I will be hosting the film Riverwoods with the National Trust at Loxhore Village Hall on Friday. October 6th at 7.00pm. Tbe film will be followed by presentations and discussion on rivers salmon and wildlfe. A very relevant evening in light of the latest news highlighting the dramatic declines in nature. I look forward to catching up with a few of you on the night.  Tea, Coffee and biscuits will be provided.


Recent rainfall has rejuvenated North Devon’s Rivers and the countryside bringing a lush green to the landscapes. I have reported several salmon caught from the Taw and Torridge over recent days and was delighted to make connection with a special fish myself, more of that later. On leaving the River I was delighted to receive a message from Paul Carter who had just netted a fine fresh run silver salmon from the Middle Taw estimated at 15lb.

The guys from Shady River Fishing have been enjoying some excellent fishing higher up the River catchments targeting wild brown trout. Euro Nymphing tactics producing some stunning fish in the high water conditions. The pick of recent catches being this stunning wild brown of 14” that was estimated at 2lb.

Visit ‘shady river fishing’ on Instagram.

The middle Torridge was looking close to perfect when I arrived for a morning session. Peering into the river I could easily make out the stones at a depth of 18”, the water was the colour of the finest ale. The water glistened in the morning sun and I admired a large silver wash fritillary butterfly as it settled upon bankside grass. I paused for a minute or two sitting on the bench as the river flowed past. A  juvenile buzzard mewed above a sound synonymous with August and the passing of summer.

I waded into the cool water and grimaced as I felt a leak in my waders. I put a line out across the river allowing the fly to drift across the flow searching for the increasingly illusive Atlantic salmon. It was good to be here following the familiar pattern of casting, drifting and stepping down through the pool.

At the point where I knew salmon had taken my fly in the past I felt a strong pull and lifted the rod tightening into a fish for just a few seconds. A chance gone perhaps? The margins between success and failure are often small. I analysed my response to the take, had I lifted into the fish too quickly? It is good practice to allow a little slack to allow the salmon to turn down with the fly but in all honesty the delectable moment of the take is so fleeting. In truth most of the salmon I have caught have hooked themselves or at least I have difficulty in actually visualising that fleeting moment of deception and connection.

I fished on searching the river and its known lies. It has been a little disheartening so far this season to drift the fly over the lies time and time again. Fishing the river in conditions like this even ten years ago I feel certain I would at least have seen a fish jump.

Despite the lack of success and ongoing concern regarding salmon and sea trout stocks I have stubbornly retained a sense of expectation as I fish, whilst there are still salmon to be caught hope springs eternal.

The river and its surroundings have a feel of late summer, early autumn. The invasive Himalayan Balsam are sadly flourishing their pretty pink flowers attracting bees and butterflies. Vivid blue damsel flies flutter amongst the riverside vegetation. Pin head fry flit to and fro in the river’s margins.

After fishing the top of the beat I fish back down searching the water heading for my final casts of the day in the bottom pool.

I wade out into the river once again still hoping almost expectant as this pool has provided many of the salmon I have caught from the Torridge over the years. As I proceed slowly down the pool I hear the piercing call of a kingfisher and glimpse the electric blue as the bird flashes down river. My optimistic heart views this as a good omen.

As I reach the bottom of the pool the line swings round in the current. The line zips delightfully tight and the water twenty yards below erupts as a fish  leaps high above the river gyrating at the lines end. The rod hoops over and the fish heads downriver as I relish the moments of drama. For a few minutes salmo-salar dictates making several strong runs and leaping several times. There are a few anxious moments as the fish lunges near  to branches on the far bank. Pressure eventually starts to sap the salmon’s energy and I coax the fish up river. The fish holds station in mid river and I slip the net ready to secure my prize. There are tense moments as line is gained and lost at close quarters. I pile on the pressure and the salmon rolls into the net. I wade up to the reed fringed bank above and take a moment to admire my prize. The salmon its flanks decorated in autumn hues signifies that it has been in the river for a while. I slip the barbless hook from its jaw and take a quick couple of pictures with the salmon in the net. I then carefully slide the fish into the river cradling the fish in the current  lifting its head momentarily to capture an image. The fish is strong and kicks its tail as I support it. I watch satisfied as the precious fish swims into the ale coloured water to hopefully fulfil its destiny on the spawning redds later in the winter months.


