Anchor Lake closed for weeding party on Sunday 8th July 2018

We apologise for any inconvenience but the lake will be closed for one day on Sunday 8th July 2018 for a party of anglers who are assisting with the clearance of weed from the fishery.

The weed needs to be cleared ... but look ... at last ... no algae!  This picture was taken in late June 2018.

The weed needs to be cleared ... but look ... at last ... no algae!  This picture was taken in late June 2018.

The good news is that we seem to be winning the battle against algae which is at its lowest level for over a decade, despite the very high temperatures experienced during the last few weeks.

Once the weed has been cleared please look out for an update and once again our apologies if you were planning to fish on Sunday 8th.  This maintenance is essential and will enable the lake to remain open throughout the summer month.

You can also keep up to date on our Exe Valley Fishery Facebook Page

Finally, huge thanks to all those people who have offered to help us clear the weed, we very much appreciate the response and look forward to welcoming you on Sunday - "many hands make light work"

Please note that the event is fully subscribed but if you would like to be considered for the next one the deal is a days work on the fishery for two three fish permits, plus a BBQ & Beer. 

Register interest below in the comments section, give us a call or send over an email.  Messages can also be sent via Facebook.

More soon and thanks for reading.

Nick & Sue

T 01398 323008

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,

Nick.

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.

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.

Keep up to date with the latest catches & news on this page and Find us on Facebook

 

Great fishing in improving weather - catch report to 3rd May 2016

As the season gathers some pace and the weather improves ... a little, there haven’t been enough hours in the day to post up to the minute reports as my diary is crammed with teaching & guiding.  So I am going to try a slightly new style with the key info and some pix to keep you all updated with the latest catches and news from the fishery.

First up you might have spotted Exe Valley Fishery in the Trout Fisherman magazine this month?  If not check out issue 483, pages 34 to 37 and a cracking article by the West Countries Russ Symons, the longest serving contributor to TF.  There are some great bits of advice plus a few new flies to try.

Article shot at Exe Valley Fishery by Russ Symons featured in this months Trout Fisherman magazine.

Article shot at Exe Valley Fishery by Russ Symons featured in this months Trout Fisherman magazine.

Sticking with Trout Fisherman for a moment it was a great pleasure to welcome the editor, Russell Hill last week and photographer Peter Gathercole.  We had a ball even though it was windy and cold. 

Tom Hendy has his big fish snapped by TF photograoher Peter Gathercole

Tom Hendy has his big fish snapped by TF photograoher Peter Gathercole

The sun shone though and a good few decent fish hit the bank including Tom Hendys personal best of 13lb 8oz which he caught on a home tied fly featuring a Rainbow bead.  Tom said “What can I say.  Personal best of 13 1/2lb.  Only decided to come at last minute.  Good decision”  Look out for the full feature in a future issue of Trout Fisherman.

Star of the Day - Tom Hendy with a double caught during the Trout Fisherman visit

Star of the Day - Tom Hendy with a double caught during the Trout Fisherman visit

Well done to this month’s Troutmaster badge winners Lukasz Adamczyk with a 12lb 10oz Rainbow on a UV Olive Bead Damsel, Michael Ellis from Minehead with a cracking 10lb 12oz Rainbow in 2nd place and finally Peter Bridges who did not make double figures but used a Rainbow Fly to take 3rd spot with a fish of 8lb 3oz .  All fish caught between 21st Feb to 20th March 16. 

Tom Hendy will be in with a shot of claiming a badge in the next round with his double, another of 13lb 6oz fell to Roger Bowskill and Colin Wayman banked a fin perfect beauty of 12lb 4oz but is doubtful that this fish will make the cut!

A razor finned double of 12lb 4oz for Colin Wayman but it probably wont be big enough to win him a Troutmasters badge!

A razor finned double of 12lb 4oz for Colin Wayman but it probably wont be big enough to win him a Troutmasters badge!

The BIG news of course in recent weeks is that finally our record Brown Trout was caught.  Stocked back in November 2015, it finally got it wrong in mid April, taking a Hares Ear nymph fished by Mike Webster.  The huge 14lb 10oz fish spent an hour trying to throw the hook but in the end I was very happy to slip the net under Mikes prize.  Read the full story here.

The current Exe Valley Fishery record Brown Trout of 14lb 10oz caught in April 2016

The current Exe Valley Fishery record Brown Trout of 14lb 10oz caught in April 2016

Looking through the returns top flies to try at the moment include Blue Damsels, Palmered Goldhead Cats and of course Buzzers.  We have had some great hatches, signified by the airborne feeding frenzy of Martins & Swallows with the Trout feasting below.  When the wind is strong fish fluorocarbon to keep the flies down a little and one or two Buzzers, chuck them out and let them swing on the wind.  Easy & effective!

It’s always great to receive feedback from our anglers and without a doubt the top comment seems to be “I will be back”.  Take Steve Thompson for instance who said “A day off the planet.  Stress Free and lovely.  I will be back.”  We look forward to seeing you Steve and well done on your bag limit of 5 fish for 14lbs.  Robert Stevens took a 21lb bag of 5 fish and said “What a wonderful day.  Dry flies went really well as did Buzzers.  Weather was very kind.  I’ll be back” and David Beavey got a double amongst his 5 for 22lbs leaving the comment that the “last fish, a 10 pounder, made my day.  As the saying goes “I will be back!!” 

This is just a small amount of the great comments we receive, thanks to all who take the time to write a few words and remember that completing your return might just land you a prize.  This month John Melrose from Minehead was first out of the hat for April and wins a complimentary 5 Fish Permit, which is even better as he caught 2 fish previously and it was his first ever day fly fishing ... so have a 2nd day on the house!  Meanwhile tagged Trout continue to be caught and the latest £50 prize winner is Richard Carr from Wiveliscombe.  Just add a £1 to your permit fee to be in with a chance!

Anchor lake fitted out with its new wooden sign 

Anchor lake fitted out with its new wooden sign 

And finally we have some new signs on the lake and the road closures on the A396 are drawing to a close.  The last closure is from today 3rd May 2016 to Sat 14th May 2016, please see here for latest info & reportsHowever please note: the road is only closed from 9.30am to 3.30pm.  Prior to these times it is possible to use the main route via Cove on the A396 and all you will have to negotiate is traffic lights rather than a 45 minute detour.  The fishery is open as usual and fishing well, but please note that Anchor Lake will be closed all day on Thursday 5th May for a private event.

... and Lobbs!  We think they are very eye catching and would like to thank Rob of Anstey Gates for his superb craftsmanship.  If you need a wooden sign call him on 07816 966494

... and Lobbs!  We think they are very eye catching and would like to thank Rob of Anstey Gates for his superb craftsmanship.  If you need a wooden sign call him on 07816 966494

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 month of wet nets!

Nick.

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Stats for April 2016 are 155 anglers caught 487 fish for a rod average of 3.1