OLD FISHERS UNITED

Friendships are a vital part of angling and it is always great to maintain those long lasting bonds with a trip to the water’s edge. Garry, Rob, Ray and I were once part of South West Waters Game Fishing Team who travelled the length and breadth of England fishing in the annual Water Industry Game Fishing Competition (WIGFIC). We have tried to maintain the tradition of an annual fly fishing trip ever since our participation in the event ceased several years ago.

After a long lull due partially to COVID the Old Fisher Farts set off for a weekend at Wimbleball Lake staying at the delightful old Exmoor pub The George at Brompton Regis.

We assembled at the ticket hut at around 8:30am and cooked up an open air breakfast of sausage and bacon sarnies before heading out to cast our lines. Rob and I for the shoreline and Garry and Ray to the boats to be greeted by the ever helpful Trevor.

Conditions seemed ideal with a gentle breeze and light cloud cover. Despite this the trout proved hard to tempt with just a couple of hard fighting rainbows and wild browns succumbing to my lures fished on an intermediate line.

We met up at lunch time for another fry up and a chat.

Garry had managed a couple of rainbows but Ray and Rob had yet to catch. Spirits were still high despite the uncooperative trout and we set off refreshed and eager. With me joining Ray in the boat whilst Garry enjoyed a few hours on the bank.

The afternoon drifted past with me adding another couple of rainbows to the tally along with a beautiful wild brown of around a pound. Mid-afternoon Ray hooked a good rainbow that to my alarm caused him to almost stumble overboard! I think Garry added another rainbow to the score from the bank whilst Rob remained fishless.

As the sun slowly sank we headed back to the pub for a well-earned meal and a pint or two. Back in the early 1990’s we had been part of a winning team securing overall victory in the WIGFIC competition held at Wessex Waters Sutton Bingham Reservoir near Yeovil. In the intervening years since we have fished many times without repeating that victory. Back then as young men working in the Water Industry we undoubtedly  talked a far different agenda. Close to thirty years later we discuss our medications and ailments and have more in common with the elderly gents in “The Last of The Summer Wine” and suffer occasional bouts of Victor Meldrew like grumpiness! The tales of days and colleagues some long gone bounced across the pub table. Memories of younger days rekindled once again.

In years gone by evenings in the pub would have endured into the early hours with last orders signalling close of play. These days catching the end of News at Ten signals a late night!

Next morning when we arrived lakeside where the lake was hidden in dense early morning mist. A bright calm sunny day was forecast so we suspected that the fishing would be even more difficult. Admiring the morning splendour as we chugged out on calm waters having elected to use boats. Catching trout seemed to be secondary as the new day dawned and a brilliant blue sky was unveiled, trees emerging from the mist dissolving in the warmth of the rising sun.

The tree shrouded Upton Arm of Wimbleball Lake is one of my favourite areas to fish. We resumed the days fishing searching the water with various lures. The morning proved frustrating with numerous good trout following the flies before turning away tantalisingly close to the boat.

By late morning Rob and I met with Garry and Ray to discuss tactics and decided on a move to the far end of the lake where we had enjoyed some success the previous  day. We also knew that a fresh stocking had been made in the area so hoped a few uneducated fish would grant us success.

In the shallows we found the trout attacking fry sending tiny fish scattering to break the calm waters surface. Casting into the shoreline I tempted a small brown trout and secured a hard fighting rainbow. Rob also hooked a good fish that threw the hook  after a pleasing encounter. Retrieving lures briskly with a roly-poly retrieve brought several follows from some impressive looking trout including a blue trout that looked a good five pound plus. A few brief hook ups kept us casting until we eventually conceded defeat at around 6:30pm the sun slowly setting to close what had been a magnificent autumn day.

Our lack of catching was certainly nothing to do with a lack of trout in the lake for the stocking of Wimbleball is regular and often with fin perfect rainbows that will take you to the backing. Large waters like Wimbleball are my favourite trout waters for success is sometimes hard earned but all the more rewarding for that.

Once again we resumed tales of bygone days at the pub that evening. Eagerly plotting future forays and discussing the state of the world.

After a delicious Full English on the Sunday morning, we set off for home another collection of memories etched upon our minds. The Old Fisher Farts will hopefully reunite in the spring of 2022.

SWL Trout Fishing Report

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September 2021

All of the South West Lakes Trust trout fisheries continue to be operated under strict Covid 19 restrictions, in line with the current Angling Trust and Government guidelines. At the time of writing the on-site permit huts are still not yet open, so day tickets, season tickets, and boats should be pre-booked online (www.swlakestrust.org.uk/trout-fishing) or via the telephone.