I recieved an email from a reader of North Devon Angling News and have published it here with my reply. Darren’s email mirrors many of my own observations and thoughts on the River and its decline. Many thanks to Darren for giving me permission to publish along with my reply.

Hi Wayne,

I chanced upon the NDAN website and indeed your book “I  Caught a Glimpse” this year –  excellent reading and nice to see a website so regularly updated.


Both from reading your book and old articles on the website it’s interesting to see the change in target species over the last few decades. We read about the reasons put forward and they seem to be many and varied. It set my mind running on a couple of points of local relevance.

The East Lyn is indeed a beautiful river and, although I wasn’t lucky enough to experience it,  I’m sure it’s days of plenty live long in the memories of those who did. But why the drastic decline – with the salmon run a shadow of its former glory and I doubt it’s fished much at all for sea trout nowadays. You wonder what the culprits are.  We can’t blame fish farming – the Severn is mercifully free from that industry which seems to have blighted the west coast of Scotland. The twin evils of pollution from farms (pesticide and fertilisers) and sewage discharge from treatment plants can’t be an important factor in that catchment can they ?  The brown trout population seems to be relatively healthy so the environment for parr developing to the smolt stage would seem to be good. I’m my limited walks along the river and along the coast looking out to sea I don’t see the preponderance of fishing eating birds and seals I’ve seen elsewhere.   

If I’m right in that unscientific guesswork it makes you wonder what’s going on out at sea. I suppose the salmon could be caught in large numbers at or en route back from their feeding grounds (like they used to be with drift nets on my native river Foyle).  But surely not the sea trout which, as I understand it, doesn’t  travel large distances and feeds around the coast. I’ve no doubt the bait fish such as sandeels, whitebait, etc. are hoovered up in huge quantities which could affect dependant species (although the bass seem to get by).    

You do wonder if rising sea temperatures have had a pernicious impact.  The reports of cod and whiting seem to have been replaced by smooth hound, bull huss and black bream but I wonder if it’s had am impact upon some part of the life cycle of the migratory fish as well.  

Something else that seems unusual to me is the differing behaviour of sea trout in the estuaries. I cut my teeth in the mid eighties catching sea trout with frozen sandeels freelined in the ebbing and flowing tides in the narrow points of estuaries on the Donegal coast.  The great times on that have gone now but its still worth a throw. What I wonder about is why sea trout were not caught more regularly  on bait and lures in the estuaries of sea trout rivers such as the Teign and the Taw. I’ve fished those estuaries quite a few times over the last 25 years but haven’t seen a sea trout taken. I can’t work out why.    Perhaps you’ve seen many caught.  

Anyway – I just thought I’d drop you an e-mail to congratulate you on the book and thank you for the helpful website. My head scratching re the East Lyn and seatrout behaviour at just thrown out there in case you happen to know the  definite answer !

All the Best


The Lyn facing drought conditions in the summer of 2022

Hi Darren,

                        Thank you for your email it is really good to get positive feedback regarding my book and the website.

Would you mind if I publish your email on North Devon Angling News with my own thoughts as set out below.

                        As regards the East Lyn many of your comments mirror my own thoughts.

                        There has undoubtedly been a dramatic decline in salmon and sea trout runs on the East Lyn and the vast majority of West Country Rivers.

                        I have witnessed the decline on the Lyn first hand and it has to be appreciated that the decline that I have seen is based upon just over forty years and that my own baseline would have been much depleted in comparison to an angler who had seen the fish that ran the river forty years prior to that.

