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.

Bulldog Fishery – Building a fine reputation

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Bull Dog Trout Fishery is fast establishing a reputation for quality trout fishing with some superb trout caught over the Christmas period. The Day ticket water offers a variety of trout to double figures and is a sheltered venue just minutes from Barnstaple. Day Tickets are £30 for 4 fish or £35 for 5 fish.

Trout Farm & Fishery

A few recent captures are shown below:-

Laurie with a Magnificent 8lb 12 oz rainbow.
Reef Patten with a double figure rainbow
(Above)Jon Patten with a fine brown trout
(Above) Sean Mutch with a pleasing 3.5 lb brownie
(Above) Harry Liddle with a fine bag of trout including rainbows 8 lb, 5lb 14oz, 6lb 6oz and 2lb followed by a 3 lb brownie.
(Above) Double figure rainbow for Reef Patten

South West Lakes Trust Trout Fisheries Report

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South West Lakes Trust Trout Fisheries Report

December 2020

General:

All of South West Lakes’ rainbow trout fisheries will stay open until 24 December. Please see website for details on tickets and prices as well as the latest Covid19 advice and restrictions – www.swlakesfishing.co.uk. Note that tickets may only be purchased online or over the telephone on 01566 771930. Water temperatures have been falling over all of the sites and, with stocking continuing through the month, the fishing has continued to be good with the fish lying in deeper water as the month progressed.

At Kennick the boat anglers enjoyed the best sport. Mr. M.Ure netted 14 fish, while Andy Birkett from Plymouth caught a bag of 13 fish up to 2lb 12oz in one session while drifting off the East Wall, pulling small white fry patterns about six feet down, and 12 fish on another visit. Matt Baines caught the best fish of the month – a rainbow of 3lb 5oz. Kevin Primmer caught rainbows of 3lb 4oz and 3lb in a bag of four fish.

Burrator continued to produce consistent sport using deeper fished gold-head patterns (Blue-flash Damsels and Montanas) and sunk lures, with plenty of fish up to 2lb caught, as well as a good number of blue trout.

The fishing at Stithians showed a marked improvement, with a number of reasonable bags (John Henderson caught nine fish up to 2lbs+ using orange patterns) and plenty of fish around 2lb being caught, the best being 2lb 8oz, mainly on sunk nymphs and lures, although George Eustace did manage to pick up a rainbow on an Olive and Black Hopper.

Season Summary:

In spite of the Covid restrictions, and the ‘stop-start’ availability of fishing, the 2020 season produced some good fishing across the region, especially at Burrator, Kennick and Siblyback, while the fishing improved toward the end of the season at Stithians and Roadford produced some outstanding sport in the last few months.

The season started with the hugely successful Fly Fair at Roadford at the end of February, with many anglers in attendance, exhibits, trade stands and demonstrations. The Peninsula Classic Bank Competition at Kennick in October was won (for the fourth time) by Andy Gooding (from Liverton), catching five rainbows weighing in at 10lb 5oz, using Damsel Nymphs and a Black and Green Lure.

The new fishing club at Siblyback continued to build up numbers and hosted a number of events this season, including competitions, fly tying evenings and other social gatherings and are continuing to welcome new members (contact: derek.aungerbtinternet.com).

Dave Matthews – Siblyback Fly Fishers Association Competition

Fisheries Summary:

Siblyback: Best fish – 8lb 4oz rainbow, caught  by George Hext; the best brown was a 4lb fish caught by Stephen Pearce. Fishery rod average 2.7 fish

Kennick:  Best fish – 5lb 10z rainbow caught by Kevin Primmer. Fishery rod average 2.7 fish

Stithians: Best fish – 4lb 8oz rainbow caught by Roger Marks. Fishery rod average 1.4 fish

Burrator: Best fish – 5lb 8oz rainbow caught by Paul Lee; the best brown was a 4lb fish caught by Kevin Sellar.  Fishery rod average 3.5 fish

Colliford: Best fish – 3lb brown trout caught by Dean Boucher. Fishery rod average 2.6 fish

Fernworthy: Rod average 2.7 fish, up to 2lb 4oz

Roadford: Best fish – 3lb 8oz brown trout caught by Duncan Kier; fishery rod average 4.4 fish

The season opening dates and prices for 2020 will be posted (along with other information) on the website and on the ‘Trout Fishing South West Lakes Trust’ Facebook page.

