Winter Trout Sport at Bulldog

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The cold frosty days of winter are to be enjoyed as the rainbow trout seem to relish the cooler waters. The recently expanded lake at Bulldog Fishery is certainly giving fine sport to visiting anglers.

Tim and Andy were certainly glad they made the 100mile round trip to fish Bulldog today!
After making the trip the boys wasted no time in wetting the fly.  After a slightly slow start, the bites soon came in hard and fast in the afternoon. The result – a fantastic day on the bank!
Biggest of the day weighing in at 4lb4oz with a lot of the catch not being far behind!


Looking for the perfect Christmas gift this year? Look no further how about surprising your loved ones with a gift voucher for the fishery!
Simply call or message with the details of what ticket you’d like to gift, and we will post the voucher directly to you 📬 It couldn’t be easier 🎄🎅
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Nigel Early would Like to say a big thankyou to my son Tom for an amazing two weeks in Thailand. It included a weeks fishing at Exotic fishing where we caught red tailed cat fish,chao prias and to top it off Tom caught this near 300lb mekong cat fish. Then off to the coast for a week chilling where we saw and met some lovely people, several trips out but to me the highlight was a trip to the elephant sanctuary which was an unbelievable experience. It only remains me to say thankyou Tom for a wonderful 65th birthday present.

The new trout lake is fishing well since being recently enlarged and has been well stocked with rainbows, Spartics and brown trout.

The venues carp lake is producing regular catches of twenty pound plus carp.


I joined members of South Molton Angling Club at Bulldog Fishery for one of their monthly fishing competitions fishing for the Mac McCarthy Trophy. The trout fishing lake has undergone a significant transformation since my last visit and is now twice the size of the previous lake with the dividing roadway removed to create one large lake. This has been generously stocked with rainbows to 7lb and a mix of spartics and browns.

A good number of club members were in attendance in addition to a few day ticket visitors and it was immediatly apparent that the lake could now  host a dozen or more anglers in comfort. A strong South West wind was blowing up the valley with occasional drizzle driven over the lake. Despite the rather gloomy weather it was at least mild and everyone was in good spirits as they tackled up and took up places at the waters edge.

I set up with an intermediate Snowbee line and tied on the ever reliable damsel nymph with a black cormorant on a dropper. I chose to fish close to the lake inlet with the raging and murky River Yeo racing down behind me. The water in the lake was surprisingly clear despite heavy rain over previous days and I could see the occasional rainbow trout cruising in the margins. I put out the line allowed the the flies to sink slowly before beginning a slow irratic retrieve.

After three or for casts  the line tightened and I felt the pleasing tug of a trout. A hard fighting rainbow was eventually pulled over the rim of the net. I added two more full tailed rainbows over the next twenty minutes to complete my three fish bag,

I poured a coffee and took a walk around the lake catching a few images of other anglers enjoyed tempting the lakes trout. Several trout to over four pound were caught including some good fish by anglers trying fly fishing for the first time. It was interesting to note how some experienced anglers were struggling to complete their bags whilst others were catching the trout with ease. Subtle differences in presentation can make all the difference to success whilst at other times trout determine that the lucky angler bags up.

The late Autumn and Winter months offer great sport at small Stillwaters with weed growth at a minimum and trout in tip top condition in the Cool water.

( Above) Brian Sedgebeer with a fine 4lb rainbow
Danny Boyles with a brace of rainbows

Book Signing – Song of the Streams

Pauline and I enjoyed visiting Dulverton and Lance Nicholsons -Fishing and Guns  at the book signing for ‘Song of the Streams’ by Michelle Werrett. Michelle Werrett and Robin Baker have collaborated to produce a beautiful book that is an important milestone in Exmoors Fishing literature. The combination of descriptive  evocative writing and atmospheric photography makes it a must have addition to any bookshelf of those who love Exmoor and its streams.

See my review here :-



         Waterproofs hanging drying beside the Wood-burner reflected the story of the previous day as we sat enjoying coffees and full English in the George Inn at Brompton Regis. I was with Snowbee Ambassador Jeff Pearce, Nigel Evans and Andy Jesson who had fished in a friendly competition at Wimbleball the previous day.

         The nine competitors had recorded thirty trout in a close run event that had seen them battling some pretty severe weather as the strong winds and rain of Storm Babet brushed the West Country. On practice day Nigel and Andy had boated 29 trout between them so were slightly baffled at the relatively reduced catches on match day.

