Exe Valley Catch Report: Top of the water sport has started!

With the May bank holiday upon us I am pleased to report that top of the water fishing is taking off on Exe Valley.  Just yesterday I helped a complete novice catch his first ever Trout and we used dry flies exclusively.  Even during the cold wind the fish have been on the surface!

Visiting from America, first time fly angler Derek Beckman with his first ever Trout and he caught it using a dry fly!

Visiting from America, first time fly angler Derek Beckman with his first ever Trout and he caught it using a dry fly!

Indicator fishing has also been successful with a size 12 Black or Olive Buzzer set at 2' to 3' depth.  No particular area seems to be producing better than any other although my first choice would be somewhere in Littlebrook Bay or fishing right in front of the Snags over the deep water area.  Chuck out a tungsten buzzer, let it sink and then retrieve ensuring a slow deliberate lift up the ledge.  Watch carefully and often you will see the fish grab the fly ... very exciting!  Not sure where these areas are?  Check out our map below.

So far to today Friday 28th April 188 anglers have visited since the beginning of the month catching a total of 599 Trout to set a very good rod average of 3.2 fish per rod.  Amongst them have been some great fish such as the specimens shown below and we were also pleased to see that one of our Trout was selected by Trout Fisherman as Fish of the Month.  Well done to the captor John Ratcliffe.

Fish of the month in the most recent copy of Trout Fisherman magazine went to John Ratcliffe who caught this stunning Rainbow on Anchor Lake using a Black Nomad 

Fish of the month in the most recent copy of Trout Fisherman magazine went to John Ratcliffe who caught this stunning Rainbow on Anchor Lake using a Black Nomad 

We receive so many lovely comments that it is impossible to print them all but thanks to all those who have visited in recent weeks, there are plenty of old faces but also some new ones including a few younger rods in their 20s keen to take advantage of the £25 Catch & Release Permit.

Paul Mattin put it simply “Fantastic!!” after catching 3 fish for 9lbs including a four pounder while Mr Gilbert said “Great Days Fishing.  Nice Size Trout” after weighing in 2 fish for 13lb 4oz including the 9lb 1oz below ... and he went on to release a further 2 fish. 

Mr Gilbert from Barnstaple with his 9lb 1oz Rainbow which he caught using a Dry Fly!

Mr Gilbert from Barnstaple with his 9lb 1oz Rainbow which he caught using a Dry Fly!

Ian Robinson lost 7 but did release 5 all on imitative patterns commenting “Great Day Fishing!  Taking on Dries & Buzzers just under the surface” Alan Lewis from Cullompton was also pleased after banking 2 for 5lbs and once again commented “Great Days Fishing.  Will deff be coming back

Meanwhile Jonathan Lewis enjoyed his first ever day fly-fishing with his son, catching 2 fish weighing 5lbs and left on cloud 9 with the comment “First time fly fishing for myself and my son, absolutely fantastic time.

Simon Curtis with another fulled tailed Rainbow which he caught on Anchor Lake, part of a 4 fish bag for 20lb.  Simon also released a further 2 fish.

Simon Curtis with another fulled tailed Rainbow which he caught on Anchor Lake, part of a 4 fish bag for 20lb.  Simon also released a further 2 fish.

This weekend the temperatures are due to increase once again and although wind has been forecast this can actually improve the fishing.  There is no need to cast a long way and techniques such as the Roll Cast can be used to present flies to fish that will relish the oxygenated surface.  Throw out a buzzer let the current do the work or fish close range with a nice bushy dry fly. 

If you are stuck on what to use please ask us as we have been improving the fly display with a variety of patterns including new dries, bungs and a great selection of barbless.  The Blue Flash Damsel is still a favourite but we have currently sold out so the Hothead Straggle or even an Olive Snake would be my choice for pulling.

More news soon and if you would like to see regular updates please visit the Exe Valley Fishery Facebook Page.  Have a great bank holiday weekend and many thanks for reading.

Nick.

Dan Stocker not only bagged this cracking Rainbow but also won himself an Easter Egg & £20 when he found the specimen fish was also tagged.  Troutmasters is going to be hotly contested this month!

Dan Stocker not only bagged this cracking Rainbow but also won himself an Easter Egg & £20 when he found the specimen fish was also tagged.  Troutmasters is going to be hotly contested this month!

Catch & Release to continue at Exe Valley Fishery

Although I had been meaning to add a catch report during March it is quite poignant to be writing one up now as this weekend heralds a two month period since Catch & Release options were introduced here at Exe Valley Fishery. 

