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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Posts Tagged ‘River Taw Fly Fishing’

Devon Fly Fishing Guide

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Over the last few years there have been many improvements on the river Taw to help migratory fish make their way upstream to spawn. There is little doubt that we are starting to see the fruits of this and salmon are being spotted on the higher reaches of the Taw in spring. This is great news for the fish but equally so for anglers and so if you are heading down to fish with us in Devon be sure to pack your salmon gear, you never know!

 

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Fly Fishing in Devon with the Devon School of Fly Fishing

Devon Fly Fishing Guide

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

We’re almost two months into the trout season now. I would call it OK rather than outstanding on the Taw. It has been slow to grind into action and has had good days and some average days so OK seemed a fair description. The highlight though has to be the 16 1/2 incher that Lewis guided Matt into the first Bank Holiday of the month. He has fished in Devon a bit and said he hadn’t seen anything as big in these parts which was really nice.

I have fished the Taw a fair bit. I like to because I love the river so much but also because I think it is my job to know exactly what is going on. Sure, each day is different but having a handle on hatches, their times and if the fish are rising or not takes the guess work out of my day and lets the people we are guiding know that we are on top of what is happening.

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That having been said I have already racked up a good number of other rivers I’ve fished this year too. If I haven’t been guiding I’ve been fishing which has been really good fun. Some of it has been alone but most days it has been in the company of good friends. I love nymph fishing but this year it has been fishing small, overgrown streams with a small rod and a dry fly. To me, at the moment, it has been pleasing to cast a fly line and dry fly and have a fish give me the ultimate compliment and eat the fly. It has also been a good testing ground for a variety of patterns I concocted during the closed season.

The fish haven’t been huge on these streams. To be honest, I don’t really care. I’m not a trophy hunter or a numbers man, I just love being out on the water and every day I am fishing a river is a bonus but a big one every now and again is good fun and lets you know you are doing something right if you fool that big old brown tucked away in a deep undercut hole.

The rain we’ve had should start to bring the migratory fish up our way on the Taw. I managed to catch a small sea trout on another river a week or so ago when nymphing with my pal Jimmy. But for me I am interested, really interested to see how the mayfly hatch plays out this year. Last year it was Okish, the same the year before but the years before that have been awesome and I hope we might get something similar. I’ll be hopping round with excitement if I wake up to an overcast, drizzly day the sort that is perfect for Danicas.

If it does play out this way I plan to put sea trouting on the back burner and will fish the spinner fall long and hard even after a long days guiding.

I have my rod collection pretty much where I want it and have been using my pack for most of the fishing I have been doing. I was guiding using a hip pack and transferring fly boxes from the pack to the hip pack which, if you have a memory like mine is a pretty high risk strategy. So I’ll use the pack for work and general river fishing and go back to the lanyard with a small selection of flies for the small stream stuff.

It is coming in to the cream of the fly fishing season and I for one can’t wait!

Pete

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Devon Fly Fishing

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

The car temp said 6 deg C as I drove to meet Lewis and Alex. They’d both been fishing in Wales the day before and caught fish but it sounded like they had to grind them out.

I had the day off and Lewis was guiding, so Alex and I were off fishing. The rain started too. Nothing heavy just something to remind you that the bright blue skies from the few days previous had gone.

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I took Alex to a place I like to fish. It was further up the river and I thought we might stand a chance. There is nothing like a fish splashing at the dry you have tied on as part of the duo set up in the second pool you fish.

It didn’t stick but we fished on with slightly elevated spirits.

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Things remained quiet though so we decided on a change of river and a quick pit stop for food. We ate as we drove and hit the next river.

The fish started to come, but not in the way that makes you think that you have your set up finely tuned enough to fish with the sort of confidence that you get when the trout are really biting.

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We were starting to think about getting out as things got cooler still but secretly, I don’t think either of us wanted to, so we didn’t. We shared a rod, talked and caught some fish.

As we worked up the river I thought about a pool I really like to fish. We’d just fished my favourite one, it had been good to us so we hopped out and walked upstream.

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There is nothing like being greeted by a rising fish, then another and another. The nymph was snipped off and replaced by a dry. We had to make a couple of changes before we got the pattern right but when we did we caught some of the risers and brought some fish up too. It was a good way to end a good day.

Pete

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Opening time

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

March 15th has felt a long time coming but when I got up the weather wasn’t as good as the previous day but on checking the river it was perfectly fishable.

We were due to meet at 9.30am but I knew some of the guys would be a little early and it made me smile to see my buddy RFH just a few cars in front of me at 8.15am. I think he had slept as much as me the previous night and was equally excited.

Coffee drunk and beats sorted we hit the water in search of trout. We caught some too and the day finished perfectly with a couple of drinks and some fishing banter.

I am just writing an article for Eat, Sleep, Fish that will be out early April.

The next day was my first proper one of the new season and on checking the webcam I saw the river up 4ft.

Brett was cool about it and we spent the morning casting and we arranged for him to come back in May. Hopefully conditions will be a little more friendly when he hits the river for the first time!

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The Dude is in the building!

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

I have just finished a few days fishing with my fishing buddy Ray (The Dude). He was over from his new base in Denmark for some fishing and hadn’t really picked up a rod for a while. I had been thinking how long it had been since we had chucked a line together and I reckon it was in Montana last year.

