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

Sea Trout and summer grilse

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DSCF2660The Taw and Torridge are both at low summer level now but despite this a few salmon and sea trout are being caught. Bob Lewington fished the Weir Marsh and Brightly beats on the Taw to land a brace of fresh run grilse and Len Francis fished the beat to land a 3lb grilse. Charles Inniss tells me that several small sea trout have been landed from beats throughout the river Torridge along with one or two salmon. It is hoped that the rain that is forecast will freshen the river and bring in a few more fish.

Grilse from the Rivers

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The Taw and Torridge are both in perfect condition following recent rainfall and fish are there to be caught. Clinton Marshall fished the Weir Marsh and Brightly Beats of the Taw to land a 5lb grilse and Len Francis fished the same beat to land a 6lb grilse. Both fish were fresh in from the sea with silver flanks and sea lice still attached.

I fished the Middle Torridge with the river in fine trim I expected a fish at anytime but not a pull. The sight of a kingfisher alighting on a branch opposite where I fished was reward for my effort plus the glimpse of two barn owls as I drove home.

At least seven salmon were landed from the Torridge from beats throughout the river all of them grilse up to 4lb. Martin Weeks and his party fish the Torridge every summer specializing in sea trout fishing after dark. Their latest visit to the river saw them land twenty six sea trout to 3lb in three nights fishing.

It is surprising how many sea trout can be in the river with anglers being unaware of their presence. Whilst there are a number of fishers who target the fish after dark there are far fewer than fish the famous sea trout rivers of South Wales. If more anglers adopted nocturnal habits it is likely that far more of these enigmatic fish would be tempted.

The best book on sea trout fishing is undoubtedly Hugh Falkus’s classic work Sea Trout Fishing published in 1962. It is surprising that this classic tome was written so long ago as its is still totally relevant to this day and well worth seeking out. A book that captures the atmosphere of sea trout fishing through the night is BB’s The Pool of the Black Witch.