Exe Valley Report – From Sue Hart

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Since my last report which was written whilst there was snow on the ground, we have had Storm Eric followed by the most glorious February weather. It has been lovely to see so many anglers fishing Anchor Lake in the sun. The lake is beautifully clear with the fish cruising just below the surface. All areas around the lake have been fishing well with a wide range of flies being successful along with a slow retrieve.

Chris Comber from Norton Fitzwarren visited Exe Valley Fishery for the first time during Storm Eric and managed to entice out this hard fighting Rainbow Trout.

Richard Carr from Wiveslicombe was given his permit as a gift and visited Exe Valley over the half term. Richard caught 4 fish with the biggest weighing in at 4 ½ lbs.

Anchor Lake Tactics

Throughout February a large number of flies have been working well with Bloodworm & Blob patterns continuing to be successful along with Sedge, Diawl Bachs, Damsels and Hares Ears. The fish have been close to the surface earlier in the day and moving down a little deeper when the sun is very bright.

Lobbs Lake Re-opening

After the huge weeding effort on New Years Eve I am pleased to say that Lobbs Lake will open for family fishing from Monday 1st April 2019. Lobbs Lake will have a separate permit to Anchor Lake and it will be an any method lake. As well as fishing on Lobbs Lake there will be bags of fish food for sale in the shop for those who would like to come and feed the fish.

Special Offers & New Permit Option

Starting today I will be trialling a 1 fish permit option as requested by several of our anglers, also any transaction of £25.00 or over will receive a voucher to use in the shop.

Fishery Notices

· Quick reminder to anglers that have taken up our Winter Permit Offer – there is less than a month to go to gain your free permit with the offer ending on 31.03.2019. You then have until 30.04.2019 to use your permit.

· Please can I remind anglers fishing Catch & Release that there are few separate rules. A copy can be found here.

· The pre-order menu will continue to be available until 31.03.2019. There is a copy below.

Thank you for taking the time to read this report. Sue x


I joined members of Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club at Exe Valley Fishery on Sunday June 10th and with a sunny day in prospect  I wondered how hard the fishing would be as blue skies and sunshine are not always an ideal recipe for good sport. It was great to arrive and meet up with Nick Hart who manages the fishery with his wife Sue. Nick and I always have plenty to discuss and it was a while since we had last met and there was plenty to catch up on especially with NIck now working away in a prestigious role with Farlow’s in London.

Exe Valley has introduced an enlightened day ticket strategy that incorporates catch and release with catch and kill offering a wide range of options at different prices. The club members elected to purchase a three fish ticket that entitled the angler to retain three trout and then continue fishing releasing the next three trout. Catch and release fishing is strictly barb-less hooks, rubber meshed nets and fish to be returned as soon as possible with minimal handling.

After chatting with Nick  almost half an hour of the competition had already passed by before I strolled out to the lake that looked stunning on this hazy summers day. Several members had already caught their three fish quota and were enjoying a chat and a drink from their flasks.

With trout rising freely all around I decided on using a light weight outfit presenting a small Cul de canard dry fly pattern on a 4lb tippet.

Casting to individual rising fish it was not long before I enjoyed the satisfaction of connection as a trout leisurely devoured the dry fly in that delightful moment of deception savored by trout anglers over many decades.

A few yards along the bank fellow club member Nigel Bird was also enjoying dry fly action practicing catch and release after completing his three fish quota.

Two more trout succumbed to my dry fly in quick succession and gave spirited tussles on the light tackle I was employing. Casting a dry fly to individual feeding fish was great fun and very rewarding fishing. The last of my three fish on catch and release proved to be my best trout of the day and I estimated it at just over three pounds a fish that made my reel sing as it tested my light weight outfit.

With my fishing over for the day it was time to take a stroll around the lake with my camera and capture a few images of this delightful fishery.

Vivid flag Iris brought a pleasing splash of yellow whilst brightly coloured damsel flies flitted amorously  amongst the lakeside reeds and lush plants.

By early afternoon all members had caught their allocation of three trout and it was time to weigh in. Winner by a very large margin was Dave Richards with a three fish bag of 18lb 4oz that included a fine brace of rainbows caught within his first few casts weighing 8lb 8oz and 7lb 8oz.