         Breakfast chat included in depth analysis of match day and then diverged to include the problems of the wider world and the intricacies of drone flying. These included several accounts of expensive drone crash disasters that must have been stressful for their owners at the time yet highly entertaining in the subsequent retelling. Strange how tales of disaster are often recounted and savoured with an ironic humour frequently lurking far longer than successful events. A bit like the memory of a big fish lost at the net that lingers painfully for years.

         Feeling fortified we all set off for Wimbleball confident after referring to the latest from the met office inferring that today’s weather would be better.

         After five minutes with the bilge pump to empty the boat Jeff and I set off under grey skies to the sheltered waters of the Upton Arm.

         Tinges of autumn showed upon the wooded banks with shades of golden brown amongst the still predominantly green canopy. The Upton Arm at Wimbleball is sheltered by steep wooded banks and always seems to have a unique other world atmosphere.

         Jeff manoeuvred the boat into position in an area that had proved productive over recent days. I eagerly extended my Snowbee intermediate line and began to retrieve the team of flies. A solid jolt was transmitted down the line to be followed by an acrobatic trout!

The resulting 2lb plus rainbow was a great start to the day and ensured I had at least ensured my ongoing 100% catch rate during the modern Wimbleball era.

         The successful fly was the ever reliable gold headed blue flash damsel on the point. I constantly reiterate that it is important to tie on a fly that gives confidence. I probably catch more than 50% of my still-water trout on this pattern and that is undoubtedly due to my confidence in its use. I am not generally one to swap and change flies repeatedly preferring to try different depths and speeds of retrieve before swapping patterns.

         We could see fish moving on a regular basis further along the bank and moved towards these fish. Once again my fly was seized, there was a flurry of spray and an angry rainbow erupted from the water.

     Over the first hour or so the pattern continued and Jeff also started to hook up with some hard fighting rainbows. All full tailed fish in splendid condition. It soon became obvious that the fish were tightly shoaled as we glimpsed numerous fish in the dark clear water as they followed our flies.

         Sport was to be consistent throughout the day with some epic battles with Wimbleball’s finest the best of the trout nudging 4lb and averaging close to 3lb.

         It was the weather though that will linger in the memory along with persistently bent rods and purring reels. The dark skies brought some brutal showers on the tail end of storm Babet.

         It seems that we are increasingly weathering the storms to go fishing. Fortunately, modern waterproofs are up to the job ensuring that fishing is enjoyable in even the most hostile of conditions. There can be few climate change deniers amongst the angling fraternity.

         Sport proved consistent as the day drifted past all too quickly. The high banks of the Upton Valley provided welcome shelter from the wind and we were joined by Nigel and Andy who fished a hundred yards or so behind us. They too enjoyed consistent action and also noticed that most of the fish were patrolling one side of the bay hugging the shoreline.

         A red kite soared high above the valley as the rain eased. The calm surface of the lake reflected the dark trees and as the showers passed by wisps of mist lifted from the lake.

         By mid-afternoon we had caught 19 rainbows releasing all but a couple at the side of the boat. Barbless hooks and rubber meshed Snowbee nets ensuring minimal damage.

         Inevitably sport eased and we decided upon a change of scenery heading back to the yacht club bay for a final hour. We had a quick drift without success and then proceeded to drop the anchor. A small wild brownie brought the days total to twenty.

         Another brutal shower descended upon the lake and a rainbow appeared briefly as the late afternoon sun momentarily broke through the clouds. The trout proved elusive probably switched off the feed for we felt sure they would be present in the area that had been productive over recent days.

In truth I wasn’t too upset when Jeff suggested he had had enough, I had too!

         It had been a top day on the lake a water that has provided some spectacular sport under the management of Mark Underhill and his family since 2018. Wimbleball is not always an easy water with a vast acreage the trout can sometimes prove elusive but it is always well stocked with pristine conditioned rainbows. There is always the added chance of connecting with one of the lakes wild brownies that have grown large feeding upon the abundant fry.

         Winter sport can be enjoyed with plans under consideration to remain open for most of the winter.


