Fathers Day (very) Special Offers

Exe Valley Fishery is the perfect place for a Father’s Day family day out to remember!

With Father’s Day just a couple of weeks away, there is no better way to show how much you love them than to give them a day out fishing. So, to help all your sons and daughters struggling for gift ideas, and for the first time ever, on Sunday 16th June 2019 the lakes will be open exclusively for use by fathers, grandfathers … and their family.

What better way is there to spend Father’s Day than at Exe Valley Fishery and even better with such a great deal on offer.

What better way is there to spend Father’s Day than at Exe Valley Fishery and even better with such a great deal on offer.

What is the Father’s Day Permit Offer?

Purchase any of the Anchor Lake Permits for your Dad in advance by calling 01398 323008 (or reserve a place by phone and pay on the day) and upon arrival we will give the lucky man 6 complimentary flies to use on their special day!

And there’s more, usually only children age 14 and under can share Dads bag limit on Anchor Lake but for one day we will waive this rule and say no matter what your age, come fishing with your Dad and share their bag limit! That’s fishing for two people for as little as £20 and a great day out that they will remember forever.

Fathers & Son, Chris and Shaun Ley, enjoying a fantastic day out on Anchor Lake.

Fathers & Son, Chris and Shaun Ley, enjoying a fantastic day out on Anchor Lake.

Meanwhile over on Lobbs Lake we will be running another fabulous fathers’ days special for your little people! Bring along your child age 14 years old or under and they can catch their first fish FREE OF CHARGE!

Make memories that last a lifetime this Father’s Day at Exe Valley Fishery

Make memories that last a lifetime this Father’s Day at Exe Valley Fishery

We expect these offers to be very popular so please reserve your place with Sue now on 01398 323008 and don’t forget we have a great café serving cream teas and refreshments, with picnic tables overlooking the lakes.

Please see terms & conditions* below and in particular to qualify for these offers please reserve your place in advance.

We look forward to welcoming you to the fishery for the first ever Fathers Day Special.

Sue & Nick


* Terms & Conditions

1) This offer is valid for Father’s Day 16th June 2019 only 2) One special offer described above available per permit purchased 3) Multiple Anchor Lake permits can be purchased with a maximum of two anglers per permit 4) Only permits reserved in advance are subject to the advertised offers detailed above 5) Only one Free fish per child on Lobbs Lake


Anglers enjoying Merry Christmas catches at Exe Valley Fishery!

With the last of the hampers posted and Christmas just around the corner it is time to write the penultimate post of the year. Firstly the prize draw to win a hamper full of Smoked Trout, Nuts, Cheese and Pickles worth £50.00 was very popular with a 1 in 46 chance of winning the prize.

The winner was drawn at the end of the day on Friday 21st and first out of the hat was Steve Edmonds who fished at Exe Valley Fishery as part of the South Molton Fishing Club last week. Many congratulations to Steve who collected his prize this morning - perfect timing and already earmarked for Christmas Breakfast so we hear! Steve messaged to say ‘ Sue - Many thanks for the super hamper. Trout Pate on crackers with a cafetiere of coffee. Lovely’

Steve Edmonds looking pleased with his winning hamper which he tells us he will be turning in to Christmas breakfast! Steve - we think there will probably be enough for Boxing Day too!!

Steve Edmonds looking pleased with his winning hamper which he tells us he will be turning in to Christmas breakfast! Steve - we think there will probably be enough for Boxing Day too!!

Fishery News

Anchor Lake has been on good form again this week with every angler having a successful visit. On Saturday alone 5 anglers caught 43 fish between them making the rod average a whopping 8.6 fish!! One of those anglers was 81 year old Jim Hatim returning to Exe Valley Fishery this week having not had the opportunity to wet a line all year. He took full advantage of the very obliging fish and finished his day with 3 stunning Rainbow Trout including a beautiful 4 pounder, part of a total bag weighing 10lbs.

