North Devon Rivers Latest

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A lack of rain has undoubtedly contributed to another poor season on North Devon’s rivers with salmon and sea trout numbers below expectation. As the last month of the season looms anglers will be hoping for a big spate to bring in the fish that are hopefully waiting in the estuary. Good sport in last few weeks can very often restore many an anglers season.

Ian Blewett tempted this stunning River Taw salmon on  Size 12 Stoat’s tail. The fish was hooked in the fading light of dusk and eventually unhooked and released after darkness had descended. An exciting encounter in what Ian described as a poor season so far.

River Torridge Newsreel

The River Torridge Fishery Association

President: Lord Clinton

Chairman: Paul Ashworth                                                               Secretary:

Charles Inniss                                                                                                                         Beeches

Sheepwash                                                                                                                         Beaworthy

Devon

EX21 5NW

                                                                                                      [email protected]

                                                                                                                        tel: 01409231237

NEWSREEL: SUMMER 2021:               

The Annual Dinner and Raffle: will take place at The Half Moon Inn, Sheepwash on Saturday 25th September. Please book direct with The Half Moon.         Tel: 01409231376. e-mail:  [email protected]

The Half Moon has recently changed hands and the new owners, Haydn Beynon and his wife Kim are keen to meet as many of you as possible. They want to retain The Half Moon as a traditional fishing inn and in particular wish to encourage newcomers to take up river fly fishing. Our new fishery officer, Callum Underhill, will be joining us and is looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible.

Environment Agency – North Devon’s New Fishery Officer

The Hatchery: it’s that time of the year again: in early November we will be trapping the broodstock of five hens and five cocks. This winter we are again planning to rear 30,000 swim-up fry to stock out into the headwaters next spring. After the disappointment of not being able to operate last year, the EA are happy for us to run our hatchery this year with 50% of our eggs being grown on to “swim-up” fry at the Colliford hatchery in Cornwall.

The season so far: it’s been an unusual year. An exceptionally cold and dry April was followed by a month of incessant rain and not until early June did the river come into good fishing condition. Because of the Covid restrictions there have not been so many visiting anglers but several large sea trout over 5lb have been caught by those fishing after dark: mostly from middle river beats. An 8lb bass was recently caught in the weir pool at Beam!!

The AGM: the agm could not be held this year, but all being well will take place next spring.

SUBSCRIPTIONS: most of the £20 subscriptions for this year have now been paid. Thank you all very much. I would be grateful to receive the few that are outstanding. Please make cheques payable to the Torridge Fishery Association and forward to me at the above address. If paying by BACS: a/c no: 0082770: sort code: 51 70 16. Ref: Torridge Owners Association. Raffle ticket money and subs can be paid with one cheque.

We look forward to seeing many of you at the dinner: it is always a most enjoyable evening.

Rain brings life to North Devons Rivers

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Recent rain has brought life into North Devons rivers with salmon and sea trout forging up river. Paul Carter tempted a fine 6lb salmon from a lower Taw beat along with a bright silver peal of around 1lb 8oz. With more rain forecast prospects for Taw, Torridge and Lyn are good.

An indicator of fresh run fish is often the presence of sea lice these can remain on the fish for up to 48hours. The tails of the lice contain the eggs which drop off before the lice. Small numbers of lice have always been an indication of a fish fresh from the sea. Sadly in some areas on the West coast of Scotland sea lice infestations from intense salmon farming have decimated salmon and sea trout populations.

Note the sea lice next to the pectoral fin an indication that the fish has been in the river for less that 48 hours.

Wild brown trout fishing is also good with some good mayfly hatches reported on the Middle Torridge.

Richard Nickell co owner of Blakewell Fishery tells me that some good brown trout are taking flies intended for sea trout with several fish well over the pound mark. Blakewell is in good form as well with buzzers working well.

Guidelines

Good Practice Guide

Catching the fish

Use appropriate tackle. Rod and line should be strong enough to bring the fish to net swiftly and without playing it to exhaustion. Move the fish out of fast water as soon as possible. The use of barbless single or double hooks is recommended. Barbed hooks can be rendered barbless by pinching with pliers.

Catch and Release
RTFCA strongly recommends that you practise catch and release whenever possible.

Playing the fish

When playing a fish try not to play it to exhaustion but land it as quickly as is possible.

Landing the fish

Use a fine knotless meshed landing net. No gaffs or tailers may be used. Ensure the fish remains in the water at all times.
Do not beach or tail a fish.

Handling the fish

Ensure that hands are wet and avoid squeezing the fish.

Removing the hook

Remove the hook gently, using forceps or a hook disgorger.
Should the fish be deep-hooked cut the line as near to the hook as possible.

Recording the fish

Do not weigh the fish, but calculate its length and subsequently use a length/weight conversion chart (see below) to find the weight. Suitable length marks on rod or wading-stick can be helpful. Photographs of the fish should only be taken while the fish is in the water.

Reviving and releasing the fish

Support the fish with both hands in a gentle current and facing upstream.
Allow time for the fish to regain its strength and be able to swim away on its own.

Disease

To guard against disease that can damage our fish stocks fishermen are directed to the Environment Agency’s website for “Guidance on Disinfecting Fishing Tackle”.

