Festive Fishing Fun, Damsels & Doubles

It’s New Year Eve so I will be brief!  Since 27th Dec 73 anglers have visited catching 224 Trout for a rod average of 3.1A variety of tactics are working although Damsels seem to be attracting the larger fish.

Colin Oram used a small Olive Classic FM to tempt this full tailed 14lb 8oz Rainbow, using 7lb leader and battled for 15 minutes before finally being able to net his prize fish.

Best fish of the week goes to Colin Oram from near Bath - 14lb 8oz on a Goldhead Olive Classic FM 

Best fish of the week goes to Colin Oram from near Bath - 14lb 8oz on a Goldhead Olive Classic FM 

Returning a couple of days later Colin also bagged himself one of our tagged fish winning himself £10 along with 8 other lucky winners so far which means there are still 4 prize winning fish swimming around Anchor Lake.

New Years Eve 2016 - there are still 4 tagged Trout in  Anchor Lake  waiting to be caught!

New Years Eve 2016 - there are still 4 tagged Trout in Anchor Lake waiting to be caught!

With the lakes so busy we have been regularly restocking but a fish was landed today by Don Mansell which has been roaming Anchor for some time.  Pulling the scales down to excatly 10lb Don said “This is one of the hardest fighting, best looking Trout I have ever caught”, playing the double for 20 minutes on a 5 weight.  The successful fly was a Blue Flash Damsel which accounted for four of Dons five fish limit which weighed in at 25lb 8oz, his last took a dry fly ... in December!

A five fish 25lb 8oz bag for a very happy Don Mansell - caught using Blue Flash Damsels with the excpetion of one which took a dry fly.

A five fish 25lb 8oz bag for a very happy Don Mansell - caught using Blue Flash Damsels with the excpetion of one which took a dry fly.

The favourable weather conditions have certainly inspired plenty of anglers to wet a line this week and although not everyone can go home with a jumbo Trout there have been some excellent bags, including Colin Orams second day 5 fish limit of 19lb 8oz including a best of 6lb 4oz, Jesse Dominguez5 fish weighing 17lbs, Fran Eastwood 5 fish weighing 17lb and Simon Autton 5 Fish weighing 18lb 8oz including another double of 10lb 8oz (apologies Simon that I wasn’t there to photograph!)

Generally floating fly lines have worked very well, even during the cold mornings although the best of the sport seems to be from 10am onwards.  Perry Bamonte stuck to Buzzers on a floater, while others caught quickly on lures, taking his time over his limit but catching them using a really enjoyable tactic.

As for 2016 I am not going to regurgitate every moment month by month, but it goes without saying that one of the highlights was Mike Websters record Exe Valley Brown Trout below which weighed 14lb 10oz, caught using a Goldhead Hares Ear.  Take a look at this link for the full story.

Mike Websters record Brown Trout caught in April 2016 weighing 14lb 10oz

Mike Websters record Brown Trout caught in April 2016 weighing 14lb 10oz

Not so good was the local road closure for nearly two months which kicked off 2016 followed by the sweed which lead to a further closure of around 6 weeks.  None of this is very good for business and we will try even harder in 2017 to remain open.

We also hope to offer more events such as the recent fly fishing experience held here just before Christmas and look out in the near future for news of some special limited number catch & release dates to kick off 2017.

Well although there is always more news it is the time for family and a few beers so I will sign off although we are open throughout New Years Day and beyond if you need to work off a hang over or make use of an extended holiday next week!

Thanks to all who have supported the fishery once again during 2016 and we hope you will visit again during the season to come.

Happy New Year & Best Fishes,


Find regular catch updates & reports on the Exe Valley Fishery Facebook Page

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.

Record Brown Trout caught at Exe Valley Fishery on 14th April 2016

Back in November 2015 I posted a report about a fish, stocked into Anchor Lake, that was going to result in one very happy angler indeed!

Well congratulations to Dr Mike Webster for becoming that angler!  He visited Exe Valley on Thursday 14th April 2016 and I don’t think he really imagined what would happen next.

It all started when Mikes fishing buddy for the day, Andrew Player, came dashing up to the cafe with news that Mike was stuck into a very reasonable fish and was worried that his net was not big enough.  And then Andrew said “We think it’s a big Brown Trout”

I wasn't leaving this to chance and so grabbed my McLeans Salmon & Sea Trout Net, just in case Mike really was latched into the potential record Exe Valley Brown Trout and ran down to Anchor Lake.  This is the scene which greeted me when I arrived at the waters edge.

5 weight rod, 8lb leader and one very big trout

5 weight rod, 8lb leader and one very big trout

Mikes rod was taking on an alarming curve and there was little wonder as it was only a 5 weight, coupled to an 8lb leader.  It transpired that he had already been playing the fish for well over half an hour, but I did not get to see it properly for 5 minutes.  The rod just stayed hooped over, Mike had a half grimace, half worried and half amazed expression on his face while all of us just hoped the line would stay tight.

And then Mike managed to turn the fish, it rolled near the surface, the huge flank of the Brown stocked 139 days previously lit up by the spring sunshine, before once again it crash dived towards the lake bed, attempting to rub out the Hares Ear nymph.

Another 5 minutes went by but it was clear the fish was tired and I urged Mike to take a breath, apply some pressure and see if he could get the big Brown to give up.  There were tense moments as the fish made a few last bids for freedom but in the end Mikes biggest ever fish and Exe Valleys record Brown Trout, weighing 14lb 10oz, was in the net.

Elated angler Dr Mike Webster with his 14lb 10oz fishery record Brown Trout.  Nice work!

Elated angler Dr Mike Webster with his 14lb 10oz fishery record Brown Trout.  Nice work!

There are many emotions when such a fish is landed, especially when it has fought so hard for its freedom.  I think all of us would have liked to have released the fish, but the reality is that the stress of such a long fight would have made recovery difficult.  Mike has the pictures to remember his session which he described on his return as “Incredible” but also rather than turning the fish into supper he is going to have the fish set up by a taxidermist.

A McLeans Sea Trout net was required to land the big fish hooked on a Hares Ear Nymph.

A McLeans Sea Trout net was required to land the big fish hooked on a Hares Ear Nymph.

These Brown Trout continue to amaze me.  Hundreds of anglers have made thousands of casts throughout the winter and yet this fish managed to evade capture.  It was also in fantastic condition and I reckon one or two of the wild Browns and small escapee Rainbows that inhabit the lake might well have met their end in its jaws which were filled with some impressive teeth.

Plenty more action on the fishery to report but it is not every day that such a special fish is landed so until next time thanks for reading and if you are on Facebook please check out our new page here and if you like what you see then a like would be very much appreciated.

Tightlines & Wet Nets,


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Record Brown Trout stocked into Anchor Lake

Yesterday afternoon I received a call from top bloke and all round fish farmer extraordinaire Fred to say that he had a rather large Brown Trout that I may like to have a look at.  And what a beast it is!

Fred releases a potential record breaker into Anchor Lake!

Fred releases a potential record breaker into Anchor Lake!

Now swimming around the cool waters of Anchor Lake , this bus of a Brown is a potential fishery record. Weighing in at very nearly 15lbs someone is going to go home very, very happy indeed. Will it be You ....?