Water levels are currently about 80% full, with the fish at the brown trout waters generally responding better to the warmer water conditions.

Fishing:

Kennick – The month proved to be another of very mixed weather, with some very hot bright days, followed by heavy rain and winds – the main overriding feature continued to be one of warm, muggy conditions, and water temperatures continuing to gradually rise (to 20ºC), which often meant that the fish were lethargic and seeking the deeper cooler water, with boat anglers and float-tubers often enjoying better results.

As the month continued, the fishing became more challenging in spite of plenty of hatches (buzzers and sedges) and rises, and the feeding fish were often out of casting range for bank anglers. A slow retrieve produced the best results, with both floating and sinking lines catching fish; fish were well spread out around the lake, although Clampitts Bay, Oak Tree Point and Boat Bank did seem to produce the moist consistent sport. A wide selection of patterns caught fish, from Daddies, Black Gnats, Klinkhammers, and Emergers on the surface; Montanas, Damsels, Buzzer patterns, and Diawl Bachs subsurface; Cats Whiskers, Lime Boobies, Black Tadpoles, and Orange or Lime Blobs in deeper water.

Brian Sedgebeer (from Ilsington) caught five wild browns using a black and silver muddler skimmed across the surface in an evening session; Robert Boniface (from Exeter) caught four rainbows of 2lb and a 1lb brown on a sinking line; Graham Read (from Christow) caught two 2lb rainbows on  a lime green Booby on the drop using a sinking line.

Siblyback – A very tough month’s fishing at Siblyback produced disappointing results, with few fish rising (although some fish are showing at sunset), and few anglers on the banks. Geoff Cook (from Falmouth) managed to hook three rainbows estimated at 2lb using a small yellow lure fished deep and fast, before losing all three at the net! Sport should pick up as the water temperatures start to drop.

Burrator – The fishing continued to be challenging this month, with anglers only averaging around one fish per visit, and nothing of any notable size being caught. Occasional buzzer hatches produced sporadic and brief rises, and apart from a few dry Sedges and Daddies, most fish were caught sub-surface on a variety of patterns (including Damsels, Montanas, Buzzers, Diawl Bachs and Cats Whiskers), with Longstone Bank and West Bank the most productive areas. David Hockin (from Plymouth) caught six rainbows while fishing from a boat using a sink-tip line during a buzzer hatch; Andrew Brown (from Chelmsford) caught a 3lb rainbow, and two more at 2lb; Tim Robinson (from Denmead) caught four wild browns to 1lb using a size 12 Sedgehog.

Bob Prout 3lb 2oz Burrator brown

Stithians – There are plenty of Rudd fry in the margins at Stithians, and this has, on occasions, made for some good fry-bashing. Although surface rises have been slow, dry fly fishing has produced some good sport, with anglers successfully using Daddies, Foam Beetles, Hoppers, Sedges, Adams and Sedgehogs. Rewarding sub-surface patterns fished on a floating line included Spiders, Hares Ears, Buzzers, Diawl Bachs, and Montanas. Fish were well spread out around the lake, although Pipes Bay, Goonlaze, Hollis Bank and Mossopps were all regularly mentioned on catch returns. Simon Peters (from Truro) caught two rainbows of 2lb using Fabs fished on a floating line with a long leader; T. Marks caught five fish using a Sedgehog.

Colliford – Another sensational month’s sport at Colliford, with anglers averaging 4.8 fish per rod. Fish were well spread out around the water, and dry patterns fished on a floating line (Red Hoppers, Foam Beetles, Black Gnats, Bobs Bits and Sedge patterns) produced some spectacular catches – Dean Boucher (from Gunnislake) had some excellent sessions (sixteen browns at 1lb 4oz on a Foam Beetle, Red Hopper, and Black Bits in one, ten browns to 1lb 14oz using a Black Tadpole on another, and nineteen browns on another using a Soldier Palmer). Chris Tilyard caught ten fish to 33cm using Black Gnats and dry Hares Ear patterns; Alan Judd caught eleven browns on a Soldier Palmer; Phil Messenger-Roberts caught fourteen and eight browns in two visits, mainly using a Soldier Palmer.

Fernworthy – Anglers averaged just under three fish per rod, with plenty of fish rising to dry patterns (Daddies, Klinkhammers, Foam Beetles, Bits, Hoppers and black Gnats); otherwise a selection of subsurface nymphs and traditional patterns fished on a floating line with a variety of retrieval speeds produced results. Again, fish were well distributed around the water, with no particular location standing out. Notable catches included Eric Kuchenbecker’s three browns to 2lb, caught on a Diawl Bach fished on a floating line; Richard Pleydell (from Exeter) caught six browns using a Kate Maclaren and Black Midge; Daniel Price (from Crediton) caught seven browns in one session, while Roy Gill (from Exmouth) caught five using a size 12 Klinkhammer.

