Big Fish, Lures & Dry Flies – see this week’s catch report to 7th Feb 2016

Storm Imogen thrashed the fishery during the weekend, resulting in a local fly fishing club cancelling their match at the very last minute.  Even so a few anglers braved it on Sunday, local angler Mark Thompson bagging himself a 6lb 2oz Trout and both Ashley Gough and Arthur Daukszys taking their limits of five by mid afternoon.  Once again in the coloured water Black & deep was the order of the day.

The week ended with 24 anglers catching 86 fish for an average of 3.6 per rod, enjoying gin clear conditions during the main part of the week.  After a storm the River Barle will rise and the fishery colours, but as the river falls back it soon returns to the beautiful clarity for which Exe Valley Fishery is famous.

As per last week’s report, use flies with plenty of movement (especially if you are hoping for a big fish), think about silhouette and expect to be using an intermediate line or faster.  Rosie Coles did just that and landed a stunning Rainbow Trout of 8lb 1oz which fell to the highly mobile Flexi Black Zonker, incorporating rubber legs for even more mobility.  Rosie twitched the lure using an intermediate line and said the fine fish put up a very strong fight.  It’s a definitely in contention as a Troutmasters badge winner for the month so well done Rosie!

A very happy Rosie Coles with her 8lb 1oz Rainbow caught using a Flexi Black Zonker

A very happy Rosie Coles with her 8lb 1oz Rainbow caught using a Flexi Black Zonker

Best bag of the week fell to the rod of Robert Stevens from Tiverton who commented on his return “A brilliant day.  Fritzy Blob did the trick today for me.  A Fritzy Cats Whisker also caught.  Thank you, I will be back” Unfortunately I wasn't around to record Roberts catch on camera but his 5 fish resulted in a total weight of 21lb and included a double of 10lbs.  Great fishing and we are particularly pleased that Robert had such a good day as he was out for the 2015 season due to a broken arm.  Other lure caught Trout include a 5lb 4oz Rainbow to Jenny Harris on a Black Nomad, a five fish limit of 14lb for Rob Date (4 of them taking a White Nomad) and a brace for Sampford Peverells Mike Good, both lured by that fly again ... The Cats Whisker.

Full of movement - Flexi Black Zonker

Full of movement - Flexi Black Zonker

If lures are not your thing, then there is sport to be had with more imitative patterns.  Wimbleball Lake ranger Danny Ford picked up a quick limit of 4 with a single fish to a Cats Whisker but the other 3 all fell to a Dry Daddy, meanwhile Andy Cottam from Plymouth also presented his flies in the top layers including one caught on a Claret Hopper.  Mr Dodds had even more success with a 5 fish bag of 17lb, including a 7 pounder and said on his return card “All taken on the top!”  We may be enduring a season of Atlantic storms but the temperatures remain high for the time of year, so don’t discount imitative tactics, especially in the super clear water that results following a flood.

Despite the weather I have been getting my hands dirty again this week and I have to say I love it.  Being part of everything that goes on here at Exe Valley helps me to better understand how I can improve the venue.  Along with more improvements to Anchor Lake, the car park was long overdue for a make over and so along with ace contractor Henry Godfrey Plant we have been laying many tons of new gravel.

Getting my hands dirty - well, almost!

Getting my hands dirty - well, almost!

That's it for this week, the weather looks like it might be improving for a few days so if you are suffering cabin fever from the long winter of storms dust down those rods and have a few hours out fishing.  But before you travel and due to the A396 road closure at Cove, please check out these directions which can be downloaded & printed for your journey.

And if you would like an update before you travel on water clarity and how the lakes are fishing please call 01398 323008.

Have a great week. 

Best Fishes,

Nick.

Happy New Year! Welcome to the first Exe Valley Fishery Catch Report of 2016.

A Happy New Year to all our anglers and thank you for visiting in 2015.  There were some big changes to the venue last year and during 2016 we aim to add even more to the Exe Valley Fishery experience.

Christmas seemed to zoom past with an influx of people fishing the lakes, no doubt keen to get out of the house.  One angler even fished on the day itself!  The fairly settled, mild weather attracted plenty of anglers from 27th to 29th, before once again the heavens opened.

The first few days of January were quiet but by last week a few anglers with New Year cabin fever decided to chance a day at the waters edge and were rewarded for the risk!  Chatting with Rob Wilkinson from Exeter enjoying a Tuesday session he almost didn’t make the journey due to the forecast of high winds/rain but the risk paid off as he was greeted with a flat calm and glorious blue sky!

