Big Bream at Lower Tamar

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Shaun Thorne has enjoyed success in several sessions at Lower Tamar targeting the Bream. He has banked thirty five bream including twenty over 10lb the best a stunning fish of 12lb. He has also banked carp and a tench of 6lb 11oz.

As weed growth takes over fishing becomes increasingly difficult meaning that the bream fishing will virtually cease until next Spring.

South West Lakes Trout Fisheries Report June 2023

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South West Lakes Trout Fisheries Report

June 2023

June saw a dramatic rise in water and air temperatures, with plenty of bright sunshine and very little rain, with the trout retreating to deeper waters on many of the reservoirs, and in many cases not so eager to feed, which made the fishing challenging, and anglers needed to be flexible in their approach. Boat anglers enjoyed the best of the sport.


Kennick – The reservoir has started to fall again, down to 91% capacity by the end of the month. In spite of plenty of surface insect activity (beetles and sedges), generally the fish stayed in the deeper water, and intermediate or sinking lines fished with lures, blobs and boobies often produced the best results, although nymphs (Damsels, Dawl Bachs, and Buzzers) fished on floating lines did produce good results on some days. Apart from the central deeper water fished by the boats, bank anglers managed to pick up fish at Smithacott, Clampits, the Lawns, Jan’s Rock, and the deeper water by the dam. Simon Vowles and Andy Sterrick (from Exeter) enjoyed a great day’s boat fishing, catching twenty fish between them using a Coral Booby, Cats Whisker Booby, and a Coral Blob on fast sinking lines and short leaders tight to the bottom, using a slow figure-of-eight retrieve. Brian Parry (from Newton Abbot) caught six fish to 2lb 8oz using a Cats Whisker on a sinking line.

Siblyback – The fishery has now dropped to 92% full, and with plenty of insect activity (Beetles, Damsels, and Sedges) the fish continue to rise freely to feed. Early in the month anglers averaged 3.5 fish per rod, although this fell off as the month progressed with warmer brighter conditions. Two Meadows, Crylla Bay, Stocky Bay, and the North Shore produced the best sport, with plenty of fish being taken on floating lines and dry patterns (Coch-y-bondhu, Bibio, Shipmans Buzzer, Black Hoppers, and Deer Hair sedges), with sub-surface fish being caught on Montanas, Buzzers, and Kate McLarens. Fourteen year old Johnny Moesel (from Okehampton) enjoyed a superb day’s sport, catching nine trout, including a rainbow of 3lb 5oz, another at 3lb, and a lovely wild brownie of 1lb 9oz, using a floating line with a Coch-y-bondhu on the point and a hopper on the dropper, casting to rising fish.

Burrator – During the first two weeks of June anglers averaged two fish per rod, but this tailed off as the month continued. Back Bay, Longstone, Sheepstor, and Pig Trough banks produced the best sport, and with plenty of beetles on the water as well as a good evening rise, fish were feeding eagerly from the surface. Floating lines with a slow figure-of-eight retrieve or washing-line tactics proved to be the most effective methods, with anglers catching fish on a variety of dry patterns (Hoppers, Sedges, Beetles, and Grey Wulff), while sub-surface feeders took Buzzers, Damsel Nymphs, Montanas, Diawl Bachs, and Invictas. Chris Arscott caught a beautiful 3lb 8oz brown using a Diawl Back, floating line and slow retrieve fishing early in the evening, while Roger Prout caught a 3lb rainbow using a Black Top Hat Topper. Simon Stokes (from Horrabridge) caught five rainbows to 2lb 8oz along with one brownie, using a washing line of Buzzers, Crunchers, and rubber beetle.

Stithians – Stithians fished fairly consistently throughout the month, with anglers averaging 2.3 fish per rod; fish were well spread out around the fishery, with anglers enjoyed particular success at Mossops, Yellowort, Goonlaze, Hollis Bank and the deeper water by the dam. With plenty of beetles being blown onto the water, fish were keen to look up to feed, and a selection of dry patterns caught fish (Beetles, Sedges, Black Gnats, Hawthorns, and Hoppers); otherwise, sub-surface feeders were taken on nymph patterns (Diawl Bach, Montanas, and Damsels) fished with a floating line. Roger Clark (from Truro) caught four rainbows to 4lb (best fish of the season so far). Simon Peters (from Cusgarne) enjoyed a couple of successful sessions, catching eight rainbows to 2lb and a couple of 10oz browns using dry beetles on one visit, and five rainbows to 2lb on another.

