Latest News & Christmas Opening Hours

It’s hard to believe that Nick has been working in London for 8 weeks already and has recently drawn my attention to the lack of fishery reports!  In all honesty, there has been very little to report during December due to the lack of attendance.  So far, we have welcomed just 28 anglers in the last 18 days….

The weather has no doubt played its part with incredibly changeable conditions although I would like to add that contrary to rumours circulating the stocking and general management of Exe Valley Fishery continues as ever.  For example, during the Christmas break we will continue to stock with Trout that are guaranteed to test your tackle in the cold-water conditions. 

Anglers who have braved the conditions enjoyed consistent sport, fishing deep, with a variety of black lures including the Humungus.  Last weekend Nick & Chester grabbed an hour away from the metropolis and found success using a DI-3 and a small Tequila Blob …. fished slow.  Currently the water is around 5-8 C so fast retrieves are not recommended.

Chester gives an Exe Valley Trout the gears hooked using a small Tequila Blob on a DI-3 - slow & deep!

Chester gives an Exe Valley Trout the gears hooked using a small Tequila Blob on a DI-3 - slow & deep!

Cold water conditions are a perfect time to enjoy small still water trout fisheries and while I quite understand that anglers are unlikely to brave howling gales, hail, torrential rain, sleet and snow the last few days have been beautiful and yet just 4 anglers have visited. 

Despite all this I must say a massive thank you to Paul Owen from Tiverton also known as The West Country Angler.  Paul is a dry fly addict and even has his own Weatherbys Dry Fly Powder but on Friday 15th December it was all about fishing lures in the right way, in the right places.  Paul simply said, “Loved It !!” in his comments but both Nick and I couldn’t believe the brilliant video that appeared online after his visit.

The long-range forecast appears favourable for the festive break and I have received several calls to see if I will be opening the fishery.  Self-service permits are available on 23rd December with the main building open between 10am and 12 noon. 

Self-service permits are available on 24th and 26th December, the main building will not be open. 

Christmas Day, the site is closed completely; no fishing available. 

From the 27th through to the 30th December I will open the main building to serve hot drinks and sell flies/leaders from 8am, with Anchor Lake open from 8am as usual.  Barbless flies are available for those who would like to take advantage of our Catch & Release options.

Sunday 31st December and Monday 1st January – fishery open for self-service permits as usual from 8am; the main building will be closed.

If you would like to enjoy a day out with your family please note that Lobbs Lake is currently drained and out of action but children aged 14 and under may share their parents bag limit fishing on Anchor Lake.

Many thanks for reading this latest report.  I am here on a daily basis so if you require further info please do not hesitate to call 01398 323008

As always Nick and I would like to thank all of you who continue to support the fishery in what appears to be a difficult time for fly fishing with some venues fighting closure and the news that a popular fishing magazine has just published its last issue.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope that you are able to enjoy some time in the fresh air to wet a line.

Best Fishes,



Its Back – Catch & Release Returns to Exe Valley Fishery

Its back … Catch & Release that is!  I first introduced this service back in Feb 2017 and it was an instant success.  As expected the warm weather spoilt the fun for a few months but now that the cool weather has arrived, along with shorter days, the water temperature has fallen significantly and we once again welcome back those people who like to put back what they catch.  Just recently the phone has been kept busy with anglers keen to fish on a sporting basis and so it is therefore a great pleasure to be able to offer the opportunity once again.

Of course, we also welcome anglers who like to take home a few fish for the table and so our flexible permits reflect this. £25 – 10 fish sporting tickets through to £45 – Keep 5 and Release 5 permits.  There is no obligation to release fish having reached the keep limit, but the option is there for those who would like some more time at the water’s edge, which of course makes the pricing even better value for money.

Exe Valley caters for anglers who like to release their fish ...

Exe Valley caters for anglers who like to release their fish ...

The Catch & Release rules are strict and a few anglers have queried this, especially the compulsory use of barbless hooks, rather than those that have been crimped with a set of pliers or forceps.  By upholding this rule we ensure fish welfare (the most important consideration), eliminating the possibility of injury caused by an improperly debarbed hook.

Barbless hooks are stocked in the lodge for people who would like to tie their own and all of the most popular and successful Exe Valley patterns are available for sale, tied on top quality hooks.  We use Fulling Mill to supply our flies and also have a great range of Blobs tied on Dohiku hooks and incorporating the revolutionary FNF Jelly Fritz.  These are crafted by top competition angler Matt Kingdon who was part of the England Fly Fishing team that won the gold medal on Chew back in May 17.

Rubber mesh nets are also required.  Some anglers already have them but when this is not the case we provide complimentary nets for use while fishing to those people who have the old-style material mesh.  In the not too distant future this rule will change as I intend to provide nets for all anglers using the lake, whether or not they are catching & releasing.  The nets will be stored in a convenient location and a disinfectant bath provided so that they can be dipped prior to fishing and afterwards.

