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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Posts Tagged ‘Trout fishing Devon’

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Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

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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.

The Devon School of Fly Fishing – Fly Fishing Devon Fly Fishing lessons, tuition and guiding in Devon

Fly Fishing School

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

You might have thought our fly fishing school might have been quiet given all the weather we have had of late but luckily I was able to get guests out on the water and even better, into a fish or two. I met up with Chris last Friday who had some fishing lessons a number of years ago and was after a refresher on casting and watercraft. Despite not holding a rod in anger for such a long time it was great to see that muscle memory was still intact and his body remembered how to cast a fly. He even had his own gear that he had bought a few years back that had been unused. It was great to see it getting a good work out!

Gavin was down for the weekend and is a really keen river angler. Despite the weather and unfishable water at the Hotel we headed higher up the Taw and found somewhere to cast a fly and caught a few. We did the same on Sunday and managed to fish the Hotel waters in the afternoon.


Above you’ll see Gavin with the last fish of the day on Saturday. This is one he had spotted rising, made a cast to and caught. It’s nice when it all happens like that!  You might notice the background and how wet it had been. I stupidly believed the weathermen and on Sunday after lunch I headed down to the beat out back of the Hotel with just a shirt. Big mistake, it poured down on me!

On Monday the water was clearing down on the Hotel water but still pushing a bit. Having done a bit of casting with Ray there was little doubt he needed much help and having shown him some casts for the river (his background is lake fishing) we hit the river. Ray was like a sponge taking in every little word or tip and put it all into practice. The picture below shows Ray into his first fish a nice 10 incher!


When Gavin came down he brought his girlfriend Andrea too. There was lots for her to do. She popped into Exeter for a look round but on Sunday we found her relaxing with papers and a pot of coffee when we met up for lunch. That is one of the nice things about where we are located that there is plenty for the non fly fisher to do or they can just kick back and relax! The Hotel now boasts an in house beauty therapist, Georgeana, who offers a wide range of holisitic treatments.

If the weather people are to be believed then we have some good stuff coming so fingers crossed. I have Geoff tomorrow and he is in to light lines and small streams…..perfect!

Fly Fishing Lessons

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

I’ve actually been away from giving fly fishing lessons for a couple of days as I was in Athens with the family for some cultural stuff. Thankfully my daughter Charlie takes after her mother and is pretty smart and is into studying Classics. This meant a trip to Greece was a good idea to see stuff up close and personal. We did various tours and the thing that struck me the most was how civilised the ancient Greeks were. Several hundred years BC and they invented democracy and understood what grown up behaviour is all about. I think many, including our politicians could learn a bit about this. Even their plays didn’t involve murder or violence. They might have alluded to it but nothing violent was ever shown. Perhaps another lesson could be learnt?  The other thing that stuck in my mind was that the Greeks were fighting the Ottoman Empire who were holed up high at the Acropolis. Apparently the Turks were getting low on ammo and were taking whatever metals they could from the ancient site to make bullets. The Greeks got wind of this and rather than have their treasured site ransacked they waved a white flag, met with the opposition and agreed to give the Turks ammunition on the basis that they took nothing more from the site! I think that was probably a step too far but I guess you can see what I am getting at?


Anyway, back to fishing, it looks like we have had some rain in the 3 days I have been away. It sort of started Sunday when I took out David and Jan for a casting tune up. This went really well and previously Jan had been lacking confidence when it came to the casts and approaches for various fishing situations she had previously faced. By the end of it she was grabbing the rod wanting to try the next thing I had shown her! David is a good fisherman but hopefully picked up a few tips to help him catch a few extra fish. I am due to meet them tonight for some sea trouting but I have left 100 degree heat in Athens for rain and thunder back here. We’ll see how it goes!

Good luck to Jo and Lyn who are hoping to make their first solo trip on the river having spent time with us. We’re waiting to hear all of the details!

I have added some new bits to the Latest News page.

Previous Fly Fishing Lessons blogs.



A few messages from happy guests of our fly fishing school

Hi Pete

thanks again for a truly wonderful day’s fishing. You taught me so much that I had to write it all down as soon as I got home so that I would not forget it !  I hope that we will be fishing together soon.
Best wishes

 Thanks so much Pete.
Thoroughly enjoyed my 3 days on the Taw even if the fish are not quite so big as those in New Zealand!  Still lots of fun.
Take care.

Hi Pete had a fantastic day and learned a great deal and will keep you informed of my progress.
                  Kind regards Treeve.

Pete, thank you for helping us through and replacing flies when needed.  Your expertise was much appreciated and it was good to learn from a master of his trade.

 Best wishes and thank you again.





A day’s fly fishing in Devon

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a bit but for some reason I haven’t got around to it yet.  I guess that the old memory isn’t as good as it used to be!

It was the end of June and I had a realised that despite being on the river every day I hadn’t actually been fishing myself for trout for over a month. I though I’d better do something about it and had a 1/2 day of fly fishing tuition but I was free in the afternoon.