Fernworthy –  With beetles in the air, there have been plenty of rising fish throughout the month at Fernworthy, and anglers have averaged 2.3 fish per rod, mainly using a variety of black dry patterns (Hoppers, Hawthorns, Black Gnats) and beetle imitations. Fish have generally been between five and fifteen yards from the shore, with popular banks including Thornworthy, Potters Bank, Boathouse Bay, and the North Bank. Phillip Smith (from Lechlade) caught five browns using a Hopper pattern, while Paul Ackland (from Plymouth) caught 7 browns to 1lb 8oz using a dry foam beetle and pheasant tail nymph.

Colliford – The water level here started to rise, but then receded with the warm dry weather, and is now at 64% capacity; anglers fared well, averaging 4.2 fish per rod over the month, and with beetles about, plenty of floating line and dry fly action. Successful patterns included foam beetles, black hoppers, Bobs Bits, and sedge patterns, with fish well spread out around the fishery – best tactics are to keep on the move to cover as much water as possible, fishing close to the bank, as well as out over the deeper water. Rodney Wevill (from Launceston) enjoyed a successful evening session, catching eight browns on a floating line in the last two hours before dark; Nick Odle (from Looe) caught fifteen browns using a mixture of wets and dries; while Phillip Smith (from Lechlade) caught seven fish to 1lb, mainly on dries and a single hopper.

Roadford – Now down to 66% full, the fishing has been challenging at Roadford, with a few fish being caught from Davey’s Bank, East Bank, Goodacre Bay, and over the boils from a boat. There have been a few midge hatches, with the occasional rising fish, but anglers have had more success using intermediate or sinking lines with nymph and lure patterns.

Please see the Trust’s website ( for more information on buying tickets, boat availability and booking, and forthcoming events.

Message from Ashley Bunning – SWLT

Another year passes and we say goodbye to 2022! It has been a hard year for the reservoirs, not only in the South West, but all over the UK.  Low water levels and lake closures have been a frustrating factor to fishing through the summer, and we thank all of you for being understanding through these testing times. Having started my role in September, I would personally like to thank all of you for your kind words of support and I hope we can now push forward and continue the great work South West Lakes has been doing to improve the fishing on the waters.

There have been some great catches through the year with many great bags of silvers from many of the reservoirs to some special carp being caught.

Sadly, the lakes have lost two of its ‘A-team’, with Arnie from Porth and The Big Fully from Argal passing. These fish put many smiles on anglers’ faces, they will be missed!

Looking towards the future of the lakes, in November we stocked 39 new carp into Argal. These fished ranged between 13lb and 17lb, with 34 mirrors and 5 commons. Next year we are planning to stock other waters in the region to continue our work to improve all our waters. There has been some great swim building projects carried out on the lakes also, I would like to thank all the volunteers who have given up their time to help and make improvements on the lakes.

I am pleased to announce that we will be running the Mainline Pairs competitions again for next year the dates for this will be March 24-26, June 30-July 2 and September 29-October 1. We are looking forward to seeing all the familiar faces and welcoming new anglers to the competitions.

Also we will be having two event days in August, which will be part of the Angling Trust’s National Fishing Month, with the emphasis to get as many kids fishing as possible. The dates and places for this are the Royalty Fishery on August 5 and Upper Tamar Lakes on August 19. Please keep your eyes peeled for these events on the website, so you don’t miss out.

Once again thank you for all your support through this last year, may you all have a great Christmas and happy New Year. Look forward to seeing you all out on the bank in 2023.

Ashley Bunning

Free trout fishing taster day at Kennick Reservoir

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Free trout fishing taster day at Kennick Reservoir

Environmental charity South West Lakes is hosting a free trout fishing taster day at Kennick Reservoir on Dartmoor on Saturday 20 August.

The day is part of National Fishing Month (1-31 August) which celebrates the social, wellbeing and environmental benefits of angling.