... and those who like to keep for the table.  And you can enjoy the best of both with our keep some, release some permits.

... and those who like to keep for the table.  And you can enjoy the best of both with our keep some, release some permits.

Meanwhile on Anchor Lake the weed is dying back, although not completely so tactics and length of leader are an important consideration in some areas, meanwhile fresh stock continues to be introduced on a twice weekly basis.  Even so some anglers struggle and inform me within the comments section of the returns, by email or both if they have had a tough day.  Here is an excerpt from an email sent by an angler questioning my decision to offer Catch & Release to our customers.

“ I have been reading the catch reports at Exe Valley so decided to travel up from Sidmouth to fish . I fished it last year and found it challenging but was able to hook up with some nice rainbows.  This year there is a major difference and that is c and r.

My visit yesterday Monday 25th was very disappointing. When I arrived about 2 o’clock I was the only fisherman on the property, heaven. Started on the dries, for an hour, nothing. Put flies in the flowing water of the inlet, this area has trout written all over it, perfect, nothing, a couple of half-hearted rises, but I can see plenty of fish hovering at the end of the moving water.

So I moved all around the lake, moving and casting with dries, buzzers, nymphs and finally lures. Had a couple of half-hearted plucks, finally hooking a 2lb rainbow at 6oclock . The lake is full of hook shy fish and that is a consequence of catch and release. Weed is a problem but not as bad as too many fish hooked and returned.

I would love to see the novice anglers of which you speak on your web site catch these fish and I think it a little condescending of you to say that a lot of your customers are poor fishermen / women if they can’t catch. Mixing Catch and release and catch and keep is a very big risk, especially on a small water, and is no doubt reliant on a meticulous restocking policy. I myself am guilty of regularly using C and R waters but on them all there is a common thread, many visible fish, plenty of follows, few hook ups, and it is quite clear when there has been fresh stocking as fish can be caught.”

Name & Email Address Supplied

As a footnote to this email the lake had been restocked prior to the authors visit and anglers had also visited the lake earlier in the day. 

In contrast, a few days later I received the following email.

“I hope you are well. My brother and I decided at very short notice to fish again at Exe Valley again on Sunday, it is fast becoming our favourite fishery.

The fishing was for some reason was very difficult that day with the fish showing no or very little interest in naturals. Despite that my brother caught five with a total bag weight in excess of 16lb with the best fish weighing in at an impressive 7lb 14oz. He caught using black snakes a white gold head daddy and a largish green buzzer under an indicator. He caught his five fish before I caught any. He was fishing in the fast-moving inlet water.

When my brother had caught his bag, I moved to the same spot and quickly caught three, bag weight 10lb 14oz with the best fish at 5lb. Catching on a Black-Eyed Pea and a White Apache. Lures were definitely the order of the day in that fast-moving area of water but interestingly the trout were not showing any interest in lures either in other areas of the lake. Both of the larger fish caught have been entered in the Trout Master competition.

We have now made 4 visits to Exe Valley and between us have managed to catch 41 fish all of which have been in excellent condition. Apart from a very picturesque, cast friendly, well maintained venue the thing that attracts us most and we really appreciate is that you can guarantee the quality and hard fighting nature of the fish stocked.

We will be back again soon.

All the best.

Kind regards

Mike Duckett

The above shows what can be achieved by anglers visiting on a regular basis and searching for the correct tactics rather than a variety of assumptions arrived at following just one unsuccessful visit.  I have been an angler since I was a small boy and sometimes the day just doesn’t pan out and on others it does.  Wouldn’t fishing be very boring if we guaranteed sport on every single occasion that we wet a line?  I would love to hear your views and please feel free to use the comments section below or drop me a line. 

Ultimately my goal is for every angler visiting Exe Valley Fishery to enjoy a fantastic day and one thing is for sure, regular stocking is maintained to offer everyone the best opportunity.  However, I can’t influence the weather (no honestly, I can’t!) and if I provide advice regarding the tactics/flies and it is ignored then there is not a lot more I can do to help.  The disgruntled angler above was clearly offended by my Try small flies & fine leaders at exe valley … not everything in the box post published here on the catch report.  That was not my intention and to anyone else who I may have offended I apologise of course.  However, rereading the post, I feel that it is inoffensive and merely designed to try and assist anglers visiting the fishery … after all that is what the catch report is for!

Moving on to other news I can confirm that Lobbs Lake is currently out of action although work continues to reinstate this part of the venue.  Anchor Lake is very much open for business and as per the post title, Catch & Release permits are now available once again.

I reiterate the above paragraph because just recently I made the news public that from mid-October I will be working with world famous London based tackle suppliers Farlows.  If this is of interest you can find more about the change in my career by reading this blog post over on the Nick Hart Fly Fishing website

Exe Valley Fishery will be managed by Sue Hart with Nick Hart providing assistance behind the scenes as he begins working at Farlows in London.

