I took a stroll around Wistlandpound Resevoir rod in hand as afternoon drifted into evening beneath a cloudless blue sky. It was good to be out enjoying these longer Spring evenings as birdsong fills the air and fresh growth is bursting forth all around. With just a few flies in my waistcoat pocket, a net on my back and a five weight rod I had no intention to stay in one place.
It felt good to cast a line out across the calm water. A small bead headed PTN on the point and small black spider on a dropper. The open bank brought no interest in the flies so I moved on to the inlet shallows where shoals of Rudd were cruising amongst the weed. I flicked the flies into a passing shoal and watched a red finned Rudd divert to converge with the fly. The line zipped tight and a colourful Rudd was brought to hand. Flanks of burnished gold and silver, fins of crimson red a pleasing prize that was quickly followed up with another sparkling jewel.
I moved on and began a search of the windward bank casting the flies out and allowing them to drift around in an ark taking a step along the foreshore with each cast. Suddenly the line zipped tight and the rod took on a pleasing curve as a wild brownie dashed to and fro.
A pristine wild brown trout slipped into the net. The barbless spider slipped easily from its jaws, I admired its golden spotted flanks illuminated in the evening sun as I slipped it back into the gin clear water.
Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club held their Berry Shield Summer Competition for the single best trout a cool North West Breeze kept the fish down. I won the event with a 12oz brown one of three I tempted using a team of wet flies fished with a floating line. All three were tempted with a Montana nymph on the point. I also landed numerous golden rudd. Colin Combe was runner up with a brown trout of 10oz.
Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club held their Edwards Cup Floating line competition at their home venue. The competition was for the best brace of trout and was won by Dave Mock who landed who two trout for 2lb 15oz, Close behind was David Eldred with a brace totalling 2lb14oz and in third Paul Grisley with a single trout weighing 1lb 9oz.
Below is a report sent to South West lakes Trust by a very satisfied customer!
Jon Ogbourne enjoyed a Great day on Wistlandpound fishing from the clubs boat. He fished with Peter Coleman-Smith and Mark Stewart taking turns on the oars. Fish came from all over the lake with 50+ to the net by the time we landed at 6pm, the best was pushing 1.5lbs. All fish came to either traditional wets, sedgehogs or weighted mini tadpole patterns on the point. Steady wind blowing up toward the dam all day. Sunshine with broken cloud. Buzzers and hawthorn flies around perimeter of lake but not much out on the water. Fish didn’t seem to mind.
Wistlandpound Opens for fishing on March 15th after an initial stocking that was witnessed by Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club Secretary Steve Edmunds :-
Torre Trout put in the stocking yesterday. The initial stocking of 685 brown trout was as follows:
450 trout between 7″ and 10″ 140 trout weighing 1lb, 80 weighing 1lb 8oz 15 weighing 2lb.
They put in 2000 last year and only a couple of hundred were shown on catch returns. Even allowing for a few anglers forgetting to put in returns and the cormorants having a few, we should have about 1600 from last year plus 685 this year so about 2300 stocked plus naturals. I also understand that S W Lakes intend putting some more in around June.
Wistlandpound Information – From SWLT
Two stocking of Brown trout. One stocking a few days before the season starts on 15th March and one in early May.
· Season is 15th March to 12th October in line with EA byelaws for brown trout fishing
· Less fish than last year but some larger size
· Majority of fish still 8-10 inch but a good number of fish at 1lb and 1.5lbs with a scattering of 2lb fish.
· The fishery is only in its second season as a Brown trout fishery –the idea is to build stock levels the first couple of seasons and depending on progress and interest in the fishing we would then alter the stocking accordingly moving forwards with larger fish etc. This is still the plan local support is vital to achieve this and continue to move forwards sustainability.
Prices are the same as last season £15.50 for full day, £13.50 for concession day, £5 for children, £195 for season ticket, £160 for concession season.
· Boat price is £10 per day for members
· Volunteers and WFFC members, Dave Bocock and Steve Edmunds will help with permit checking, managing boat bookings and asking dog owners to comply with the regulations (dogs on leads and out of the water)
· New swims have been opened up and will be maintained by new SWLT warden Chris Eyles with assistance from volunteers Dave and Steve
· SWLT are keen for more volunteers to assist with bailiffing / practical sessions – please contact me: [email protected]
· Day Permit agents are the same as before (including Challacombe Post Office, Calvert Trust reception etc)
Jon Ogbourne and Peter Coleman Smith enjoyed a cracking day in the Wistlandpound Clubs Boat . Taking fish from from all shores of the lake. Side opposite boat slipway particularly product fished tight in under the trees. The shallow bank to the left of the stream also provided some fruitful drifts including a first ever treble hook up! All fish coming to traditional loch style tactics with a size 12 claret bumble by far the most successful fly on the middle or top dropper, followed by a gold head black and peacock spider on the point. Nice ripple all day with helpful wind and broken sunshine. Ended up with 32 brown trout to the boat + 1 Rudd. Biggest 14″. A very special fishery declared the pair of anglers.
The recent dry, bright sunny weather has brought fishing on the rivers to a virtual standstill with water now crystal clear. The only realistic chance of catching salmon or sea trout is early and late in the day when the sun is off the water. Before the rivers dropped several grilse and sea trout were landed from both the Mole and Bray.