                        The facts on the Lyn and other rivers are to some extent blurred by a reduction in angling since the introduction of catch and release. In the days of prolific salmon runs there were also large numbers of anglers fishing the river.  The angling community that once fished the Lyn came from far and wide when conditions were right and I met many anglers on the river who had commuted from London and other areas. These were familiar faces who joined the locals on the river bank jostling for the best spots. I often walk the river and now I seldom see a salmon angler even when conditions are good. Last week I spotted a good fish of 9lb plus resting in Overflow pool and feel sure there would have been other fish present.

                                    Like you I do not believe the River Lyn has significant issues regarding pollution, Water Quality or indeed salmon farming.

The abundance of wild brown trout are testimony to the River Lyn’s water quality.


It is likely that the most serious issue is loss at sea. These factors could relate to the marine eco systems that are in turmoil as a result of climate change, overfishing and an imbalance in predation.

            Climate change also impacts upon the spawning of salmon and survival with many scientists predicting that water temperature will be too high for salmonoid species to successfully spawn within the next forty years. Others predict the virtual extinction of salmon within the next twenty years.

                                    One regular angler on the river tells me that otters are decimating the remaining salmon stocks on the Lyn and I have heard of many otter sightings on the river. During drought conditions there are often seals around the river mouth feasting upon salmon, bass and mullet. The juvenile salmon ( smolts) are also heavily predated upon by cormorants that lurk in the river mouth particularly during the spring months.

                                    Another major factor that impacted massively on salmon numbers was UDN during the 1960, 70s and 80s. There was also a recent outbreak of disease that resulted in a large loss of spring run fish.

            The reasons for the decline in salmon stocks are undoubtedly complex and I see little reason for optimism though nature has a habit of bouncing back if given a chance. Everything we can do might help, reporting pollution, working with River Trusts and highlighting the decline of an iconic species. It is tragic that the salmon stocks on the Lyn were once so prolific that they could be harvested by anglers and via the salmon trap at the mouth of the river. For many years stocks seemed to be abundant and seemed to bounce back from UDN and natural weather patterns etc.

Across the natural world there has been a catastrophic decline and salmon are just another indicator that all is not well with our world.

            As regards to sea trout I have never understood why they are not caught on a regular basis in West Country estuaries. They are as you say caught in Scotland, Ireland, the Hebrides and across Sweden etc.

                                    Best Regards,


The sad remains of a salmon at the River mouth during the hot summer of 2022

Later this Autumn Medlar press are publishing a book that promises to deliver more information and thoughts on the history of Exmoors Rivers.



The old guy said,

I remember when the salmon poured into the pools, 

Packed like sardines you could have walked across their backs,  (1983) 

I remember when some anglers caught one hundred salmon in a  season,  (2003) 

It’s been a better season we caught forty from the river last year,  (2023) 

I remember when there were salmon in the river,     (2043)                                                                                                  

I remember being told there were once salmon in this river,  (2063)

SONG OF THE STREAMS – Michelle Werrett

Song of theStreams

Michelle Werrett Photography by Robin Baker

Fishing and Conservation on Exmoor Streams


Vellacott’s Pool – East Lyn – Image Roger Baker

Inspired by tales of the past gleaned from old fishing books, the author sets out to fish those same waters, to cast the same flies on the same pools, to explore how fishing the streams of Exmoor might compare with fishing them over a century ago, whether those streams have changed and how they might be faring today. Exmoor rivers and streams appear pristine, barely changed since Claude Wade described them in his 1903 book Exmoor Streams, yet the numbers of trout he and other long-ago writers reported catching seem unbelievable today. Those streams must once have held an astonishing abundance of fish.

Modern problems affect even upland streams, yet many good folk are dedicated to their restoration and there is much we can do to help. River conservation work can be fascinating and rewarding as we develop a deeper understanding of river habitats through, for example, managing a balance of light and shade, monitoring aquatic invertebrates and cleaning riverbed spawning gravels then watching for their use when migratory salmon return home from the sea.