Anchor Lake - Tuesday 5th January 2016

Anchor Lake - Tuesday 5th January 2016

At this time of year we are often asked if we have flooded and I am pleased to report that despite the Rivers Barle & Exe being high, the levels have been well short of the height which we encountered during the Dec 2012 floods.  So if you haven’t visited fearing that the lakes are underwater, please be assured that they are not.  And if you would like to check water conditions, the current weather or to find out how the lakes are fishing before you travel please call 01398 323008

During conversation I have heard various suggestions regarding the reasons why the local area has not flooded to such an extent during the last few weeks, despite the volume of rain.  My own opinion is that the Exmoor National Park Mires Project is taking effect.  The restoration of the moorland that had lost much of its water holding abilities is now holding the runoff back.  This can be seen in the height of the River Exe which has remained at a fairly constant level throughout the rain, rather than going through the sudden and massive rises which so often lead to flooding.

We have been installing temporary paths at the fishery this week

We have been installing temporary paths at the fishery this week

Digging the main Anchor Lake has also had a major impact on how long the venue takes to colour & clear up after heavy rain.  In fact keeping the lakes clear and fishable has never been so easy, which means we needed other jobs to do!  Working with my wife Sue we took advantage of some great conditions last week to create temporary paths and we even managed lunch by the water on one of the days!

It has been so mild that we enjoyed a picnic by the lake while constructing the new paths ... in January?!

It has been so mild that we enjoyed a picnic by the lake while constructing the new paths ... in January?!

Last week the top flies were definitely lures with Palmered Cats Whiskers and Black Taddys being favoured as go to patterns.  Goldhead Daddies have also taken their fair share of fish and one or two anglers have caught on Dry Flies!  Best fish of the week pulled the scales down to 7lb 8oz and was caught on a simple Red Buzzer.  Floating lines are working but increasingly we find our visitors taking advantage of the greater range of depths to experiment with intermediate lines and even full sinkers.

Brian Richardson called in on his way to the 2-2 draw between Exeter City & Liverpool, pulled out a super light 3 weight rod and picked up a brace ... not a bad day!  He said of his visit “A great few hours on a lovely fishery.  V good quality fish.  I will be back” meanwhile on the same day Chris Swain dusted down his rods for the first time in several years to keep his resolution to start fly fishing again in 2016.  His visit to Exe Valley set him off again with a 5 fish limit that was taken at various locations around the lakes.

Chris Swain completing his first limit of Trout for many seasons under a glorious blue January sky.

Chris Swain completing his first limit of Trout for many seasons under a glorious blue January sky.

This is an important point to consider when fishing Anchor Lake, the Trout no longer stay in just a couple of hot spots as the new depth (area available) encourages fish to spread themselves around the venue.  Which also means we are seeing far more resident fish than ever before including two huge doubles figure Trout, one a Brown the other a Rainbow. 

Both were stocked before the New Year and must have seen hundreds of different flies that have been cast at them during that time.  Judging by the frequent angler stories of being smashed up by our fish it wouldn't surprise me if both these specimens haven’t been hooked for brief periods at some point!  They have been spotted on a few occasions during the last week and must be getting hungry so its only a matter of time before someone gets very lucky indeed!

Other notable catches include Bob Stoneham with a bag of 5 caught on a Goldhead Daddy weighing 14lb, 6 between Jono & Dennis Enticott weighing 19lb and 4 weighing 15lb 8oz, including a best fish of 6lb 9oz to Exe Valley regular Chris Short while Pat Lehain forgot to pay for his tagged Trout entry and then managed to catch one!  Even so he was pleased with his 4 fish bag and said “Great day as usual, fish fighting well in cold water”  There are still 3 fish worth a £10 prize swimming around the lake and another 3 worth £20!

Thank you for reading as always and once again we hope that you have a very happy new year with plenty of fantastic fishing to enjoy.

Nick.

For real-time weather & fishing reports: Call 01398 323008

Fantastic Christmas Sport at the Valley & Latest Report to 31st Dec 2015

I hope you have had a fantastic Christmas and have now turned your attention to ushering in the New Year!

Here at Exe Valley it has been the busiest Christmas I can ever remember with 60 anglers fishing between Christmas Day and 29th December. 

