As promised here is a report on the improvement work that you may have heard about taking place at Exe Valley Fishery. It all started during the last week of August 2015 when heavy machinery moved in to rejuvenate Anchor Lake that had not been excavated properly for over 20 years. Having secured a new lease on the site earlier this year and after careful planning I felt that the time was right to invest the large amount of capital to undertake such a project.
As can be seen from this first image looking South, if something was not done soon the lakes were slowly but surely returning themselves to land, choked by weed and a huge slab of silt which we found had been left on purpose during the original dig to encourage ducks!
We take the view that Exe Valley Fishery is for you the anglers and so the very first job was to excavate this huge slab of material, increasing the depth from 2ft to over 8ft. Take a look at this 21 tonne excavator used for the dig and the new depth can clearly be seen.
Having dropped the water levels as much as possible the overall picture was looking pretty bleak as large volumes of silt had been exposed, creating an enormous algae bed which was relishing the shallow conditions. It was at this stage that we realised the original 6 inch pipe used to drain the lakes was of little use and so with some degree of trepidation we set about laying a new pipeline! The result is that future maintenance of the lake on a regularly basis is now possible because the water can be drained away as and when required.
With that major task out of the way and the North end of the lake now nearing completion it was time for the Digger, followed by a 10 tonne dump trailer and 6 tonne dumper to head to the Southern side of the lake. Here once again we uncovered another huge slab of deep earth that was providing great habitat for the ducks, but a headache for the Trout!
These images may show the huge amount of time (and investment) that has been injected into the fishery to give it a new lease of life, but take a look at this video which shows the excavators in action and what can only be described as of a lava flow of silt being excavated from the site!
Most venues would take weeks if not months to recover from such work but Exe Valley Fishery is fed by the crystal clear waters of the River Barle and so within 24 hours of the machinery leaving the site (via our brand new track!) Anchor Lake was once again full to the brim and ready to be stocked.
This was a very exciting time and even more satisfying to see Trout clearly enjoying the new depth, not to mention the extra space created by the improvements. My son Chester was the first to cast a line on the lake after the work and very soon his Stealth Buzzer had been mopped up by a Trout that fought like crazy in the deep, weed free water. Mission accomplished!
The next day we opened the doors to a car park full of anglers and September proved to be very busy, especially during the last couple of weeks as the weather improved. At which point it is worth saying that of course you cannot please all of the people all of the time and as expected there have been one or two moans about the work. Mainly that the fish are not always where they used to be and that stripping a Cats Whisker in the top two feet doesn't always seem to be the best tactic anymore!
No such gripes from regulars Keith & Mary Ratcliffe who have bagged 5 fish each on both their visits since the work has been completed, catching the majority of their Trout using small Buzzers, Crunchers & Damsels allowed to swing on the current, almost static with a very slow figure of eight retrieve. Ivan West also used similar tactics to reach his limit using Beaded & CDC Buzzers commenting that his latest visit was “Brill”.
Peter Bridges caught the best bag of September with fish of 7lb 4oz, 6lb 4oz, 6lbs, 5lb 8oz and 3lbs to record a huge weight of over 28lbs. He said “Best sport I’ve had in years. The lake is in the very best condition!” Simon Autton was also happy with his visit catching 3 nice Trout for a total of 9lb and commenting that he had a “Beautiful mornings fishing, fished for 3 hours, the lake looks great with the improvements. Looking forward to my next visit”. Michael Smith seconded Simons sentiments with “Good days fishing in well kept surroundings” weighing out 3 fish meanwhile Mr Simmonds alluded to my earlier thoughts that the new Exe Valley requires a varied approach, especially as the fish have been feeding heavily on Buzzers. He managed 3 to 3lb 4oz and said “A splendid days sport – challenging, made me think and ultimately, very rewarding ... Thank You!”
But what of the tagged Trout? Well it was restocked having been caught up prior to the excavation and finally after months of trying our most regular angler, Chris Short managed to persuade it, earning himself £100.00 A new tagged fish is just about to be introduced and regular weekly stockings are taking place and will do so throughout the winter months. In fact we are about to enter one of the best times of the season so with many of the reservoirs closing their doors why not visit to see what has been going on for yourself.
176 anglers did just that last month catching a total of 404 fish for an average of 2.3 fish per angler. Thank you to all of you for taking the time to fish at Exe Valley! We are striving to make more improvements including the introduction of further fishing bays and please keep an eye out on future fishing reports as we have a few new additions to our service which will be introduced over the coming months.
Weekly reports are about to be reinstated and as always if you would like to find out more about the fishery, conditions and the best tactics to use please call 01398 323008 or 07971 198559.
Thanks for reading. Best Fishes, Nick.