Those nail-booted, greenheart wielding fishermen of the past have gone but the streams still run on their wild ways, singing their endless songs to the moor. This book is for all who share concern for the wellbeing and conservation of our rivers and streams as well as those entranced by the rise of a trout to a well placed fly.


Heddons Mouth – Image – Robin Baker


The River Bray flowed through the heart of a peaceful valley in early May with new born lambs frolicking on the riverside fields with bluebells and wild garlic abundant. As I drove to the river I tuned into Radio 4 with commentary of the Coronation of King Charles taking place in London. The pageantry and splendour was described in great detail and I was content that my wife Pauline would be relishing the spectacle in front of the TV at home.
The call of the river is strong and after several fruitless visits to the Lower rivers searching for silver I relished a sortie with lighter tackle in search of wild browns.
I parked the car and pulled on my waders, heading to the river with my 3 weight Snowbee https://www.snowbee.co.uk/fly-fishing/rods/snowbee-classic-fly-rod-3-4-4-piece-7.html
I tied a big bushy dry fly to a short dropper https://www.nigelnunnflies.com beneath this on the tip I tied a small copper John nymph.

The river had a tinge of colour following heavy overnight rain and I hoped this would make the fish a little less easily spooked as the river here is often crystal clear with the trout scattering in all directions as a clumsy angler like myself approaches the water.
I flicked the duo of flies into the streamy water. The dry fly bobbed under on the second drift and a tiny brown trout was swung from the water. I admired its beauty and shook it from the tiny barbless hook into the water without touching it.
I was soon totally absorbed in the tranquillity of the river valley totally focussed on the dry fly as it drifted down after each searching upstream cast.
I came to a deep pool and carefully flicked out the flies whilst knelt behind a tree stump. Moments after the flies alighted a good sized trout appeared from the deep water to seize the dry fly. I lifted the rod and made contact with the trout that took off downstream with power that surprised me. It soon became apparent that the fish was hooked in the tail. I had missed the fish as it took the dry, foul hooking it in the tail with the nymph. So, this fish really didn’t count despite it going for the fly and giving a great scrap in the fast water.

I waded on up river searching likely runs and tempting a couple of tiny trout with one or two other better fish throwing the hook.
A tumbling trout stream in late Spring is a pure delight as bird song reverberates all around and the lush green of spring abounds.
I prefer to search the faster deeper runs at the heads of the pools and it was here that I found the better trout. The dry fly disappearing as a fish intercepted the tiny nymph below.

The rod took on a healthy curve and the trout erupted from the river gyrating airborne above the water in one of those moments that are etched in the minds eye forever. I admired the pristine wild brown that was close to 12” before releasing it back into its home.
Fifty yards or so further up river I added another beautiful trout to the mornings tally its bejewelled flanks far superior to any created for his majesties far away in London.

I returned home in time to watch the Royal event culminate in the traditional gathering upon the balcony. As I watched the thousands cheer in celebration I reflected upon the jewels I had witnessed that morning beside a tumbling stream in the heart of a peaceful valley.

Later in the day we headed to Lynmouth to watch the Coronation Day parade of boats. Shanty singers, boats and flares brought cheer and smiles.

At the top of the tide huge numbers of mullet could be seen their sides flashing as they browsed on the rocks as mullet do. With big mullet abundant I couldn’t resist returning the following evening to find lots of tiny mullet and an absence of bigger fish. Every tide is different I guess and mullet always appear as if they would be easy to catch when you have left the rod at home.

River Torridge Fishery Association – Friday 24th March 2023

The River Torridge fishing community gathered at the Half Moon Inn at Sheepwash for the AGM of the River Torridge Fishery Association. Pauline and I always enjoy the twice yearly coming together of the membership for the AGM in the Spring and the annual fund raising dinner at the seasons close at the end of September.

