A Silver Bar of good news from Little Warham

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A bar of silver at Little Warham Fishery for Anthony. There is debate as to salmon or sea trout but either way its great to sea a glimmer of silver hope from a beautiful beat on the River Torridge.

Below is guidance on salmon and sea trout identification from the late great Hugh Falkus. Every fish is different of course and identification is not always clear cut. I remember many years ago catching a silver bar from the Lower Taw, at the time I thought it was a salmon but looking at the photo a few years later I realised that it was a fine double figure sea trout of 10lb 4oz, my personal best.


South West Lakes Trust Trout Fisheries Report -May 24

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May 2024 

As the weather starts to warm, there has been an increase in insect activity, with fish eager to feed either on or below the surface; intermittent thunderstorms and heavy downpours of rain have resulted in some challenging days’ fishing, although this has meant that the reservoirs are still all at top level.


Kennick – Anglers averaged 3.5 fish per rod over the month, with fish well spread out around the lake. Bank anglers enjoyed slightly more success than the boats, with Clampitts, Smithacott, The Dam, The Lawns and Oak Tree Point being particularly popular locations. There were plenty of Hawthorn in the air, which, combined with Sedge and Buzzer hatches, meant that fish were eager to look up to feed, either at or near the surface. In addition to fish rising to dry Hawthorns, Sedges, Hoppers, Black Gnats and Buzzer Emergers on the surface, plenty of fish were taken on subsurface nymph patterns (Buzzers, Diawl Bachs, Damsels and Hares Ears), or deeper fished lures (Wooly Bugger, Black or Yellow Boobies, and Tequila Blobs). Alan Behan (from Plymouth) caught eight rainbows using an Orange Stalking Bug and Black Gnats, while Graham Read (from Christow) caught a bag of six rainbows.

Siblyback – Anglers averaged 4.8 fish per rod in May, with the catch rate improving as the month progressed. Stocky Bay, Two Meadows and the North Bank produced the best sport, and, with Hawthorns and beetles in the air and Buzzers hatching, there was plenty of dry fly action. Popular patterns included Hawthorns, Black Hoppers and Black Beetle patterns, with deeper-feeding fish taking Diawl Bachs, Buzzers, Damsel Nymphs, Montanas and the occasional Boobie. Floating lines with long leaders and a slow figure-of-eight retrieve proved to be the most successful method. Martin Stevens (from Liskeard) caught a bag of seven rainbows (six on dry patterns), while Alex Jackson (from Tiverton) caught a bag of twelve rainbows – fish coming up to dry patterns, with very subtle takes in a cool breeze. The Snowbee Bank Teams of Four competition on 4th May was won by Mark Damarell, Graham Johns, Paul Nottle and Jed Stone, with a bag of 24 fish weighing in at 34lb 9oz.

Burrator – The fishing tailed off slightly from last month at Burrator, with anglers averaging 2.1 fish per rod. Fish were found at all depths in the water column, with floating, intermediate and sinking lines all catching fish. Longstone Bank and Point, Pig Trough and Lowery Bank all produced fish, and with midges hatching, Buzzer Emergers and Hoppers took surface-feeders, while deeper fish were caught on Damsel Nymphs, Buzzers, Black Tadpoles, Orange Blobs and Green Fritz. Harry Duggan caught three rainbows, including a personal best and current season record with a fish of 4lb 4oz, using a stripped Orange Blob while fishing by Sheepstor Dam.

Stithians – The excellent sport at Stithians continued throughout May, with anglers averaging 3.7 fish per rod. Fish were well spread out around the lake, and, with Hawthorns being blown onto the water, there was plenty of dry fly action to be had, with anglers catching on Hawthorns, Black Gnats, Hoppers, Bob’s Bits, Klinkhammers and emerger patterns. Deeper feeding fish were caught on Black and Green Buzzers, Hares Ears, Spiders, Montanas, Cormorants and Orange Blobs. Nigel Burley (from Truro) caught a bag of eight rainbows; Steve Fuller (from Camborne) caught twelve rainbows to 2lb, as well as a Brown, using a self-tied Hawthorn variant and a Griffiths Gnat/Shipmans Buzzer hybrid, fished both stationary and pulled through the surface ripple.