Runner up was Dave Mock with 8lb and third Colin Combe with 6lb 12oz.

Guided Fly Fishing with Nick Hart

On Thursday 28th Sept 2017 Nick cast aside his old wading boots and set off for Farlows of Pall Mall below is an extract from Nicks latest Newsletter.

Fed up with the winter?
Following the terrible UK weather experienced during the past few months at last the fishing season is open! To kick off I would like to welcome you to my first update of the year including news of my move to the world famous Farlows of Pall Mall and the latest from Exe Valley Fishery.

Guided Fly Fishing with Nick Hart

After many requests I am pleased to report that I will be swapping my Chinos for Waders, hosting a very limited number of guided days during 2018. Dates are available in April, May, June, July, August & September fishing for wild Brown Trout (on stunning Exmoor rivers like the one above!) and there are also my unique River to Rock Adventures which offer the chance to experience both West Country Trout and saltwater fly fishing for Bass on the North Devon Coast.

Please contact me directly by email [email protected] for further details & dates. Alternatively I am available at the store located in central London, telephone 0207 484 1021
Find out about these limited availability trips & view packages here


Catch & Release 2018
It has been a tough winter at Exe Valley Fishery with low footfall due to the inclement weather. But now that spring seems to have finally sprung we are back in action with fresh stock introduced on a regular basis and our Catch & Release option launched last year continues for the same great price of just £25.

Meanwhile despite my new position as Farlows Fishing Manager, Sue will be available on a day to day basis to help with any queries you may have regarding the fishery and I will be visiting the lakes every week. You can also contact us on 01398 323008 or please email [email protected]


The salmon season over it was time to head off for a days Still-water Trout Fishing and hopefully put a bend in the rod. I was joining Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club to compete in their Rogers And Guard Shield Competition at Exe Valley Fishery. I can well remember Gordon Rogers who was one of the club members the shield was named after. Gordon was a Fishery Bailiff with the River Authorities of the 1970’s and a real character who many local anglers will have fond memories of.

The competition was due to start at 10:00am and I intended to get there in plenty of time so I set off just before 8.00am for an enjoyable drive across Exmoor.

A good days fishing is more than just a day casting a line it is often all about the entire day. As I negotiated the narrow lanes up onto the moor mist lay in the valleys as the sun climbed higher into a bright blue sky.

I noted several keen photographers out and about catching the morning light. On the high moor I glimpsed red deer blending into the bracken; the autumn stag were undoubtedly bellowing their challenge across the open moor. It was an awesome morning to be going fishing.

I arrived at Exe Valley to find that one or two members were already raring to start. I grabbed a coffee and began chatting with fishery manager Nick Hart and his wife Sue. Nick is embarking upon a new adventure joining www.farlows.co.uk in Pall Mall’ London. I have fished with Nick many times over the years and share his enthusiasm for fishing. After over an hour of chatting I decided I had better head out and do a bit of fishing. I had after all paid £35.00 for a three fish ticket + the option to release three trout, as part of the fishery’s innovative ticket choice system.

The sun was shining down on a mirror calm lake that was surrounded by a dozen or so anglers. I tied on a small gold head pheasant tail nymph and a black buzzer on the dropper. Trout were active all over the lake and a couple of members had already caught their three fish bags so I was on a catch up mission.

After a few casts I had had no takes. With fish showing all over the surface it was obvious that the trout were near the surface. I concluded that a lighter fly would be more likely to succeed and tied on a lightly dressed cruncher pattern.

First cast with this fly and the line twitched on the retrieve, the hook was set and the water erupted as a rainbow trout leapt from the water before putting a serious bend in the rod and stripping several yards of line from the reel.

Nick took a stroll around the lake and captured action with the next trout I hooked’ a handsome rainbow of close to 3lb 8oz. It wasn’t long before I had completed my three fish bag that was my competition entry for the day.

I took the opportunity to have a walk  around the lake and preserve a few memories of the day with my camera. I was surprised that not everyone had bagged up whilst the trout were in an obliging mood.