The Inn was reassuringly busy as we stepped inside the familiar bar where many members of the association were catching up on all the latest news. After half an hour of rekindling friendships and fostering new ones  it was time to head the meeting room for the formal proceedings to begin.

As with many angling clubs the River Torridge Fishery Association’s officers are long standing stalwarts with Secretary and treasurer Charles Inniss and  Chairman Paul Ashworth controlling the meeting with an ease born from long experience in their roles.

Thanks to Charles for the below summary:=

“Over 30 members attended the agm on Friday 24th March. The Chairman announced that for personal reasons the North Devon Fishery Protection Officer had been transferred to work nearer his family home. The EA were currently interviewing for a replacement to the vacancy. The EA proposals for the mandatory release of salmon throughout the season had been deferred for twelve months. Members were keen for the hatchery project to continue and several members offered their support. Izzy Moser gave an interesting and informative talk on the work of The Devon Wildlife Trust, particularly the pros and cons of the inevitable spread of beavers into the headwaters of the Torridge catchment. After the meeting The Half Moon provided an excellent buffet.”

            I would suggest that any anglers who fish the Torridge join the association and help support sterling efforts to protect the river for future generations. Subscription is just £20 per year. For details visit their website http://www.rivertorridge.org.uk

            The report from 2022 was very concerning with the drought conditions resulting in perhaps the worst salmon season in living memory. A total of 15 salmon were landed from the river all of which were returned.

            Fortunately, as I write this the rivers are brimming full last summer’s drought seems long ago. However, Roadford Reservoir is still at only 62% and Colliford in Cornwall 47%. In the Spring of 2022 these reservoirs were close to 100%. It doesn’t take a genius to conclude that another drought summer would have serious consequences. There is concern that South West Water would be forced to consider abstracting from the regions rivers an act that would be devastating for the rivers eco systems. Discussion reflected upon the apparent lack of water resource planning with no significant reservoirs constructed since Roadford in 1989. A new reservoir takes many years to come into being with years of consultation, planning and construction my own estimate would be at least 25 years before a new reservoir could be completed. One has to question why with an increasing population and climate change at the top of the agenda this is not happening?

            The Associations Hatchery has been an ongoing project that unites the membership. The past few seasons have seen the project stalled by COVID and issues with permissions from the EA ,largely around risk assessments and health and safety concerns. The committee are working hard to progress with significant help and expertise from within the angling community many of whom bring skills from their roles within society.

Torridge members at the Hatchery pre COVID

            The decline in salmon and sea trout stocks is alarming and many feel that the hatcheries are the only hope for slowing this decline. The EA hatchery at Colliford is to be an integral part of the future plans to rear ova to swim up fry stage. This hatchery has the facilities to enable essential temperature control a major problem for salmonoids as global warming takes a hold.

            It is of course essential that the habitat into which these future salmon are stocked is suitable. The Torridge faces many challenges with intensive farming resulting in pollution from sediment and nutrients and sewage discharge resulting in further issues with phosphate levels that promote algal growth.

            The Torridge River Association are working closely with the Devon Wildlife Trust  and the West Country Rivers Trust to seek solutions to many of the issues. Guest speaker Izzy Moser delivered an inspiring illustrated talk on projects to restore the river and the environment. These include slow the flow initiatives like leaky dams, meandering river courses, gravel introduction and creation of wild flower meadows and wetlands. The introduction of beavers was discussed with some concerns about their  impact on fish migration and woodland.


            There was considerable interest in Citizen Science Monitoring to flag up any pollution incidents and to assess the ongoing health of the river. River Fly Monitoring has also proven to be a valuable tool in tracking keystone species. Data gathering is essential  in tracking success in any projects in our rivers.

            Invasive species are an ongoing concern with signal crayfish reported from several locations along the Torridge. Any sightings should be reported to the Devon Wildlife Trust.

            A good news story on the Torridge is the healthy population of wild brown trout that were caught in good numbers last season with wild fish to over 4lb caught and released. Dry fly tactics also resulted in several good sea trout. With dwindling salmon numbers many feel that the future of the rivers angling very much lies with trout fishing that I hope to promote over the coming season.

