PLAN YOUR TRIP
I fish the Culm with either an 8 ft 6 in four- or three-weight rod. If you should need to resort to subsurface tactics, a longer 10 ft two- or three-weight is perfect for nymphing, but it can be tricky to use in the more overgrown pools. Like many Westcountry streams, hatches tend to be light (relative to the chalkstreams or some Northern rivers) and the fish opportunistic. Fairly generic, well-presented dry-flies, such as Adams, CDC, Deer Hair Emerger and Elk Hair Caddis, will catch plenty of fish. In high summer, it may be necessary to downsize to small aphid and black gnat patterns. While the river is small, the presence of in-stream vegetation and woody debris means that the flow patterns can be complex, so don’t be afraid to use a long (14 ft-plus) leader and tippet to help with presentation.
You can buy day or season tickets. Day tickets for a one-mile stretch of the river can be bought through the Westcountry Angling Passport (westcountry angling.com). Should you wish to fish regularly, Crediton Flyfishing Club has about two miles of the river. Annual membership is £95 and is available at the website: fly-fishing-club.co.uk Something to keep in mind is that due to its geomorphology and heavy farming pressure on the land, the Culm is prone to colouring up after rain and can take several days to clear after a spate.
For those who like a break from the river and a spot of lunch, the Ashill Inn (ashillinndevon.co.uk) is two miles from the river. For a lunch (almost) overlooking the centre of your attention, The Culm Valley Inn (theculmvalleyinn.co.uk) is a good place for a Devon ale and a posh sandwich.