The introduction of catch and release during the cooler months at Exe Valley has on the whole been welcomed by anglers who can choose various options combining catch and release and catch and despatch. The fishery has imposed strict rules to ensure that catch and release works as well as possible. Anglers must use barb-less hooks and rubber meshed nets. Trout should not be taken out of the water unless a quick picture is required as a memento of a special fish.

I decided to pay a quick visit to the site shop and buy a couple of barb-less flies and borrow a landing net with a rubber mesh. I returned to the lake with a fly known as an owl on the point. The number of trout rising had now decreased but a few were still showing and it was these fish I targeted. Watching carefully I attempted to drop the fly in front of cruising trout twitching it soon after letting it settle. Twenty minutes later I had returned two more hard fighting trout.

It was now time to head back and weigh in my fish with fellow club members. My three pulled the scales to 9lb and secured me the honour of winning the Rogers and Guard Shield.

It was now time for a coffee and a further chat with Nick about fishing past, present and future. One topic we discussed was the seasons of trout fishing. These small Stillwater trout fisheries are undoubtedly more productive during the cooler months. We both concurred that that there is value in revising the traditional trout fishing seasons. The trout season traditionally casts off in the spring and this is I suspect a follow on from the days before Stillwater trout fishing grew in popularity and wild fish were the target. A closed season during the winter months gave the fish protection during spawning time. This made perfect sense in rivers and where wild fish spawned. Modern day trout fishing on still waters is generally for triploid trout that are sterile.

During the cooler months the trout are more active and fight far harder. It perhaps makes sense to close many trout fisheries during July and August when weed growth is more prolific and water temperatures high. The English climate is not too severe and with modern clothing comfort is ensured.

We also discussed trout fishing tactics the importance of observing the fish to decide fly patterns and the idiosyncrasies of anglers. We could I am sure have talked for many hours. That’s part of angling’s joy for it is the trout and nature that make the rules that we anglers take great joy in analyzing. Before heading home I had a few more casts on the lake relishing the opportunity for one more catch and release rainbow before I left for home. It turned out to be handsome trout of close to 4lb.

It will be business as usual at Exe Valley for the foreseeable future with Sue taking care of the day to running of the lake while Nick embarks upon a new venture working with one of the countries mots reputable fishing tackle companies.


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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.


Junior Bank National @ Exe Valley Fishery

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Nick Hart reports from just over the border at Exe Valley Trout Fishery.

Showing the adults the way is up and coming junior angler Seth Mayhew-Tuson, age 16, who has just won our heat of the Greys Junior Bank National supported by the Angling Trust.  Seth has picked up many tips having become part of the England Youth Fly Fishing squad, using this knowledge to great effect to secure top spot with 3 fish weighing exactly 10lb.

14700824_1372488729430706_7209416904044056339_oSeth Mayhew-Tuson, (Above)

The fish were caught within 2 hours so Seth also gained himself an extra 2lb 8oz time bonus to finish well ahead of the field.  His successful tactics included an intermediate line and mixed up retrieve (mainly slow figure eight) with a combination of Blobs and Nymphs fished around the deep water inlet.

In second spot was last year’s third placed angler, Toby Bennett, with two fish weighing 5lb 14oz.  He caught these quickly, also in the deep water inlet using a floating line but couldn’t add to his bag before the match finished at 1pm.  Toby is studying fisheries management at college and is an incredible caster winning a major tournament earlier this year with a cast of 32 metres!

A very happy lad! Charlie Cooper, age 10, with his third placed Trout

Meanwhile the youngest angler, Charlie Cooper, couldn’t get the fish to stick and lost 3 before finally netting a 2lb 14oz Trout to collect third prize of a fly line and line snips.  This was a fantastic effort and the ten year old will now progress on to the 2017 final to be held next April.  Charlie used an intermediate line to catch his fish and it was great to see Seth helping out the younger anglers after he had completed his limit.  This is what competition fly fishing is all about, sharing, learning and meeting new people.

14691446_1372488619430717_4422733307727603956_o(Above)All the boys received something from Greys fly fishing and we threw in a few prizes. These are the fly anglers of tomorrow and need as much encouragement as possible.