River Taw – Opening day

Well the new season dawned cold and damp with the river at 0.5m on the gauge. Not really enough to encourage fish to run and as the air temp was 6 degs and the water 5, connecting with any of the few fish already in was always going to be a tall order.

Rods were out on most beats below the junction, but as yet there have been no fish reported.

Woolhanger Farm beats have suffered a little bit of damage during the floods of 2012 but others further down seem to have escaped. There is an awful lot of detritus high on most banks – a scary reminder of how high the water came up.

For details of fishing on the river Taw, see our links on the left.

Tight lines for 2013.

Numb Fingers on The Exe

It’s February. The water and air temperatures are still very low and spring salmon on the Exe will be few and far between for another month yet.

We did have a couple of hours on the river the other day – after escapee rainbows washed into the river during the floods. If you are fishing the Exe, either now (as the EA has granted dispensation for the rainbows to be taken out) or later in the season and you catch any of these rainbow trout, please dispatch them as they are not wanted or welcome in the river.


If I were you I’d wait a while before you fish. It was so cold the day we fished, your correspondent failed to realise he had embedded a fly in his hand – even when it got ripped out again, on the forward delivery, taking half a hand with it!

If you are fishing in the West Country during the spring then we wish you tight lines; but – PLEASE BE CAREFUL ON THE WATER!!


Salmon Seasons of The South West

River Avon Apr 15 to Nov 30
River Axe Mar 15 to Oct 31
River Camel Apr 1 to Dec 15
River Dart Feb 1 to Sep 30
River Erme Mar 15 to Oct 31
River Exe Feb 14 to Sep 30
River Fal Apr 1 to Dec 15
River Fowey Apr 1 to Dec 15
River Frome Mar 1 to Aug 31
River Lim Mar 1 to Sep 30
River Looe Apr 1 to Dec 15
River Lyn Feb 1 to Oct 31
River Lynher Mar 1 to Oct 14
River Otter Mar 15 to Oct 31
River Piddle Mar 1 to Aug 31
River Plym Apr 1 to Dec 15
River Seaton Apr 1 to Dec 15
River Sid Mar 15 to Oct 31
River Tamar Mar 1 to Oct 14
River Tavy Mar 1 to Oct 14
River Taw Mar 1 to Sep 30
River Teign Feb 1 to Sep 30
River Torridge Mar 1 to Sep 30
River Yealm Apr 1 to Dec 15

Time To Check Your Tackle!

It’s nearly February so only a maximum of a  month left to check that all your tackle is oiled, cleaned treated and generally ready for the season ahead. Trout fishing starts on 15th March on most rivers but there is the opportunity, if not the prospect of great success, to get on the Dart and the Teign after salmon from 1st Feb and so if you are planning a trip to either of these rivers then everything should have been checked already.

Reels should be taken apart and old grease and grit removed. They should then have a light coat of oil on the spindle and then left.

Lines can be taken off of the reel and cleaned with warm soapy water and treated with a line conditioning solution.

Flies should be checked for rust and inspected. Any straightened bends or damaged patterns should be disgarded and it really helps (and is an enjoyable thing to do) if the remainder are sorted into type/size order.

A very important check to make is that your tippet material is not suffering the effects of the sun or direct heat and that you have plenty of it. Also there should be no sign of any leaders from last year still attached to fly lines! The loops at the business end of any poly leaders need checking and it is ofetn wise to reform them if possible, or replace thewhole leader if they are getting a littel too short.

There is nothing more annoying than getting to the river and then realising something is awry.

It’s Raining Again!

It is raining very hard here in Somerset (it’s December 29th 2012). It has been doing so for a couple of days now. The ground was saturated already so this lot has just flooded all the rivers in short order.

There will be no fishing for a while on the Levels for pike and grayling fishers trying their luck on The Exe are doomed to failure as there is just too much water.

Nothing we can do about it obviously, except hope the redds don’t get washed out and that it does actually stop at some point!

September – The Last Two Weeks

It’s the last two weeks of the season on may West Country rivers. As I write this there has been yet another huge down pour and ALL the rivers have plenty of water. There will be good salmon numbers all over the area, but the water is running fast and cooling down a bit. Get the fly down with sinking tips/leaders or a fast intermediate line.

Trout fishing will end well if there is a drop in levels. There are daddy long-legs simple everywhere and all rivers were fishing well to them before the latest spates took hold.

The reservoir season continues for a while yet and the daddy will score well here as will fry imitations fished in the margins. Sedges will feature on warm evenings.

If you are out in September don’t forget it can get cold quite ealy in the day and that it might rain at at a moment’s notice. If you are salmon fishing in high water then a life preserver is adviseable and a wading staff essential.