Roadford – The weekly averages ranged dramatically at Roadford, from one week when only small perch were caught, to another week in early September when anglers averaged just under 3.2 browns per rod (when there was some sunshine and a nice ripple on the water, and a few Buzzers and Sedges hatching). Daveys Bank, Wortha Inlet and Grinnacombe proved to be the best locations, with Black Tadpoles, Soldier Palmers, Hoppers, Bibios, Diawl Bachs, Shipmans Buzzers and Hares Ears all proving popular patterns. Jamie Gillman (from Plympton) enjoyed some fabulous sport, catching twenty-four browns to 3lb, while John McCallum (from Westward Ho!) caught two browns to 2lb using a floating line and fast retrieve.

Please visit the South West Lakes Trust website (www.swlakestrust.org.uk/trout-fishing) for details on ticket prices, fishery information, clubs, competitions, and boat availability.

Chris Hall (September 2021)

For more information, please contact:

Annabel Underwood

Communications and Marketing Manager

South West Lakes Trust

01566 771930

[email protected]

South West Lakes Trout Fisheries Report August 2021

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Please see below the latest report from SWLT. Not included in the report but shown in the pictures are several coarse fish landed by Fly Fisherman. These coarse fish can offer excellent sport with carp present in Roadford, Colliford and Kennick. Large numbers of Rudd also offer great sport at Wistlandpound and Stithians. Large perch are also present at Roadford where lure fishing boats are available.

All of the South West Lakes Trust trout fisheries continue to be operated under strict Covid-19 restrictions, in line with the Angling Trust and Government guidelines. At the time of writing, the on-site permit huts are still not yet open, so day tickets, season tickets and boats should be pre-booked online (www.swlakestrust.org.uk/trout-fishing). Water levels are currently about 90% full.

Fishing:

Kennick – The month proved to be one of very mixed weather, with some very hot bright days, followed by heavy rain and winds – the main overriding feature was of warm muggy conditions, and water temperatures gradually rising (to 19º), which in many cases drove the lethargic fish to deeper cooler water, with boat anglers tending to achieve the best results. In spite of plentiful hatches of sedges, buzzers, and damsels, surface feeding was mainly restricted to early mornings and late evenings. Generally intermediate or sinking lines with a slow retrieve proved to be the most successful method, with a wide selection of nymph and lure patterns all working well, although the occasional floating pattern (Claret Snaffler, Black Gnat, Daddies and Hoppers) did bring fish to the surface, with fish well spread out over the lake. Mark Skelley enjoyed a great dry fly session during a buzzer hatch, catching six rainbows between 2 and 3lbs, as well as a beautiful 2lb brown. Matt Baines had great sport from a float tube, catching nine 2lb rainbows; Adam Dale caught six 2lb rainbows using a Booby fished from a boat on a sinking line.

Siblyback – A tough month’s fishing at Siblyback produced disappointing results, particularly at the beginning and end of the month. The majority of fish caught were taken from Stocky Bay or North Bay (from a boat), with most of the action in the late afternoon or early evening. A slow retrieved Bibio on a floating line produced a 2lb rainbow and an 8oz brown for Andy Dexter, while Phil Messenger-Roberts caught five rainbows up to 2lb 4oz.

Burrator – The fishing proved challenging this month, with the warm conditions making the fish lethargic and not keen to feed, although sport did improve toward the end of the month. A variety of methods worked, and fish were caught on both floating and sinking lines, with a variety of retrieval speeds. Longstone and Pig Trough Bay produced the best fishing, with both nymph (Buzzers, Hares Ears, and Damsels) and lure patterns (Persuader, Kennick Killer, and Woolly Bugger) catching fish. The best fish caught in the month was a 3lb rainbow caught by Jon Rood; M. Cekella caught three rainbows to 2lb 8oz.

Stithians – The fishing improved at Stithians, with weekly averages up to 2.11 fish per angler, and fish chasing fry in the margins. Pipe Bay, Goonlaze Point, Pub Bay, Chapel Bay as well as the deeper water by the dam all produced good sport, with a wide selection of dry, nymph and lure (including fry) patterns all catching fish,  and floating line and washing-line tactics working well. Simon Peters (from Truro) enjoyed two excellent sessions, catching seven rainbows to 2lb in one, and two rainbows and three browns to 1lb 8oz four days later, using a washing-line set up (FAB on point, with Daddies and Hoppers) and slow figure-of-eight retrieve. Simon Peters caught 11 rainbows using a Damsel Nymph.

