Salmon Season Starts

March 1st is the first day of the salmon season on North Devon Rivers and both the Taw and Torridge are looking good running high and clear.

I took my rod the bottom of the Taw at midday and had a few casts to greet the new season. This was on the Barnstaple Club Water and I suspect any fish that have moved in will have pushed up river with plenty of water and big tides. It was good to wade out into the cool water once again and flex the rod. I can remember the river on opening day when I started fishing for salmon back in the late seventies when club members would have been out in numbers hoping for that first fish off the season. Sadly the number of anglers have dwindled along with the spring salmon. Another major factor is the mandatory catch and release that is now enforced along with a spinning being discouraged despite being legal for the first month of the season.

I  am always fascinated at the amount of debris brought down by the winter spates. It is hard to imagine the ferocity of the waters that carried this so high onto the bank. It is also fascinating to see how the river changes each year as nature moulds its path to the sea.

A new Salmon season on the way!

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A new salmon season gets underway on Thursday March 1st. Hard to believe that winter is on its way out and in just a few weeks the first swallows and martins will be swooping low over the water. Winter is reluctant to release its grip and ice and snow is lining the river bank and it will be the hardiest of anglers who venture out. With the water temperature very low and river levels dropping the best chance of a salmon will be on the lower beats with a fly fished slow and deep.

Those wishing to celebrate the seasons start can call in for a welcome nibble and raise a glass to the new season at the  traditional  salmon Soiree, beer and nibbles  at The Rising Sun; Umberleigh. Snow permitting of course. My guess is that an assemble of anglers will enjoy a warm fireside chat reflecting on past seasons success and renewed hopes for the coming season.

The fisher constantly is as it were in a wild garden, and this very pleasure to be found in the beauty around him he has made a part of his sport itself. It has a spirit: it is not merely the sport of taking fish.

But in England,since the time of Walton, the first thought of your true fisher is of fresh air, the glowing sunsets, the flowers and trees, the birds, and all the river loving things in furs or feathers.

On sunny mornings in some quiet valley he sees the white breasted ‘dipper’ curtsey to him from some stone ere she plunges in again to search for food upon the shallows. or the kingfisher skimming the water with his gleam of blue, or hovering, a flutter of blue and orange, over some luckless minnow. The swallow, sandmartin, water-wagtail, sandpiper are to be seen at every pool, and not seldom a great grey heron slowly and clumsily rise and flaps off at his approach

Taken from that angling Classic from over a hundred years past – LETTERS to A SALMON  FISHERS SONS – 1910 – BY A. H. CHAYTOR

The above joys of angling remain unchanged that and the hope of life on the line.