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Devon School of Fly Fishing Team blog

Posts Tagged ‘Trout fishing Devon’

They’re here….

Monday, May 4th, 2009

I was out with Francisco and Beltran yesterday. Beltran had fly fished twice before on a stocked lake a little while ago and Francisco had never held a fly rod before. We worked on casting on our little trout lake and later hit the river. The rain we have had recently had taken the river up a little and there was a chance something migratory might have headed up our way. The top of Beat 6 is a good spot to look as there is a good holding area for anything looking to head upstream if there isn’t quite enough water. The guys put what we had practiced into good effect and Beltran shouted as he lifted his 7wt fly rod into a fish.  The bend in the rod told me this was no trout but it sadly came off after a couple of minutes. The excitement from all of us must have been a picture and we carried on fishing til 9.30pm. I don’t know who suggested we go in but it was pretty dark. As we fished the last pool I managed to get my net caught on a stray piece of barbed wire and had to go back with wire cutters to get it out today after finishing work! 

Bertram and Francisco

Bertram and Francisco

 We have been really busy with newcomers learning to fly fish, the slightly more experienced looking for some new tips or those looking to hit the river and let us help them catch a few. Just a few below…





Harriets first trout

Harriets first trout

Kofi's first trout

Kofi's first trout

I am out with Richard for a couple of days and we are planning to hit the river and see what happens…I can’t wait!

Fly fishing in Devon

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Well, we have had some rain, the river is up a bit and a 6 1/2 lb salmon has come out just down stream from us. It feels like fly fishing in Devon is getting even more exciting!

I was guiding on Sunday and the Taw was the most alive I have seen so far this season. The grannom hatches are easing right back now but they have been replaced with gnats, caddis, olives and I even saw a lone mayfly who was just a little bit early. Up until Sunday the fishing had been in bursts of activity but it really felt that the bugs have felt all is good and are ready to rumble.

I am hoping that the rise in water will also bring some sea trout up to us as well.

We have been flat out introducing newcomers to fly fishing and also showing regular fishers the River Taw and also a few early season surprises too!


 Here is Mike with his first wild brown trout, he is a delightful caster and lands the fly just perfectly. We were really pleased with his casting and fishing and more improtantly so did the fish!








Graham, was a newcomer to fly fishing and spent the day with us after recieving a gift voucher from his son. We showed him how to fly cast and then we did some fly fishing for the rainbows in our lake. The fish weren’t obliging at first but a damsel fly came up with the goods.





 Nick was really keen to try and catch a bass. We first worked on fly casting and how to double haul. We then headed off to see if we could find a bass or two. Some might say we were a tad too early but we always believe that if your fly is in the water you are in with a chance. Nick proved the point perfectly!

Trout Fishing in Devon

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Don’t get me wrong, I love fly fishing stillwaters especially beautiful places like Kennick and rugged Colliford perched above Bodmin Moor. Most of all though I have to be honest and say it is the trout of our rivers that just keep amazing me. I have such respect for them and how they manage to survive in such tough conditions and in some cases how they go on to achieve, despite their surroundings, such great size. These guys have been to the school of hard knocks and play dirty when they are hooked. They have spent their whole lives trying to eek out a living. I often say to guests I am guiding that if you can hook one here then you can anywhere. I think I have written this on the main site somewhere but I really think it is the case. Sometimes it might even just be a rise followed by a refusal and the chance has gone but for me that is enough. I think it is one of the reasons I love fly fishing so much and still to this day find it mind blowing that we tie a fly out of fur and feather that we think might be a good representation of what we think the fish could be feeding on and then we make that perfect cast and the fish decides that looks right I’ll have it.

I guess this is why I fish mainly for the take, I love that moment when you see your line dip or a rise to the fly. There can sometimes be the case that there is something a little special on the end of the line size wise and then the fight is more so I can see a glimpse of what was living in the hole I just got a take from. I think if I ever get tired of this all then it is time to call it a day!

Michael and a Taw brown

Michael and a Taw brown

I had a great day on the river with Michael who was a newcomer to river fishing. We headed down to the bottom of Beat 7 as I knew it had been fishing well. I wanted us to fish a couple of nice runs and it turned out to be a good move. Michael was soon getting into fish and had lightening reactions meaning he connected with just about every take…I have a feeling he might be getting a thing for rivers and it was great to recieve such an enthusiastic email from him!