Colliford – The warm conditions did nothing to deter the eager feeding brown trout at Colliford, with anglers enjoying an overall monthly average of 4.2 fish per rod. Fish were well spread out around the lake (the best approach here is to keep on the move and cover as much water as possible), and floating lines were the most productive approach, with a selection of dry patterns (Beetles, Hoppers, Sedges, and Black Gnats), nymphs (Hares Ears, Damsels, and Bibios), and some lures (Black Tadpoles and Cormorants) as well as pulled Soldier Palmers all catching well. Dean Boucher caught twenty eight fish in two visits, using a red Hopper and foam Beetle. Chris Tillyard caught fourteen fish in two sessions using a dry Hares Ear and a Black Spider pattern; Chris also caught nine browns to 30cm on dries on another visit, and 5 browns to 33cm using a Silver Sedge dry and a Soldier Palmer Snatcher on yet another session.

Fernworthy – The fishing improved as the month progressed (the conditions were too hot earlier), and fish started to feed near the surface (mainly on Buzzers and Sedges). Thornworthy Bank and the South Bank proved to be the most productive locations, with Black Gnats, Midges, Beetles, Dry Sedges, Hawthornes, and Bibios fished on a slowly retrieved floating line producing the best results. Simon Madden caught a 2lb brown using a Damsel Nymph, Clive Garland (from Bampton) caught nine browns on a dry sedge, and Patrick Murphy (from Plymouth) caught six browns on a team of midges.

Roadford – The middle of the month produced the best results at Roadford, when anglers averaged just under four fish per rod. Daveys Bank, Gaddacombe, and the deeper water by the dam all fished well. Sub-surface patterns produced the best results, with either nymphs (Damsels, Montanas, Bibios, Buzzers, and Daiwl Bachs) or dark lures (Black Tadpoles, Black Wooly Buggers) producing the best results. Jamie Gillman (from Plymouth) caught ten browns to 2lbs using a Diawl Bach; Duncan Kier (from Belstone) caught eight browns to 2lb 8oz; Dean Boucher caught twelve browns in two sessions, all on a floating line.

Please visit the South West Lakes Trust website (www.swlakestrust.org.uk/trout-fishing) for details on ticket prices, fishery information, clubs, competitions, and boat availability.

South West Lakes Trout Fisheries Report June 2021

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Wistlandpound has been producing some good brown trout with several fish of over 1lb banked. Jason Hayes has had success with both brown trout and good quality Rudd. The Rudd are present in large numbers and can offer great sport on light fly tackle taking small dries and wets. Large wild browns feast on the Rudd fry and have been caught to over 3lb. The water clarity is excellent this season with no sign of the prolific algae blooms that have blighted the venue during recent seasons.

Kennick – The air and water continued to warm up in June, with a mid-month cold snap and heavy rain freshening the water. Weekly rod averages fell from 4.32 to 2.37 fish per angler as the month progressed. While some rising fish were taken on Beetles, Black Hoppers, Claret Snafflers, or Green Klinkhammers in the evening rise, most fish were caught subsurface with a slow figure-of-eight retrieve, using either nymphs (Diawl Bachs, Buzzers, and Montanas) or deeper fished lures (Tadpoles, Boobies, Cats Whiskers, and Kennick Killers). Favoured locations included the north end at Smithacott and the Causeway, Sycamore Wall, with boat anglers catching well in The Narrows and Boat Bay. Notable catches included nine rainbows to 3lb4oz by R.R., three rainbows to 3lb 8oz by Geoff V, and nine rainbows to 3lb caught by Malcome U.

The Snowbee Top Rod Competition was held on 13 June, and won by Alec Hoare of Abbotskerswell, with a bag of five fish weighing in at 8lb 12oz.

Siblyback – Some excellent fishing was enjoyed by Siblyback anglers, with rods averaging 3.16 fish per rod over the month. Plenty of beetle activity meant that fish were looking to the surface to feed, although with such plentiful food available, the fish were often very picky, and would ignore anglers’ offerings. Stocky Bay proved to be the most productive location, with a Damsel Nymph or Orange Gold Head nymph fished on a floating line and long leader proving successful in the deeper water by the dam. An Orange Blob fished as a dropper, with Black and Green Goldhead fished on the point also produced good results. John R had a couple of excellent sessions, catching eight rainbows to 2lb 6oz and eight rainbows to 2lb 8oz.