The Environment Agency Incident Hotline

For reporting any serious environmental incident such as pollution, poaching or fish in distress is

0800 807 060

  • RTFA strongly believes that fishermen are the best guardians of our river and if you fish the Taw why not join the Association to support our efforts.
  • Contact us via our website at www.rivertawfisheries.co.uk or phone our Treasurer, Richard Nickell on 10271 344533 / 07884 073932

Summer salmon run on North Devon Rivers

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North Devon Rivers are producing some splendid silver bars following a welcome spell of rainfall. Paul Carter enjoyed success on the Lower taw tempting these two stunning salmon on recents trips to the river the larger of the two estimated at 14lb. The salmon were tempted on a small black and yellow barrels double that dropped out in the net. Ian Blewett also enjoyed success banking a 7lb hen salmon. Note all salmon reported are carefully released to continue their upriver migration.

A large salmon estimated at 20lb left one angler heartbroken when his leader snagged and broke on a submerged rock.

Salmon – journeys end

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I was sent this picture of dead salmon seen on the banks of the Torridge Estuary. Such a sight is not uncommon at this time of year. The majority of salmon will have spawned on the redds high up on the rivers headwaters and many die of exhaustion after ensuring the ongoing survival of the species. This salmon was estimated at 8lb to 10lb and was a cock fish judging by its prominent kype.

I always welcome any fish related news, comment and pictures from North Devon.

It is less that two months until the start of the salmon fishing season on our local rivers. Last season was blighted by low flows throughout a large portion of the season. Rumours are that this has been a reasonable spawning season on our local rivers so we must hope that this is true. Salmon numbers have been in decline for decades and every effort must be made to ensure that these iconic fish continue to forge up our rivers each year.

Salmon Season End of season flourish

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After one of the worst salmon and sea trout fishing seasons for several years it is good to report on a few fish as longed for rain brought a significant rise in both the Taw and Torridge. I expect to get a more details of fish from the Torridge when I attend the end of season Egg Box Dinner at the Half Moon but below are few images of fish caught in the last week of the season.

(Below)Ian Blewett’s early morning brace of Taw salmon

(Below)Chay Boggis caught this pleasing grilse of around 3lb from a middle Taw beat

(Below)The middle Torridge earlier this week fining down fading light.

A Trickle of fish into Taw and Torridge

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Ian Blewett landed the above 5lb 12oz grilse whilst fishing for sea trout at a quarter to midnight on a Middle Taw beat. The recent rain has encouraged a trickle of salmon and sea trout into both the Taw and Torridge. Two salmon of 5lb and 11lb were caught on a Middle Taw beat on Friday. Rumours are circulating of a 14lb + sea trout from the River Mole?

On the Torridge four grilse were tempted from a Middle River Beat despite the river being very low.

Salmon from Taw and Torridge despite low water.

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A few salmon have been tempted from both the Taw and Torridge despite low water conditions. Three salmon have been tempted from the Torridge all-fresh run fish between 6lb and 10lb and landed from beats on the lower, middle and Upper River. On the Taw Tony Kibble fished the Weir Marsh and Brightly Beat and landed a fine 10lb fish. A few sea trout have been seen trickling upstream.

Salmon on Taw and Torridge

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The Taw and Torridge have both dropped to a good level  and as a result a couple of fine salmon have been tempted. Nick Briant landed a fine 12lb fresh run spring salmon with sea lice on the Rising Sun water just below Umberleigh Bridge. The fish was tempted using a black and yellow tube fly. On the Torridge a fresh run fish of 10lb was landed at Beam.

I cast a line on a middle Torridge beat; my first trip to the river this season with a month almost past by already. The daffodils that line the river in early March have already started to wilt though the primroses are at their best. Despite a lack of success it was great to be once again treading familiar paths and asking questions with the fly.

First Salmon of the season

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I can report that  Andy Nixon has landed the first reported salmon of the River Torridge season whilst fishing a lower River Beat controlled by the Half Moon Inn at Sheepwash. The fresh run 8lb salmon was sea liced and is great news and will undoubtedly encourage more to venture forth and cast a line for one of angling greatest prizes.

I drove over both the Taw and Torridge yesterday and both rivers looked to be in perfect trim. Below is the Taw at Newbridge running a little high but as each day passes it will become easier to fish and those spring run fish will start to settle into their spring lies.

Too much water for start of salmon season

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One week into the salmon season and barely a line has been cast as a result of both the Taw and Torridge being swollen by successive days of rain. The rain is however good news in the longer term as it should ensure fish are well spread throughout the river system when fishing does get underway. With water temperatures rising and plenty of water prospects have to be good for a big spring run fish.

A rather murky looking River Bray; ensuring that the Taw will up and coloured for several days.

The RIver Taw Fisheries Association are holding their Annual General Meeting on Friday 17th March 2017 at Highbullen Hotel, Chittlehamholt.

Guest speakers are Paul Carter, EA High Impact Enforcement Officer and Simon Evans, Chief Executive, Wye and Usk Foundation.

The Torridge AGM is on March 31st at the Half Moon Inn Sheepwash