He had flown into Heathrow so we thought it only right that we started with a day on the chalkstream and so we headed to a venue that we have spent so many happy times fishing. I went up early as we were going to fish the next day and stayed in the most excellent Grayling House B & B. Grayling House is owned by Rick and his wife Lorraine. I remember the first time I stayed there and Rick answered the door in a Simms fishing shirt and I knew I was in the right place. The rooms and breakfast are also stunning.

Rick pops one back

As The Dude wasn’t due ’til later I asked Rick if he fancied a fish for a few hours, which he leapt at. We strolled up the river casting to rising fish and caught a few nice ones. As well as running an fantastic B & B, Rick is an excellent fisherman, fly tyer and great company on the river too. If you are in the Salsibury area look them up, it is worth it!

The Dude had arrived and had sniffed us out on the river and as it was dark we thought it best to head to the pub for dinner and a few drinks.

Another one for Dude

End of day grayling

Next morning the sun was out and the fish were rising. Dude was in to fish straight away and I watched him pick up trout and grayling. I got into the river and followed him upstream, thankful that he’d left me a few fish to catch. There was one run I was watching him fish and it looked to me like it was almost a fish a cast!

As with every proper fishing trip we ate some junk for lunch then had a tailgate dinner which for Ray was a Chinese and for me one of the best fish and chips I think I have ever had. It looked as though things were getting cooler and quieter at 7pm but the bugs and the fish got a second wind and we fished on late before heading down the A303.

For the Devon leg of the trip I wanted to show Dude some places he hadn’t fished before, so on the first day we headed to the river that shan’t be named. It was cloudy with some light rain when we left home but when we got there the cloud stayed but it warmed. Perfect. I hung back and watched Dude get off of the mark and then went up and found some water to fish. Dude told me he had been reading the latest Gierach offering and he had mentioned that when fishing with a buddy he would leave 3 large stones in an obvious place where he had got in so that his fishing buddy knew where to get out. We tried it and it works really well. The day was perfect and we fished long and hard and just had a packet of chocolate biscuits for lunch.

A fish from the nameless river

under the tree Dude!

A fish for me from the nameless river

Planning for the last day was easy. We had always planned a trip up to Dartmoor but other trips had got in the way, so this was to be the destination. Weather was ideal and the first stream we headed to had some great pocket water that I know the Dude likes to fish. After a sausage roll (we’d had a barbie the previous evening so there were a couple left over) we fished Cherry Brook. I love Cherry Brook. Although small it is easy to think that there are only small fish in there but I have seen some real hogs that have come after smaller fish that my guests have hooked. I even let out an expletive when I saw this and spent the rest of the day apologising!

Picking a pocket

It is also easy to think that you need to fish tiny flies on Dartmoor. While this is often the case, the monster 14 1/2 incher we had the other week was on a size 14 and Dude fished a 16 on the first stream we fished but we did go down to a 20 for Cherry. The fish don’t read the books!

Dartmoor trout

We walked, talked and fished. It was such a good day with rising fish and we headed back for an ice cream and last look at the river. Where we stopped there were people, dogs and just about everything else and the fish were still rising just beside them I guess they just get used to it all. The hardest part would have been trying to make a cast with all the tourists about.

Cherry Brook trout

So that is the trip. It was great, as ever, to fish with Dude I miss him so much now that he lives abroad but we are already planning another trip. His daughter Mia is showing an interest in fishing and Mia if you are reading I hope you’ll join us one day!

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Fly Fishing in Devon

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

I had always had this little fear that when the mayfly was over that the fish had feasted so well that it would take them time to get back into the swing of things again. Thankfully this has not happened and the fish have fed right the way through. Last year I seem to recall that it was black gnat that was the hatch that really got them going again but caddis and Blue Winged Olives have been the main hatches that the fish seem to be most interested in on the Taw.

Dave learns to fly fish a river

The caddis have been pretty heavy starting at around 11am and then stopping for a bit, starting again around lunchtime and then starting and stopping until evening. It has meant that it has looked like all you needed to do is tie on your favourite caddis pattern and go catch all the fish. If only fishing and come to think of it, life, were that easy. It hasn’t been though and just the slightest trickle of BWO’s has been lurking about in the background that has really got the fish going.

We always like to take a bit of time to watch the water but you really need to watch even more closely to see just the smallest of hints that tells you to think a bit more about the fly selection you make.

Interestingly we are still getting some pretty good numbers of mays coming off but the fish seem to just ignore them now. How is it they can gorge on these big flies and then just switch off of them? Is it just a case that you can get too much of a good thing?

I was lucky enough to be out guiding Paul last week and I know he has had a really busy time looking after his wife Margaret after an operation and project managing a house rennovation. He was dying for a day of fishing and so I took him out to cast a fly at a few fish. Despite not having the chance to get a fly rod in his hands for a bit he fished liked a demon and had plenty, including picking up a well earned sea trout. Really, really well done Paul!

Well done Paul!

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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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New Season is here!

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Fly Fishing in Devon commenced on 1st of March for salmon but trout fishing started yesterday. I met with some friends where we chatted,fished and had some fun.

Water temps were low and there wasn’t much hatching apart from the odd Large Dark Olive but it was just great to be back on the water and in the company of friends.

"so what are you tying on?"

Toby had the first nice fish of 10 inches but Mo topped it with a 14 incher which I missed but Mike was on hand to measure it and help pop it back.

Mo fishing a likely spot

 

Howard throws a heavy nymph into the depths

Mike works up a pool

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