Burrator – Anglers enjoyed another great month’s fishing at Burrator, with anglers averaging 3.2 fish per rod, with the best locations being Longstone, Discovery Bank, and Sheepstor. As the month progressed, more Hawthorns and Beetles were evident, and plenty of surface activity (particularly during the morning and late afternoon), when floating lines and long leaders performed particularly well (especially when there was some cloud cover).Earlier in the month the fish tended to be at various depths – Mark M caught eleven fish on Black Buzzers and Pheasant Tail Nymphs, while Miles P caught twelve fish on a Pearly Spider and Tungsten Hares Ear.

Stithians – The fishing has really picked up at Stithians now – anglers averaged over 3.6 fish per rod, with early morning and evening sessions particularly productive. Numerous beetles blown onto the surface have produced some excellent dry fly fishing (Beetle patterns and Hoppers both caught well). Fish have been well spread out, and generally eager to feed near the surface – Mossops, Carnmenellis, and Yellowort Bay all proved to be excellent locations. Catches of note included bags of ten rainbows to 2lb caught by Tony C., seven fish to 2lb 9oz caught by Warren C., three rainbows to 2lb 8oz caught by Robert G., and ten rainbows and a small brown caught by John H.

Colliford – Weekly rod averages improved over the month, with the best week producing an average of 4.2 fish per angler. As is usual with Colliford, fish were well spread out around the lake, where keeping on the move with a stealthy approach produces good results. Fish have been feeding well throughout the day (with a lot of surface activity at first light and late evening), and if not on the surface, then no deeper than about one metre, so a floating line, often with a slow retrieve (or dry patterns fished statically), produced the best results, with fish often hitting the fly as it touched the water or on lift-off. Hoppers, Beetles, Sedges, Spiders, Hares Ears, Soldier Palmers and Buzzers all produced results, with the best bags including eleven browns caught on a Bibio by Philip H., Barbara L. catching thirteen browns to 1lb, and Daniel T. catching a bag of sixteen browns.

Fernworthy – Plenty of excellent bags were caught at Fernworthy in June, resulting in a rod average of just under four browns per angler. With plenty of insects being blown out of the woods onto the water, fish generally were feeding at or just below the surface, and smallish flies fished on the surface or just under with mixed retrieves produced the results. Fish fed well throughout the day, and would take eagerly even if not showing. Successful patterns included Zulu, Spiders, Black Nymphs, Gold Head Hares Ear, and Hoppers. The North Inlet and Permit Hut Bank both proved productive locations, with fish often fairly far out in the rippled water. Andrew Gooding enjoyed two good sessions catching twenty six fish; Andy W. caught ten browns to 2lb, as did Charles B., while Kevin Primmer caught twelve fish from a float tube, and David G. had fourteen fish.

Roadford – Here the fishing has been relatively quiet, with the fish still lying fairly deep (although some evenings have produced a reasonable rise), and a sinking line with a slow retrieve producing the best results; the fish moved nearer the surface to feed as the month progressed. Davies Bank, Grinnecombe, and the banks close to the centre proved to be the most productive. Duncan Kier caught the best bag – seven browns up to 1lb 8oz.

South West Lakes Trout Fisheries Report

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May 2021

All of the South West Lakes Trust trout fisheries continue to be operated under strict Covid-19 restrictions, in line with the Angling Trust and Government guidelines. At the time of writing, the on-site permit huts are still not yet open, so day tickets, season tickets, and boats should be pre-booked online (www.swlakestrust.org.uk/trout-fishing).

Fishing:

Kennick – The water continues to warm up, although strong, cold winds and one of the wettest Mays on record have meant that this is a slow process, and fishing on some days has been challenging. In spite of this, anglers from both bank and boat have enjoyed some excellent sport, averaging just over three fish per rod (mainly rainbows, along with a few browns). There have been plenty of buzzer hatches, and when these occur, the fish tend to lie in shallow water taking buzzer patterns just under the surface; otherwise, fish tend to be feeding 10-12’ below the surface. In addition to buzzer patterns, other successful flies included Diawl Bachs, Damsel Nymphs, or deeper fished lures (such as Orange Blobs, Cormorants, and Cats Whiskers). Fish were well spread out, with anglers catching well at Clampitts Bay, Oak Tree Point, and off the Lawns, with boats also picking up fish in Boat Bay. Plenty of decent bags were caught, including a bag of ten fish caught by Geoff V, nine rainbows to 2lb 8oz caught by Matt B, ten rainbows to 2lb 8oz caught by Malcome Ure, and nine fish to 3lb caught by James H. David B caught the best fish early in the month – a 4lb rainbow.