A few fish are trickling in however and a couple of salmon have been tempted from the Torridge. I fished the Weir Marsh and Brightly beats of the Taw last week and saw several salmon show as I fished down through this splendid stretch of prime day ticket water. Two fish were caught from these beats including a 6lb salmon to the rod of David Rice and a 4lb grilse for David Carhart.
Weir Marsh & Brightly Beats of the Taw
Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Clubs Rogers and Guard Shield was contested by six keen club members on a bright sunny day not conducive to trout fishing. Winner of the event was Colin Combe with tow browns totalling 27inches. Runner up was Steve Edmunds with one quality brown trout of 15”.
Wimbleball catch reports show 1.6 fish per rod day.
The latest report from South West Lakes Trust shows that some fine sport has been enjoyed with the regions two brown trout fisheries offering great loch style sport. At Wimbleball catches have been impressive as Danny Fords latest report indicates :-
Wimbleball The fishing still continues to produce top sport where bank anglers can enjoy a return of 5.2 and boats achieving 4.5 per angler.
Mr Vinall caught the fish of the week with a stunning 6lb 15oz Rainbow from the Dam end (pic attaced). Mr Vinall was using a Black Magic Nymph when the large fish took his fly. He also went on to return a further 4 rainbows and 2 browns. Well done! This fish is a strong contender for fish of the season, and I’m sure the largest in a few years. Ill check and get back to you. Terry Bridgman was also amongst the fish last week, catching and releasing 22 over 2 days.
Wistlandpound – The Beach, Hide Bay, Gordon’s Bay and the deeper water near the dam proved to be the best locations; Brownie Point is now accessible (levels are down by about 12’) to bank anglers, with boat anglers catching well at this location, especially drifting with a team of Nymphs. Dry patterns, especially Hawthorns, Sedges and Black Gnats, have caught well, particularly in the mornings and evenings, as have sub-surface patterns (Pheasant Tail Nymphs, small montanas and spider patterns) fished on a floating line throughout the day. Jon Ogborne and Peter Coleman-Smith had a very successful day on the boat fished loch- style, netting 29 Brown Trout between them.
Roadford – Wortha Bay is now open to anglers and starting to produce results, especially for boat anglers on short drifts. Although there is plenty of fly life about, most of the fish are being taken on sub-surface patterns (mainly dark, such as Small Black tadpoles, Black Pennells and Bibios) fished on a floating line. Stephen Jones caught the best fish of the month – a beautiful grown-on Brown of 4lb 14oz.
With water temperatures rising, boat anglers can expect some exciting sport, fishing over the boils, where some huge fish have been caught in recent years.
It’s hard to believe that the longest day has passed us by already and the days are starting to recede in that ever revolving circle of time. I met South West Lakes Trust Ranger Danny Ford on June 20th at Wistlandpound just before 6.00pm with fours hours of fishing ahead of us, if only these summer days would last. I had fished earlier in the year when Wistlandpound had opened as brown trout fishery a new era in its development as North Devon’s largest trout water. Since those early season days a further stocking of brown trout have been introduced ensuring a healthy population of both stock fish and existing wild fish.
The evening was overcast with occasional glimpses of the sun and a light breeze. Ideal conditions I thought. We were using Wistlandpound Fly-fishing Clubs boat paired up with an electric outboard that gave us ease of maneuverability and was certainly easier than rowing. Danny suggested we try the deep water at the dam end of the lake as he had landed several trout from this location on his last visit a week before. A fast sink line, a black tadpole on the point of the leader and brightly coloured blob on the dropper was Dan’s suggestion. An erratic retrieve and the occasional pause allowing the fly to hang motionless in the water was the tactic to employ. Success came first to Danny, a handsomely marked brown of around 12oz. A few follows but no more hook ups called for a move and a change of tactics.
Putting the boat within casting range of the West bank we began a drift. With the occasional fish rising we both set up with floating lines. Danny using a dry fly whilst I opted for a bead headed pheasant tail on the point with a cormorant on the dropper. After a couple of drifts honors were even with trout falling to both dry fly and nymph.
I had heard that there were a few quality rudd being caught so I persuaded Danny to put us on a few rudd. Drifting close into the weedy margins soon brought success with these pretty golden flanked red finned coarse fish. The rudd proved a pleasing distraction for a short period with a double shot bringing a pleasing opportunity to capture the variance in the hues of these fish. There are those who curse the rudd that do not give a good account of themselves. But as they tend to congregate in certain areas it’s not too big an issue; though it is undoubtedly more difficult for the bank angler to avoid them.
After the rudd interlude we headed back out into deeper water and targeted the trout that were rising frequently. Danny and I both enjoyed success before the rise petered out. I picked up the sinking line once again and employed a fast retrieve with the occasional pause. This brought quick success in the shape of a brown of over 1lb. For the next twenty minutes or so we had several follows and a couple more stunningly marked browns.
As the battery was running low and the light fading we headed back to the dam end where I landed one more trout. The water surface became becalmed as dusk set in and what wind there was died away. The occasional trout punctuated the surface with a telling ripple. The sun sank behind the trees, the crimson sky reflecting through the trees onto the lake like a burning fire. Owls hooted in the trees and blackbirds cries echoed across the still water. It was time to go the longest day was as all days do ending.
We had ended the session with five browns each to around 1lb 8oz and five rudd each. The fishing is comparable to wild brown trout fishing savoured by many on upland tarns and lochs in the North of the country. Fascinated fishing in beautiful surroundings and at a very reasonable cost.