Jim looking pleased with his 3 fish limit.

Jim looking pleased with his 3 fish limit.

Blair Woodland travelled up from South Devon once again this weekend, but this time with three friends having told them all about his success last week. Judging by the many photos sent through (see the EV Facebook page for more) they had a fantastic days sport. All opted for our very popular Catch & Release ticket, finishing up with a magnificent 40 fish between them with a variety of tactics including several taken off the top with dries!

Blair has fished 2 weekends in a row during less than favourable weather and has been more than rewarded for his efforts. You can only catch fish with your fly in the water!

Blair has fished 2 weekends in a row during less than favourable weather and has been more than rewarded for his efforts. You can only catch fish with your fly in the water!

WINTER PERMIT OFFER - Buy 4 permits and have your 5th outing on us!

Don't forget our Winter Permit Offer starts on the 27th December 2018

We are pleased to be able to announce a Winter Fishing Permit Offer *(subject to T&Cs) to those of you who would like to support the fishery when the fishing is great … but the weather isn’t the most pleasant!

From Thursday 27th December 2018 to Sunday 31st March 2019 inclusive BUY 4 PERMITS & GET THE 5th PERMIT - FREE!!! You are free to choose whatever 5th permit you like … the deal is you must visit and pay for 4 full price permits within the allotted time published above, that’s it!

* Terms & Conditions 1) Pre-paid gift voucher permits DO NOT qualify for this offer. 2) All permits MUST be completed in full to register as a visit. 3) Return slips MUST be completed at the end of each session to register as a visit. 4) A permit purchased and not matched to a return slip will not be counted. 5) ONE FREE PERMIT of the anglers choice (C&R, 2, 3, 4 or 5 fish) will be issued after 4 full price visits subject to the T&Cs 6) The FREE permit will be valid for one visit only which must be taken by 30th April 2019 7) This offer can be enjoyed more than once between 27/12/18 & 31/03/19 - e.g. Fish 8 times and receive 2 FREE PERMITS 8) The FREE permit is non-transferable and has no cash value.

Finally Nick & I would like to wish all of our anglers a very MERRY CHRISTMAS, and if you need to escape from the house for a few hours we will be open throughout the festive break. Looking ahead at the long range forecasts it looks like we are in for a spell of settled weather, with good temperatures for the time of year of up to 12C and light winds averaging 8-10mph … perfect small stillwater trout fishing conditions.


Sue x

Telephone Enquiries: 01398 323008


EXE VALLEY FISHERY CHRISTMAS OPENING 2018/2019

SAT 22nd DEC – FISHERY OPEN ALL DAY / SHOP OPEN 9.00am – 1.00pm

SUN 23rd DEC – FISHERY OPEN ALL DAY / SHOP OPEN 9.00am – 1.00pm

CHRISTMAS EVE – FISHERY OPEN ALL DAY / SHOP OPEN 8.00am – 12.00 Noon

CHRISTMAS DAY – FISHERY CLOSED

BOXING DAY – FISHERY OPEN ALL DAY (SELF SERVE PERMITS ONLY)

THURS 27th DEC – FISHERY OPEN ALL DAY / SHOP OPEN 9.00am – 1.00pm

FRI 28th DEC – FISHERY OPEN ALL DAY / SHOP OPEN 9.00am – 1.00pm

SAT 29th DEC – FISHERY OPEN ALL DAY / SHOP OPEN 9.00am – 1.00pm

SUN 30th DEC – FISHERY OPEN ALL DAY (SELF SERVE PERMITS ONLY)

MON 31st DEC – FISHERY OPEN ALL DAY (SELF SERVE PERMITS ONLY)

TUES 1st JAN – FISHERY OPEN ALL DAY (SELF SERVE PERMITS ONLY)

WED 2nd JAN – FISHERY OPEN ALL DAY / SHOP OPEN 10.00am – 2.00pm (Normal Business Hours Resume)


Troutmasters Reports & Easter Fishing Update

The weather during the last few weeks has resulted in our quietest March on record with just 44 anglers visiting (yes, that’s correct …just 44!) ... 11 of them for the Troutmasters match which had to be rescheduled due to snow.  Despite the lack of customers, we continue to maintain and stock the fishery as always, shown in the catch figures of 153 fish caught by the 44 anglers up to 29th March resulting in a rod average of 3.5

Ten year old Sam Shepherd shows us all how its done, playing a fish to granddad Stuarts net! 