Exe Valley Fishery will be managed by Sue Hart with Nick Hart providing assistance behind the scenes as he begins working at Farlows in London.

Exe Valley Fishery will continue to remain our business with my wife Sue taking on the day to day management, which she has been involved with for many years.  So, nothing changes other than we also have a couple of other individuals helping out behind the scenes and of course I myself will visit to catch up with all the regulars and because I absolutely love being on the site!  As many of you know who fish with us regularly the venue has had large amounts of development and further improvements will follow.  If anyone reading this post is interested in becoming involved with the management of Exe Valley behind the scenes please make contact by email here or try calling 01398 323008.

This weekend the Wistlandpound Fly Fishing club will visit the venue on Sunday 8th October although this was a late notice booking so if you were hoping to fish we are open as usual with plenty of space and another stock of fish about to be introduced.  Looking ahead to the weather Saturdays changeable conditions look like they will give way to reasonable temperatures on Sunday, with sunny spells and light winds.

More reports soon and we hope you will visit for some great autumn sport which is now better value than ever before with the option to Catch & Release.

Thanks for reading & good fishing,


Check out the Exe Valley Facebook page here for regular updates and please give us a Like if you enjoy spending time at the fishery.

New Children’s Permits available at Exe Valley Fishery just in time for the bank holiday

It’s been a busy few weeks at Exe Valley fishery as finally we have experienced something like late spring weather.  This has got the fish up and feasting on fly so those prepared to try a dry have often been rewarded.

Small buzzers under indicators have also accounted for plenty of fish and if lures are your thing they will often work early morning.  By afternoon something a little more subtle might be required, try these Foam Head Crunchers, they are deadly!

Foam Head Crunchers - fish 2 on a 14ft leader and let the wind/current drift them along with a slow retrieve

Foam Head Crunchers - fish 2 on a 14ft leader and let the wind/current drift them along with a slow retrieve

Lots of great comments again this month as 155 anglers have tried their luck so far to 24th May including J Ratcliffe from Exmouth who said “very enjoyable, lovely tidy set up” after catching his 2 fish limit.  Len Woodland had “A very enjoyable time at a very attractive venue” leaving with a brace of fish. Paul Griffiths on holiday from Fishguard landed a 2 fish bag weighing 8lb 8oz with a best of 6lb and joined the long list of “will be back again” comments along with local angler Ian Nadin who said “Greats mornings fishing again!  I’ll be back”, after a full bag of 5 that pulled the scales to 16lb.

First Trout on fly for Brent Stephen - a 6lb beauty which took a Blue Damsel fished on a floating line.

First Trout on fly for Brent Stephen - a 6lb beauty which took a Blue Damsel fished on a floating line.

My fly fishing course guests have been getting amongst the fish including this lovely 6 pounder for Brent Stephen, the first fish he has ever landed on fly and we have had some great events such as the UK Hydrographic Office visit when 13 anglers took over Anchor Lake for the day.

The UK Hydrgraphic Office enjoy a day fly fishing at Exe Valley Fishery ...

The UK Hydrgraphic Office enjoy a day fly fishing at Exe Valley Fishery ...

... and some amazing weather

... and some amazing weather

Which brings me on to our new permits! Following the extensive work carried out on Anchor Lake last year we now have a designated permit.  There is much more room to fish on Anchor and since the work Lobbs Lake has seen very little action.  The current prices of 2 fish - £25, 3 Fish - £30, 4 Fish - £32 & 5 Fish £34.00 will remain but these permits will only be valid for fishing on Anchor Lake.

Meanwhile a brand new permit has been introduced which is aimed specifically at young anglers, although we welcome novices to purchase these permits and if you want some Trout for the BBQ the fish stocked into Lobbs will be of an ideal size.  This new Lobbs Lake only permit is available for fly fishing, spinning & bait with the following prices:

1 Fish - £ 8.00

2 Fish - £12.00

3 Fish - £15.00

4 Fish - £18.00

And there is more.  Up to 2 children of 14 years or below can share the bag limit of the Lobbs Lake permit! 

The new Lobbs Lake Permit - ideal for young & novice anglers keen to experience the thrill of a fish!

The new Lobbs Lake Permit - ideal for young & novice anglers keen to experience the thrill of a fish!

The forecast looks reasonable for the upcoming holiday so why not introduce your sons, daughters, grand children, nieces & nephews to fishing?  So many people seem to feel that children will find fishing boring but at Lobbs lake they have a great chance of catching.

It doesn't have to be fly fishing and once their first fish has been hooked I bet they will want to do it all over again, which is now very affordable with fish from just £4.50 each when purchasing our new 4 fish Lobbs Lake ticket.

Keep up to date with the changes as they happen on our designated permit page and click the link here for more on Lobbs Lake.  And please note that the A396 road is now fully opened!

As always if you would like further info and to check if the fishery is open etc before making the journey please call us on 01398 323008

Hope you have a tight line this holiday!


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