Thank you for guiding me through the perils of river fishing. I had an absolutely wonderful day and to have caught so many wild fish was delightful. I can say that I am now totally converted from lake to river, which won’t be great for the bank balance but stimulating for the mind.
Your expert advice and tuition really helped, from the adjustments to my casting (I now think I need to get another fly box stocked!) to reading rivers and finding the hot spots. It was obvious that you are totally passionate about your craft and the wildlife we all aim to catch and that really radiates and hopefully has rubbed off on me.
I thoroughly enjoyed spending the day with you, many thanks again



Monday, April 13th, 2009

I don’t know if you are the same but when I go pleasure fishing I sometimes find it fun to set myself a little challenge. Before I go any further I want to say that I am one of the most uncompetitive people around. When I fish it’s just me against the fish. The odds are usually stacked against me but I kind of like it that way! What I mean by challenge is I like to try and set something that makes life a little more difficult and makes me think as a fisherman. I was teaching Peter but when I was done I popped off for a quick fish myself.

I headed up the Taw a bit from work and strung up the 2 wt. Although it wasn’t the warmest of days we have had of late I decided I was going to walk the river and to only cast if I found a rising fish. This perhaps doesn’t sound either that exciting or interesting but try walking up a river and and resisting the temptation not to flick a fly into a likely looking hole!

As I mentioned there wasn’t a lot going on but I decided I wouldn’t crack. I saw a small one rise but my fly was a bit too much of a mouthful for him and he bumped off. A trickle of grannom got the fish a little more interested and although not a heavy rise I saw a couple of fish moving and covered them. I had one and another didn’t like my scruffy klink and refused to show again despite me waiting for an uhealthy amount of time. Moving on I saw a fish move on the seam of a faster run and he didn’t hesitate on hitting the. Again it wasn’t a huge fish but he was welcome.


The nicest fish rose just once towards the tail of a pool and confidently took my klink. So was it worth it? You know what, it was. I also learnt a little bit about myself as a fisherman. I tend to fish pools pretty quickly but it was interesting taking my time and waiting to see if anything happened. Whoever said you don’t stop learning is right!

Philip with a nice trout from the Taw

Philip with a nice trout from the Taw

Fly Fishing in Devon

Monday, April 6th, 2009

I just love this time of year. Everything is coming to life including the fishing. The settled weather has meant that fly hatches have not just been confined to what the book says about lunchtime and the fish have been taking as late as 5 o’clock and beyond. I know this weather is probably going to break at some stage but it’s  just great to be out on the water as a fly fishing guide and as a fisherman too.

The fish are really getting locked onto the grannom on the River Taw and it has been good to see; not to mention exciting!  Already this season I have seen 3 otters, one of which was a cub that sat on a rock and watched us.  He then showed us how he would swim down stream, jump out and show us how clever he was again. This took place just a few feet away and was a real treat. Nick the owner of the hotel was gutted as he hasn’t seen one yet this season!

Walking along the banks of the river you’ll see the primroses and the smell of wild garlic is everywhere. It’s just all these sorts of things that make being on the river such a special place to be.

I saw the first signs of hawthorn fly on Thursday so I’ll be keeping my eyes open for this to get going too.

Below is a photo from a river course we did Sunday, I popped it up as I feel sure there should be a suitable caption for it!

Many thanks to Nick and Tara for looking after 20 hungry fishermen so well.


Confession Time

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

I know I wrote about how I didn’t clean my truck a great deal and hadn’t since May last year but I feel I have let you all down and washed it. I feel better that I have got this off my chest but I was on my way home from work and the most excellent jet washer at Lapford was empty and I had a few pounds left over from lunch so it seemed rude not to. As ever there was a slight calamity in that I had come straight from the river and was still in my waders and wading boots, the girl at the petrol station must have thought this was a little extreme for cleaning my car but I thought what the hell. The area you park your car in is nicely concreted and has drainage but the area where you stand to jet wash is grassed and very slightly sloped. My excellent Patagonia wading boots can cope with just about anything a river bed wants to throw at them but muddy slopes are slightly tricky. I managed to do what I’d call an impression of Bambi on ice and ended up on my back sending a coloumn of water straight up and back down on to me…oh well, if you can’t laugh at yourself what else can you do?!

Graham did some ressie fishing last weekend and wrote a little bit about it below…enjoy