Siblyback – Stocky Bay, Crylla, and Two Meadows proved to be the best locations, with rods averaging 3.3 fish per rod. Floating lines with a slow retrieve proved to be the most effective method, with fish often taking just below the surface. Successful patterns included Montanas, Black Buzzers, Diawl Bachs, and Damsels, with the occasional fish coming up to take a Beetle, Sedge, or Black Gnat; otherwise pulled lures (Green Baby Doll, Viva, or Appetiser) caught fish in deeper water. George H caught five rainbows to 4lb in an evening session using Back Sedges and Bibios, while Al L caught a bag of 8 rainbows.

Burrator – Another great month’s fishing at Burrator in spite of the weather, with anglers averaging 4.5 fish per rod. The best locations were Longstone, Pines Bay, Pig Trough, and Sheepstor. Fish have been well distributed throughout the water column, with anglers catching on floating, intermediate, and sinking lines, usually with a slow retrieve. With occasional fish moving on the surface, dry patterns (including Foam-backed Beetles and Sedges) have met with some success, although nymphs (Diawl Back, Hares Ear, Pheasant Tail, Damsel, and Montana nymphs) and deeper fished lures (Cormorant, Cats Whisker, and Kennick Killer) have proved the most effective. Better bags included nine rainbows, caught by Alan J; six rainbows to 4lb; and Simon Jeffries catching a ‘full house’ of five rainbows, three browns, and a blue in one session.

Stithians – With plenty of surface activity (especially in the evenings) and terrestrials being blown onto the water, floating lines and dry patterns (Foam-Head Hoppers and Hawthornes in particular) have been producing some exciting sport, with some decent bags of fish up to 2lb 4oz. Nymph patterns (Hares Ear, Montana, Diawl Bach, and Buzzer) and Lures (Viva, Cormorant, Kennick Killer) have both worked well with the deeper feeding fish. Fish are well spread out around the water, with anglers reporting a variety of successful locations (including Yellowort, Pipe Bay, Mossops, and Carnmenellis).

Colliford – Weather conditions have played a crucial part in the sport at Colliford this month, when a sudden change (such as a change of wind direction, cloud cover, or rain) has killed off what had started as a promising day’s sport of feeding fish and surface activity. Nevertheless, slow retrieved nymphs (Diawl Bachs, Buzzers, and Crunchers) on floating lines worked well for roving anglers, and when conditions permitted, a Dry Sedge or Bob’s Bits brought fish up to the surface. Successful locations included Hut Bay, the Dam area, and Browngelly Bay.

Fernworthy – In spite of the challenging weather conditions, anglers averaged three fish per rod in May, on either sub-surface nymph patterns (Damsels, Black and Peacock Spider, and Hares Ear) or, as there have been good hatches, with plenty of fish moving on the surface, small dries (Black Gnats in particular) fished on the surface letting the wind take the fly naturally; fish have also been rising to take a twitched sedge pattern. The most popular and successful location has been the bank near the permit hut, with anglers finding fish while fishing the margins. The better bags included eleven fish caught by Andrew G, and eight fish caught by Stuart M.

Roadford – Rods averaged around four fish per rod over the month, and while fish are well spread out around the lake, Big Oaks, Grinnacombe, and Goodacre Bay are worth a mention, with both boat and bank anglers catching fish. The trout are present throughout the water column, and are being caught on floating, intermediate, and sinking lines with a wide variety of patterns, from dry Hawthornes to a selection of nymphs (Pheasant Tails, Orange Buzzers, Montanas, and Damsels), and deeper-fished lures (Tadpoles and Woolly Buggers) – all with a slow pull retrieve. Notable bags included eight browns to 12” caught by Ian S, seven fish to 1lb 8oz caught by Duncan Kier, and five browns caught by Gary Stickland.

Please visit the South West Lakes Trust website (www.swlakestrust.org.uk/trout-fishing) for the latest Covid-19 updates, as well as details on ticket prices, fishery information, clubs, competitions, and boat availability.

Chris Hall (May 2021)

 

BLAKEWELL FISHERY

Blakewell Fishery is a picturesque and tranquil small-water trout fishery that is located just over a mile from the market town of Barnstaple. The clear waters offer quality Fly Fishing for rainbow trout and brown trout that are stocked into double figures attracting anglers from across the region.

The fishery is best approached using a light to medium outfit (6/7wt) with floating lines and imitative patterns working throughout the year. Day Tickets are £45.00 for a five fish limit. You can book online or call Richard Nickell on 07884 073932

The venue is perfect for new comers to Fly Fishing as it is less-intimidating than larger venues that may prove off putting to those starting out. Fly Fishing tuition is available on site with resident instructors. See Website for full details. www.blakewell.co.uk

The fishing is often at its best during the winter months when the trout flourish in the cool water that flows in from Bradiford Water.