The event is kindly supported by Snowbee and Turrall. As well as tuition, there will be fly-tying demonstrations with Brian Ratcliff and Colin Nice, casting demonstrations with Simon Kidd at Snowbee, a raffle, and countless tips and tricks for beginners and more experienced anglers. All participants will also receive a gift bag from Turrall and there will be the opportunity to purchase a range of fishing gear and accessories.

Dil Singh, Technical Lead for Game Fishing at South West Lakes, said: “We would like to extend a warm welcome to all new beginners to our sport, and of course any established anglers who would like to come along. If you would enjoy the chance to try fishing or brush up on techniques as well as catching up with some friends over coffee and biscuits then we look forward to seeing you. The kettle is on!”

There are three sessions to choose from: 10am-11.30am, 12pm-1.30pm and 2pm-3.30pm. Booking is essential at

Raffle tickets are also available in advance and prizes include Snowbee Classic fly rod, fly reel and fly line, rod kits from Turrall, Kennick day permit and boat permit. Tickets cost £2.50 each or five for £10.

Ben Smeeth Leaves South West Lakes Trust

South West Lakes Trusts head of Coarse Fishing Ben Smeeth is leaving the trust after close to twenty years of sterling service. Ben will be missed by many in the angling community having contributed to a thriving Coarse fishing portfolio that includes several of North Devon’s favourite angling venues.

Ben Smeeth pictured at Upper Tamar Lake
“After nearly 20 years with the Trust it is time for a new challenge. I have made many friends and have worked with some fantastic colleagues during that time and am very grateful for the opportunities I have been given within the organisation. I feel very lucky to have worked on and around the amazing lakes for so long and I am very proud of the achievements that have been made. I am leaving to take up a fishery manager role with another organisation but leave with a heavy heart. I wish everyone at SW Lakes and everyone I have come to know during my time here a very happy, safe and prosperous future.
Ben Smeeth – Visitor Experience Manager North / Head of Coarse Fishing.”


Twelve months or so ago I stood on the dam at Lower Tamar Lake watching several large carp basking in the Spring sunshine. I promised myself that when I had more time I would return and invest some quality time into pursuing fish. Twelve months on I have done just that and returned tackle loaded and ready to cast.

On arrival at the lake the sun is shining across this large shallow expanse of water that was created as a feeder for Bude Canal back in the 1820’s. The depths in the lake vary from 8ft to 3ft and my guess is that fish movement may be influenced by wind direction, water temperature, food availability and angling pressure.

The choice of swim is not easy as three other anglers are already in position and a quick chat with them reveals that the fishing has been slow with just one carp banked by them in the past twenty four hours.

My aim is to catch carp or a double figure bream and realisation soon dawns that this is not a forgone conclusion and any rewards will have to be earned. After a stroll around the Lake, it was gut instinct that made me choose to fish the swim at the far end of the dam that would give access to deeper water.

The barrow was loaded and pushed to the swim where I was to spend the next 24hours. Ominous clouds were building as I hurriedly erected my oval brolly shelter and bed chair, stowing those items that needed to be kept dry beneath in preparation for the oncoming rain.

I cast around with a marker float that revealed that I had seven foot of water at fifty yards. The next thirty minutes was spent launching a few spod’s full of particles to the zone I intended to place my baits. Two rods with wafters and one with a method feeder baited with a couple of grains of artificial corn.

The rods were cast out as the rain began to pour down, the sky taking on a grey and foreboding tone.

I took shelter beneath the canvas and began the vigil watching the days weather pass by with traps set. Strange how time flies as the contemplation and observation occupy the mind.

As the rain beats down swallows and martins swoop low over the water. Ducks and ducklings busy about and a grebe hunts far out in the lake. As the rain eases warm sunshine illuminates the scene transforming the vista to that of summer. A buzzer hatch brings a frenzy of activity from the summer migrants. The swallows and martins are joined by the delightful sight of swifts twisting and turning in the blue sky a sure confirmation that Spring is turning relentlessly towards summer.

Afternoon turns to evening and baits are checked and recast. Sausage’s sizzle and hot coffee is enjoyed whilst watching and waiting.

The evening starts to descend and the light fades and with it comes expectation that the alarm will ring out as a fish locates the bait. Wood pigeons coo relentlessly and the hooting of an owl drifts across the stilling waters as the breeze drops away with the coming of night.

Far across the lake the surface is broken by fish but they are beyond my range.

