Wistlandpound Club – Visit Blakewell

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Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Clubs winter challenge match at Blakewell fishery saw twelve members competing . All members caught their four fish limit by early afternoon with those who bagged early enjoying socializing with fellow members. Winner of the event was David Eldred with four for 10lb 1oz. Matt Kingdon was runner up with 9lb 10oz and Colin Combe third with 9lb 3oz. David Richards landed the biggest fish a quality brown of 3lb 5oz. Biggest rainbow weighed 3lb 3oz to Colin Combe.


Dave Richards -3lb 5oz brown trout
Matt Kingdon in action!

Whilst it is still winter and we may get an icy blast or two before the spring arrives it was hard to believe that spring was not starting to arrive as we walked to the water. Green shoots of blackthorn on the hedge and daffodils emerging from the soil. The sound of a song thrush drifted through the mild air. I chatted with fishery owner Richard Nickel about the forthcoming salmon and sea trout season. It will soon be upon us once again daffodil lined river banks, summer migrants swooping over the water and with luck that tightening of the line as a salmon seizes the fly!


With mild conditions it was never going to be a challenging day and most anglers caught easily. I caught my bag using a bead headed black and green tadpole, a varied retrieve proved effective. After completing my bag I took a stroll around the lake chatting with fellow club members. I was also shown a few fascinating behind the scenes projects including a project to restock freshwater pearl mussels into the Torridge. We were also shown future generations of stock fish. A 2lb rainbow takes around 15 months to rear and a 10lb fish 3 years.

2018 stock fish!
Richard always spins a good yarn!



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img_0250That’s tea sorted; Andy Facey heads for home after a successful day at Blakewell.

Its a busy time at Blakewell as families descend to select their Christmas trees and perhaps chose a tasty goodie from the popular farm shop.

The still-Water trout angler combines a few hours casting for hard fighting trout with taking home fresh trout for tea. Andy Facey above landed six trout to 4lb 8oz in a bag totaling 16lb.

img_0249A well marked brown trout of 2lb 8oz for Trevor Whyborn tempted on a green and black gold head montana.



Members on the way to the water.

Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club members enjoyed a brown trout bonanza at Bratton Water Trout Fishery where they assembled for their Christmas Competition. All but one of the members who took part successfully completed a four fish bag limit with the trout averaging over three pounds in weight. The first hour of the competition saw the trout on a feeding frenzy with most members catching their days allocation within this golden hour.


The brown trout within the fishery are stunning looking fish each one carrying a distinctive pattern of dark and crimson spots upon their flanks of gold, bronze and buttermilk. Each fish is so much more distinctive than the rainbow trout and  in my view deserves a far grander title than brown trout.


Members used a wide range of patterns to tempt their fish with damsel nymphs and small gold-head nymphs all successful.

Winner of the competition was Roger Bray who caught stunning browns of 5lb 4oz, 5lb, 4lb and 3lb 12oz for a total of 18lb.


Runner up in the competition was Matt KIngdon with a four fish bag of 14lb 4oz that included the days biggest trout scaling 6lb 4oz.


Full results

1st Roger Bray 18lb 2nd Matt Kingdon 14lb 4oz 3rd David Eldred 13lb 4oz 4th Wayne Thomas 12lb 5th -Colin Combe 11lb 4oz

6th – Nigel Bird 11lb 7th Andre Muxworthy 10lb 4oz


The event was fished in calm conditions with glimpses of winter sunshine. This intimate lake is nestled within a peaceful valley providing an ideal location for a winters day of trout fishing, After catching their bags of trout members retired to the fishing hut to chat of future plans for the coming year as they drained their flasks of hot tea and coffee.


My own twelve pound bag of stunning trout( Above) would delight from any fishery throughout the country. The lake is certainly well worth a visit over the Christmas period if you fancy tangling with some hard fighting trout; an ideal time to test out those fishing related Christmas gifts.



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Small still water trout fishery’s like Blakewell are perfect venues at this time of year as both brown and rainbow trout thrive in the lower water temperatures. They also provide the ideal antidote to the absence of salmon fishing on the rivers giving the opportunity to take a rod to the waters edge and feel that exciting life at the lines end. Fishing is seldom difficult with a damsel nymph/ lure fished on a long leader in conjunction with a floating line likely to work on most days. Several double figure trout have succumbed to anglers offerings over recent days and weeks.

img_0057(Above) Peter Bridges 11lb rainbow’ part of a bag totalling 24lb 4oz

img_0059(Above) Phil Colwill from Bude with a 15lb rainbow trout, part of a 25lb bag.

img_0061(Above) Kyle Bishop with a fine rainbow of 11lb 2oz.



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Nick Hart at Exe Valley Fishery is pleased to announce that on Sat 10th December they are hosting a pre-Christmas bash on the renovated Anchor Lake.

Join Nick Hart & Pete Tyjas for interactive demos on tackle, casting & fishing techniques plus a chance to see what Grayling fishing is all about.

We will be available throughout the day to provide help & assistance with anything from tuning up a cast to fixing up a leader!

This special event is limited to 10 people, includes a 2 fish permit and unlimited catch & release. We might break out the fly tying vice and there will be cake!

The day will be £45 per person and
if you would like to register your interest please message or call 01398 323008.

More info will also be posted on www.exevalleyfishery.co.uk this week.