Anglers back in action on Anchor Lake - Opening week catch report to 23rd September 2016

It feels great to be sitting down at the keyboard to write up a catch report for the website after a gap of two months following the issues we experienced with Anchor Lake this summer.  I am pleased to report that we are now open as usual!

Currently there is no need to book and if we are not available in the lodge when you arrive please purchase a permit in the self serve facility and take advantage of the newly refurbished Anchor Lake.

So far at the time of writing, Friday 23rd Sept, 49 rods have visited the lakes enjoying some favourable autumn conditions.  At times the bright sun and a cool breeze have made the fishing tricky, but for those willing to search the depths and experiment with their tactics the rewards have been well worth the effort.

Opening Day

Best bag on opening day went to Ian Nadin who commented on his return card “What a fantastic mornings fishing.  Good Luck with the reworked lake”.  Ian caught his 5 fish weighing out at 20lb using a Drowned Daddy.  Just to show how fishing can change he returned a few days later for an afternoon session and found that the Trout would chase his fly but not take it!  His companion for that session, Perry Bamonte, did manage a couple but had to move around the lake experimenting with tactics to wet the net.

Light Leaders worth a go

Considering how much work has been carried out on the lakes during the last few weeks the clarity is unbelievable which is possibly the reason why fish are sometimes shying off heavy weight leaders or following flies and not taking them.  Spotting this issue local DJ Shaun Rowden dropped down to 4lb breaking strain and went looking for fish.  He found his prize in the form of a 6lb 4oz full tailed Rainbow which took a Montana.  I was lucky enough to spot Shaun netting his fish and did the honours with the lens while listening to the excited story of the catch!  Shaun said he was literally shaking with excitement.

Shaun Rowden with the 6lb 4oz Rainbow he stalked during a beautiful day on Anchor Lake

Young anglers catching BIG fish!

Another good catch went to Alfie Chapman, just 13 years old but already reeling in the big ones in the form of a 9lb Rainbow which was part of a 9 fish haul weighing 36lbs, caught during a day out with his Dad.  The fish has been entered into the Trout Fisherman Junior Troutmaster competition which we are crossing rods he does well in and reaches the final.  One of our star young anglers, James Mockridge, did just that this year and wound up being one of the top 5 anglers in the country.  He was then selected to try out for the England Youth team and was just 2 places away from making the cut.  A fantastic achievement and no doubt he will make the team in future seasons.

Star Angler - James Mockridge is one to watch!

Enter the Greys Junior Bank National

Sticking with our young anglers for the moment I am pleased to announce that once again a heat of the Greys Junior Bank National will be held at Exe Valley Fishery on Sunday 23rd October 2016.  This is a great way for young anglers to meet new friends, experience competition fishing for the first time or perhaps even add to their list of successes. 

There are 6 regional heats and we are very proud to offer the South West option here for up to 15 anglers.  Three anglers from each heat will go through to the final to be held at one of the top stillwaters in the UK, Ellerdine Fishery , on Sunday 9th April 2017.  If your son, daughter, grandchild or any young people you know might be interested in taking part please see the Angling Trust Junior Bank National website for further info and download an entry form here.  The entry fee for the Exe Valley heat is just £5 and that includes the permit and fantastic prizes sponsored by Greys!  Please do support this important event; young anglers are the future of fishing.

Double Delight

Finally we are not a big fish water but we do stock a few in the hope that someone will get lucky and latch into a monster, just like Dr Mike Webster did back in April when he landed our record Brown Trout of 14lb 10oz.  No records have fallen this week and I have missed a couple of doubles with the lens but fortunately was on hand when John Gilmore landed a 10lb 6oz Rainbow on an Intermediate line using a Goldhead Orange Lure.  The fish put up some fight and was tamed on a 9 foot 6 line rod.  Not content with just the double, John also bagged another quality fish of 7lb 4oz and left the car park with a bass busting 24lb bag!