The River Test in Hampshire is undoubtedly the worlds most revered Chalk Stream its gin clear waters flowing through country estates whose names are steeped in the history of fly fishing. Its waters fished by the likes of F M Halford who penned the classic tomes Floating Flies and How to Dress Them in 1886 followed by Dry Fly Fishing in Theory and Practice in 1889. Halfords Dry Fly Tactics were controversially questioned when G E M Skues published his books Minor Tactics of the Chalk Stream and The Way of the Trout with the Fly.

A century later Fly Fishing rules on the River Test still reflect the tactics employed by Halford and Skues. In truth these codes of conduct ensure that a degree of sportsmanship and etiquette are practiced on a River that is trout fishing equivalent to Crickets Lords or Tennis’s Wimbledon.

So, what is it like to fish the River Test? I was privileged to be invited for a day’s fishing on a beat a few miles below Stockbridge in the heart of the Test Valley.

We arrived at the River for a 9.00am start assembling our tackle beside the fishing hut. Fishing beats on the Test invariably have well equipped fishing huts where anglers can share tales of fishing forays, discuss tactics and put this ever changing world to rights.

It is early September and I noticed the onset of early autumn colours as I drove the country roads shrouded in trees. It is the end of a record breaking September week of high temperatures with over 30 degrees recorded for an unprecedented seven consecutive days.

It is exceptionally warm and humid with thunder forecast later in the day.

            Talk is that the fishing is going to be hard with the trout uninterested in feeding during the heat. We set off to search the water peering into the gin clear flow, lush water weeds swaying in the current. Its not difficult to spot our quarry if you’re  tuned into the task.

      I cast a small bead headed hares ear nymph up into the first pool I come too. After a couple of casts, I see a fish rise and change over to a grey Wulf dry fly. First cast the fly disappears in a delightful ring of water. I lift the rod and feel the pulsing of a hard fighting  River Test brown trout. I am using a 7ft Snowbee 3/4wt Classic, with a 2/5 WT Thistledown Line, the light rod absorbs the lunges of the trout protecting the gossamer 3.7 lb tippet I am using. At a couple of pounds, it’s a delightful start to a glorious day.

            The banks of the Rivers are carefully managed to provide a perfect experience for the angler. A strip of mowed grass provides a delectable fishers path, the rivers edge is  buffered with a strip of grass reed and wild flowers. This provides a haven for bees, pollinators and brilliant blue and green damsel flies. In parts the river dissects thick lush growth of reeds trees and bush that are a haven for birds and other wildlife.

            When the light is right peering into the gin clear waters is like looking into an aquarium, fry are abundant flitting around in the calmer eddies. The focus for the fly angler is of course the trout a mixture on this beat of wild browns and stocked brown and rainbows fish averaging 2lb with good numbers of fish between three and four pounds.

            The river here meanders through a maze of carriers criss-crossed by wooden bridges. It is a delight to stroll the banks spotting the trout that haunt the mesmerising waters. The clarity often disguises the true depth of the water and I need a long leader to ensure my tiny weighted nymphs can reach the trout suspended in ever flowing waters.

            After a couple of hours exploring the river we meet up in the fishing hut for a welcome coffee. There is no rush in this haven of tranquil riverside retreat.

The view from the fishing hut

    I catch more than my share of fine brown trout returning several to the river after spirited battles. In the afternoon the sun illuminates the river enriching the colours and exposing the shadows of trout resting between swaying fronds of ranuculus. I cast a nymph above a group of good sized brown trout, The biggest of the trout moves and I glimpse the white of its mouth. I lift the rod and the fish lifts in the clear water shaking its head. The light rod hoops over, the reel screams as the trout dashes into weed beds. I put on as much pressure as I dare with the ultra-light tackle, the trout leaps from the  water droplets of spray glisten in the hot afternoon sun. The trout’s image is imprinted forever in my mind’s eye a bar of gold and fiery copper leaping from the Tests revered waters. Eventually the big brown trout is almost beaten as I ready the net, it’s mine I think, but as I coax it to the net it gives a last shake of its head and the light tippet parts. The magnificent trout of perhaps five pounds sinks slowly back into its home and I watch it recover before swimming back to its station in the middle of the river.

            I sit back and contemplate my loss for a few minutes. The river flows majestically on its never ending journey. I tie on a new nymph and catch a couple more consolation fish the best a shade over 3lb.

