Free Trout Fishing Taster Day

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Saturday 20 August, Kennick Reservoir- Free Trout Fishing Taster Day (Booking Essential).

National Fishing Month (1-31 August) is all about celebrating the social, wellbeing and environmental benefits of angling.

Angling offers you a chance to get outside, experience nature at its best, get the whole body moving, take a breath and allow your mind the time it needs to reset.

We would like to extend a warm welcome to all new beginners to our sport, and of course any established anglers who would like to come along. Join us at Kennick Reservoir for a ‘Have a Go Session’ with local and experienced Fly- Fishing guides and anglers.

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 please as no card facilities at Kennick) a raffle, as well as countless tips and tricks to use going forwards. Plus a gift bag from Turrall for participants.

Wellies or old footwear advised as it can be muddy in places. Equipment is available to use on the day but feel free to bring your own if relevant. Bring a Packed lunch (Tea, coffee and biscuits provided).

Raffle tickets available in advance. Raffle prizes include Snowbee Classic Fly Rod, Fly Reel and Fly Line, Rod Kits from Turrall, Kennick Day Permit, Boat Permit. Tickets cost £2.50 each or five for £10.

If you would enjoy the chance to try fishing for the first time or brush up on techniques as well as catching up with some friends over coffee and biscuits then we look forward to seeing you. The kettle is on!

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

Tickets are free but booking is essential.

South West Lakes Trout Fisheries Report

July 2022

Hot sunny weather conditions have meant that, as the month progressed,  water temperatures have started to rise quickly, levels dropped, and fish (rainbows in particular) have generally preferred to move to and feed in deeper water during the heat of the day, when boat fishing has proved to be popular. South West Lakes stress that during these conditions, fish welfare must remain paramount, and care must be taken to limit handling fish, and that catch-and-release must be done promptly to avoid stress.


Kennick – Anglers found, unsurprisingly, that success rates dropped as the month progressed and the water warmed. The monthly rod average was 2.5 fish per rod. The fish were well spread out earlier on, but moved to the deeper waters by the dam, Clampitts Bay, and Boat Bay as the water warmed, and fishing from a boat with a long leader or sinking line resulted in the best sport. Traditional dry fly techniques (black gnats and daddies) worked well in the early mornings during buzzer hatches, but otherwise nymph, lure, and booby patterns accounted for most catches. Graham Roberts (from Totnes) caught six rainbows to 4lb, mainly on lures and nymph patterns; Brian Sedgebeer caught two rainbows to 3lb 4oz fishing from a float tube with a sinking line and slow retrieve, while Malcome Ure caught seven rainbows to over 3lbs in one session.

Burrator – Again catches dropped off each week as the month progressed (with weekly rod averages falling from 3.8 to 1.5 fish per angler), and the fish moved out to deeper water. Longstone, Lowry Point, Pig Trough, and Pines Bay proved to be the best locations, and while dry fly techniques worked well in the earlier part of the month (with Beetles, Black Gnats, and Hoppers all catching fish), as the water warmed,  nymphs (Montanas, Damsels), blobs, and boobies fished on intermediate or sinking lines proved preferable. Mike Lunney (from Douseland) enjoyed some great sessions, catching bags of six rainbows on two visits, and a bag of three to 2lb 2oz on another.

Siblyback – A mixed bag this month at Siblyback, when some days provided excellent sport and others proved to be challenging. When there was a bit of cloud cover and a surface ripple, fish were keen to rise to Sparkle Hoppers and foam beetles, but otherwise sub-surface tactics with nymphs (Red Diawl Bachs, Buzzers, Damsels, and Montanas) and lures (Cats Whiskers, Blobs, and Orange Fritz) accounted for most fish. Stocky Bay, Two Meadows, and the West Bank proved to be the most productive locations. While no exceptionally large fish were caught during the month, there were some decent bags of fish, including five rainbows each for Andy and Al Lawson (from Plymouth) on dries, and Paul Bancroft (from Plymouth) also caught five rainbows to 2lb.