Wimbleball – Autumn Fly Fishing

Fly Fishers are enjoying some great autumn sport at Wimbleball Reservoir with hard fighting rainbows and stunning wild brown trout. Harry Plant banked five rainbows including a stunning rainbow of 7lb 8oz. Barry Ware boated a prime conditioned brown trout of 6lb 8oz.

Mark Underhill comments
‘Receiving lovely comments like this just make our day’…
“These are the best quality and condition stocked rainbows I’ve ever caught. Certainly hardest fighting fish we’ve ever had pleasure to catch. We had a couple of real monsters break us off on 7lb fluorocarbon – buying stronger leader for next time! Trevor was super friendly & helpful. All in all a cracking days fishing – so thank you all involved.”
Tom & Max had 11 fish between them & lost several more…

Wimbleball Lake is attracting Fly Fishers from all over the country as its reputation for producing hard fighting rainbows and stunning wild browns grows ever stronger.

I was keen to get back on the Lake and booked a boat and a day off work to share with our son James in mid-October.

In life not everything goes to plan and James Fiancée’s raging toothache resulted in James staying at home leaving me to take the boat out alone.

The drive over Exmoor in the early morning light was a delight with bronzed beech hedge rows illuminated as the leaves took on their rich autumn hues.

I had arranged to launch the boat at 9.00am and arrived shortly after this to be greeted by the ever enthusiastic Trevor who told me that the fishing had been a little slower in recent days in calm sunny conditions. The brisk South East wind should improve matters and this view was reinforced as two anglers were already enjoying bent rods in the sailing club bay.

I eagerly loaded my gear onto the boat and set off up the lake. I dropped the anchor part way up the Lake towards Bessom’s and tackled up. An intermediate Line an olive damsel on the point and diawl bach on the dropper. A few casts and then I up anchored, put out the drogue and started a drift up the lake 30-yards off the shoreline. After a dozen casts or so there came that thrilling jolt through the line as a trout hit the lure. I failed to connect but there was plenty of time ahead and more chances to come.

A couple of hours later my confidence was ebbing after searching several areas of the lake. The wind was picking up and had become a little challenging at times. I changed tactics frequently. Set up a second rod and had short spells drifting a set of buzzers on a floating line. With no fish showing I went to a sinker searching with black lures and the olive damsel. The other two anglers had left the Sailing Club Bay and were fishing close to lakes inlet. Their tally was up to five each with an orange blob the successful pattern.

A moment of hope came as a large rainbow materialized behind my lure, an image that remains etched on my mind’s eye as I type this account of the day.

As the hours drifted past at an alarming rate I decided to try the Sailing Club Bay. By now the wind was uncomfortably strong and getting the anchor to grip was a challenge. With plenty of rope out I got the boat to hold firm thirty yards off the bank and sent out my lure and blob combination. First cast and I felt a good tug. Next cast another. Then after fifteen minutes I hooked rainbows on consecutive casts both coming adrift after a few seconds with the rod well bent.

A handsome wild brown trout of around 8oz eventually saved a blank. At 5.30pm I reluctantly admitted defeat. Disheartened? Not at all I often liken fishing to a game of chess with nature and on this occasion the fish had won the day. The fishing at Wimbleball is not always easy the the fish it holds are without doubt a worthy prize. I will be back in search of success as soon as possible. As autumn enters its final month the weather may be cruel and frosty mornings may sting the fingers but those hard fighting rainbow will be waiting and really need that reel to sing!

South West Lakes Trust Trout Fisheries Report

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South West Lakes Trust Trout Fisheries Report

October 2020

Boat and bank fishing is still available to rainbow trout anglers at the time of writing, with day tickets on sale through the Lakes Trust website or via the telephone (01566 771930). Most of the self-service permit huts are now open, but anglers should confirm this before buying tickets on site. Certain restrictions continue to operate and, before fishing, anglers are asked to read the latest Angling Trust advice with regard to health and social distancing. information is also available on the South West Lakes Trust website – www.swlakesfishing.co.uk.

Where boats are available, these should be pre-booked, and strict guidelines must be followed regarding their use (see website for details). Catch returns may be completed online, where the latest weekly catch reports will be available to view. Brown trout fisheries closed on 13 October, with some truly outstanding fishing at Roadford at the end of the season. The rainbow trout fishing improved as temperatures dropped, although generally fish tended to stay deep.