I drift off to sleep the twinkle of farm lights in the distance. Rain patters on the canvas and cool air intrudes into the shelter.  I drift back into sleep. The alarm screams out and the blue light of the Delkim shatters the darkness. I stumble out into my boots, right foot in left and left foot in right! I lift the rod to feel a pleasing weight on the end. I am hoping it’s a big bream as I slowly retrieve a ponderous dead weight. Within yards of the margin’s, it wakes up ripping line from the reel telling me it’s no bream.

A golden flanked mirror carp of 19lb 4oz is a pleasing result and avoids a blank session.

After recasting the rod, I retreat back to the warmth of my sleeping bag. Heavy rain lashes down and I dread another run.

I sleep an interrupted sleep drifting in and out of strange dreams that seem to have been prevalent throughout the previous months of pandemic invoked lockdown. I step out into the night to answer natures call and marvel at the vividly clear star studded night sky and reflect on the fact that this is one of life’s constants virtually unchanged for millions of years.

Dawn breaks and the dawn chorus rings out to greet the day. All is still with a mirror like lake stretching before me. I savour the dawn expectantly but all is quiet. A couple of hours later I boil the kettle and cook up a bacon butty.

A couple of dog walkers take  a stroll and the day unfolds sunshine illuminating the lake as life resumes. I chat to a fellow angler of waters he fishes and swap notes. He has caught one bream of perhaps five pounds in the night and congratulates me on my success.

With heavy rain forecast I slowly pack away already planning my next trips. I intend to catch a carp from each of SWLT’s waters before the year is out and have made a good start. But still need to catch that double figure bream.

Lower Tamar Lake can be a challenging venue but it has many treasures within including carp to over thirty pounds, double figure bream, 2lb plus roach, big perch, tench, trout and eels.


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Mark Gibson and Mark Eager fished Lower Tamar Lake banking eleven carp including eight over twenty pounds the best 27lb.

(Below) Ian Knowles had these two from Upper Tamar recently. 19lb 5oz and 12lb 4oz.

(Below) John Deprieellee had a cracking day at Jennets yesterday and sent this report in for us:
‘I spent the day fishing a combination of adjustable zigs and surface baits at range. The fish certainly werent in a big feeding mode and the key was to feed small amounts of bait every 5 mins. I literally didnt stop casting from start to finish and it took 4 hours to get the first bite which came off at the net. It was then a case of persistance and changing hook baits and trying to deal with the easterly cross wind which made for a challenging session. Eventually I found the bait they would take and caught 9 fish plus a handful of bream. Most of the carp were mid to high doubles but the best 3 went 22, 24,8 and 27,8. plus a few more that came off.

South West Lakes Trout Fishing Report

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South West Lakes Trust Trout Fisheries Report

July 2020

Boat and bank fishing is available to anglers, with day tickets on sale through the SW Lakes Fishing website or via telephone (01566 771930). Due to Covid19 precautions, self-service permit huts still remain closed at the time of writing. Certain restrictions continue to operate and anglers are asked to read the latest Angling Trust advice with regard to health and social distancing – this information is also available on the SW Lakes Fishing website – Where boats are available, these must be pre-booked and strict guidelines must be followed regarding their use (see website for details). Catch returns also need to be completed online, where the latest weekly catch reports will be available to view.

Kennick – The Rhododendrons are now in full bloom and the fishery is looking stunning. Boat fishing over deeper water has generally proved to be the most successful throughout July and, although some fish have been tempted up to look at dries and Hoppers, most fish have preferred to stay in the deeper water where Blobs and Boobies have produced good results. Plenty of fish over 3lb have been caught, with some large bags caught on catch-and-release tickets; rods averaged 2.7 fish per angler. In addition to deep-fished lures, weighted nymphs (Damsels, Montanas and Diawl Bachs) have also caught fish. Michael Herring (from Thurlstone) caught the best fish of the month – a 3lb 14oz rainbow, fishing deep from a boat. Mr. M. Ure had some excellent sessions from a boat, catching bags of 19 fish, 16 fish and 15 fish on separate occasions. Mr P.Brown caught a bag of 17 rainbows, fishing from a boat over the deeper water.