A Brace of Winter Doubles

Blakewell Features in Trout & salmon

I always tend to associate Spring with trout and salmon fishing so when picking up the Tesco shop I indulged in the April Edition of Trout and Salmon Magazine. Browsing through its pages of pleasing images I was delighted to come upon local fishery owner Richard Nickell’s familiar smiling features.

The magazine has another excellent feature on trout fishing on Dartmoor with local cane rod builder Luke Bannister.

A pleasing brace of doubles taken on my last visit to Blakewell back in December.

South West Lakes Trout Fisheries Report

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South West Lakes Trout Fisheries Report

February 2021

General:

At the time of writing, only two of South West Lakes’ rainbow trout fisheries have opened (Kennick and Siblyback), with Stithians and Burrator opening on 5 March for season permit holders and 6 March for day tickets. The brown trout fisheries open on 15 March (Roadford, Colliford, Fernworthy and Wistlandpound).

The fisheries will all be operating under strict Covid19 restrictions, in line with the Angling Trust and Government guidelines. This means that the fishing will be available to local anglers only, until the current travel restrictions are lifted. The on-site permit huts will not be open, so day tickets, season tickets and boats should be pre-booked online – www.swlakestrust.org.uk/trout-fishing.

Fishing:

Kennick – The season began with a cold snap, but with some superb fishing, with rods averaging 6.5 fish per angler in the opening week. As one would expect, the fish were lying deep, with fish often taking on the drop, with the best sport to be had in Forest and Clampitts Bays and the deep water by the dam, with weighted Damsel Nymphs, Montanas, and lure patterns (Boobies, Tadpoles and Orange Blobs) all working well. The best bag caught in the month was 20 fish (19 returned) caught by M.Dadd, with Mark M catching 14 fish up to 3lbs on a Blob fished on a sinking line from the bank.

Siblyback – The cold easterly winds made the fishing at Siblyback on the opening weekend challenging, with the sheltered banks in Stocky Bay producing the best sport as well as the most comfortable conditions, with Blobs and slow-fished Damsel Nymphs catching well. As the month progressed, and the wind direction changed, the North Shore and West Bank also started to produce fish, with Montanas, small nymphs and spiders on intermediate lines attracting fish, and rod averages improving to 2.55 fish per angler. P.Murphey caught the best fish – a 3lb rainbow, while G.Hext caught 11 rainbows and a superb 2lb Brown on his first two visits of the season.

2021 Trout Fishing Pre-season Newsletter South West Lakes

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Introduction

A new season is upon us already. Having closed our Rainbow waters at Christmas it’s been a short turnaround this winter. I’m sure you can’t wait to wet a line again, especially with the current health crisis. One thing I have found during the current lockdown is that having something to look forward to is absolutely vital at the moment and I cant wait for the trout season to open! I’ve bought some new waders and some new wellies and I will be spending as much time fishing as I can this year.
I hope that you enjoy your season, wherever you fish.

Ben Smeeth 

Covid-19 Update

We are opening and stocking our fisheries as planned but please remember, when visiting our trout fisheries, you must read and adhere to the information below which highlights the restrictions in place so we can continue to fish.

  • Fishing is allowed as exercise so long as participants adhere to the rules of staying local, gathering limits, social distancing and limiting the time spent outdoors. (DCMS 06/01/2021)
  • Only local travel is permitted for the purpose of daily exercise as set out in the Government’s travel guidance.
  • The local area is specified as the town, village or part of the city in which you live. There is recognition that there will be a need to travel for outdoor exercise, this should be done locally, but you can travel a short distance within your area.
  • Anglers will need to apply judgement in defining their local area.
  • Boat fishing can continue and the boat fishing rules and regulations during Covid-19 remain in place.
  • You can only fish with members of your own household, your support bubble or with one other individual.
  • You must adhere to social distancing measures: Hands, Face and Space.

Competition fishing, or any other organised fishing event, is prohibited by law during lockdown.

For further information on local exercise please visit the Angling Trust website or the Government website.

2021 Pricing and Dates

Our prices for all day and season tickets have remained the same as 2020.

All of the prices can be found here.

The opening dates are as follows:

Rainbows:
Kennick and Siblyback – 13 February
Stithians and Burrator – 6 March

Season ticket holders for the Rainbow waters can fish one day earlier than day ticket anglers.

Browns:
Roadford, Colliford, Fernworthy and Wistlandpound – 15 March

New Trout Website LaunchedWe have launched a new trout fishing website which has all of the information you need for your trout fishing with us this year.

We have made buying your ticket easier with the new ‘buy a ticket’ option on the homepage.