Ten year old Sam Shepherd shows us all how its done, playing a fish to granddad Stuarts net! 

With the continued changeable conditions and lack of footfall we have regrettably taken the decision to delay the reopening of Lobbs Lake until such time that we feel the venue will have the support required to operate the lake on a day to day basis.  Enough of the bad news and on to the Troutmasters...

Sam with his first two fish, part of a four fish total which won him a place at the 2018 Junior Troutmasters final.

Sam with his first two fish, part of a four fish total which won him a place at the 2018 Junior Troutmasters final.

Rescheduling to the following Saturday after the snow unfortunately reduced the field from 18 anglers to just 11, although three of the competitors were juniors which is very pleasing to see, especially as between them they caught 14 fish.  Thirteen-year-old James Mockridge was the eventual winner with a bag of 5 fish plus one extra he caught when the match had finished! 

The two remaining juniors, Max Mockridge & Sam Shepherd both caught 4 fish using a mix of orange and black lures eventually tying weights at 9lb 12oz.  Huge congrats to both on such a good result and as up and coming England junior James is heading off to training during the weekend of the junior Troutmaster final it looks like both Max & Sam will have their chance to compete at the Thrunton Long Crag fishery grand final in July.  Best of luck and tightlines to both!

The Mockridge Brothers (fish off winner James is on the left) show off their catches.

The Mockridge Brothers (fish off winner James is on the left) show off their catches.

First time senior fish off winner at Exe Valley was Phil Duckett who caught his fish with 2 hours to spare, gaining a 2lb time bonus and a final winning weight of 16lb.  Good luck in the final to be held at Draycote in October Phil!  Close behind was first time competition angler John Slaven and both of his regular fishing companions John & Rick also had good days landing their five fish limits. 

From left - Senior Winner Phil Duckett, 2nd place John Slaven, Rick Price & John Clarke

From left - Senior Winner Phil Duckett, 2nd place John Slaven, Rick Price & John Clarke

Without doubt the tactics which came out of that match (and I have mentioned in previous reports) was to go deep, often counting the fly down for at least 20 seconds on an intermediate or medium sinker before using a mixed up snappy figure-of-eight retrieve to induce takes.  If you can feel the fly clipping weed at depth you are in the right zone and will often experience a violent take as the fly pulls free. 

John Slaven looking very pleased with a quality rainbow caught while fishing deep during the 2018 Exe Valley Troutmasters fish off.

John Slaven looking very pleased with a quality rainbow caught while fishing deep during the 2018 Exe Valley Troutmasters fish off.

Orange Blobs are winners but so too are Black Snakes, Apps Bloodworms and really any highly mobile lure.  Black is my favourite go to shade if the water has coloured up, don’t rely on bright lures in these conditions and remember that a stripped fly can suddenly disappear from view so that your trout has no chance of taking it!  Try deep, try slow and go for dark highly mobile patterns if the brighter stuff isn’t working!

Amongst the poor March turn out was Ben Cheeld who is relatively new to fly fishing.  When I caught up with him on the bank he had released 2 fish .... but as he explained that was several hours ago.  I explained the above tactics and suggested he was fishing his flies too high in the water.  Within an hour Ben had lost two fish and banked one.  We also got to talking about his previous experience at Exe Valley when he had not been wearing glasses and how he had narrowly escaped a serious injury when a fly pierced his unprotected eyelid, resulting in a trip to A&E.  A few millimetres away and Ben would have been in serious trouble so please do make sure you wear eye protection when casting a fly.