Fernworthy – The warmer weather brought an improvement in the fishing, with anglers averaging 4.1 fish per rod, plenty of which were caught on dry patterns, as fish were eager to feed on the abundant beetles, Hawthorns and emerging midges – Black Hoppers, Black Ants, Black Gnats, Klinkhammers,  Hawthorns and Black Sedge patterns fished on a floating line all caught well. Sub-surface feeders were mostly caught on Buzzers, Montanas and Pheasant Tail Nymphs. Popular locations included Boathouse Bank, Thornworthy, Potters Bank and Lawton Bay. Daniel Robson (from Tavistock) caught eight browns to 1lb 4oz, with the best results in the late afternoon; Mark Mcilwane (from Bishopsteignton) caught eleven browns to 1lb 8oz, using a dry Hopper cast to fish feeding on terrestrials.


Colliford – Anglers averaged 3.9 fish over the month, and with Hawthorns in the air, many fish were taken on dry patterns (Bob’s Bits, Hawthorns, Foam Beetles and Claret Hoppers). Other successful patterns included Black Cruncher, Bloodworm, Soldier Palmer, Bibio, Zonker and White-Tailed Zulu. Fish were well spread out around the banks, with the most successful anglers keeping on the move to cover as much bank as possible. Allan Lawson (from Plymouth) caught a bag of eleven browns, with fish taking a Claret Hopper around the bank at Fishery Hut Bay. Dean Boucher (from Gunnislake) caught thirteen browns in one session, pulling wet flies (most takes were on the lift at the end of the retrieve), using Soldier Palmer, Zulu and Zonker patterns, while his best fish of the day (at fifteen inches) took a White-Tailed Zulu.


Roadford – The fishing improved towards the end of the month, by which time anglers were averaging 4.8 fish per rod, with the best fishing to be had at Gaddacombe and the East Bank. Floating lines were the order of the day, with a variety of retrieval methods. Rodney Wevill (from Lifton) caught seven browns to 2lb, using  Soldier Palmer, Mini Scruffy Tiger and Beaded Blue Zulu patterns on a floating line with a medium retrieve. Alex Jackson (from Tiverton) caught seven browns to 2lb, using an Olive Damsel on the point, and a Soldier Palmer fished on the dropper.

Please see the Trust’s website (www.swlakestrust.org.uk/trout-fishing) for more information on buying tickets, boat availability and booking, and forthcoming events. The Trust will be offering beginners’ taster days at Roadford, Burrator, Stithians and Kennick throughout the season, assisted by local experienced guides and instructors. The Trust, in conjunction with Fluff Chuckers, will be running a Brown Trout Masters competition this season, to be held over three dates at Colliford, Fernworthy, and Roadford – please see the website for more information.

Chris Hall (May 2024)


For more information, please contact:

Becky Moran

Head of Communications and Marketing

South West Lakes Trust

01566 771930

[email protected]


The UK River Summit

Tghe UK River Summit is to be held beside the River Wandle in London on May 21st. It looks like it will be very intersting event for those who are passionate about rivers across the UK and beyond. Please see information below: –




This unaffiliated event, curated by an independent team comprising of Claire Zambuni, Emma Sandham and Iona Mackay, aims to facilitate a forum for interesting parties and stakeholders involved with the range of issues affecting UK rivers. Set at Morden Hall on the River Wandle in London on the 21st May 2024, The UK River Summit & Festival provides a platform for collaboration and communication on the current issues and solutions required to improve the health of our rivers.

Bringing together environmentalists, policy makers, regulators, campaigners, anglers, media, businesses, politicians and members of the public who all share a desire to work towards a more positive future for our rivers, this event offers interested parties the opportunity to build relationships and network while also finding time to celebrate our rivers, engage in community-led initiatives, and experiences based on the river Wandle.