Stithians – Anglers averaged 2.3 fish per rod over the month, with plenty of rising fish throughout, particularly in the evenings, when Daddies, Beetles, Black Gnats, and Hoppers gave rise to some great sport, and floating line tactics have produced the best catches, even with sub-surface patterns (Spiders, Damsel Nymphs, and Diawl Bachs) on a slow retrieve. The Dam Bank, Goonlaze, Yellowort, and Hollis Bank proved to be the best locations, although other banks also produced fish. Simon Peters (from Cusgarne) caught fourteen rainbows to 2.5lb, starting on dries at 5am to catch seven fish, and switching to the washing line method as the sun rose to catch a further eight. John Henderson (from Falmouth) caught six rainbows and seven browns in one session using a floating line with beetles and a damsel nymph on the point.

Fernworthy – Has produced consistently good sport, with anglers averaging 4.4 fish per rod, and fish looking to the surface to feed in spite of the hot sunny conditions. Floating lines with a variety of dry patterns (Hoppers, Beetles, Sedges, and Black Gnats) worked well, otherwise nymphs (Damsels, Spiders and Montanas) fished just below the surface on a slow retrieve caught fish. South Bank, Lowton Bay, the bank by the Dam, and Permit Hut bank all fished well, although it pays to keep on the move and cover as much water as possible. Alan Green (from Plymouth) caught twelve browns to 1.5lb in one session using Bibio and black dry patterns, with fish often chasing a medium retrieve strip. In another session, Richard Buckingham (from Helston) caught five browns.

Colliford – Anglers enjoyed outstanding sport this month at Colliford, averaging over 6.4 fish per rod. Fish were well spread out around the lake, although Stuffle, Lords Waste Bay, and Menaridian banks recurred repeatedly on catch returns – the recommended tactic is to keep on the move to cover the most water. Floating lines with dry patterns (Black Gnats, Bob’s Bits, Beetles and Sedges) caught well, as did sub-surface spider patterns, buzzers, Hares ears, Soldier Palmers, and Sedgehogs. Tim Laws (from Falmouth) caught a 3lb 4oz brown (in a bag of three fish) – the best fish of the month (and the season so far). Chris Tilyard (from Fraddon) had four excellent sessions, catching three bags of fifteen browns, and one of thirteen, using black spiders and Bob’s Bits fished close to the bank, or pulled wet patterns fished into the wind. Paul Rollings (from Polperro) caught seven browns to 30cm, initially using Soldier Palmers, and then moving on to dry patterns.

Roadford – Floating lines with dry Hopper patterns or sub-surface nymphs (Diawl Bachs, Damsels, or Soldier Palmers) accounted for most fish, with Wortha and Davey’s Bank the most productive locations. Dean Boucher (from Gunnislake) caught fifteen browns to 14” in one session, using Soldier Palmer, Zulu, and Black Tadpole patterns fished on a floating line.

Fishing for Force – Cancer Charity

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Exmoor Fly Fishing

“Fishing for force” Force is a local cancer charity, John Dawson is organising a day at Exe Valley Fishery by kind permission of Sue & Nick Hart, both John and myself will be in attendance offering tuition and help in all aspects of fly fishing.
It’s a very worthwhile cause, here’s a little bit more about the charity… details for booking are on the flyer….Chris🎣

At FORCE Cancer Charity we believe that anyone diagnosed with cancer deserves the best possible treatment and professional support, face to face and close to home.
We have a Cancer Support and Information Centre in Exeter for patients and their loved ones who need physical, emotional, psychological and practical support.

We also offer support and information and fund the delivery of chemotherapy once a week in Okehampton, Tiverton and Honiton.

All our services are free.

