Opening Day Chill

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The salmon season opened on the Taw and Torridge today but I don’t believe many anglers braved the conditions. Chay Boggis was was one brave soul who did venture to the Taw and sent me these images.

When I saw Chay’s picture on social media I asked him if he could give me a few words and send his pictures.

Below is Chay’s report from the river where a sharp wind was blowing!

 “I fished the Taw it was freezing and the river has started to freeze on the sides. I fished my fly’s slowly on a sinking line but no luck the water was gin clear and the wind was sharp!”

I didn’t make it to the Opening day celebration at the Rising Sun but will head there soon for lunch and a look at the River.

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.

Sea Trout – A fine first fish on the fly

A glance over the bridge at Umberleigh revealed the Taw running with a slight color perfect conditions for a fish a two.

We called into the Rising Sun at Umberleigh to enjoy their Wednesday steak night. A glance into the Fishing Log revealed the days catch! Spencer Whitbread fished the Rising Sun’s water at Umberleigh and was delighted  to land his first fish on the fly a handsome sea trout of 5lb 10oz. The fish was tempted on a Wille Gunn a favorite early season fly on the Taw and Torridge. Spencer was expertly tutored by Mark Izzard.

It was a delicious steak! Two for £20!

A new season commences – Salmon Season 2017

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It’s hard to believe that a new salmon season gets underway on Wednesday, March 1st. It may not feel much like spring at present but it is on its way with daffodils, crocus and primroses already flowering in sheltered spots. Frogs have already spawned in many locations and a few toads are starting to show.

The rivers are in good trim or at least will be within a few days as the weekend’s rains may have muddied the waters slightly. Its typical spring weather really, bitter cold days interspersed with  days of warm sunshine.

The salmon angler knows that fish will probably be scarce during those early days. There is of course the chance of that great prize a Silver Spring salmon fresh off the tide.

The Rising Sun at Umberleigh is greeting the new season on Wednesday evening with the first of this seasons salmon soirees. An opportunity for a get together to enjoy the optimism that pervades as anglers meet up and enjoy a toast or two to a new season.

A few years ago I met with Ron Warwick and discussed fishing on the river Taw whilst researching my yet to be published book. Below are a couple of extracts from those meetings.



         Ron Warwick moved to Devon in the early 1980’s and fished the River Taw for salmon for the first time on March 1st 1984. The fishing at that time was controlled by the Rising Sun, which was at that time the hub of salmon fishing on the Taw. The Inn controlled three and a half miles of fishing split into 7 beats. March 1st was opening day and a party of anglers would meet up each year to greet the new season. In those days it was essential to book a room at the hotel well in advance if you wished to fish the river on opening day. Many anglers would return year after year making it a special time as friendships were rekindled following the long winter break. This influx of spring salmon anglers brought a welcome boost to Umberleigh’s village prosperity. I am sure many happy reflections were made over glasses of amber nectar in the bar full of anglers. It was a sad day when Jim and Norma who ran the pub during this period sold up.

         River bailiff Geoff Eame’s accompanied Ron on his first trip to the river in 1984. They fished a beat below Umberleigh where Ron cast his brown and gold Devon minnow into a section of river known as Sandpits. He had only been fishing for half an hour when a fine fresh run spring salmon covered in sea lice took the lure. While I was talking to Ron his wife Iris reminded him of the long Johns she bought him to keep him warm whilst wading in the icy cold river of early spring. Ron recalled that it was a surprisingly warm spring day with blue sky and sunny spells. After walking back to the Hotel over a freshly ploughed field carrying his prize he recalls perspiring heavily. He hasn’t worn the long Johns fishing since.

         That March day in 1984 saw three salmon caught the best a fine fish of 20lb caught by Michael Martin. This was a great start to Ron’s time on the Taw. Between 1984 and 2007 he caught 275 salmon and 396 sea trout. His best salmon weighed in at 18lb 8oz and his best sea trout 15lb 8oz.

I doubt we will ever see a return to those days of plenty but you never know nature moves in cyclical ways and sometimes against all odds and with a little help from as all! Whatever happens with each cast there is hope of that electrifying tug on the line and the singing of the reel in the spring sunshine. What better excuse could there be to once again walk along those fisherman’s paths.




