The River Exe rises at 1400ft near Simonsbath on Exmoor. If you thought Simonsbath was in Somerset then you’d be right and it is true to say that half the river is in this fair county, but, due to it flowing into the sea at Exeter, I have decided to put it into the Devon category.

For most of its length above Bickleigh Weir the Exe is excellent fly water, with only the occasional canally bit. Below Bickleigh, around the Stoke Canon area, although many fish are caught to spinner, it is of little interest to the fly fisherman.

The river between the Barle junction and Bickleigh is famous for its brown trout and grayling fishing. Many of the professional instructors in the county choose the Exe because of the opportunities to teach different tactics for different fish without having to move too far. When the rains come the area is also extremely good for salmon on the fly, but interestingly the river has no significant run of sea-trout.


Once upon a time there were many more opportunities for fishing the upper river than there are now. Up until just a few years ago there were two REAL, old-fahioned fishing hotels, The Tarr Steps and The Carnarvon Arms, that had their own private fishing, The Tarr Steps’ was on the Barle and the Carnarvon was near Exebridge and included the Junction Pool. Both were iconic and wonderful places. Both are no no more. The Tarr Steps fishing is now part of The Barle Fly Fishers’ water, and The Carnarvon Arms’ water, although still fished and still producing salmon, is now part of a club called The Exe Carnarvon Fishing Club. The difference between the two is that The ECFC is accessible, and for £700 per year one has a day per week on some lovely water. There is no day ticket or access to The Barle FF water.

The Dulverton Association has some fishing and there’s the odd opportunity further down but the best bet for getting a rod on the river is through Fish The Exe.


Two beats fishied in rotation by club members. The top beat is above the old railway bridge at Exebridge, the bottom beat below the road bridge. Both have excellent fly water and really good brown trout fishing.


Season ticket £700 for one named day per week.


Fishing Manager:                                                                                                                                                      Glyn Howells
Tel: 01822 860 279
Mobile: 07967 102 516


The DAA used to administer fishing on several beats but since the instigation of the FISH THE EXE project alot of the beats are now available through this. At the time of writing they only have limited access to the main Exe, some opportunities on The Little Exe for trout and some great trout fishing on the main river at Hele and Perry and on the Haddeo tribuatry. Having said that the DAA is administered by Patrick Veal at Lance Nicholson’s Gun and Tackle shop in Dulverton and for this alone the area is worth a visit. The chaps here really know there stuff.


Membership is £30.00 per annum and beats must then be booked in advance.

Salmon fishing is an extra £20 per day


Patrick Veal
Lance Nicholson Tackle and Guns
The High Street
Dulverton TA22 9HB
(01398) 323408


This is a worthy project, also administered by Patrick at Lance Nicholsons and others, that aims to open access to fishing for salmon and trout on the main Exe and its tribuatries to everyone.

There are over 15 beats available and some of it is terrific fly water. It is excellent value and you know that the money you are paying get’s reabsorbed into the fishing and the river’s management.

This is by far and away the best bet for getting a rod on the River Exe. Have a look at the link above.


ALL fishing is £10 or £20



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