Fly fishing for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Great Torrington Army Cadets take on the trout

Fly fishing for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Captain Trevor Cook

ACF Instructor

Fly Fishing for D of E skills element ,,

20th February 2018 Saw the start of a new challenge for five young members of Great Torrington Army Cadet Force who decided to take on fly fishing for the skills element of their D of E Award scheme.

Prior to the course starting we arrange a Sunday morning visit to Monkokehampton Salmon Hatchery on the 4th February to learn about their work, kindly laid on by Charles Innis, who explained to the Cadets about the life cycle of the Salmon from egg to return, we looked at the setup and walked up river to see the weir, the Cadets found this visit very educational.

Over the past 5 months Cadets Sjt Daniel Lobb, L/Cpl Tyler Bolt, L/Cpl Jack Pledger L/Cpl Sam Newberry & Cdt Harvey Hodge have learnt and practiced all the skills needed to become proficient fly fishermen.

The course covered all elements such as types of rods, reels, lines leaders, knots, casting techniques and types of flies and how to fish them, which was then followed up by a day tying their own flies for them use on the two lake days.

The course also included two guest speakers, the first being Paul Carter, Environment Agency Water Bailiff who gave the Cadets an insight into his job role, Licensing and environment, the second was Allan Crawley Commons Conservators River Warden, Allan gave the Cadets an insight into his role and how they were working on better access for anglers along the commons riverbank. We also had a third speaker Keith Armishaw lined up from the fly fishing section of the Torrington Museum, unfortunately Keith was taken ill, the Cadets found Paul and Allan’s presentations really interesting. I’m sure Keith’s presentation would have been equally as good, we do hope Keith is on the road to recovery and wish him well for the future.

Months of hard work practising paid of on our two lake days, the first being at Simpson’s Valley Coarse & Trout Fishery nr Holsworthy on Saturday 26th May 2018

This was a good days fishing and despite it being hard work all five managed to catch a nice Rainbow Trout, the first fish of the day was caught by Col Ashley Fulford OBE, Chairman of the Army Cadet Force Association and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Advisory Panel who joined us for the day being a keen fly fisherman himself.

The heaviest fish of the day was caught by L/Cpl Tyler Bolt, a nice Rainbow weighing in at 3 ½ pounds. Everyone went home excited having caught their first ever Trout, thanks to Paul Cozens & Andrew Moores for making this possible for us, we really appreciate it.

Our second lake day was held at Bratton Water Trout Fishery, Loxhore Cross, nr Barnstaple, This proved to be another cracking days fishing where after a slow start all five caught their second ever trout. The first fish of the day was caught by L/Cpl Sam Newberry and the largest was caught by L/Cpl Pledger. Thanks to Mike Williams for all his help setting this up and accommodating us on the day , really appreciated.

This Course is the third one we have run but this year we have built a lot more into it and it has gone so well these five Cadets have started buying their own kit and asking for more lake days in the future.

Great Torrington Army Cadets would like to express their sincere thanks to the following people for their help and support this year it really has been appreciated, thank you.

Charles Innis : visit to Salmon Hatchery

Paul Carter : EA Bailiff

Allan Crawley : Commons Conservators River Warden.

Paul Cozens & Andrew Moores : Simpsons Valley Coarse & Trout Fishery

Mike Williams : Bratton Water Trout Fishery

Keith Armashaw : Great Torrington Museum

Again many Thanks

Capt Trevor Cook ACF Instructor.   Lt Matt Sanders OC Great Torrington Detachment

Great Torrington Army Cadets started fly fishing for D of E two years ago, buying six starter kits directly from Airflo at a special price thanks Glenda Evans (Airflo) and funded by a grant from Great Torrington Town Council.
We now have enquiries from Cadets about the next course.
From this years five Sjt Lobb has now used fly fishing for his Bronze, Silver & Gold Awards
L/Cpl Pledger for his Bronze & Silver
L/Cpl Bolt, L/Cpl Newberry & Cdt Hodge for Bronze.

