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!

Fishing Report & join our special event on Saturday 10th Dec 2016

November has got off to a fine start at Exe Valley with plenty of good weather and of course at this time of year the fish are in tip top condition.  This one weighing in at 7lb 12oz was caught just a couple of hours ago by Richard Mason from Dawlish using a Black & Green Lure. 

Richard Mason - 11th Nov 16 - 7lb 12oz Rainbow caught on a sink tip line and a Black & Green Lure.

Richard Mason - 11th Nov 16 - 7lb 12oz Rainbow caught on a sink tip line and a Black & Green Lure.

Richard looks more than pleased with his stunning Rainbow and Andi Avery below was even happier!  Andi visited for a two day fly fishing course during the week and took to the casting so well that by lunchtime we had a fly in the water. 

After half an hour and a couple of missed takes the line suddenly tightens up and a pretty Blue Trout is cart wheeling across Anchor Lake.  But it was not just the fish Andi netted but £50 in cash because he had landed a tagged Trout!  A couple of days later he returned to spend his winnings achieving a limit of three fish!  Nice work Andi.

Beginners Luck - Andi Avery with his first ever Trout and his winnings!

Beginners Luck - Andi Avery with his first ever Trout and his winnings!

Tagged Trout

So a new fish has been tagged and is currently cruising around Anchor Lake.  To enter this competition is very simple, just add a pound to your permit fee and then hope you get lucky.  If you catch the tagged fish you win £50!

Enter the competition and catch this fish to win £50 but ...

Enter the competition and catch this fish to win £50 but ...

... you will have to find it first!

... you will have to find it first!

Troutmasters Competition

Don’t forget that we are open throughout the winter and that the ever popular Troutmasters competition is also in full swing.  Clear water means hard fighting Trout and at this time of the year it is safe to stock the larger size specimens such as this 10lb 12oz specimen caught by Steve Bowker in late October.

Could this be next months winner?  Steve's 10lb 12oz Rainbow may top the list but more doubles will be stocked during November.

Could this be next months winner?  Steve's 10lb 12oz Rainbow may top the list but more doubles will be stocked during November.

Last month’s winners printed in issue 490 of Troutfisherman magazine were John Gilmore from Cullompton 10lb 6oz, Dave Bull from Exeter 8lb 14oz and Keith Ratcliffe from Exeter 6lb 10oz.  Well done to all and see you in the fish off next year.

November Tactics

Part of the magnetism of fly fishing is the many tactics & techniques available.  Some people like to fish fast, others slow.  Some anglers don’t mind watching an indicator all day while others get their kick from a dry fly.  For this reason you are allowed to use up to 4 flies on a leader at Exe Valley, go deep with Boobies or suspend a fly beneath a bung.  If it is fly fishing and you enjoy it we want you to visit! 

My top tactic with guests just recently has been to fish lightweight leaders (4lb to 6lb) with a 2 fly set up consisting of a Buzzer 6’ – 7’ from the fly line and then a Blob (or FAB if we need to stay up in the water) 6’ – 7’ from the dropper.  Chuck it all out, pull straight and then fish nice & slow with a figure eight retrieve, allowing the current/wind to do most of the work.  Be ready for some explosive takes but watch the line too because sometimes it is possible to lift into the fish, even before you feel it.

November so far.

Up to Fri 11th November 54 rods caught 132 fish for an average of 2.4 fish per angler.  Best Trout so far is 7lb 12oz and best 5 fish bag is 18lb 2oz

Diary Dates

We apologise for any inconvenience but due to a corporate fishing day Anchor Lake & Lobbs Lake will be closed all day on Tuesday 22nd November 2016

Join in with our Special Event - Devon & Somerset Fly Fishing Day at Exe Valley

Saturday 10th December 2016

We are having a bit of a pre Christmas bash here at the newly renovated Anchor Lake on Saturday 10th December 2016.  Fellow guide & qualified fly fishing instructor Pete Tyjas is heading over to assist and the idea is to give 10 people the opportunity to fish while we are on hand to help improve both casting & fishing techniques .... and net some fish!