Catch & Release News

I am happy to report that the initial trial has been a resounding success with twenty percent of anglers choosing to opt for Catch & Release only while many others have completed their limits prior to enjoying an enjoyable sporting session rather than leaving the fishery prematurely.

Catch & Release options will continue for the foreseeable future until such time that water temperatures become too high.  Please check the website and facebook for details or call 01398 323008, although I anticipate that the options should be available until June 2017 at least.  We are the only small stillwater fishery in the area offering such a range of flexible fishing permits and now that spring is in the air you can expect some fantastic imitative sport ... especially as there are a few wise Trout in Anchor Lake now.

One of 9 fish returned by Blair Woodland from Plymouth using a combination of Buzzers & Black Lures

One of 9 fish returned by Blair Woodland from Plymouth using a combination of Buzzers & Black Lures

Top Sport ... and some of it is top of the water!

Over the last few weeks 228 anglers have enjoyed some great sport landing 893 Trout for a very healthy average of 3.9 fish per angler.  Top flies have been Damsels, especially the Blue Flash variety and Buzzers under a bung are also very successful.  But as the water begins to warm and the longer days are upon us don’t be afraid to try a straightforward dry fly such as a CDC Owl.  Andrew Berwick, who started fly fishing late last year, did just that and was rewarded with his first ever surface caught Trout.

First on a dry for Andy Berwick!

First on a dry for Andy Berwick!

Looking back through the returns as usual we have witnessed some great catches including Perry Bamonte with a 5 fish bag at 17lb plus another 5 fish released, the second time he has achieved this in as many weeks.  Matt Hunt has become a regular, travelling from Torquay to fish with us having heard that C&R fishing is now available.  Fishing with his pal Mr Morgan they consistently catch 15 – 20 fish between them during weekly sessions since the new options were introduced back in February.

Nick Billet from Wellington said “Great day, many thanks will be back” after his first visit, completing a limit of 8 with his 4 fish taken tipping the scales at 14lb.  Buzzers under an indicator proved to be the successful tactic which also worked for Nicks mate Shaun Rowden, also landing 8 fish. 

News of the changes have spread across the West Country and Peter Philips from Plymouth was another first time visitor who had a best Trout of 5lb 8oz in a bag of 4, with one safely released.   He commented “Great Fishery – lovely setting, nice condition & variety of size of fish, easy back casting – will certainly be back!

Competition News

It seems a long time ago now but we hosted one of our most successful Troutmasters events ever back in late February.   16 anglers competed with Alan Riddell completing his 6 fish limit with 2 hours to spare, winning the event with a total bag of 24lb 12oz including a 2lb time bonus. 

Exe Valley Fishery Troutmasters Fish Off 2017 - Results

Exe Valley Fishery Troutmasters Fish Off 2017 - Results

Keen competition angler Matt Kingdon took 2nd place with 6 Trout for a bag weight of 23lb 8oz.  James Mockridge won the junior event that was taking place at the same time, showing several of the adults the way with a bag of 4 fish weighing 14lbs.  It was to prove to be James day in more ways than one as he also landed himself a £10 prize for landing a tagged Trout as did Matt Kingdon and John Gilmore.

Fish Off Winners 2017 - Junior - James Mockridge & Senior - Alan Riddell

Fish Off Winners 2017 - Junior - James Mockridge & Senior - Alan Riddell

Tagged Trout Winners - Matt Kingdon, James Mockridge & John Gilmore

Tagged Trout Winners - Matt Kingdon, James Mockridge & John Gilmore

Lobbs Lake Update

There has been a lot of positive news to report recently regarding Anchor Lake, however you may have noticed that Lobbs Lake is currently out of action.  Unfortunately we are going to change how this lake operates because our attempts last year to attract families with cheap permits (£18 for 4 fish was the most expensive and two children could share a bag limit) has not worked.  Just over 100 permits were sold in total for the entire season and with fish stock amounting to nearly £2000 it is not viable to continue with these options.

At the moment we are considering our options with regard to Lobbs Lake but with Easter just around the corner it would be advisable to contact us in advance if you were hoping to enjoy some fishing with young family members. 

Lobbs Lake is set to change this season - see news story above for details

Lobbs Lake is set to change this season - see news story above for details

Most Recent Double

Back to the positive and to conclude this report have a look at this fish weighing 11lbs, it was caught today by Mr Metcalfe visiting from Wales and required the rest of his family to help land it!