It’s ok for you folks located in Devon for the trout season opens early in mid March. Here in the “rural” South we have to wait for April 1. So as I had finished my grayling stints there was a void and when John came round by and asked if I fancied some bank fishing at Grafham I hesitated for 0.001 of a second before answering in the affirmative. Now I am not really a stillwater fisherman but I can hack the bank for a bit but at least I can dawdle to whichever bay looks attractive whereas on a boat my rear end generally roving like tendencies get the better of me. Anyhow Saturday was forecast to be rather breezy and so we altered tack at the last moment and elceted to give Pitsford a bash for it has more sheltered spots and does not colour up in the margins like Grafham when there is a blow.
It was one of those days when four seasons passed in several hours but as the wind was over our shoulders and we were well insulated it wasn’t a problem. Catching fish was though!
By lunchtime the score was 1-0 to the fish with not a knock to show for our efforts. We both had intermediate lines on with long leaders and were obviously hitting the bottom for we were dragging in lots of weeds.
We noticed one angler bending in to fish at regular intervals and so upon asking the successful method received the oh so familiar response “booby fished with figure of eight retrieve”. Now I don’t know about you but I am perhaps a little old fashioned and cannot abide using boobies, sparklers or fritz like creations for, in my opinion, they are not flies. So I thought right how about a deer hair sedge on the point and a dawl bach on the dropper with the objective to get the dropper to fish just off the bottom. And hey presto it worked for we started to get some interest. First John had his dropper smashed, and this was 7lb test, and then we missed several strong hits but eventually we connected and during the afternoon landed some lively rainbows in the 2.5-3lb range.
So all in all a good preamble to getting back into  the trout season but give me running water any day!

John with a nice rainbow

John with a nice rainbow

Support Your Local Tackle Shop!

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

It seems as the GB PLC is in a pretty bad state of affairs right now. Talk of  the “green shoots” of recovery have been a little premature to say the least. With doom and gloom seeming to be the buzz words I was really, really happy to go to a shop opening today. This wasn’t any old shop though, this was a new fly fishing tackle shop. The even better news is that they are just down from me in Crediton…


Fly Fishing Tackle is run by Howard, Helen and Kirsty. They already have a great online fly fishing tackle business but have decided that the opportunity of a new premises was too great and has allowed them to open their doors to the public. I often popped into their old place to have a quick cuppa, talk fishing and pick up some fishing gear but it didn’t lend itself as well to walk-in trade. Despite this there always seemed a steady stream of visitors and I guess this must have helped in the descision to have a proper retail premises. The new place is just a couple of seconds walk from Crediton High street and is large, airy and light it is packed with a very large variety of tackle to suit all pockets and all levels of experience. You are always assured a warm welcome and I think I overheard Howard mention sofas and coffee pots. I think they will find it hard for me to get out of there during the closed fishing season if this is the case!!

L to R   Kirsty, Howard and Helen

L to R Kirsty, Howard and Helen

The thing I noticed was the shop already has a really nice atmosphere. To me as a punter this is really important as you don’t want to walk into a place to spend some of your hard earned cash and you are made to feel like you are doing the shop owner a favour. There is little chance of that here and it is a real pleasure to visit. So it probably sounds like I am gushing about the place a bit and you know what, I am. The reason for this is that I have nothing but respect for a company that is bucking the current trend and trying to have a go and even better it is a fishing shop. With online auction sites offering a way to get a bargain some might argue there is no need for a tackle shop but when that bargain goes wrong or isn’t what you thought it was you’re stuck. You might end up paying a tiny bit more with a tackle shop but you also get advice, back up, the chance to handle or even better still try the equipment and if you are really lucky you might get a cup of tea! So in these hard times when you are considering a tackle purchase I really hope that you might consider popping into your car and supporting your local retailer. I’m signing off and wish the guys all the best of luck but I have a feeling they won’t need it!

Fly Hatches #4

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

Whilst writing these I have come to the conclusion that I could have probably put the flies I have written about in slightly better order but it has been nice to just think about a hatch or a fishing situation and write about it rather than having any semblance of proper order. I’ll do my best to try and keep them a bit closer to the calender in future!

So, the next up on the list is the March Brown. This fly is one of our early upwing hatches of the season hence the name. It is a bit of a bruiser in size compared to the Large Dark Olive being about 4mm bigger but still a good 4mm smaller than the daddy of them all the Mayfly. Again like the LDO the March Brown has two tails. rhithrogena1

The nymph likes to cling to stones so when you turn one over you’ll often see them scuttle for cover. A pheasant tailed nymph will usually cover this stage of the fly with a bead head to get you down and an unweighted version fished just subsurface can get interest from the trout. I have hit quite a few hatches of these and I can usually be lucky enough to catch a good one on the Bray. I found a great little March Brown pattern from Simon at Turralls that I have used for a number of years. I usually fish a size 14 but also have them in size 16 as they are a great all rounder for olives too.


    The latin name is again a slightly trickier one to remember but for the record it is Rhithrogena germanica. Getting up close you’ll see the body of the fly is a really dark brown with light rings around the abdomen. If you hit one of these hatches at the right time it can make a really nice start to the fly fishing season with a dry!

I was out on the water yesterday and if it stays dry today we could be in for some fun for the opening of the trout fly fishing season. Interestingly I have noticed that the hatches of Large Dark Olives haven’t been as large as a few weeks back but with some slightly milder weather that we’ll see them get going again.

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