish powers strongly away into the river to continue its amazing journey to hopefully spawn in the next couple of months.

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

Salmon and sea trout forge up river as welcome rain falls

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A rise in local rivers has brought a few salmon and sea trout into North Devon’s Rivers. Middle beats of the Torridge have seen both salmon and sea trout caught in perfect conditions. With more rain falling as I write this prospects are excellent for the next week. Several sea trout have been caught on the Torridge along with Salmon. Reports from the Taw are scarce though I would be very surprised if there have not been a few tempted.

Anthony Willmington netted a stunning 14lb fresh run salmon at Little Warham Fishery. A deep set cock fish which put up a strong, powerful and enjoyable fight before being Safely returned.

At twilight last Barry Mills netted this fantastic 4.5lb sea trout @littlewarhamfishery a silver sparkle and a joy to see for tired eyes! Returned safely.

Summer Fishing at Wimbleball

WIMBLEBALL

As we enter July trout fishing tends get harder going as the water temperature rises and the fish go deeper. I was eager to get out onto Wimbleball before the summer doldrums set in and had arranged to meet with Snowbee ambassador Jeff Pearce for a day afloat.

I met up with Jeff at the boat launching bay just before 9.00am and my spirits were immediately lifted by the enthusiastic banter that was flowing amongst the anglers gathering for a day on the water. I have found that angling has been a great antidote to the widespread doom and gloom of the COVID pandemic.

We were all greeted cheerfully by Trevor the fisheries resident guide and bailiff who is always willing to offer valuable advice on where to fish and what tactics to employ.

It seemed the perfect day for trout fishing with a moderate westerly breeze and broken cloud cover. If this had been a month earlier teams of buzzers would have been the way to go I am sure but general consensus was now for deeper water and lures.

During the more difficult days of mid to late summer a boat gives a significant advantage allowing a larger area of the lake to be explored.

Jeff and I decided on a few casts in the sailing club bay just to get warmed up so to speak. As we drifted slowly Jeff caught a glimpse of a good sized rainbow estimated at 6lb + and put his olive damsel into the area. The fish immediately seized the offering and erupted from the water in a flurry of spray. I grabbed for the camera to no avail as Jeff pulled in a slack line to reveal that the hook had partially opened out. Testament to Wimbleball’s hard fighting fish or a dodgy hook?

I had one trout follow my lure in the bay but after this early success we decided to head out onto the lake proper. The deeper water up near the dam seemed a good idea so it was off to there that we headed powered by the petrol outboard.

Drifting the margins Jeff had the first chance as a trout likened to a tuna chased a damsel nymph to the side of the boat. A few more glimpses of trout brought excited comments from Jeff as we explored the lakes margins that dropped off into deep-water within just yards of the bank.

After a few tentative plucks the first fish of the day was secured. A small handsome rudd of just over 8oz!

The Upton Arm has a reputation for producing some superb wild brown trout. And so we headed up into this delightfully wooded bay. Drifting with the strong breeze proved a little too fast even with the drogue so we decided to drop anchor at a promising looking spot not too far off the shoreline. I often ponder upon this for when we fish from boats we often strive to get close to shore whilst when we shore fish we aim to put our flies as far out as possible. In truth the margin of the lake is its biggest and most often productive zone.

This area soon proved a good call as Jeff hooked a fine rainbow of close to 5lb that used its broad tail to good effect. Over the next couple of hours Jeff added another three rainbows to the tally. I couldn’t get a pull and started to question what I was doing wrong. I was on a sinking line and fishing a damsel nymph whilst Jeff was on a sink tip with using various large nymphs on the point a yellow and red buzzer on a dropper.

As the fishing eased we decided perhaps unwisely to try elsewhere and headed for the deep water of the Narrows close to some old boat launching steps. Sticking with  the sinking line and a damsel nymph I searched the deep water. Suddenly the line zipped tight and a rainbow of a couple of pounds graced the net. Over the next couple of hour’s we drifted around anchored  for periods and it was me that started to enjoy success adding a couple more to the days total.

As afternoon drifted into evening we decided on a last half an hour back in the sailing club bay. After a few casts another rainbow hit my black zulu on the dropper. With four trout each it seemed a good time to head for home.

As we packed away the gear the lake looked superb in the early evening light. We reflected upon an enjoyable day of two halves. A morning when Jeff seemed to charm the trout and an afternoon when I somehow found the key to success. These long hard summer days though challenging are often just as rewarding as those easier days of plenty in the early season.

We will be back in search of those broad backed tuna shaped rainbows with full tails before too long!

Fathers Day At Wimbleball

Willie Waterston with a 10lb + fish yesterday which took him into the backing 3 times. 

With reports of stunning rainbows to over 10lb and trout feasting on beetles I was keen to get back up  to the beautiful Wimbleball lake again and do battle with its full tailed rainbows. Our son James was entering  a Motorbike Enduro event a few miles away so it seemed a good excuse to meet up for a Father’s Day Picnic combined with a few hours fishing!

I commented to Pauline as we enjoyed the journey across Exmoor’s summer landscape that the fish often went off the feed around midday. An ominous comment as I would probably manage my first casts for around 11:30.

I left Pauline reading her book in the car and hastened to the waters edge looking for  a place that would offer a little shelter from the brisk breeze along with a good chance of fish. Conditions were ideal and I soon found the perfect spot with the breeze blowing right to left. A few fish were rising just off the weed bed at the waters edge.

I tied a beetle imitation on the point, a diawl bach on the middle dropper and a black zulu on the top dropper. I waded carefully out and started searching the water. It wasn’t long before the line zipped tight; a pleasing 3lb plus rainbow was battling on a tight line. Ten minutes later a brace  were secured and tea secured for the next night!

It was now catch and release time. I wandered back to the car to see if Pauline was ready to join me and take a few pictures whilst enjoying the warmth of the day. On arrival back at the waters edge it seemed the spell had been broken as my first couple of casts resulted in a minor tangle and the rhythm seemed to have deserted me. It soon returned however but it seemed my prediction had proved right for takes became few and far between.

James and Sophie arrived and enjoyed a tasty picnic; Social distancing of course. Several trout rose within casting range and I was soon back casting a line. Rising trout really are not good for my social skills! Despite several chances I failed to connect and at around 6.00pm we headed for home.

It will not be too long before I get back for a more serious fishing session ensuring I get there well before the fish have their  afternoon siesta and perhaps hanging on for the evening rise as well!