Following the success of the inaugural UK River Summit on the River Test in Hampshire last year, this event moves to the River Wandle, a unique chalk stream flowing through an heavily urbanised area intertwining a rich historical past with a current ecological importance.

Claire Zambuni, Founder of The River Summits & Festivals said “The UK River Summit offers the opportunity to discover some of the valuable work going on and the knowledge to affect change, as well as celebrate our rivers based on an extraordinary chalk stream, the River Wandle. We are hugely grateful for our partners’ support on this unique event. We hope the Summit helps present a collaborative voice in demanding positive action for our rivers and waterways. In this general election year, the need for action and to engage politicians to work across parties to resolve this crisis, has never been greater.”

Penny Gane, Head of Practice at Fish Legal said, “With the state of our rivers and lakes rarely out of the headlines, this event is an opportunity for local people to find out what is being done to turn things around.”

As we navigate the challenges of a rapidly changing planet, the key to environmental progress lies in facilitating continuous dialogue between various players – from government officials and NGOs to businesses and the public. This event aims to bridge these gaps. Attendees will gain informed knowledge from key environmental stakeholders, be able to ask direct questions, work collaboratively to find solutions, and celebrate our rivers.

Date, Location, and Schedule:

Tuesday 21st May 2024 at Morden Hall, South-West London

  • Event opens at 9.30am
  • From 9.30am: Coffee morning with YETI
  • The UK River Summit panel “It’s not all about sewage” begins at 10:15am
  • Lunch at 12:30pm
  • Afternoon panels and activities from 1.30pm – 6pm

“It’s not all about sewage” summit panel speakers include:

  • Penny Gane – Head of Practice at Fish Legal
  • Dr Bella Davies – CEO at South East Rivers Trust
  • Shaun Leonard – Director at Wild Trout Trust
  • Jim Murray – Actor and Founder of Activist Anglers
  • Dylan Roberts – Head of Fisheries at Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust
  • Dr Jack Hogan – renowned local historian and member of The Wandle Piscators, The Fly Connection & South East Rivers Trust
  • Hannah Gunter – Proteus Instruments PHD Associate
  • Dr Hannah Fluck – The National Trust

Afternoon panel discussions include:

  • “The Freshwater Emergency: from scarcity to abundance” River Action UK panel chaired by CEO James Wallace, and speakers including; Philip Duffy (CEO, Environment Agency) Lila Thompson (CEO, British Water), Feargal Sharkey (Activist, SERA Chairman), Lawrence Gosden (CEO, Southern Water), Helena Horton (The Guardian)
  • “Future of Farming” with Mike Blackmore of Wessex Water, Ed Ayton of Abel & Cole, Henry Clemons of Knight Frank, and JM Stratton Ecologist Robin Leech
  • “Effecting Policy in Rivers” including Penny Gane (Head of Practice, Fish Legal), Stuart Singleton-White (Head of Campaigns, Angling Trust), Bobby Dean (Liberal Democrat Candidate for Carshalton & Wallington), Dani Jordan (Surfers Against Sewage), Ashley Smith (Windrush Against Sewage Pollution, WASP), Stewart Clarke (The National Trust) and Shosha Adie (ENDS Report)
  • Cross-party discussion on water security for the future with leading politicians including Toby Perkins (Labour MP and Shadow Minister for Nature and Rural Affairs), Tim Farron (MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), and more to be announced
  • “The History of the River Wandle” talk with Dr Jack Hogan

Film Screenings include:

  • “Fish Legal” and “Hydrotherapy” film screening by Friction Collective
  • “Black Samphire” and “This is Shit” – films by River Action UK
  • A brand-new animation from The Beavers Trust
  • “The River Nar: A chalkstream restoration” by Wild Trout Trust
  • “50 years of salmon monitoring on the River Frome” by Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust
  • “Our Wild Salmon” by Fisheries Management Scotland
  • “Britain’s Hidden Fishes” by Jack Perks, narrated by Jeremy Wade
  • 30pm “Wandle: A River at Risk” film screening with panel of cast and crew including Bobby Dean, Liberal Democrat Candidate for Carshalton & Wallington at 5:30pm