Pete Tyjas (right) with Tom and his first ever Grayling.  Pete will be heading over on Sat 10th Dec to help run the Devon & Somerset Fly Fishing Day.

Pete Tyjas (right) with Tom and his first ever Grayling.  Pete will be heading over on Sat 10th Dec to help run the Devon & Somerset Fly Fishing Day.

There will be interactive demos and the day also includes a 2 fish permit plus as a very special addition ... the opportunity to catch & release throughout the day!  Other attractions include the option to watch a Grayling demo on the River Exe, enjoy some fly tying at the cafe and there will be mince pies!

All this fun & information is available for just £45 for the day to include a 2 Fish Permit, unlimited Catch & Release plus the tuition and activities as listed above. 

The event is limited to 10 people so if you would like to register your interest or book a spot please call 01398 323008. Alternatively please email here ... we hope to welcome you. 

Spectacular Stillwater Fly Fishing

Finally we have had some spectacular autumnal scenes here during the week including this one captured on a particularly frosty morning.  You can’t beat being outside in weather like this, especially when the fish are biting!

Thank you for reading and good fishing.

Nick.

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Fantastic Spring Fishing – Catch Report to 7th April 2016

Spring is just about in the air and following the very wet Easter we have seen a rise in anglers visiting the lakes, taking advantage of the improved conditions and also the longer days.  The fishery is open from 8am to 6pm, 7 days per week, but it is possible to fish outside hours by contacting us to book on 01398 323008.  Last month 367 fish were caught by 127 anglers for a rod average of 2.9

Fishing in the spring sunshine at Exe Valley Fishery

Fishing in the spring sunshine at Exe Valley Fishery

The Martins have arrived and I even spotted a couple of early Swallows last week, which means the Buzzers are here!  If the wind drops there has been a fantastic hatch most days, possibly due to the newly excavated lake bed, as I don’t recall such numbers for many years.  And the fish are switching on to the surface food so taking a fish off the top on a dry is a very real possibility.  Try a 12’ to 14’ leader with one or two flies, Hoppers, Bits and Owl type patterns are all you need.  Add a very small amount of floatant to the fly, degrease the leader and find a rising fish to throw at!

But if this approach doesn't work and you are keen to go imitative then try a fluorocarbon leader, with a couple of Glue Buzzers spaced at around 7’ intervals.  Cast across any current/breeze that you can find, let the whole lot swing on a nice curve, keeping in touch with a figure 8 and be ready for some explosive takes!  I bumped into Fran Eastwood on the bank and found she was struggling to catch.  So I helped Fran set up with this rig and left her to it, returning later to find a rather big smile as she had landed this cracking 8lb 8oz Rainbow on a Buzzer!  I love it when a plan comes together.

Fran Eastwood with her 8lb 8oz Rainbow landed using Buzzer tactics

Fran Eastwood with her 8lb 8oz Rainbow landed using Buzzer tactics

Fran was not the only lady to tangle with a big fish.  Back from major shoulder surgery and almost an entire season away from the water Jill King from Chipstable did it in style with a 9lb 7oz Rainbow leaving a comment on her return that it was a “Wonderful days fishing.  1st time since last July after 2 replacement shoulders”   Meanwhile Jenny Harris bagged a brace of our fab Brown Trout which seem to thrive in Anchor Lake.

Imitative tactics will certainly give you a good chance of fish but at this time of year lures are also very popular.  The newly dubbed Snake Man, John Clarke from Wellington, used his favourite fly to help himself to yet another cracking bag of 5, weighing in at 25lb 2oz and including fish of 7lb 2oz, 6lb & 5lb 4oz while on the same day Will Atkins from Gloucester exclaimed on his comments that he had “lost the largest fish I have ever hooked here; next time!”, although as a consolation he did achieve his bag limit.