Ben Cheeld enjoying a much more enjoyable session at Exe Valley!  Always remember to wear eye protection when fly casting ...

Ben Cheeld enjoying a much more enjoyable session at Exe Valley!  Always remember to wear eye protection when fly casting ...

Rounding up I have uploaded a bunch of photos here to show the quality of fish being caught and well-maintained banks, despite the harsh winter conditions experienced.  The Easter weekend weather does not look perfect, but the fishery is open for business as usual.  We hope to see a few anglers because with rumours of another well-known UK fishery closing its doors to fly fishing going around and the poor footfall we have experienced during the last 6 months it is only a matter of time before we will need to re-evaluate whether catering for anglers or using the site in an alternative way is best for us as a business.  It is indeed time to use it or lose it!

Thanks for reading & good fishing.

Sue & Nick.

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Exe Valley – Talking Trout Report by Wayne Thomas

This weekend well known local angling journalist and pursuer of anything with fins, Wayne Thomas, visited Exe Valley Fishery to spend some time talking fishing, casting a fly and behind the lens of his camera.  Very kindly he has agreed that we may reproduce the article he wrote following his visit which first appeared on Wayne's excellent North Devon Angling News website.  

Just before I leave you to sit back and enjoy Waynes wonderful images and text, which I am sure will have you reaching for the tackle, please note that Exe Valley Fishery is open for business as usual following my recent decision to join the team at Farlows based in central London.  I will work behind the scenes to maintain the sport as always with my wife Sue taking on the day to day management. 

This week we have received several calls and messages while also hearing rumours that Exe Valley has closed down.  As can be seen from the following words & pictures ... this is very much not the case! 

Exe-Valley-WT1.jpg

The salmon season over it was time to head off for a days Still-water Trout Fishing and hopefully put a bend in the rod. I was joining Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club to compete in their Rogers And Guard Shield Competition at Exe Valley Fishery. I can well remember Gordon Rogers who was one of the club members the shield was named after. Gordon was a Fishery Bailiff with the River Authorities of the 1970’s and a real character who many local anglers will have fond memories of.

The competition was due to start at 10:00am and I intended to get there in plenty of time so I set off just before 8.00am for an enjoyable drive across Exmoor.

Exe Valley Fishery is located just outside the boundaries of the stunning Exmoor National Park - image courtesy of  Wayne Thomas .

Exe Valley Fishery is located just outside the boundaries of the stunning Exmoor National Park - image courtesy of Wayne Thomas.

A good days fishing is more than just a day casting a line it is often all about the entire day. As I negotiated the narrow lanes up onto the moor mist lay in the valleys as the sun climbed higher into a bright blue sky.

I noted several keen photographers out and about catching the morning light. On the high moor I glimpsed red deer blending into the bracken; the autumn stag were undoubtedly bellowing their challenge across the open moor. It was an awesome morning to be going fishing.

I arrived at Exe Valley to find that one or two members were already raring to start. I grabbed a coffee and began chatting with fishery manager Nick Hart and his wife Sue. Nick is embarking upon a new adventure joining www.farlows.co.uk in Pall Mall’ London. I have fished with Nick many times over the years and share his enthusiasm for fishing. After over an hour of chatting I decided I had better head out and do a bit of fishing. I had after all paid £35.00 for a three fish ticket + the option to release three trout, as part of the fishery’s innovative ticket choice system.

An October flat calm - image courtesy of Wayne Thomas

An October flat calm - image courtesy of Wayne Thomas

The sun was shining down on a mirror calm lake that was surrounded by a dozen or so anglers. I tied on a small gold head pheasant tail nymph and a black buzzer on the dropper. Trout were active all over the lake and a couple of members had already caught their three fish bags so I was on a catch up mission.