Afternoon activities include:

  • Hands-on workshops and river walks with South East Rivers Trust
  • Introduction to Fly Fishing 101s & Kit with Orvis UK
  • Wandle Piscators ‘Meet the Cast’ casting instruction and learn about local fly fishing and conservation
  • Wandle Industrial Museum: textile printing demonstration and display of works by William Morris, Kilburn, and Liberty’s
  • Entertainment from The Funny Terns: performance by comic musician duo at 12.30 and 3.30pm and more.
  • Art Exhibition (including works for sale) with Jo Minoprio, Julia Manning, Elly Platt, Dexter Kazmierkiewicz, and Al Simmons.
  • Stands from The National Trust, The Rivers Trust, Abel & Cole, YETI,UK RS Schedule 29th April - Updates - (2).png Orvis UK, Knight Frank, WildFish, Fish Legal, River Action UK, RS Hydro/Proteus Instruments, and more.


Tickets are now on sale here: UK River Summit – Orvis UK

Tickets include refreshments and lunch, and all activities on offer during the day.

All tickets must be bought in advance before 17th May

Event partners include The National Trust, Proteus Instruments, South East Rivers Trust, Fish Legal, Orvis UK, River Action UK, The Rivers Trust, Surfers Against Sewage, Filson, The Wandle Piscators, The Wandle Industrial Museum, Delivita, Lakedown Brewing Co., and Abel & Cole.

For more information please contact Zambuni Communications on the details below.

PR Contacts

Claire Zambuni | [email protected]

Emma Sandham | [email protected]

Iona Mackay | [email protected]


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         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

STORM KATHLEEN – Results in postponing of Trevor Telling Memorial Competition

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The relentless bad weather is playing havoc with fishing and all country pursuits.

Trevor’s memorial Competition – Cancelled

Storm Kathleen is forecast to bring 40 to 50 mph winds over Wimbleball this weekend, therefore we have taken the difficult decision to cancel Trevor’s memorial competition.
We have rescheduled the competition to Sunday 7th July, Jeff will be in touch with all those who have booked online for boats over this weekend & will happily transfer bookings to the new date.

Bank fishing will still be available over the weekend…

Fluff Chucker’s /SWLT Brown Trout Masters Heat one – Colliford

Round one of the SWLT / FLUFF CHUCKERS Brown trout masters at Colliford lake on Bodmin Moor.
A good turnout of anglers from all over the South West met up for a 9am start on a cold, wet and very windy morning.
But the conditions suited the browns with Roger Truscott netting the most fish with 12 lovely browns.
Runner up for most fish was Keith Burnett  with 4 good fish to the net.
The largest fish of the day went to Kevin Sellar with a fantastic 44cm fish with similar markings to a spartic trout .
Runner up largest fish went to Philip Hoskin with another lovely fish of 40cm.
A big thank you to all the anglers that supported todays event in not so great conditions
And a massive thank you to #yetiuk and #lakedownbrewingco for supplying some really fantastic prizes for the winners and your continued support of Fluff Chuckers – Fly Fishing Fanatics.
All the total lengths of each anglers fish today will be added up and added to the next two rounds to find the 2024 SWLT / Fluff Chuckers Brown trout master .

Roger Truscott 363CM
Keith Burnett 126CM
Wayne Thomas 98CM
Richard Adeney 96CM
Philip Hoskin 93CM
Kevin Sellar 74CM
Matt Rodwell 67CM
Ben Elliott 64CM
Dave Perks 64CM
Rodney Wevill 56CM
Sławomir Olaf Pilecki 32CM
Jack Welshman 30CM
Pete Williams 28CM
Peter Finnis ——

My day at Colliford – A cunning plan

Colliford Reservoir high on Bodmin Moor was the venue for the first leg of the Fluff Chucker’s and SWLT Brown Trout Masters. With a favourable weather forecast I was looking forward to a Spring day targeting the brown trout for which this venue is renowned.