Another lady getting stuck into the Exe Valley Trout is Emma Bennett who said “Great morning fishing & so glad I caught 2 fish.  Very exciting!”  The surname Bennett is well known to the fishery as Emma’s son Toby is often amongst the top rods during our fly fishing competitions such as the recent Airflo bank masters.  He joined Mum for the session and came up with one of the best comments I have seen on our returns card “Fishing to the Max!!!”  Toby used a Blob to land 5 fish weighing 17lb 4oz including a best fish of 4lb 2oz.  Joining the Bennett's for their morning session Peter Conachie said he had “Cracking good Fun”, taking 3 fish for 9lb 6oz and a top fish of 3lb 10oz.  Prize for the most artistic comment goes to Wil Metcalfe from Bovey Tracey who said ”Fantastic.  Just the right balance of everything.  Will be back” Wil’s 5 fish limit weighed at 7kg with a best of 2kg.

Another smiley face on Exe Valley Fishery

Another smiley face on Exe Valley Fishery

We are striving to make the experience at Exe Valley consistently more enjoyable, with better facilities, regular fishing reports and events.  But of course it is the fish stock which really matters and I have to say that Fred the fish farmer has been producing some of the best fish I have ever seen including this fabulous specimen caught by Tom Hendy weighing 8lb 6oz.  Can you resist a crack at fish like this?!

Tom Hendy with a simply stunning 8lb 6oz Rainbow Trout from Anchor Lake

Tom Hendy with a simply stunning 8lb 6oz Rainbow Trout from Anchor Lake

If you are keen to tangle with an Exe Valley specimen but worried about the road closure which caused delays travelling to the fishery last month then hopefully we can reassure you that the major delay is now over.  Please see the official highways page here for up to date news.  The closure is now between 9.30am to 3.30pm each day and this will end on 9th April, with 2 way traffic lights and a convoy operating instead.

And to round up, a few bits of news.  The first completed return card out of the hat for March is Cecil Bridges from Bishops Lydeard who purchased a 2 fish permit and got his bag including a fish of 3lb on a Cats Whisker tied the evening before.  Well done Cecil a shiny 5 fish permit will be falling through your letter box very soon!

Meanwhile Exe Valley regular Paul Grisley from Exford can’t seem to do anything wrong on Anchor Lake at the moment.  Not only has he had limit bags of fish in the mid 20s recently but he also bumped into this stocky sporting a Green tag, meaning he left the fishery £50 better off! And if you check out issue 481 of Troutfisherman magazine you will see he swept the board with first place, a 9lb 10oz Trout on a Fuzzy Wuzzy (whatever that is?!  Come on Paul, let us know in the comments, how do you tie a Fuzzy Wuzzy fly?) and another of 8lb 14oz on a Rainbow Fry.

£50 Winner!  Paul Grisley with his tagged Trout and a fist full of cash.

£50 Winner!  Paul Grisley with his tagged Trout and a fist full of cash.

Further congratulations to issue 482 winners Robert Stevens with the best Troutmasters fish of the month (caught between Jan 21 to Feb 20) at 10lb 0oz on a Rainbow Fly, Dean Mockridge took 2nd place with a 8lb 8oz Rainbow on a Black & Blue Tadpole while 3rd was filled by last month’s bank masters winner Chris Short with his 8lb 3oz Rainbow caught using a Cats Whisker.

Thanks for reading and look out for more catch reports soon.

Tightlines & Wet Nets,

Nick.

More improvements to the fishery, more big fish & catch report to 31st Jan 2016

As seems to be the case with January, it starts off slowly and before we know it, February is upon us.  And with much to occupy me here at the lakes during the run towards the main season I managed to miss uploading a report last week.  So this weekend usual service is resumed with a round-up of what’s been going on at Exe Valley Fishery recently.

Despite the weather there have been a healthy number of anglers turning up to wet a line, taking advantage of the high oxygen levels which mean our Trout are fighting even harder than usual!  Including winter season ticket holders 40 anglers have visited over the last couple of weeks catching 148 fish for an average of 3.7 fish per rod.