Tight lines.

Fishing In August

August is producing a good amount of rain to keep our rivers fuelled with water. The problem is the hot, humid high pressure that accompanies it. If the sun appears too then it is very much a question of picking one’s moment or concentrating on the first and last two hours of the day. Having said that, it is getting towards Autumn and with the water there is a good chance of a fish throughout most systems.

Very often during the months of August and September a build up of fish in estuaries can occur in dry weather. These are, by September, the larger late summer and autumn fish and sometimes if the rains come after a prolonged period of dry weather, they can run straight through in one fell swoop and then it’s season over. August rains keep the influx, progression and distribution of fish steadier and more even.

Sea trout are still entering the rivers in reduced numbers, but towards the end of the month fresh-run fish encountered will be much fewer. The good thing about fishing during the “back end” is that school peal can be targetted and caught using a dry fly – the best chances usually coming to the daddy long-legs.

Night fishing is still viable to pick up a fresh sea trout or two, but as usual any colour to the water CAN render the effort wasted. If you happen to be there though as the water comes good then it could be very productive.

In short, the rains we are currently experiencing mean that August is a fishing month and not a lying on the beach month!

Tight Lines all.

For up to date river levels click the Farson Digital link in the side-bar or check the EA website.



ENJOY – and don’t forget to e-mail us any questions you might have.


Take a look at Mark’s account of his trip to Dartmoor.


Duchy Of Cornwall Fishing

Go to one of the agents listed below. You will be handed your fishing permit and blank catch return. Fill in your details on the permit.

After fishing – please complete a catch return – and drop it into one of the agents or post it to: Westcountry Rivers Trust, Rain-Charm House, Kyl Cober Park, Stoke Climsland, Callington PL17 8PH.

Dartmoor fishing prices (season, week & day permits)

Salmon season: £150
Salmon week: £85
Salmon day: £30

Trout season: £70
Trout week: £30
Trout day: £10

Fishing Seasons

Salmon: 1 February to 30 September

Sea trout: 15 March to 30 September

Brown trout: 15 March to 30 September


Dart Permit Outlets

Name Town / City Postcode Telephone
The Forest Inn Yelverton PL20 6SG 01364 631211
Badgers Holt Princetown PL20 6SG 01364 631213
Arundell Arms   Hotel Lifton PL16 0AA 01566 784666
Princetown   Stores & Post Office Yelverton PL20 6QE 01822 890212
Buckfast Post   Office Buckfastleigh TQ11 0ED 01364 643034
Two Bridges   Hotel Yelverton PL20 6SW 01822 892300
James Bowden   & Son Chagford TQ13 8AH 01647 433271
Prince Hall   Hotel Princetown PL20 6SW 01822 890403
The White Hart   Hotel Moretonhampstead TQ13 8NF 01647 441340
Postbridge   Post Office Yelverton PL20 6TH 01822 880201
Exeter Angling   Centre Exeter EX1 1BN 01392 435591
Ilsington   Country House Hotel Nr Newton   Abbot TQ13 9RR


Don’t Take Our Word For It……………

Alex is a friend of ours and has been down with his father and bestest chum to have a go at the Clatworthy rainbows.  The West Country has some of the hardest fighting fish in the country and here is a report of the day from Alex:-

Easter Sunday Outing:

This Easter we decided to go and fish Clatworthy reservoir, it was a place that we (Charles Jardine, Rob Thomas, and myself) had never fished before although had heard good things about it. We set off later than planned, as usual, the journey there was almost a test in itself, and the winding West Country roads had us doubting our directions and the ability of satellite navigation! Just as we had given up all hope of finding water in the rolling hills we stumbled across a mass of 130acres of water which looked stunning with shards of golden light breaking the clouds and catching the pristine waters.

On arrival we spoke to a helpful chap from Wessex Water who advised us on the best spots and flies, we then set up paid our fees and headed up the shoreline with hopeful steps. We eventually stumbled upon a shoal of fish working their way across the wind in a bay, first of all catching on the deeper set-up of an intermediate line and teams of nymphs. Then when the sun broke through the clouds for minutes at a time the fish would move up in the water feeding on the hatching Buzzers making the floating line tactics highly effective. Each fish hooked fought harder than any other Trout I have encountered this year and they made for a brilliant days sport. They are now all prepared for a barbeque!

I will definitely be going back here, I would imagine it is a superb top of the water fishery later in the year, and I would like to find some of the Brown Trout that hide in the lake too. My message to anyone looking to go here for the first time, don’t give up on the journey there really is a pot of gold at the end!

Alex Jardine

So there we go – but don’t even take AJ’s word for it…………………………..COME AND TRY FOR YOURSELVES.