Siblyback – The changeable weather produced mixed fishing at Siblyback, with some weeks producing excellent sport (averaging 3.5 fish per angler) and superb fish, while others proving to be more challenging. Stocky Bay produced consistently good sport, while Crylla Bay, Marshes and the North Bank all fished well. Fish were still looking up to feed, and dry patterns (Black Beetles, Sedgehogs and Hoppers) all tempted fish. Sub-surface nymphs and wets (Damsels, Montanas and Black Buzzers) caught well throughout the month, with anglers also catching on fry patterns and lures (Kennick Killer and Orange Fritz in particular). Jamie Gilman caught the best fish of the month – a 5lb 8oz rainbow, as part of a bag of seven fish. A late return from George Hext reported that he had caught a rainbow of 8lb 4oz back in May – the best fish of the season (so far).

Stithians – Weekly rod averages have been up to 2.3 fish per angler, with plenty of fish over 2lb, the best being rainbows of 2lb 12oz caught by Steve Glanville and Mike Freeman. The best locations included Goonlaze, Pub Bay, Mossops and Carnmenellis, with fish being caught on a selection of dries (Sedges, Klinkhammers, Black Gnats and Beetles) or sub-surface nymphs and wets (Pheasant Tail Nymph, Mallard and Claret, Black Buzzers and Black Pennel).

Burrator – With weekly rod averages up to 3.5 fish per angler, Burrator continues to fish well and produced some outstanding days’ sport – Paul Lee caught 28 fish from a boat using a selection of Boobies, Blobs and Dry patterns on sinking and midge-tip lines. Generally wet patterns and lures have produced the best results (Damsels, Montanas and teams of Buzzers, or Orange Blobs, Boobies and Kennick Killers), while Klinkhammers and Black Gnats attracted some fish to the surface. Longstone Point and Sheepstor bank produced consistent sport from the shore, while boat anglers enjoyed success off Lowery Point and in the deeper central water. Simon Jeffries caught a 3lb 8oz rainbow (as part of a full bag) from Longstone Bank using a Kennick Killer, and M. Baines also caught a 3lb 8oz rainbow from Sheepstor Bank, using an Orange Cruncher.

Colliford – Some nice grown-on brownies were caught over the month, with Dean Boucher catching fish of 2lb 4oz on two occasions and Chris Clarke catching a 2lb brownie on a Brown Nymph. In addition to keeping on the move to cover as much bank as possible (with Redhill Flats, Lords Waste, Browngelly Bay and Gillhouse Bay all proving popular), it pays to vary the fly pattern and type according to conditions – with Soldier Palmers, Zulus, Black Hoppers, Beetles, Hares Ear Nymphs, Diawl Bachs, Sedge Pupae and weighted Damsels all catching well.

Fernworthy continued to produce some great sport, with anglers averaging 2.5 fish per visit – amongst these were plenty of full bags. George Hext caught a bag of 11 fish using a Black dry Sedge and Black Beaded Nymphs, while Nigel Easton caught a grown-on brown of 2lb using a Bibio pattern. Fish have been free rising, taking emerging midges and sedges, with a selection of traditional dry and wet patterns all catching well (Kate McClaren, Silver Invicta, Bibio, Coch-y-Bondhu, Diawl Bach, Soldier Palmer, Sedgehog, Zulu and Klinkhammer). Most banks have produced sport, with Thornworthy Bank, North Shore, Fishery Hut Bay, Farmhouse bank and Lowton Bay all mentioned in catch returns, with fish often tight into the bank in less than 12” of water.

Roadford – At last the fishing has begun to pick up at Roadford! Jeff Ferguson caught 7 brownies to 1lb 4oz using small nymph patterns (Pheasant Tail nymph and Black Buzzer), while Duncan Kier (from Belstone) had a superb morning fishing from a boat over the boils – the fish were high in the water and took a fast pulled fly (Squinky) almost as soon as it hit the water. Duncan netted five fish – the best a cracking 3lb 8oz grown-on brown in superb condition. The fishing is at its best at Roadford when there is some good cloud cover – currently this seems to be a far more important consideration than the time of day.

Perch fishing (from the boat only) is currently available – this must be pre-booked (see website for more details), and some great fish as well as large bags have been caught. Bruce Elston caught over 60 fish up to 2lb 8oz on one visit and over 30 fish, with five over 2lb, on another while Mike Stone (from Starcross) caught a beautiful 2lb perch.