            Its mid-afternoon and I have a long drive home. I savour a precious few moments sat absorbing the scene. It’s truly a riverside angling heaven, crystal clear waters, hard fighting trout and total peace. Once in a while it’s good to visit these legendary waters casting in the shadows of those who have created a tranquil stage in which to immerse and gather those piscatorial dreams.

            Before driving home, I take a short walk with my camera to try and capture the essence of the river. Its good to visit perfection from time to time but is it any more rewarding than those clear waters that tumble from the moors back home in Devon?

As a child I dangled a worm in the tiny river Umber in Combe Martin a lifetime away from casts on the revered Test. Those butter bellied miniature brown trout were every bit as beautiful as those of the Test so sad that their numbers have been allowed to dwindle.

            Rivers are the arteries of the land and it is so vital that we care for them by fighting pollution and over abstraction on every stream and river from the revered Test to babbling brook.

I stayed at an Air B & B near Andover the hosts son runs 

South West Lakes Trout Fisheries Report August 2023

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South West Lakes Trout Fisheries Report

August 2023

The weather was mixed throughout August, with a mixture of wind and rain as well as some warm humid days with the occasional thunderstorm, interspersed with some bright sunny days. Generally water levels continued to fall, although at a fairly slow rate.


Kennick – Boat and bank anglers both enjoyed equal measures of success, averaging just under two fish per rod, with both floating and sinking lines catching fish. Clampitts Bay, Smithacott, Poplar Bay, and The Narrows proved to be the most productive locations. In spite of some large hatches, only a few fish succumbed to dry patterns (Sedges, Daddies, Amber Hoppers, and Klinkhammers), with most fish preferring to feed sub-surface on a variety of wet and nymph patterns (Damsels, Montanas, Diawl Bachs) or lures (Boobies, Vivas, and Blobs). Peter Gilpin (from Newton Abbot) caught seven rainbows to 3lb, mainly on Green and Black Boobies; Graham Roberts (from Totnes) caught a nice 3lb rainbow, fishing deep from the bank at Poplar Bay. Anthony Jenkins (from Modbury) caught five rainbows to 3lb using a sinking line, fishing deep in Clampitts Bay using yellow and Black Blobs. Graham Roberts (from Torquay) caught four fish to 3lbs from a boat, including a spectacular, beautifully coloured  brown trout of 2lb 4oz, using a dry fly in Clampitts Bay.

Siblyback – Fishing continued to be challenging at Siblyback this month, with only very few surface feeding fish evident – this, however, changed in the last week of the month (when rod averages dramatically rose to six fish per rod). Floating lines were the most popular, with a few fish taking dry patterns (Hoppers and Black Gnats), and more taking sub-surface nymphs and wets (Diawl Bachs, Montanas, Soldier Palmers) or lures (Red Baby Dolls and White lures). Most fish were congregated around The Meadows, Stocky Bay, The North Bank, and by the dam. Simon Peters (from Truro) caught a bag of twelve rainbows, most fish coming to a single goldhead Blob, fished on a floating line and long leader, in Stockie Bay. Benjamin Lang (from Launceston) enjoyed a good session, catching a superb wild brown trout of 1lb 8oz from the Meadows bank using a Claret Hopper, as well as five rainbows to 2lb 8oz from the margins along the North Bank using Claret and Ginger Hoppers.

Burrator – Longstone, Lowery Point, Back Bay, and Bennetts South Bank produced most of the fish caught over the month, with anglers averaging just over two fish per rod. Large numbers of flying ants meant that plenty of fish were showing toward the end of the month, when floating line tactics tended to work well, often when pulling a Cats Whisker or Bibio Snatcher – Alan Lawson (from Plymouth) used this method to hook five rainbows to 2lb one morning; on another session Alan caught five rainbows to 2lb, four on a dry Sedge pattern. Mark Sinclair (from Horrabridge) caught three rainbows to 3lb, using a deep-fished intermediate line. Patrick Murphy (from Plymouth) caught a beautiful wild brown of 1lb 8oz in an evening session, fishing tight into the tree cover on South Bank.

Stithians – The fishing proved to be more challenging this month at Stithians, with anglers averaging just under two fish per rod. Generally floating lines with a range of retrieval methods worked best. Successful dry patterns included Sedgehogs, Black Beetles, Sedges, Daddies, Hoppers, and Hawthorns, while Black Pennells, Cormorants, Montanas, and Orange Nomads all caught deeper feeding fish. Fish were well spread out, but Yellowort, Pub Bay, Hollis, and Goonlaze all regularly featured on catch returns. Simon Peters (from Cusgarne) enjoyed a good early morning session fishing in the fog, catching two browns on Daddylonglegs, and three rainbows using Hoppers and fast retrieved Blobs. David Williams (from St Just) caught seven rainbows using Cormorants and Orange Blobs on a floating line.