The Rising Sun at Umberleigh played host to a gathering of anglers and their partners at an end of season dinner. A late flurry of action on the river allowed a few accounts of battles over good food and ale as the log burner emitted a welcome warmth. Len Francis hooked a fine 17lb salmon its flanks reflecting the autumnal hues of the season. The fish was tempted from the Weir Marsh and Brightly Beats controlled by Ivan Huxtable.  Nathan Judd also enjoyed success on the beat with an end of season grilse. Nick Briant also  landed a fine hen fish estimated at 18lb that was tempted on a small copper tube fly. The last month of the season proved a little disappointing with those fish caught all stale fish that had undoubtedly been in the river for a while. Sport has generally been very sporadic throughout 2016 with river levels generally low and fish coming as expected on the few spates that we have had. The most disappointing aspect has been the poor numbers of sea trout.

Emma Tyjas
Emma Tyjas enjoyed success earlier in the season.

It seems such a short time since I joined an excited gathering of anglers in the Rising Sun at the start of the season and I feel sure that in six months time enthusiasm will be recharged after the long winter break. Every season is different dependent on both the weather and the success of spawning on the redds in the five years preceding the season. As the leaves start to fall and the swallows have departed those spring days with daffodil lined banks seem so far away yet as live races past they will soon be here once again. In the mean time there is no need to pack away the rods with stillwater trout fishery’s at their best.

The River Torridge fishers have a fortnight extension to enjoy with special permits available from Charles Innis 0n 01409 231237. Fishing is strictly catch and release with single barbless hooks only. A few salmon have been tempted in the last week of September as river levels fluctuate  as a result of some heavy bursts of rain. John Graham and Garry Duggan both landed grilse of around 6lb from mid river beats. When conditions allow there is every chance of a good fish from the Torridge with plenty of water to encourage a run of late fish. Charles Inniss informed me that he had a momentary contact with a large fish whilst fishing the upper river.

dscf2667img_1592Rising Sun





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IMG_0662 It seems a short time ago that a keen assembly of anglers met up in the Rising Sun in early March to raise a glass to the coming season. Optimism was abundant tales were told of seasons past and hope raised for the one commencing. Many offers were made of fishing days on prime beats and plans to fish. Talk of summer nights and sea trout; of spring salmon on daffodil decorated banks. Were has that season evaporated to as we contemplate an end of season meal at the Rising Sun where I am sure those familiar faces will once again meet to reflect upon triumphs and a few tribulations of the past six months. The event is sure to be a popular one so I would suggest contacting Julian at the Rising Sun without delay.

September 30th

The Rising Sun Hotel

End of Fishing Season Menu


Homemade Vegetable Soup £5.95

Trout & Salmon Roulade £7.95

Chicken Liver Pate £7.95

Scallops St Jacques £8.95

Salmon with Pesto Herb Crumb, New Potatoes & Salad £13.95

Moules Frites £12.95

Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni £11.95

6oz Rump Steak with Chips, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Onion Rings & Salad £13.95


Apple & Raspberry Crumble £5.95

Cheesecake £5.95

Ice Cream Selection £4.95

Cheese & Biscuits £8.50

IMG_0950Rising Sun

It’s Raining!

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Its raining and whilst that’s bad for the visitors it’s good news for salmon and sea trout anglers. There have been a few salmon and sea trout trickling into the Taw with peel now throughout the Mole. Chris Steer landed an 8lb salmon from the Weir Marsh and Brightly beats of the Taw; a day ticket water available by contacting Ivan Huxtable on 01769540835.


Alternatively contact the Rising Sun at Umberleigh where day tickets are also available. The steady rain that is falling now should offer every prospect of sport on all three of our main North Devon Rivers the Taw, Torridge and Lyn.


River Lyn in spate – A few years ago!



Rising Sun for salmon news


Wednesday night is steak night at The Rising Sun at Umberleigh and an ideal place to catch up on he latest news from the River Taw. Landlord Julian Zealey is a keen angler and is always worth chatting with for the latest news from the river.


At least two salmon were landed from the Taw on June 29th including a 12lb fish from a middle river beat to the rod of Roland Eustace and 10lb salmon to the rod of Trevor Smith from the Mole. Several school peel have also been caught over recent days from beats throughout the river system.



Richard Johns landed a 9lb salmon from the Weir Marsh and Brightly Beats of the Taw along with a couple of sea trout to 2lb 8oz.

The last Thursday of each month sees a get together of salmon anglers at the monthly soiree with canapés and beers from 5:30.



On the Middle Torridge Stuart Eynon shared a catch of seven salmon from a middle river beat.