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!

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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