Fernworthy –  A quiet month at Fernworthy, with little surface activity, in spite of plenty of flying ants on the water. Floating lines with fast retrieved sub-surface patterns (Blue Flash Damsels, Black and Peacock Spiders, Hares Ears, and Pheasant Tails) caught fish, mainly below the boathouse, Brownhills, and Thornworthy. Dave Redding (from Ropely, Hants) caught four browns to 45cm using a Black Gold Ribbed Hares Ear, while fishing in strong winds.

Colliford – Great sport continues at Colliford, with anglers averaging just under 5.5 fish per rod, and the best locations including Lord’s Waste, Fishery Hut Bay, and the bank by the dam (although it always pays to keep on the move and cover as much water as possible). Floating lines, fished either with single flies or teams of three wets, proved to be the most successful, with the most productive patterns including Soldier Palmers, Bibios, Blue Zulu, Daddy Longlegs, and Hares Ear Nymphs. Chris Tilyard (from Fraddon) caught nine browns (and lost another six) in one session, and 9 browns to 16” using a CDC Hopper fished close to the bank in another. Brian Robinson (from Chandlers Ford) caught a bag of sixteen browns to 1lb.

Roadford – The fishing has at last improved at Roadford, with anglers averaging over 5.8 fish per rod, with the best sport at South Wortha, Shop Bank, Grinnacombe, and the Big Oaks. Floating lines are the preferred method, fished in conjunction with a selection of nymph patterns (Hares Ear, Pheasant Tail, Diawl Bach, and Kate McLaren). Charles Langton (from Chagford) enjoyed an excellent session, catching nine browns to 14”, using nymphs and a floating line, some in less than a foot of water in the margins, while others were caught fifteen yards off the banks at Big Oaks.


Wistlandpound is giving good sport with rudd and quality brown trout.

Please see South West Lakes’ website ( for more information on buying tickets, boat availability and booking, and forthcoming events.

Chris Hall (August 2023)

South West Lakes Trout Fisheries Report July 2023

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South West Lakes Trout Fisheries Report

July 2023

The weather broke at the end of June, with cooler, wetter, and far more mixed weather conditions in July, although the water temperatures remained high, and fish generally kept to the deeper water and were reluctant to rise to feed.


Kennick – The water level continued to fall gradually, down to 89% capacity by the end of the month. In spite of plenty of surface insect activity – buzzer hatches and damsels on the surface, generally the fish stayed in the deeper water, and intermediate or sinking lines fished with lures (Nomads, Tadpoles, Boobies and Cats Whiskers) accounted for most catches, although nymphs (Damsels, Diawl Bachs, and small Buzzers) fished on floating or intermediate lines did catch the odd fish. Anglers averaged 1.5 fish per rod, although this did improve to two fish by the end of the month. Apart from the central deeper water fished by the boats, bank anglers managed to pick up fish at Bracken Point, Laployd Bank, Clampitts Bay, Oak Tree Point, and Boat Bank. John Shore (from Totnes) caught seven rainbows to 3lb, fishing from a boat, using a Black Fritz Nomad and a Blue Flash Damsel on a sinking line and short leader. Simon Vowles and Andy Sterrick enjoyed a good day’s boat fishing from a drifting boat using fast sinking lines with teams of flies (Booby on the point and Diawl Bachs on the droppers), catching eight fish between 2lb and 3lb 3oz, while Graham Roberts (from Totnes) caught four fish to 3lb while fishing from a boat.

The annual Peninsula Classic bank competition was held at the end of June – conditions were hard, and while fish could be seen cruising in the shallows, they were not eager to take the fly. Alex Venn caught three rainbows (bag weight 6lb 8oz) to win the competition, with Darren Penfold runner-up, and Dave Perks third.

Siblyback – Challenging conditions meant that anglers only averaged 1 fish per rod, with Stocky Bay, Two Meadows, and West Bank proving to be the best locations. A variety of dry patterns (Hoppers, Mayflies, and Suspender emergers) tempted fish to the surface, although, in the main, sub-surface nymphs (Buzzers and Montanas) and lures (Minky, Olive Blob, Pink GH Blob, and Boobies) fished on an intermediate line proved to be more successful.