Summer Trout Fishing on the Torridge


It is to be welcomed that the state of the countries rivers is now being vigorously debated across the media. As anglers we are all too aware of the issues and I for one have tried to promote any actions to raise awareness and address the issues. As a passionate angler and environmentalist, I get very angry at the way we as a species fail to value the planet of which the rivers can be likened to the vital arteries of the land.

Politicians will say what wins them votes and join in the clammer to apportion blame for the state of our rivers. We all do this to some extent venting our anger and pointing out what is wrong. Pictures of raw sewage discharging into rivers, dead fish killed by silage spills etc. Politicians play on our concerns; the water companies and farmers are singled out to blame.

But it’s not that simple. The Environment Agency one of the regulatory bodies who are accused of lack of action. They undoubtedly have good people working within but they cannot do their job because they are underfunded or mismanaged. South West Waters infrastructure frequently fails; underfunded, mismanaged ? Truth is that all of this is very complex and the fact is that if we focus on economics and profits the environment inevitably pays the price.

It is easy to blame not so easy to fix. One fact we all need to keep in mind is that it is us who produce the shit. Easy to blame SWW but it’s our crap they are processing. It is totally wrong to discharge raw sewage but someone has to pay. As more houses are built construction companies make money but does the system plan to enlarge sewer capacities, create new water storage reservoirs. The same can of course be said about health care, Council services, policing etc.

Privatisation of the water companies has been blamed for much that is wrong but it was failing as a public service as a Victorian infrastructure crumbled. The tory government passed the problem to private industry. We vent our anger at the fat cats and the shareholders creaming off the profits yet in the complex world of commerce this is where investment comes from. Morally the water companies should be publicly owned but that means funding from government and would voters pay the price?

We need to put the environment at the top of the agenda. But how do we fund this? The present model doesn’t work. Government bureaucracy moves slowly, too slowly for as we dither and think species decline the salmon being a good example of this. As we raise awareness and ponder the natural world slowly dies before our eyes.

Politics is beyond me. I don’t have all the answers. I know what’s wrong and I know what needs fixing. If you agree then who do we vote for to put it right? We can do our bit and raise awareness. Direct our anger in a constructive way. Report what’s wrong; apathy has no place that’s for certain.

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might get what you need”.

It is well worth tuning onto BBC 2 on Sunday night at 8:00pm when Paul Whitehouse is presenting a documentary about the state of our river’s.

Paul Whitehouse travels through the north of England, looking at the impact water companies have on its rivers.

Our Troubled Rivers


Paul explores the change in the water industry since privatisation in 1989 and what regulations are in place when it comes to sewage discharge into rivers. He meets concerned locals in Yorkshire looking to highlight the health of the River Wharfe, a conservationist who warns of the ecological decline in iconic Lake Windemere, and the man at the front of the battle for the country’s waterways, Feargal Sharkey.


The old guy said,


I remember when the salmon poured into the pools, 

Packed like sardines you could have walked across their backs, (1983)


I remember when some anglers caught one hundred salmon in a  season,  (2003)


It’s been a better season we caught forty from the river last year,  (2023)


I remember when there were salmon in the river,     (2043)


I remember being told there were once salmon in this river,  (2063)

A Rare Devon Grayling

Grayling are scarce in Devon with the River Exe and a few of its tributaries the only stronghold for these ladies of the stream. When I saw that well known South West Angler John Deprieelle had acquired a stretch of fishing on the Exe near Tiverton I was keen to try for the grayling that resided within the fishery.

See below link to video of the fishery produced by John Deprieelle.

Trotting a float down a river seemed the ideal opportunity to catch up with my good friend Martin Turner so on a cold and frosty morning Martin and I both full of cold set off for a stretch of river below Tiverton. Thick mist lay in the river valleys as we travelled to Tiverton stopping off at Wetherspoon’s for full English and a couple of coffees. This was no intensely serious fishing trip just two mates catching up putting the world to rights and hopefully catching a rare Devon grayling.