After a few casts I had had no takes. With fish showing all over the surface it was obvious that the trout were near the surface. I concluded that a lighter fly would be more likely to succeed and tied on a lightly dressed cruncher pattern.

UV Cruncher - Image by  Nick Hart

UV Cruncher - Image by Nick Hart

First cast with this fly and the line twitched on the retrieve, the hook was set and the water erupted as a rainbow trout leapt from the water before putting a serious bend in the rod and stripping several yards of line from the reel.

Wayne bends into a hard fighting Exe Valley Trout - image by Nick Hart

Wayne bends into a hard fighting Exe Valley Trout - image by Nick Hart

Nick took a stroll around the lake and captured action with the next trout I hooked’ a handsome rainbow of close to 3lb 8oz. It wasn’t long before I had completed my three fish bag that was my competition entry for the day.

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I took the opportunity to have a walk around the lake and preserve a few memories of the day with my camera. I was surprised that not everyone had bagged up whilst the trout were in an obliging mood.

A beautiful October day - "These small Stillwater trout fisheries are undoubtedly more productive during the cooler months." Image by  Wayne Thomas

A beautiful October day - "These small Stillwater trout fisheries are undoubtedly more productive during the cooler months." Image by Wayne Thomas

The introduction of catch and release during the cooler months at Exe Valley has on the whole been welcomed by anglers who can choose various options combining catch and release and catch and despatch. The fishery has imposed strict rules to ensure that catch and release works as well as possible. Anglers must use barb-less hooks and rubber meshed nets. Trout should not be taken out of the water unless a quick picture is required as a memento of a special fish.

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I decided to pay a quick visit to the site shop and buy a couple of barb-less flies and borrow a landing net with a rubber mesh. I returned to the lake with a fly known as an owl on the point. The number of trout rising had now decreased but a few were still showing and it was these fish I targeted. Watching carefully I attempted to drop the fly in front of cruising trout twitching it soon after letting it settle. Twenty minutes later I had returned two more hard fighting trout.

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Wayne with a bright Exe Valley Rainbow - caught using a dry fly in October!

Wayne with a bright Exe Valley Rainbow - caught using a dry fly in October!

It was now time to head back and weigh in my fish with fellow club members. My three pulled the scales to 9lb and secured me the honour of winning the Rogers and Guard Shield.

It was now time for a coffee and a further chat with Nick about fishing past, present and future. One topic we discussed was the seasons of trout fishing. These small Stillwater trout fisheries are undoubtedly more productive during the cooler months. We both concurred that that there is value in revising the traditional trout fishing seasons. The trout season traditionally casts off in the spring and this is I suspect a follow on from the days before Stillwater trout fishing grew in popularity and wild fish were the target. A closed season during the winter months gave the fish protection during spawning time. This made perfect sense in rivers and where wild fish spawned. Modern day trout fishing on still waters is generally for triploid trout that are sterile.

During the cooler months the trout are more active and fight far harder. It perhaps makes sense to close many trout fisheries during July and August when weed growth is more prolific and water temperatures high. The English climate is not too severe and with modern clothing comfort is ensured.

We also discussed trout fishing tactics the importance of observing the fish to decide fly patterns and the idiosyncrasies of anglers. We could I am sure have talked for many hours. That’s part of angling’s joy for it is the trout and nature that make the rules that we anglers take great joy in analyzing. Before heading home I had a few more casts on the lake relishing the opportunity for one more catch and release rainbow before I left for home. It turned out to be handsome trout of close to 4lb.

It will be business as usual at Exe Valley for the foreseeable future with Sue taking care of the day to running of the lake while Nick embarks upon a new venture working with one of the countries most reputable fishing tackle companies.

Exe Valley Fishery  is managed by Sue Hart with assistance from new Farlows fishing manager  Nick Hart .

Exe Valley Fishery is managed by Sue Hart with assistance from new Farlows fishing manager Nick Hart.