Burrator – Anglers struggled with the summer conditions, barely averaging a fish per rod, with the best sport at Pig Trough, Longstone Point, and Bennetts Lawn. Again, as the month progressed, the fishing improved, with anglers averaging 2.5 fish per rod by the end. A slow, deep retrieve on a variety of lines proved to be the most successful, with catching flies including Buzzers, Damsels, Hares Ears, and Bibios, with Orange Blobs picking up deeper fish, and a dry Sedgehog tempting a few fish to the surface. Patrick Murphy (from Plymouth) caught a beautifully conditioned wild brown trout of 1lb 4oz fishing in the early evening.

Stithians – The fishing really picked up at Stithians in July, with anglers averaging 4.9 fish per rod, mainly on floating lines and a slow retrieve. Fish were well spread out around the banks, with most locations producing fish. Fish were eager to feed off the surface, and there were a number of successful dry patterns (including Olive Hoppers, Beetles, and Black Deerhair Emergers) as well as subsurface nymphs (Damsel Nymphs, Brown Spiders, Black and Peacock Spiders, and Montanas).

Fernworthy –  The warm, blustery, mixed weather conditions made for tougher fishing at Fernworthy, and anglers had to pick their days carefully. Rod averages increased to two fish per rod toward the end of the month. Fish could be tempted to the surface however, with most fish being caught on dry patterns (Black Gnat, Dry Sedge, Elk Hair Emerger, Klinkhammer, and Shipman’s Buzzer). Lowton Bay, the bank below the permit hut, and Thornworthy proved to be the locations producing the best sport. Richard Lane (from Westbury) caught five browns to 13” while fishing dries to an evening rise to a hatch of small black midges.

Colliford – In spite of low levels (currently 58%), this lake continues to fish superbly with plenty of surface activity and dry fly action. Anglers averaged 3.8 fish per rod, which rose to ten fish per angler toward the end of the month, with East Bank, Lords Waste, Stuffle, Browngelly Bay, and West Bank all fishing well. Successful dry patterns included Black Hoppers, Foam Beetles, Sedgehogs, Hawthorns, Black Sedges, and Black Bits, while sub-surface feeding fish were taken on Montanas, Mini Muddlers, and Black Spiders. Daniel Gilbert caught the best fish of the season so far – a beautiful brown trout of 45cm as part of a bag of nine fish caught on Soldier Palmers, Hawthorns, and Black and Peacocks. Nick Odle (from Looe) caught fourteen browns to 1lb3oz on a Bibio and Muddlers fished on a floating line. Simon Peters (from Cusgarne) caught fifteen browns to 1lb using a drowned Daddy on a floating line, before switching to a team of three – Hares Ear on the point, Black Pennel and Pink Wickhams on the droppers.

Roadford – Now down to 65% full, the fishing continues to be challenging, with anglers struggling to average a fish per rod. The main sport has been by the dam, with fishing coming to the surface to take a beetle.

Trout fishing newsletter from Ashley Bunning July 2023

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Dear fellow anglers,

The last few months have produced some fantastic fishing across the reservoirs. With the lower water temperatures through May, the rod average for the rainbow trout waters was around four to six, giving rise to fantastic days of action-packed sport. The Kennick Bank Pairs competition produced 90 rainbows and eight brown trout equating to a fish every four minutes. This led to a great competition enjoyed by all.

Fernworthy produced some brilliant sport from early May: Blue Zulu and Mini Humungous wet flies and Black and Claret Hopper dry flies produced the goods with anglers having a rod average of eight fish and five fish in late May.

As the months rolled on and the temperatures increased, catch reports reflected this. The weeks of bright sunshine and lack of rain made the fishing difficult on the rainbow trout waters and people had a mixed bag of results when fishing the lakes. Those who ventured out on the boats were able to fish the deeper areas of the lakes and enjoy better sport, whereas the bank angling became tougher.

The brown trout waters still produced some good sport; Colliford produced 34 fish to seven anglers in mid-June, with shorter mornings or evening sessions being popular due to the high temperatures.