I arrived at the assembly point to meet fellow Fluff Chucker’s and on stepping out of the car I was pleased that I had dressed up for temperatures were far lower than forecast. Whilst the wind was Southerly it felt particularly Baltic as the wind swept across the 900 acres of water.


The atmosphere was cheerful and friendly as angler’s swapped tales and talked of prospects for the day ahead. The rules were carefully explained by head Fluff Chucker Rodney Wevill. At 9.00am suited and booted up, the go fishing call was made and we all set off for our chosen areas.

I had only fished the venue on one previous occasion so headed for the area I had fished before two years ago. Like Baldrick of Black Adder fame I had a cunning plan! Basically I would wander the shoreline casting a black woolly bugger on the point and a  small black spider on the dropper. I would cast and take a step covering plenty of water.

I had every confidence in my cunning plan and persisted throughout the morning. After two hours I had not had a pull but surely persistence would pay off? Dark clouds crept ominously closer and the chill wind showed no sign of relenting. An angler fishing further along the bank caught a trout which gave me hope but also made me wonder if my lack of success was unique to me?

As heavy rain started to fall I thought of breaking for a drink and snack but all thoughts of this were put on hold as  the line zipped tight and a lovely brown trout gave a pleasing account before slipping into the waiting net. After slipping the hook out and recording the fish I resumed  fishing confidence fully restored. A few casts later and a savage tug a big swirl at the fly. Looked like a good fish and a chance gone. I fished on down through the bay and then retraced my steps fishing over the successful section again.


Heavy rain on the camera lens made focussing nigh on impossible plus the fish kept leaping out of the guttering !


Two more trout followed in the next twenty minutes before all seemed to go quiet. I decided to try a new area and walked to a new section of bank. After half a dozen casts I hooked another trout that came off after 30 seconds.

With a few hours left in the day I decided to try the hotspot one more time before working my way slowly back to where I had started the day. I bumped into a couple of fellow fluff chucker’s on route and compared notes to find that whilst most had caught no one seemed to have bagged up big time.

The cold wind persisted but at least the cold rain had stopped falling. I heard sky-larks song drifting in the breeze. I looked out for early spring migrants hoping to see my first swallow or sand martin but the skies remained devoid of these harbingers of Spring and summer. At least the lake was brim full after an exceptionally wet winter.

I found some quieter water at the top of the lake and climbed out onto an old bank that allowed a nice long cast parallel to the reed fringed shore line. A trout rose within casting range and I instinctively changed my tip fly to a small tungsten headed black spider.

The cast landed perfectly and within seconds of touching down the line zipped tight and there was a boil on the surface. B***er another chance gone.

            I fished on for the next half an hour without a pull and eventually called it a day with a couple of minutes before competition end.

            I walked back to see what had been caught and found that I had done Ok. A couple of big trout had been tempted the best a beauty of 44cm. Venue regular Roger Truscott recorded twelve browns and had been favourite to win from the start.

            Reflecting on my day I was pleased to finish third one more fish would have resulted in runner up spot. I should perhaps have persisted in the area I had caught in but the general consensus seems to be that roving works best. A classic case of should I stay or should I go?

            I reality it really doesn’t matter for I had enjoyed the day immensely despite the cold wind and chilled fingers. I look forward to heat two in June when it will surely be warmer?

            Many thanks to Rodney Wevill for all his efforts in putting the series together and of course to SWLT, Yeti, Lakedown Brewing co and for their generous support.

Torridge Fly Fishing Club

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Torridge Fly Fishing Club.
Located at Gammaton Reservoirs ( 2 four acre lakes). Annual membership £180. Members can keep up to 6 fish a week.
Day tickets £25 (3 fish) available from Summerlands Tackle, Westward Ho!, Quay Sports, Roundswell, Barnstaple & Tarka Country Pursuits, Torrington.
Membership enquiries to Robert Chugg: 07491931003. Email : [email protected]