Mr Metcalfe travelled all the way from Wales to wet a line at Exe Valley and was rewarded for his efforts in the form of this double figure Rainbow.

Mr Metcalfe travelled all the way from Wales to wet a line at Exe Valley and was rewarded for his efforts in the form of this double figure Rainbow.

The long range forecast looks good, there are more Trout in Exe Valley Fishery to catch than ever before and now there is the chance to practice catch & release.  Plus rest your casting arm with a well earned break at the onsite cafe!  For more updates please check out the Exe Valley Facebook Page and if you have any questions or enquiries about the fishing we are available on 01398 323008

Thank you for reading, Nick.

Catch Report, Latest News & Troutmasters Fish Off

To kick off this catch report I would like to say thank you to all who have supported the fishery after the recent changes, in particular the new Catch & Release options

The majority of anglers have embraced the opportunity to spend more time at the fishery while others are enjoying the experience of fishing Exe Valley without the need to kill what they catch.

We kicked off on 7th Feb with nobody here but the following day 11 anglers turned up and to today (22nd Feb) we have welcomed 67 of which 12 went for the full C&R option. Rob Wilkinson from Exeter released 8 and said in his comments “C&R is a great idea”.  Phil Frapple from Taunton released 10 commenting “Good Day, Fish all went back safe & sound”   Mr Morgan from Newton Abbot also got 10 and Danny Ford released 7 to 8lbs although unfortunately I was not there with the lens for that fish!  However he did very kindly allow me to take a sequence of shots which shows perfect catch & release practice.

The 67 anglers caught a total of 265 fish to take the rod average to 3.9 with 109 fish released to fight another day.  Several anglers including Chris Heal (3 Fish weighing 7lb 8oz), Paul Winterson (4 Fish weighing 12lb 8oz), Ian Nadin (5 fish weighing 21lb), Bob Turner(4 Fish weighing 11lb), Dave Bull (3 Fish weighing 10lb), Rod Lawrence (3 Fish weighing 11lb), John Clarke (3 Fish weighing 12lb), Jenny Harris (2 Fish weighing 6lb) & Rosie Coles (2 Fish weighing 6lb) all caught there limit bags prior to releasing. 

A helpful set of guidelines has been produced to assist people when Catching & Releasing, to ensure the welfare of the Trout.  Barbless hooks and Rubber Nets are obligatory, there is a good stock of flies now in store and we can loan nets to those who only have regular material mesh.

Amongst the fish we have had some real crackers on a host of different tactics although a Hot Head or Blue Flash Damsel has been particularly successful.  Buzzers & Diawl Bachs are also working very well and there is no need to cast them into the middle of the lake. 

I had the pleasure of spending several days on the lakes myself last week hosting fly fishing courses and both Andi Avery & Blair Woodland caught using heavy tungsten Buzzers fished in the deep water opposite the feeder stream.

New to the Sport.  Andi Avery caught a total of 9 Trout during his visit using Tungsten Buzzers.

New to the Sport.  Andi Avery caught a total of 9 Trout during his visit using Tungsten Buzzers.

Making up part of Andis limit bag prior to releasing was this double that we stalked in the deep water in the corner of the lake.

Making up part of Andis limit bag prior to releasing was this double that we stalked in the deep water in the corner of the lake.

Other top fish over the last couple of weeks include ...

Rob Pithouse - from Wiltshire - 8lb 14oz Rainbow

Rob Pithouse - from Wiltshire - 8lb 14oz Rainbow

George Hext from Cornwall - 9lb Rainbow (landed on a #4 weight brook rod!)

George Hext from Cornwall - 9lb Rainbow (landed on a #4 weight brook rod!)

To round off this catch report please note that we will be hosting the Exe Valley Troutmasters Fish Off Heat here this Sunday 26th February so unfortunately Anchor Lake will be closed until 1pm.  If you are fishing the heat then we look forward to welcoming you.  There has been a particularly healthy entry this year and it should be a good match.  Please sign in at 8.00am There will be a briefing at 8.30am and the match will kick off at 9.00am, finishing at 1.00pm

The competition will be fished to a 6 fish kill only limit with a maximum of 2 fish per peg.  Anglers will move pegs every 30 mins and the competition will be decided on weight plus a time bonus if applicable.  Please note that if as a competitor you have not completed your limit you will be able to fish on after the match and for those who have completed a limit you may return to fish on a catch & release basis up to 4 more fish.