John Clarke with a fin perfect 8lb January Rainbow Trout from  Anchor Lake

John Clarke with a fin perfect 8lb January Rainbow Trout from Anchor Lake

One of the best fish I have seen landed is this fin perfect 8lb Rainbow to the rod of John Clarke fishing during the last weekend of January, resulting in a total bag of 5 for 22lb 4oz.  The successful pattern was a White Snake Fly fished from the main point.  John said that the big fish fought like a Salmon for several minutes and that his heart was in his mouth as it was a barbless fly!  John is no stranger to our big fish landing another stunner back in December, this time on a Pink Snake.  His fishing buddy John Clarke also got in on the action that day with a 6lb 6oz Rainbow and again this weekend took another of 6lb in a 10lb 8oz bag of 3.

Other notable catches in the last couple of weeks include Dean Mockridge with 2 for 11lb 8oz, including a possible Troutmaster winner of 9lb.  Not to be out done Deans eleven year old son James, who is a bit of a young angling star, also caught a brace of lovely Trout weighing 10lb 8oz in total, with his best at 5lb 8oz. 

Meanwhile Gerry Manser visited for a second weekend in a row and managed a 3 fish bag of 19lb 8oz including Trout of 9lb 8oz, 6lb 8oz and 3lb 8oz, leaving the comment that “it was a brill day, even better than last week!!!”

Mark Thompson from Dulverton also had a 5 pounder in his full bag of three; Trevor Ball said he had an “excellent day” with 5 fish for 22lbs while Rob Wilkinson took a best Trout of 6lb in a 5 fish haul that totalled 16lb.  Rob also very helpfully made a note of his successful flies  on his return which included 2 fish on a Cats Whisker, 2 on a Woolly Bugger and 1 to a Bloodworm and he finished off by saying “Beautiful sunny day – hard to beat!

Cats Whiskers definitely seem to be a favourite at the moment, but don’t forget the Snake Fly and as one of our regulars Alan Jukes found during his most recent session, a Squirmy Worm might catch when all else fails. 

Top fly line still seems to be a Floater amongst most of the anglers that I speak to, although it is worth changing to a sinker, especially after changes in water & temperature conditions.  Even if using a floater, it is definitely the case that most of the big fish are being caught after the fly has been counted down with a mixed up slow retrieve.

The lake continues to fish all around but hot spots are; the main outlet, point and new platforms over on the river side of the lake.  Just recently I have improved the platforms with the addition of a layer of pea gravel to save damaging both expensive lines and muddy boots, while some further deepening with a mini excavator has taken place around the edges.  And if you value your alloys then you will be pleased to know that the potholes on the lane have also been fixed!

Improved fishing platforms on Anchor Lake

Improved fishing platforms on Anchor Lake

Talking of driving please take note regarding the road closure around Cove on the main A396.  The official detour is mammoth and would require around 30 + minutes extra travel time, but fortunately there is an alternative route.  We have provided directions here which can be downloaded and printed out.  We also hear that the main closure is temporary from 1st Feb to 12th March and then a convoy system will be in place from 9.30am to 3.30pm each day.

Troutmasters entries are steadily increasing, please let us know if you will be attending the heat on Sunday 28th Feb 16, letters have been sent out by the magazine recently and to keep up to date with what’s going on please see the events page, which includes news of the Bank Masters competition taking place here on Sunday 20th March.

Tagged Trout continue to roam the lake, including some of the fish stocked back in December.  Richard Burt was the latest lucky angler, using a Black Blob fished under an indicator to outwit a five pounder with a Green tag to take home a tenner.  That leaves 2 Red Tag Trout in the lake both winning £20 and 3 others with a Green Tag worth £10 each to the lucky captors.  The cash pool has grown considerably so very soon there will be more tagged Trout roaming Anchor Lake; watch this space!

Richard Burt heads home with a very nice bag of Trout and wins a tenner into the bargain! Happy Days!

Richard Burt heads home with a very nice bag of Trout and wins a tenner into the bargain! Happy Days!

Finally each month we run a permit draw which is free to enter, simply fill out your return in full after a day’s fishing and post in the box.  At the end of the month we draw out a winner which I am pleased to announce in Jan 2016 is Sam Walker from Sampford Peverell.  Well done Sam, a complimentary 5 fish permit will be in the post this week!

As always thank you for reading and we hope to welcome you to the fishery soon.

Nick.