Well done to John Akhurst who swapped a Christmas morning at home for a session by the lakes ... and what a gift he received, a two fish brace weighing 9lb & 8lb, caught on an intermediate line.  The larger Trout succumbed to a home tied Orange Tadpole and the other to a Black & Silver Cats Whisker aka The Humungus.

 I was of course at home with the children, so sadly no pictures of John with his catch, although he kindly emailed me this picture.  Even better one of the fish had a Red Tag and so John finished his Christmas day session with 17lb of Trout and a £20 prize!

Christmas Day Crackers!!!

Christmas Day Crackers!!!

On Boxing Day the crowds began to arrive and it was to prove to be Christmas day all over again for Tony Ponting when he managed to tempt the elusive blue tagged Brown Trout, netting not only a fine fish of 6lb 12oz but also £100 in cash.

The 26th was busy, but by 27th even more anglers turned up to fish as news has travelled about how much extra water there is to enjoy at the valley these days, along with the chance of not just some great sport, but also the opportunity to win a tagged trout prize.  Visiting for the first time, Terry Bridgman from Crediton not only managed a 4 fish limit but also won himself a tenner; landing a green tagged Rainbow using a drab nymph fished slowly in mid water.

Terry Bridgman with his £10 winning tagged Trout

Terry Bridgman with his £10 winning tagged Trout

The 28th was busier still and with more fresh stock added to stir up the residents the 12 Trout of Fishmas continued to put in an appearance as 13 year old Alex Cottam from Plymouth found when he won £20 for catching a Rainbow using a size 10 International Straggle Cat, assisted by his Dad Andy Cottam, himself an England International fly fisher.

Alex fished a Straggle Cat to bag not only this Rainbow but a £20 note.  Well worth the visit from Plymouth!

Alex fished a Straggle Cat to bag not only this Rainbow but a £20 note.  Well worth the visit from Plymouth!

Shaun Whitehead didn't get a tagged Trout, but he was very pleased to land his first ever Blue Trout in the deep water near to the feeder stream while Andrew Scragg got his 5 fish limit for 14lb and said on his return “Was able to catch fish everywhere” Meanwhile another first timer at Exe Valley, Mr Metters from Exeter landed a brace and said “First Time. Lovely Fishery. Will definitely come again

By 9am on 29th there were already 8 cars in the park and the anglers were treated to a day of glorious blue skies ... and some cracking Trout!  Simon Autton has not been fly fishing for much more than a year but he really uses his head and when the going got a little tough he pulled out the intermediate and fished a Flash Tag Orange Blob ultra slowly to finish with 3 (although he lost 3 times as many!) including this beauty of 8lb, describing his day as “Brilliant”  And it was about to get better as this Green tag fish was worth a tenner!

What could be better than a big blue sky & a big Trout?  A big blue sky and an 8lb Trout worth £10!  

What could be better than a big blue sky & a big Trout?  A big blue sky and an 8lb Trout worth £10!  

Richard Price from Taunton also seemed to enjoy his day saying “Brilliant – first time fly fishing, I’ll be back” ... and little wonder as one of his fish weighed 7lb 2oz!  Returning for another visit following his recent success, John Slaven bagged another 5 fish limit, including a best of 4lb and said “It gets better & better, see you next month”.

With several fish over 5lb and a couple over 7lb and one of 8lb the 29th Dec 2015 was already shaping up to be a pretty good day at the lakes, until winter season ticket holder Paul Grisley’s rod suddenly took on an alarming curve and something pretty substantial bolted for the middle of the lake ... 3 or 4 times! 

Nearly there!  A crowd gathers to watch as Paul lands his big fish.

Nearly there!  A crowd gathers to watch as Paul lands his big fish.

Without any rib tickling from me whatsoever I mentioned to Paul that he didn’t want to lose this fish as he had attracted an audience to watch the battle unfold!  But he held up under the pressure to net an absolute rugby ball of a Trout that proved to be the best of the day at 8lb 14oz.  Awesome Paul ... well done and many thanks for your kind words received by email.

Paul survived the pressure to land an 8lb 14oz Rainbow under a perfect Blue December sky.

Paul survived the pressure to land an 8lb 14oz Rainbow under a perfect Blue December sky.