As always thank you for reading and if you are thinking about heading over to fish please call us on 01398 323008 for help & assistance.  Plus you can also Find Exe Valley Fishery on Facebook Here.

Nick Hart

Exe Valley Introduces Catch & Release Permit Options

During the 15 years that I have been involved with Exe Valley Fishery, firstly as an instructor and then as the manager, the only option available has been to catch & kill any Trout caught. 

However times are changing rapidly and increasingly I talk with anglers who don’t want to dispatch fish and fill their freezers.  I also meet plenty of anglers who are put off by the thought of reaching their limit and then having to head home prematurely, cutting short their enjoyment & experience. 

Therefore after a number of successful catch & release events, such as this one in December 2016, I have decided to introduce a new trial permit.

New Year, new options.  Catch & Release is being trialled at Exe Valley Fishery during February & March 2017.

New Year, new options.  Catch & Release is being trialled at Exe Valley Fishery during February & March 2017.

The Catch & Release options will start on Tuesday 7th February 2017 and will be available until Sunday 9th April 2017.  During this time we will listen to your thoughts and welcome feedback.  If the fishery is well supported during these changes the options will be made available throughout the year, other than during periods of high water temperatures.  Full details will be available at the fishery regarding the rules applied to catch & release.  The key points include:

- Catch & Release available on Anchor Lake only

- Rubber mesh nets only (we can loan nets)

- Barbless flies only (not debarbed – barbless flies will be available for purchase in the shop)

- Fish to be released must not be removed from the water. 

- No Boobies.

- Kill tickets – Fish limit must be killed prior to Catch & Release.

Catch & Release Permit Options & Prices (07.02.17 to 09.04.17)

10 Fish Catch & Release Only - £25

2 Fish Kill & 2 Fish Release - £30

3 Fish Kill & 3 Fish Release - £35

4 Fish Kill & 4 Fish Release - £40

5 Fish Kill & 5 Fish Release - £45

Although there is an increase in permit prices, the first for several seasons, the new structure with the inclusion of catch & release offers some of the best value small stillwater fishing in the West Country if not the UK. 

Barbless hooks (not debarbed) only will be allowed for Catch & Release Fishing.  Boobies will not be allowed and modern rubber mesh nets must be used to land fish.

Barbless hooks (not debarbed) only will be allowed for Catch & Release Fishing.  Boobies will not be allowed and modern rubber mesh nets must be used to land fish.

The option to share a bag limit with a young angler, age 14 or under will continue as usual and I am also considering a concessionary ticket for over 60s, under 17s and the disabled.

Meanwhile our new cafe is close to fully functioning with a range of hot & cold food plus we have also introduced a new FREE Tea & Coffee facility for anglers.  More news to follow and meanwhile if you have any questions or would like to comment on the changes so far please call me on 01398 323008 or use the comments section below.

Moving on to how the lakes are fishing I am pleased to report that the mild weather conditions have attracted plenty of anglers during January.  117 visited in total, catching 370 fish for an average of 3.2 per rod.

Top flies include Black Nomads, Blue Flash Damsels and some anglers have been finding success with Buzzers.  Fish are being caught all over the lake and even when the weather has taken a turn for the worse the fish have been biting such as this perfectly conditioned Trout weighing 8lb 9oz, caught by John Ratcliffe using a Black Nomad on 2nd Feb. 

8lb 9oz of Anchor Lake Rainbow Trout for John Ratcliffe, caught in early Feb 2017 using a Black Nomad.

8lb 9oz of Anchor Lake Rainbow Trout for John Ratcliffe, caught in early Feb 2017 using a Black Nomad.

We hope that the Wistlandpound club enjoy such good sport when they bring one of their club competitions to our shores tomorrow, Sunday 5th February 17.  Please note that the lakes will be closed all day for this event.  Apologies if this will cause any inconvenience. 

The fishery will also be closed on Monday 6th February while we stock and get ready for the introduction of the new catch & release permit on Tuesday 7th February 2017.

Yesterday the phone also began to ring as competitors booked into our Troutmasters Fish off which will be held here on Sunday 26th February 2017.  If you caught one of our big fish last season, winning a Troutmaster badge, a letter should have arrived this week so please give us a call to book in on 01398 323008.

This is going to be a big week for Exe Valley as we open up the opportunity to Catch & Release fishing. Please come and support the fishery and look out for more news on these pages soon.

Many thanks for reading & good fishing, Nick.

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