The fishery consists of around a third of a mile of river much of it difficult to access with steep wooded banks that added a sense of mystery and wildness I had not expected so close to the town. It is always exciting and perhaps slightly daunting to visit a fishery for the first time. John had described a salmon pool in the centre of the stretch that had a deep run that produced grayling on a regular basis.

We scrambled down the bank having located a well-worn fisherman’s path. This was no manicured fishing location but the river and the deep pool looked promising. We fired  a few maggots to the head of the pool and set up our trotting tackles. Both of us had elected to use centre pins, mine an ancient Grice and Young Avon Royal Supreme. I paired this with a15ft Dr Redfin roach rod. https://cotswoldrods.co.uk/product/dr-redfin-15ft-float-rod/

I threaded a crimson topped grayling float onto the line, Martin set up with a more streamlined stick float. I waded out onto the rocks at the head of the pool whilst Martin fished from the rocks at the base of the bank. A steady trickle of maggots were introduced and we searched the deep water trotting maggots beneath floats that we struggled to see as the bright sunlight beamed through the trees.

After ten minutes or so my float dipped delightfully and the rod pulsed in my hands. A grayling of perhaps 8oz was guided into the net. Ten minutes later Martin’s float sank and he too enjoyed the plunging of a grayling as it used its large dorsal fin to sail to and FRO in the strong current. The grayling was probably close to a pound and crowned the day a success as we had both caught our target species a rare Devon grayling.

We fished on savouring the delights of trotting a float as dippers flitted past and warm winter sunshine shone into the swirling clear waters of the Exe. From time to time, we managed to tangle our lines as we fished a swim that was really only suitable for one; a good job we are good friends.

We missed a few bites but eventually decided to move on after a couple of hours. We moved to a faster shallower stretch in the Open fields where we could explore a few new swims. I hooked an out of season brownie of around 12oz and lost a reasonable fish hooked at the end of a long trot.

The sun slowly sank beneath the hills and a chill air descended upon the valley. Expectation had drained away and we were both content with our day having caught our target fish. We viewed a spectacular sky decorated in red and golden hues as we headed for home plotting further forays to waters both old and new.


Keen local angler Tony Watkin’s joined with protesters in Barnstaple to raise awareness regarding the plight of UK rivers and the horrendous discharging of sewage by water companies. I publicised this protest on North Devon Angling News and I wondered how many anglers would make the effort to attend. I personally tend to try and raise awareness via my writing using reasoned argument and feel slightly ill at ease with protest groups. The state of our rivers and the decline in Wildlife and nature across the world indicates that reasoned and rationale debate is not working. Frustration at the failings of politicians to address the system leads to ever stronger protests. It is time for all of us with a passion for nature to work together in a common cause forcing those who have the power to act now. It is time to re-evaluate how we measure progress and move away from GDP to appreciating how nature and the Environment is key to our survival as a species.

Tony Watkins reports –

Ask yourself this question would you say that almost 6 Million hours of dumping sewage into rivers on 775,704 separate occasions over just 2 years might qualify as ‘Exceptional’?  Or the fact that South West Water was branded the Worst Polluters in the UK by ofwat Dec 2022. Yesterday local Catch n Release Salmon Fisherman Tony Watkins himself campaigning here https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/627440

Joined a peaceful group of over 170 protesters in Barnstaple yesterday to protest against Sewage, joined by groups The Baggy Blue tits part of the International   Swimming group The Bluetit Chill Swimmers, Surfers Against Sewage, Plastic Free Devon, Xtinction Rebellion, marched from Castle Green to present a (mock)blue plaque to local MP offices Selaine Saxby (see pics).The peaceful march continued up the High Street with a joyous lively samba band to Green Lanes where various speeches were given by the groups in highlighting the Sewage Crime upon us.