I’d decided to head to a bit of the Taw I hadn’t fished for a bit and rigged up. The water was low and clear and it is always nice to quietly step into the river and see a fish rise. As ever I had the two fly set up of a dry and bead head nymph hung just below. I picked up a few fish and continued to head upstream.


I headed to a spot that I figured might hold some fish as it was a nice run carrying oxygenated water to any fish that might be holding there. I hooked into a small one pretty quickly and then saw what I initially thought was a rock move and have a pop at the little fella as I brought him in. I thought this might have caused the “rock” to shoot off but as I released my fish I watched him resume his position. I was a little surpised to see him hold where he was as it was in 8 inches of water, in an open lie and bright sunshine!

I watched him for a bit and he was just happily sitting there. It didn’t look like he was feeding so I was going to have to get my fly right in front of him and make it worth his while. The first cast was too far to the right and he didn’t even give it the time of day. Next cast was right on the money and I watched the nymph go right over him and the dry slowly slid down. As I lifted I felt my little 2 weight bend over and he was on. The fish headed upstream but I managed to horse him down towards me. We both got a good, close look at each other and seeing him let me know I was attached to a trout and not a sea trout. Seeing me was enough for him to surge downstream and he tried to head for the safety of an undercut bank. Applying as much side pressure as I dared I kept him out and thought he was heading my way when out of the blue the hook hold came loose and he was gone.

I stood silently for a few moments, I would have loved a closer look at him and the chance of a photo but it was not to be. I remembered something I said to a guest the other day that there was no point mourning a lost fish too much as it ends up eating away at you. I know we all have one lost fish story and this might just be my one as it was up there with the biggest fish I have caught from the river Taw but I just reeled in, smiled and headed off home.

Read about a fly fishing away from Devon

Devon Fly Fishing Guide

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

I love being a fly fishing guide down here in Devon, the variety of fishing we have makes every day I spend on the water different from the day previously. Yesterday was a good example. I met up with Paul who has been a great supporter of what we are trying to do down here. I had spoken to him a couple of days before and we had discussed our plan of action. It was originally going to be trout based and we had touched on Dartmoor but the change in weather meant heading up high was not going to be as much fun as it might have been in the more settled conditions we have had of late.

As I do every morning I poked my head over the bridge and checked things out, I’d spoken to Paul and we had decided to base ourselves on the Taw for the day. The river was looking just about right for salmon and I bumped into Bob from the EA who was having a look too. The bridge at Eggesford is a great spot for fish to hold but I didn’t see anything move in the short time I was there. It was more of a scout to make sure we were fishable more than anything else.

I met with Paul and as we got our waders on came in the Hotel car park  Bob drove in to say he had seen a salmon and to wish us luck so that sort of made our minds up as to what we would try first. Paul hasn’t tried this sort of fishing before and took to it like a duck to water. The pool isn’t easy to fish but he did a great job.  Sadly the salmon didn’t want to play ball so we decided on lunch and then to head down stream a bit to one of the lower beats to fish for some trout and a final throw for salmon.

Despite there being some colour still, the trout were obliging and I knew there were also some smaller sea trout (peal) about and a couple of which Paul hooked but they didn’t want to stay on. We finished off casting into a great pool for salmon but although they weren’t biting we had a great time and I loved it as I got the chance to show Paul something a bit different and something a bit varied too.

I hate my job!

Other Devon Fly Fishing Guide Blog

Fly Fishing in Devon

Monday, June 29th, 2009

I have just had a great bunch of lads down for a spot of fly fishing in Devon. They have all fly fished a fair bit and were looking to learn a few new things that might help up the catch rate a little and make their time on the water  all the more enjoyable. We covered all sorts of casting tips and as usually happens, and indeed it did this time, I get a case of verbal overflow!

As an instructor I feed off of the enthusiasm and keeness to learn and I was amazed by how interested the guys were in learning new casts but also how the mechanics work. It was really great and we spent the morning covering just about everything you could think of. The afternoon was split between trout fishing and having a look for salmon too. One of the guys, Dave, had a good pull from a fish and saw a sea trout take to the air and Les saw a good sized sea trout roll.

It was a great day and as they were staying in the hotel I got to keep in touch with their fishing exploits for the other days they were staying. So here’s to you, Dominic, Paul, Les, Dave, Christian and Peter!

The lads!

The lads!

My good pal Dave gave me a hand with the lads and a ladies day we held on Sunday and it was a great pleasure to work with you fella!

The catch board at the Hotel is going great guns with over 470 trout now caught and we have now added four sea trout so we are certainly getting into a few fish.

I have had a day off and it was great to chat with my pal Jim Williams who is a full time guide and instructor in Wiltshire. I really like speaking to him as he is so enthusiastic and a great person to bounce ideas off . I’ll also tell you that he is a great fly fishing instructor, I guess this sounds like an advert but if you are heading to Wiltshire and want some top quality fishing or instruction then he is your man!