New half-day and junior tickets

We’ve introduced two new trout fishing tickets this summer. You can now book a half-day ticket on our rainbow waters (Burrator, Kennick, Siblyback and Stithians), which allows anglers to fish for four hours at a time of their choice between dawn and dusk. We’ve introduced this as a more cost-effective way to fish during the summer months when the trout are less active, and to introduce new anglers to the sport.

We’re also offering a junior option on day permits (all trout waters) so that under 16s may fish for £8 with a bag limit of one fish, accompanied by a non-fishing guardian. Under 16s may still fish for free if accompanied by a full-paying adult.

Image above: Ryan Smith, Kennick
Image above: Jon Dyson, Burrator

Boat procedures

After working with the heads of affiliated fishing clubs on our rainbow trout waters, we have re-assessed the boat fishing procedures.

Firstly, the buddy system: from now on, if you are operating a fishing boat alone outside rescue cover hours or zone, you must ensure you have an agreed buddy system in place with either a person on the bank or another boat in the water.

Personal floatation: you can now bring your own personal floatation device. However, you must ensure it has been serviced in the last two years, is over 150N in buoyancy, is not over 10 years in age, is CE approved and in good working order. If you are unsure then you can always use one of ours provided on site.

Induction and disclaimers: you will need to sign a disclaimer before you can take a boat out. These will be available at the point of booking. The boat induction form will also need to be signed digitally if possible to confirm you have had one. The induction video has been revised to cover these new procedures and will be made available in the coming week

Image above: Jane Read, Kennick

Free taster day at Kennick

As part of National Fishing Month, join us at Kennick Reservoir on Saturday 5 August to have a go at fly fishing with local and experienced guides and anglers.

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

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, fishing gear and accessories available to buy from Turrall (cash only as no card facilities at Kennick) and a raffle, as well as countless tips and tricks to use going forwards.

Raffle tickets available in advance. Raffle prizes include Snowbee Classic Fly Rod, Fly Reel and Fly Line, Kennick Full Day Permit, Kennick Catch & Release Permit, Boat Permit.

Tickets are free but booking is essential.

Wimbleball Rainbows

It was good to be back at Wimbleball after a couple of months and I was relishing a day at this my favourite West Country lake. I was fishing with South Molton Angling Club who fish a series of days over the season were members can compete for the Mac Trophy awarded for the biggest trout recorded during these nominated days.

Several fellow members had elected to fish from the boats giving the opportunity to search the  vast lake for pods of feeding fish. I had chosen on this occasion to fish from the bank and had it in my mind to fish the shallow waters of the Rugg’s bank.

I set up with a floating line and a team of three flies. I waded out into the lake near the point and noted that the water level was still high and that it was exceptionally clear.

Bright sunshine with a cool brisk North Easterly breeze did not fill me with confidence but it was good to be working a fly with the lush green of spring all around.

            After twenty minutes without a pull, I walked further along the bank to find some slightly deeper water. After ten minutes I spotted a fish rise and put my team of flies into the vicinity. A savage pull and I was connected to a hard fighting rainbow of around 2lb that had taken a blue flash damsel on the point.

            After half an hour I fancied trying Cowmoor Bay and set off along the wooded path to emerge at the mouth of this vast bay. The bank on the opposite shore sloped up from the lake its grass incline decorated by a splash of golden buttercups. The water here was deeper and sheltered from the wind. To be honest it didn’t feel very fishy and after half an hour I tramped back close to where I had started.

            I replaced the point fly with a black bead headed Montana and started to fish methodically with a slow retrieve allowing the wind to drift the flies as I kept the line tight.

A couple of twitches transmitted down the line boosted my confidence and soon a good solid take resulted in a good rainbow gyrating on the end of the line leaping from the water on several occasions. At 3lb 6oz it was a pleasing full tailed fish that was to be followed five minutes later by a fish an ounce bigger at 3lb 7oz. I fished on and added two more full tailed rainbows to my bag both succumbing to the Montana.

            It was now close to 3.00pm and I decided to head home strolling back to the car on path lined with vivid yellow buttercups.

My next visit will be in summer when I hope to find the trout feasting on beetles a time that can offer superb dry fly sport.

            I found out later that it had been a tough day on the boats with no other club members boating more that three trout. Boat or bank is often a hard choice  with advantages to both. Fishing a well known bank mark can sometimes beat the boat for when fishing is hard persisting from the bank whilst covering less area ensures that the flies are in the water fishing throughout.