A very happy John Gilmore with one of the first double figure Trout following the reopening of Anchor Lake at Exe Valley Fishery.

Huge thanks to all of you who have supported the fishery this week and visited for a session.  The onset of some cold autumnal weather has not always made for easy sport but those anglers willing to try out varied tactics on the new look lake have been rewarded. 

If you are thinking of visiting soon, packing an Intermediate line would be well advised although if the temp rises definitely try a static dry fly or twitch a Blue Flash Damsel just sub surface.  White & Yellow Dancers have also been working and Buzzers are worth a go, especially if the fish start following but not taking lures.   

I don’t have the exact statistics as anglers are still out there fishing currently but so far 49 rods have accounted for 101 fish for an average of 2.1 Plenty of fish have alluded capture following the initial stocking and another 100 Trout have been introduced this week so if they switch on the weekend could be very good indeed!

Until next time, thanks for reading and best fishes.

Nick at Exe Valley Fishery.

Exe Valley Fishery Reopening - Sunday 18th September 2016

As many of you will know, the main Anchor Lake has been closed for a considerable period of time, shutting its doors on 29th June.  A few people braved the lake in July and despite the weed choked conditions they caught fish.  Special thanks to those who continued to support the fishery through such tough times.  

By August Anchor was virtually impossible to fish and so late on in the month we drained the lake and set about continuing the work carried out last year.  The maintenance has only just been completed to the point that we can flood the lake and we are currently in the process of getting ready to reopen this Sunday 18th September.

If you would like to fish on Sunday 18th, Monday 19th or Tuesday 20th September please note that permits are only available by advance booking.  An email has been sent out to coincide with this post on our website and details will also be posted via social media including Twitter & Facebook.  Please call between 9.30am and 2.00pm on 01398 323008 if you would like to try out the refurbished lake on any of the dates above.  Alternatively please email the office here. 

Please Note: Permits will not be available for self service or by turning up on the day.  

Here are some images from the recent works showing the extensive excavation and reconstruction of Anchor Lake which has taken place.

Anchor Lake during closure, choked with weed & Algae

Draining Anchor Lake revealed why we were experiencing such huge problems.  Despite considerable investment in 2015 we had only scratched the surface, huge silt beds remained offering perfect nutrient levels for weed & algae to thrive.

In full daylight the quantity of silt is even more impressive.  Here the excavator begins the process of cleaning Anchor Lake artery's.

As silt was excavated so to was rock which we transported around the lake using dumpers. The rock was then used on every surrounding bank to construct a dam wall effect, perfect for aquatic insects and friendly weeds.  

Here is Anchor after the excavation showing the rocked banks.  Compare this with the images above and the changes to the lake bed can clearly be seen.

Another angle showing the excavated lake bed

Learning from our mistakes in 2015 this time we excavated as much silt as possible, added gradient to the lake bed and most important of all, found rock.  We managed to excavate to rock in just a very few areas last year and found that these small sections were largely unaffected by weed.

This is how the lake bed looked in 2015! Note the difference in depth above and how the water is pooling into certain areas, this will provide fantastic features for the fish and the opportunity for anglers to try varied tactics and line densities.

Another view of the new lake bed.  Note the rock, new slip way (ideal for Booby fishing!) and the pool of water on the left.  This area is already deep prior to flooding and set to become a hotspot.

Compare the inlet area above in 2016 after the recent works with how it looked back in 2015. Where there is 8' to 10' now there was just 2' originally!

A new dawn.  It has taken many 18 hour days and a five figure sum but at last the sun is rising on a new Anchor Lake and this weekend, Sunday 18th September 2016 we will reopen after a 10 week closure.  

There are no guarantees that the work carried out will cure the problems experienced this season, but we have invested large amounts of time and money in the hope that from now and in future seasons we will not have to take such drastic action.

We hope that you will visit soon, judging by the many calls and emails received (thanks to all!) it sounds like you are all gagging to wet a line!  If you would like to book yourself in this weekend please call 01398 323008 or email here.