All of the weekly catch reports and summaries, along with the latest news, are all displayed prominently making them easy to find.

We have also made completing a catch report much easier with the catch return tab on the homepage.

www.swlakestrust.org.uk/trout-fishing

Season Tickets

Season permits can be purchased directly from our websiteAlternatively, please give our head office a call on 01566 771930 or drop me a line on 01288 321262 and we will be more than happy to help you purchase your ticket over the phone.

Why buy a season permit?

  • You can fish a day before our day ticket anglers at the Rainbow waters
  • You can fish as many times as you would like throughout the season as long as weekly bag limits are not exceeded
  • It gives you the flexibility to fish for an hour or the whole day
  • Boats are £10 per day instead of £15
  • We have multiple lake season tickets with our all waters and castabout (brown trout) options
  • If you are a member of the Burrator Fly Fishers, Siblyback Fly Fishers, Kennick Fly Fishers or CAST fly fishing club (Stithians) we will give you 5% off your season permit
  • If we extend the season to the end of November your ticket will be extended without charge
  • You won’t have a to buy a day ticket every time you fish

Stocking

Our stocking in 2021 will be done by two suppliers with our Rainbows coming from Mark Underhill at Rainbow Valley Trout Farm.

In 2020 the Rainbow’s supplied by Rainbow Valley were extremely hard fighting, quite often stripping line to the backing!

The Browns are coming from Richard Howe and his team at Torre Trout Farms.

We know all the fish will be of high quality and be sure to give you some great sport as always.

Day Permits

Our permit rooms on sites will be closed until further notice with the coronavirus situation.

Permits are only available through our website or by calling our main office on 01566 771930.

Please note, the office is open Monday to Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm.

Tickets can be purchased days in advance of your visit.

Castabout Ticket

I want to highlight the value for money with the Castabout ticket. This ticket covers all four of our brown trout waters, three of which are stocked (Colliford, Fernworthy and Roadford) and Wistlandpound where the fishing is for previously stocked and wild fish. At £250 for a full season, or £212.50 for concession, the value for money is outstanding.

Roadford in particular fished absolutely superb last season with 110 browns to 3lb being caught in the last week of the season by just 11 anglers! Colliford showed glimpses of returning to its former glory and, although we are not there yet, we are working towards it. Numerous fish of 2lbs were caught with the majority being released to fight another day.

Fernworthy wasn’t its usual self in 2020 but still provided plenty of pulls. I’m expecting the fishing to be great this season when we stock more fish into the lake.

Competitions

  • 11 April – The Snowbee team of four competition at Siblyback
  • 2 May – Kennick bank pairs
  • 23 May – Cornwall v Devon at Siblyback
  • 20 June – Kennick Peninsula Classic singles
  • 17 October – Best of the Best final at Kennick

The Best of the Best competition, sponsored by Snowbee, has a £2,000 prize fund for the final. Here’s how it works:

  • There will be 6 heats of 12 anglers maximum
  • 6 will qualify for the final from each heat leaving 36 anglers in the final at Kennick on 17 October

The dates for the heats are:

  • Siblyback – 6 March
  • Kennick – 20 March
  • Stithians – 24 April
  • Burrator – 8 May
  • Siblyback – 29 May
  • Kennick – 2 October

If you would like more information on any of the competitions please visit our website. If you would like to book onto one of the heats please call our office on 01566 771930.

A Sunday morning brace of trout

It was good to be beside the calm waters of my local trout fishery as a weak wintry sun peeped through the morning clouds. I threaded a five weight floater line through the rings relishing a quiet couple of hours searching the water. I tied a buoyant fly from barbless flies https://www.barbless-flies.co.uk/products/stillwater-dinkhamer-selection  and suspended a couple of small nymphs beneath it. I stretched the line out across the water retrieving at a slow pace focussing on the floating fly. On the second cast the fly disappeared and I tightened and felt the pleasing resistance of a rainbow trout.

I spent the next half an hour enjoying the motions of fly fishing. The swish off the rod and pleasing settling down of flies and line one upon the calm water. With no further action I pondered upon the fact that a trout so often falls on the first couple of casts at the water. It is as if the catching of that first fish transmits a warning to the lakes residents?

A change of tactics is called for and I tie on an olive damsel removing the buoyant Dinkhammer and cast out allowing the bead headed lure to sink deeper into the lake. After a couple of casts the line draws tight and a vividly spotted full tailed brown trout is brought protesting to the net.

With a brace of trout secured its time to stroll back along the lakeside taking note of the daffodils pushing forth in a promise of the coming spring.

I return home for Sunday dinner and still have time for a walk around the village on a quiet winters day with thoughts of better times ahead.