Spring is just about in the air and following the very wet Easter we have seen a rise in anglers visiting the lakes, taking advantage of the improved conditions and also the longer days. The fishery is open from 8am to 6pm, 7 days per week, but it is possible to fish outside hours by contacting us to book on 01398 323008. Last month 367 fish were caught by 127 anglers for a rod average of 2.9
The Martins have arrived and I even spotted a couple of early Swallows last week, which means the Buzzers are here! If the wind drops there has been a fantastic hatch most days, possibly due to the newly excavated lake bed, as I don’t recall such numbers for many years. And the fish are switching on to the surface food so taking a fish off the top on a dry is a very real possibility. Try a 12’ to 14’ leader with one or two flies, Hoppers, Bits and Owl type patterns are all you need. Add a very small amount of floatant to the fly, degrease the leader and find a rising fish to throw at!
But if this approach doesn't work and you are keen to go imitative then try a fluorocarbon leader, with a couple of Glue Buzzers spaced at around 7’ intervals. Cast across any current/breeze that you can find, let the whole lot swing on a nice curve, keeping in touch with a figure 8 and be ready for some explosive takes! I bumped into Fran Eastwood on the bank and found she was struggling to catch. So I helped Fran set up with this rig and left her to it, returning later to find a rather big smile as she had landed this cracking 8lb 8oz Rainbow on a Buzzer! I love it when a plan comes together.
Fran was not the only lady to tangle with a big fish. Back from major shoulder surgery and almost an entire season away from the water Jill King from Chipstable did it in style with a 9lb 7oz Rainbow leaving a comment on her return that it was a “Wonderful days fishing. 1st time since last July after 2 replacement shoulders” Meanwhile Jenny Harris bagged a brace of our fab Brown Trout which seem to thrive in Anchor Lake.
Imitative tactics will certainly give you a good chance of fish but at this time of year lures are also very popular. The newly dubbed Snake Man, John Clarke from Wellington, used his favourite fly to help himself to yet another cracking bag of 5, weighing in at 25lb 2oz and including fish of 7lb 2oz, 6lb & 5lb 4oz while on the same day Will Atkins from Gloucester exclaimed on his comments that he had “lost the largest fish I have ever hooked here; next time!”, although as a consolation he did achieve his bag limit.
Another lady getting stuck into the Exe Valley Trout is Emma Bennett who said “Great morning fishing & so glad I caught 2 fish. Very exciting!” The surname Bennett is well known to the fishery as Emma’s son Toby is often amongst the top rods during our fly fishing competitions such as the recent Airflo bank masters. He joined Mum for the session and came up with one of the best comments I have seen on our returns card “Fishing to the Max!!!” Toby used a Blob to land 5 fish weighing 17lb 4oz including a best fish of 4lb 2oz. Joining the Bennett's for their morning session Peter Conachie said he had “Cracking good Fun”, taking 3 fish for 9lb 6oz and a top fish of 3lb 10oz. Prize for the most artistic comment goes to Wil Metcalfe from Bovey Tracey who said ”Fantastic. Just the right balance of everything. Will be back” Wil’s 5 fish limit weighed at 7kg with a best of 2kg.
We are striving to make the experience at Exe Valley consistently more enjoyable, with better facilities, regular fishing reports and events. But of course it is the fish stock which really matters and I have to say that Fred the fish farmer has been producing some of the best fish I have ever seen including this fabulous specimen caught by Tom Hendy weighing 8lb 6oz. Can you resist a crack at fish like this?!
If you are keen to tangle with an Exe Valley specimen but worried about the road closure which caused delays travelling to the fishery last month then hopefully we can reassure you that the major delay is now over. Please see the official highways page here for up to date news. The closure is now between 9.30am to 3.30pm each day and this will end on 9th April, with 2 way traffic lights and a convoy operating instead.
And to round up, a few bits of news. The first completed return card out of the hat for March is Cecil Bridges from Bishops Lydeard who purchased a 2 fish permit and got his bag including a fish of 3lb on a Cats Whisker tied the evening before. Well done Cecil a shiny 5 fish permit will be falling through your letter box very soon!
Meanwhile Exe Valley regular Paul Grisley from Exford can’t seem to do anything wrong on Anchor Lake at the moment. Not only has he had limit bags of fish in the mid 20s recently but he also bumped into this stocky sporting a Green tag, meaning he left the fishery £50 better off! And if you check out issue 481 of Troutfisherman magazine you will see he swept the board with first place, a 9lb 10oz Trout on a Fuzzy Wuzzy (whatever that is?! Come on Paul, let us know in the comments, how do you tie a Fuzzy Wuzzy fly?) and another of 8lb 14oz on a Rainbow Fry.
Further congratulations to issue 482 winners Robert Stevens with the best Troutmasters fish of the month (caught between Jan 21 to Feb 20) at 10lb 0oz on a Rainbow Fly, Dean Mockridge took 2nd place with a 8lb 8oz Rainbow on a Black & Blue Tadpole while 3rd was filled by last month’s bank masters winner Chris Short with his 8lb 3oz Rainbow caught using a Cats Whisker.
Thanks for reading and look out for more catch reports soon.
Tightlines & Wet Nets,