The West Country Fly Fishing Seminar 2017

The West Country Fly Fishing Seminar 2017

Close to seventy fly fishers from novice to expert assembled at the Fox and Hounds, Eggesford for the annual West Country fly fishing seminar all keen to learn more about the art of fly fishing. Fortunately it was a warm spring day with new growth bursting forth on the trees and recently arrived swallows swooping around the old fishing and hunting hotel.

The event is hosted in a collaboration between the Devon School of Fly Fishing and Fly Fishing who are based locally in Crediton. There were a team of expert guides from all over the country to assist in the delivery of talks, demonstrations with tuition on casting, watercraft, fly selection and a whole lot more relating to fly-fishing.

The morning commenced in the meadows beside the Upper Taw where Peter Tyjas (Above) opened proceedings with an informative talk on the event and aspects of fly-fishing including tackle and his undoubted passion for casting a fly in various waters; especially for the wild brown trout that swim in the Upper Taw.

The guides present included:-

Jim Williams
AAPGAI MASTER level fly fishing & fly casting instructor, Sales manager for Vision Flyfishing UK

Jim Fearn
AAPGAI qualified salmon casting instructor and Rio Pro-Guide. He is responsible for product development at Guide Flyfishing who distribute RIO Lines, McLean Nets, Redington, Fishpond, Loon

John Legg
Managing Director at Guide Fly Fishing and AAPGAI level instructor.

Pete Tyjas
AAPGAI qualified instructor and principal of the Devon School of Fly Fishing, together with his team of fully qualified guides.

During the morning session each of the instructors gave a talk on their area of expertise with casting demonstrations that included in depth advice on spey casting, double haul timing, casting the perfect loop and the need for practice.

After these extensive and fascinating displays and talks the anglers were encouraged to assemble into relevant groups where they could receive relevant tuition dependent upon their knowledge or avenue of interest. There was also the opportunity to handle and cast the latest fly rods with lines and reels.

Lunch time gave the opportunity to mix and mingle in the dining area of the hotel and to have a drink in the bar where hundreds of old photos of salmon catches of bygone days decorate the walls.

After lunch it was back to the meadow where at this point the guides got into the river to talk about watercraft and the wide range of techniques available to the fly-fisher. Dry fly fishing, New Zealand style presentation, czech nymphing and American style streamer fishing. Whatever style you choose observation of the waterside environment is vital with weather, water condition, temperature and light values likely to impact upon the food available to the fish we seek. In addition to this watercraft is valuable in providing an educated guess as to where the fish are likely to be. All the above factors will influence the tackle required. Though in reality it is impractical to carry all the rods and reels required for each technique and presentation compromise is therefore required for most of us.

The choice of fly or lure is of course important but the need for a vast range is generally not required as presentation and positioning are of more value. The importance of the leader is also an important but often overlooked component in the link to presenting the fly correctly. Tapered leaders aid good presentation with a stiff butt leading to a fine tippet via the middle transition section. One of the key factors in dry fly presentation is of course ensuring a drag free drift.

The guide giving my wife Pauline tuition told us that the key areas to consider when fishing for trout are: –

Presence – Not alerting the fish to your presence

Presentation – Presenting the fly in a natural manner

Pattern – Choosing the correct imitation on the day

By the end of the day we had been given a huge amount of information and thought provoking ideas. Success in angling is undoubtedly boosted by attention to detail and the best anglers fine tune their tactics to suit the fish they seek, I realized that despite being an angler for over fifty years I know very little about the sport I love. Being an all-rounder I must concede that I will never be an expert in any discipline of angling if such a thing exists. In angling it is the fish that write the rule-book and the only certainty within that book is that fish don’t always follow the rules.

Fortunately we have a vast range of waters in North Devon to practice on and I look forward to casting a line far and wide this coming year. Hopefully with her recent tuition Pauline will also connect with the wild fish that swim in river, stream, lake and sea.