For more details or information on fly fishing in Devon please feel free to call 01363 82786

Other fly fishing in Devon blogs here and here

A few happy fly fishers!

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

It has been a mad few weeks with some great fishing on our rivers. The first sea trout have been caught and we have had over 400 trout from the Hotel’s waters now, smashing  the last few seasons numbers. It would be great if we are lucky enough for this to continue and we are making sure beats are well rested and rotated so that anglers we take on to the water are not tramping through somebody elses footsteps!

Dave from Portland is a glutton for punishment and came back for some more guiding. We headed to Dartmoor and despite this being a completely new sort of fishing for him he took to it like a duck to water.


Max and I met for a day on the chalk.  Here’s what he thought.

Great to see you again. Thanks for a top day on a really magic bit of river – I felt quite privileged.
And I drove home buzzing – its just an endlessly fascinating game, isn’t it? I hope the drive was OK
Speak soon
All best


Malcolm had never held a fly rod before but was a natural and is a great fly fisher in the making.


Tom hadn’t fished a river before and also wanted a little bit of help with his fly casting, not that he needed much, he is one of the most naturally gifted fly casters I have seen.


Fly Fishing in Devon

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

I’m just in from the river and what a week it has been. I don’t think I have ever seen better mayfly hatches down here in Devon in all the time I have fished and guided here. I have had the pleasure of guiding John for three days and we have watched the fish get really turned on as the hatches have intensified. I usually fish a size 14 during the mayfly here but they wanted big flies. We have been throwing size 10’s and fish of all sizes have been hitting them hard. I have to say that I don’t think I have ever been so excited as we watched a fish hit a natural and then watch John make a cast and the fish hungrily engulfing our offering.




I was just talking sea trouting with a guest and told him about Sunday night. I planned to nick a quick couple of hours just in case and had watched the pool I was going to fish. I saw a really nice fish take to the air. There is nothing like this to make the hear race a little. I walked down to where I was going to fish.  The spot where I get in is a sort of slide down into belly deep water. I did this with what I thought was a pretty good effort and was ready to go. I heard some bleating and turned round and saw that a sheep and lamb were caught on a ledge above the river. With me getting in the sheep had become a little agitated and started running along the ledge. Of course the lamb followed but wasn’t as sure footed and slid down into the water. There was no way it was going to get up so I popped my rod down and managed to grab hold of the lamb. This was no easy task in itself but I managed to point it in the right direction but there was no way it was going to get up the bank unaided. Now, I’m not the strongest of fellas but with some huffing and puffing I got it up and to safety but all the splashing around had put any chance of a fish into the “not happening” catagory. At least I’d felt I’d done a good deed for the day!

The life of a Devon Fly Fishing Guide

Friday, May 15th, 2009

I was hoping to go sea trouting Thursday night and got a call from pal Toby to say he had heard of a few coming off of a local river and was planning to do the same. We swapped notes and I got my stuff ready. I was hoping to get to the water at 8.45 or so sit back and take it all in and then start fishing. I still felt I had a spot of unfinished business with a pool I had fished on Sunday so I was heading back to the same beat. No doubt as you are probably aware the heavens opened at 8 and it stopped me from heading out.

My real worry though was that I was guiding Friday and I didn’t want to get get washed off of the water entirely. The rain stopped about 9.30 or so but I was awoken at 5am by a heavy downpour. This first of all woke me up but also got me thinking what the plan of action would be. I headed to work and pulled over by the bridge at Eggesford and peered over. Thankfully the sight that met me wasn’t as bad as I had feared. The river was up but wasn’t carrying as much colour as I thought it might be. I pulled up at work and saw two guys having breakfast in what looked like fishing shirts. It’s funny that I can seem to sniff a fisherman at over 100 paces as it did turn out to be Mike and his brother David.

I joined them for a quick coffee and I suggested we hit a few beats for salmon and see what the river was going to do. One thing was for sure it wasn’t going to get better so we hit the river to try or luck. Mike and David were good casters and had their flies running down likely looking spots. It’s funny that you sometimes get a feel something might just happen but it didn’t on this occassion and I suggested we head up river a couple of miles to try our luck. Despite only a short trip in the truck we were met by a more angry river carrying more volume and more colour. The guys threw a few casts into a really good pool but we didn’t hang around too long. It was getting close to lunchtime but I had a hunch that heading to another river that runs off of Exmoor rather than Dartmoor might be worth a try and as trout was our intended quarry that we’d give it a go.

When we peered over the river to have a look it was just starting to colour up. We were in with a shout! There was little going on but I was determined to find a fish or two for the guys and, as ever, the scruffy klink in a slightly larger size brought up a couple of 8 inchers for Mike and a really pretty 12 incher for David. It was the perfect finish for a day that I had feared might not ever really get going but ended well and it was great to see a couple of accomplished anglers try salmon fishing for the first time and really take to it and also get so excited at the prospect of sea trout fishing….