Fishing:

Kennick – Lure patterns (such as Boobies and Orange Tadpoles) fished on sinking lines hard on the bottom, or Damsel Nymphs in mid-water, generally produced the best results and, in spite of a few Daddy Longlegs being blown onto the water, fish could not be tempted to the surface. Bank angling was best in Clampitts Bay, while boat anglers preferred to fish in the deeper central water. The best fish caught in the month was a 4lb rainbow caught by Mr. Kent (from Exmouth). The annual Peninsula classic Bank competition was won by Andy Gooding (from Liverton), catching five rainbows weighing in at 10lb 5oz, using Damsel Nymphs and a Black and Green Lure.

Siblyback – In spite of plenty of fish in the water, the fishing was challenging throughout the month, with a number of decent fish being lost at the net. Dry Daddies picked up a few surface-feeding fish, although the majority were taken on lures (Cats Whisker, Sibblyback Sizzler, and Boobies) fished on a sinking line, with Two Meadows, Stocky Bay, and the North Shore proving to be the best locations.

Stithians – The fishing picked up towards the end of the month, with fish looking up to feed and the majority of fish taken on dry patterns (Deerhair Sedges, Foam Beetles and Hoppers in particular). Some sub-surface feeders were caught on Damsel Nymphs, Montanas, Black Spiders and Black Pennells. Fish were well spread out, with Holliss Bank and Sailing Club bank producing the most consistent results. The best fish caught in the month was a 3lb 3oz rainbow caught by Graeme Clement.

Burrator – The fish at Burrator continued to stay down deep, with Boobies and Cats Whiskers fished on a sinking line producing the best sport, with the occasional fish taking a mid-water hackled nymph, Damsel, Montana or Diawl Bach, with Longstone Point producing the best bank fishing.

Colliford – Colliford continued to produce some great sport through to the end of the season, with plenty of free rising brownies coming to a selection of patterns (Daddies, Hoppers, dry sedge patterns and the occasional Adams), with Black Spiders and Claret Pheasant Tails catching sub-surface feeders. As usual, the fish were well spread out. Local angler Dean Boucher finished the season with 18 fish on three visits, including grown-on fish to 2lb and the best fish of the season on the last day – a cracking 3lb brownie caught in the Narrows.

Fernworthy – The season finished with some hard fishing – a few fish were seen to rise but without much consistency (several were taken on Black Gnats and Sedgehogs). Subsurface nymphs and spiders fished on floating lines caught fish, but nothing of any great size, with the South Bank, Lowton Bay and Thornworthy producing the best sport.

Roadford – The fishing at Roadford continued to be truly outstanding, both for brown trout and perch from the boat, and just continued to improve throughout the month. Weekly trout rod averages started the month at four fish per anglers, steadily rising to over nine fish per rod by the end of the season. Cornish angler Roger Truscott banked 20 fish in one visit, including one of the best of the season – a grown-on brownie of 3lb, while Dean Boucher caught 51 fish up to 2lb 4oz in three visits, fishing from the bank. Both boat and bank anglers enjoyed some excellent sport, with fish being caught on a variety of dry patterns (Klinkhammers, Midges and Foam Beetles), wets (Pheasant Tails, Spiders, Soldier Palmers and Zulus) and lures (Tadpoles and Black Nomads), from locations all over the lake. Targeted boat fishing for perch resulted in plenty of fish being caught, the best day being enjoyed by John Deprieelle, catching four fish over three pounds and losing an even bigger one.

Angling Generations

Norman Bird was a founder member of Combe Martin Sea Angling Club and I was fortunate to join the club ten years after his son Nigel who joined the club in 1963. Nigel and I fished together with the club on many occasions during the seventies and early eighties and now fish together from time to time with the Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club. I was pleased fo receive this picture from Nigel showing his grandson George enjoying his first fishing trip with his grandad at Bratton Water where they enjoyed catching a fine bag of rainbow and brown trout.

It is great to see the generations as they discover the joys of angling. For many years I enjoyed trips out of Combe Martin on George Eastmans boat Star of Scillionia PW265.  and was also privileged to help out from time to time hauling lobster pots and taking trips around the bay. Those glorious summer days were greatly enhanced by Georges great grandad George Eastman of whom I have many fond memories . Much has changed over the years but I still feel a sense of belonging when I stroll upon the foreshore at Combe Martin reminiscing upon a lifetime of encounters within the bay.

Footnote – Nigel traced Star of Scillionia PW265 around the West Country over the years from the Isles of Scilly to the Helford Passage were she was finally decommissioned and broken up.