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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Archive for April, 2011

Fly Fishing Lessons

Monday, April 25th, 2011

It feels as though we have entered a really busy period over the last few weeks with plenty of anglers out on the water with our team having a good time and catching a few fish.

Dan into one of our rainbows

The grannom hatch has been really good and we have taken advantage of it but now it feels and looks like that is over and medium and lighter olives are on the trout’s menu.

Elizabeth lets one fly!

Lottie covers a likely run

Mark releases a fiesty Taw brown

There are some big sea trout on the hotel waters and I’ll get down and have a go at them soon. I also took out my good friend and fellow instructor and guide Brett and his friend Simon. They were down for Simon’s brithday celebrations and wanted to see if they could connect with a bass or two. It felt like it might be a little early but they were game and although they didn’t catch big numbers Brett managed 3 fish which was a great start to my saltwater guiding this year!

Brett and a bass!

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Fly Fishing Devon Rivers

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

I have a day off today and as I sit here in the garden writing, we were really pleased to see that the swallows that nest in our garage arrived this morning. I had seen them while having lunch while working yesterday and Emma had seen a couple pass over yesterday so we knew they were on their way.

Ash with his first Taw trout

On the river the best of the grannom is now over but there are still a few about. I have spent more time fishing the emerger stage of the hatch with my guests and it has worked pretty well. While guiding yesterday I also spotted a yellow mayfly who had jumped the gun a little.

Jason works a run

The big worry is the lack of water. A friend was telling me Sunday that water levels are already comparable to 1976 which, for those that can remember, are low!

It doesn’t seem to have affected the trout fishing too much and we have seen and heard the first round of sea trout on the hotel waters, but a good flush of water wouldn’t go amiss. The most the river has come up since the trout season has started is 1 inch. It looks like the weather is settled for the next few days but it won’t be long before I start rehearsing the steps for a rain dance.

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Fly Fishing Devon

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Last weekend was my birthday. It is the sort of occassion that I get as excited about as I used to but I think this one was one of the best. Getting up early to a beautiful sunny morning I opened some great presents from Emma and Charlie and then sat down to a magnificent breakfast and some chill out time in the garden. We had some birthday cake for lunch and Emma suggested I hit the river to catch a few birthday trout. It sounded like a great idea and so I did just that.

The Taw

The river, although low, was looking good and I knew that grannom had been coming off just around lunchtime so I knew I was on the water at the right time.

Perfect timing!

I rigged up some bamboo and headed down stream to a favourite pool. It is really nice when you get there and the fish are just starting to rise.

A vintage Bannister rod

Judging by the rises they were at the early stage of the hatch and were taking the emerging pupa. I tied on one of my easy-tie balloon caddis and a really simple grannom pupa. I stuffed the first take but managed to get a few more out of the pool.

A Taw trout

I fished for a few hours and caught a few and had what was just about the perfect birthday!

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River Taw fly fishing

Friday, April 8th, 2011

It is always nice to get to fish or guide on a new water. I was down on the south side of the Moor to meet up with David who has over 1 1/2 miles of some really nice water and wanted to see how we would approach and fish it for migratory fish. It was a really nice piece of water with a mixture of deep, shaded, slow pools that looked the ideal spot for sea trout and some classic salmon pools too. David covered it and fished it really well. It was one of those bits of water that, despite the water being low, you are always in with a chance.

David fished his stretch of water!

Yesterday I hit a new piece of chalkstream. Small, overgrown, low, clear and intimate. The sort of water where you have to spot the fish and creep up on them. We fished light with a one weight and worked hard on the stealth stuff. You know what? It worked pretty well. Despite the fish up there not having fully woken up we looked for the shallower water where fish were lying and offered them a CDC emerger. The only downside of this simple, but hugely deadly fly is that once they have had a fish you need to nip them off and tie on another. I had at least three of them being rotated on my fly patch during the day.

The grannom have really been flooding off of the Taw and the fish have been on them. We have a new section of water for our fishing school which is about 1 1/2 miles long. It is lower down the Taw and has some nice salmon pools and spots for sea trout along with brown trout. I have walked it a few times now and reckon it is longer than that as the river twists and turns but there is a great amount of water for our guests to fish, be it migratory or non migratory fishing they are after. This is along with all the great water that the hotel has so I reckon we have nearly 8 miles of private water to show anglers now.

I was guiding further down the Taw with Richard the other day. He has a cottage right by the river and wanted to learn how to fish the water for salmon. I was happy to help and showed him the pools and how best to approach them and how to fish them under differing water levels. It was one of the first bright, sunny days but we had a good go and it was nice walking back to Richard’s cottage for a pizza and sit in the garden before hitting the river again. Things weren’t to be but I’d mentioned that on the bright days it is worth heading down early to the river. I had done this a bit last year and it is really nice being there as the sun comes up. Anyway, Richard did just this and I had a call early the next day saying that he had landed his first salmon. He thinks it was a really well mended kelt but it is a great start to the second day of his salmon fishing career. My advice to him when I left him was to listen to everything anyone tells him about salmon fishing but don’t be afraid to do something from the left field. That is what he did and it turned out well for him. Well done Richard!

Richard swings a cascade

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