I thought I had to put finger to keyboard to thank you for a wonderful mornings fishing, the lake performed wonderfully considering the number of people fishing it that day, and the day before.  No-one wants to just dangle a line in the water and catch fish but you seem to have got the balance right

And on that note I will bring the last report of the year to an end, but just before I go, I must say thank you to the many people who have helped bring the lakes back to life this year including Chris Short and his son Pete for the platforms, Henry Godfrey the awesome chap who masterminded the big digGreg the amazing digger driver who did the dig, Sam Baycock for never ending enthusiasm, Derek for maintaining the gardens, Fred for keeping the lakes stocked with such fantastic fish and to my family for putting up with the crazy hours that I do to keep this place going.

But of course my most profound thanks must go to those of you who turn up and fish Exe Valley every week in all kinds of weather.  It has been incredible to see the response to the improvements and quite honestly I am blown away by your support.  This month we have welcomed 135 of you to the lakes so far resulting in a catch of 367 Trout for a rod average of 2.7 What a way to finish 2015!

There is more to come and we expect to continue improving the lakes well into 2016, with the website also receiving further updates.  Please keep checking back on the exe valley fishery reports and if you would like to have information delivered straight to your inbox there is a sign up form up on the top right of this page.

There are still a few days of the holidays to go and we will be open throughout including New Years Eve & New Years day.  With a double figure Brown, a mid double Rainbow, 7 tagged Trout and more stock introduced why let the weather stop you?  As always if you would like a live update on water conditions, please don’t hesitate to call me on 01398 323008.

Happy New Year!

Nick.

A brace of 6 pounders and this week’s Exe Valley catch report to 14th Dec

This week the two Johns, that are John Slaven & John Clarke from the Taunton area, visited for a session and the friends both bagged fish of 6lb 6oz!

Well done guys!  Once again it was a Snake Fly but this time in Pink which did the business for John C, leading him to a limit bag of 5 fish weighing 18lb 6oz and a comment of “Great day again!” 

John Slaven (Left) & John Clarke (Right) both caught fish of 6lb 6oz this week!

John Slaven (Left) & John Clarke (Right) both caught fish of 6lb 6oz this week!

The Big Brown Trout has been spotted throughout the week, but no one has been able to tempt it so far, although I have had a couple of comments reported on the returns such as Andrew Hooper who said “Lost a BIG one” ... but was it THE big one?  Perhaps the beast will prove to be a Christmas present for someone ...

Going imitative this week was John Winson from Exeter, using a sunken Klinkhammer fished with a Midge Tip line to land a best fish of 6lb on the nose.  His friend Gavin Argyle got 4 for 14lb 8oz and my thanks to them for introducing one of their fishing companions, Tom Heidy from Chudleigh, who got a couple on Anchor and another brace on Lobbs for a total of 9lbs.  Tom said “very good day, first time here

Just digressing from the report for a moment, if you have a friend or friend/s that would like to try Exe Valley fishery then it might be possible to bring them along for half price, with a free permit available to anglers who introduce three friends.  See our Fishing for Friends Voucher page, over in the new Help & Info Section.  Please note that it has been very busy recently so my apologies that this section is not fully developed yet, over the next few weeks & months there will be a great deal of extra info added including some useful how to articles.

Regulars Roger Bowskill and Charles Merwin said “Yet again, another good day” taking limit bags of fish and the ever consistent Keith & Mary Ratcliffe both caught 5 apiece; their 10 fish weighing 36lbs.  Richard Cooper also got 5 and both Paul Carter & R Coleman got bags of 3 fish weighing 9lbs.

Altogether 28 anglers fished in some varied conditions ranging from sunshine & calm through to wet & windy, landing a total of 77 fish for an average per rod of 2.75  And due to the varied weather conditions that can be experienced at this time of year we have launched a brand new service, check out our Winter Season Permit Deals ... you could fish for as little as £12.50 per session!  You may also have noticed the new shop page which includes details about how Permits can be purchased as a gift and also information regarding my fly fishing lessons.

The weather this coming week looks much the same as last week, but pick your day and there is every chance of some good sport.  This is not always the best time of year for a slow nymph style, give it a go of course, but have an intermediate line and something like a Black Taddy close to hand.  Big can be beautiful at this time of year, hence the success of the Snake Fly; fished on a variety of lines it can be deadly ...

Thanks as always for reading and look out for the last report before Christmas coming soon along with details about our opening hours during the festivities.  And if you would like to check up on how the lakes are fishing please do not hesitate to contact me on 01398 323008.

Happy fluff chucking!

Nick.