DEVON

Trout & Salmon (UK) - - England And Wales -

ALTHOUGH MAY was fairly dry, there were small spates on some rivers while oth­ers saw hardly any ap­pre­cia­ble rises in water lev­els. Once again the Taw and the Tor­ridge had the best of the salmon fish­ing, but some rivers in the south of the county have hardly seen a fish. Sea-trout fish­ing was rather slow but there was some good brown trout fish­ing to be had. On the Tor­ridge, salmon an­glers at the Half Moon Ho­tel en­joyed a very good May with a to­tal of ten fish, de­spite gen­er­ally low water. Seven were caught on the lower reaches be­low Beam Weir, two came from the mid­dle reaches at Madiera, and one was caught at Oke­ment Foot. Most of the salmon were be­tween 10 lb and 12 lb, with three of them caught by Ron Bur­ton. Seatrout fish­ing, how­ever, was dis­ap­point­ing, with only about six fish in the 3 lb-4 lb range re­ported. Brown trout fish­ing im­proved late in the month, though the fish of­ten ig­nored the hatches of Mayfly. Per­sis­tent low water on the Taw through May, apart from a small rise of about 1 ft on May 20, kept an­gling pres­sure at a low level but some salmon were caught right through to the up­per reaches. On the Weir­marsh and Bright­ley beats three salmon were caught, the best a fish of 10 lb for Toby Tib­bles. The other two were 7 lb for Len Fran­cis and 5 lb for Bruce Price. On the up­per Taw at the Fox & Hounds, May pro­duced some very good trout fish­ing with a to­tal of 125 fish. There were some size­able fish in the catches, in­clud­ing a 14-inch brown for Si­mon Pout­ney, and two trout of 15 inches and one of 14 inches for ho­tel reg­u­lar Gavin Welsh. James Du­mont, vis­it­ing from the USA, had a guided day when he caught three browns of around 1 lb 8 oz and one of just un­der 2 lb. He also hooked a sea-trout on a Mayfly but failed to land it. The dry-fly fish­ing was very good and the Mayfly hatch ar­rived ex­actly on time. Seatrout and the odd salmon were start­ing to appear in the ho­tel wa­ters and Tom Butt landed an 8 lb salmon on a Stoat’s Tail. Rods at the Arun­dell Arms en­joyed some ex­cel­lent trout fish­ing in May on the Ta­mar and trib­u­taries, with a to­tal of 391 wild brown­ies and 38 grayling. The best of the trout was an outstanding fish es­ti­mated at 2 lb for Mr Belcher from Beat 2 of the Lyd, taken on a Pheas­ant Tail. Many other good trout be­tween nine and 12 inches

were recorded, sev­eral rods catch­ing up to a dozen or more in a day. The Wolf, Ot­tery, Thrushel and Lyd all pro­vided some great sport, as well as the ho­tel’s beats on the main Ta­mar. The best grayling was one of 14 inches for Ge­orge Sey­mour from Beat 3 on the Lyd, taken on a small brown Klinkhamer. Fly hatches were impressive at times, with black gnats through­out the month and in­creas­ing hatches of Mayfly from mid-may on­wards, plus plenty of smaller olives. Water lev­els fell steadily all month, only re­lieved briefly by a short spell of rain in the third week of May, which raised the rivers a few inches. This small rise of water brought a few salmon into the Arun­dell Arms water, but the low flows did noth­ing to help the fly-fisher and only one fish was touched and missed. Seatrout were also ap­pear­ing and one was lost on the Ta­mar by a pupil on a trout­fish­ing course, and three more were hooked and lost on the Lyd by night-fish­ers. No sea-trout had ac­tu­ally been landed by the end of May but that sit­u­a­tion was ex­pected to change quickly with the ar­rival of June. With in­creas­ing num­bers of salmon show­ing in the es­tu­ary, and the sea-trout sea­son just get­ting go­ing, a de­cent spate to flush out the river and get more fish on the move was hoped for. On the Ta­mar at End­sleigh, eight salmon and a cou­ple of sea-trout were caught on a va­ri­ety of flies in May. The biggest fish was a salmon of 14 lb for Mrs San­dra Burl­ing on a size 14 UV fly, and An­drew Frost had two salmon of 13 lb each on a Stoat’s Tail. The other dou­ble-fig­ure salmon were fish of 12 lb for Sir Richard Dearlove on a Cas­cade, 11 lb for Mark Iz­zard, and 10 lb for Martin Stone. The best seatrout, 3 lb, was caught by Roger Holmes. The Tavy be­low Tav­i­s­tock pro­duced good num­bers of sea-trout but no salmon in May. The sea-trout ranged from 2 lb-4 lb and, while some were caught at night, oth­ers were taken in the day af­ter a cou­ple of small spates. The Tavy, Walkham & Plym Fish­ing Club has in­tro­duced a catch-an­drelease rule on the Plym fol­low­ing a big fish-kill caused by pol­lu­tion on the Meavy, a very im­por­tant spawn­ing trib­u­tary. May was a slow month on the Dart for mem­bers of the Dart An­gling As­so­ci­a­tion, with a few sea-trout caught at Totnes Weir pool and the oc­ca­sional fish far­ther up­stream. Good num­bers of sea-trout were present at times but they were very re­luc­tant to take the an­glers’ flies. Some salmon were spot­ted but there were no re­ports of any caught. Sea-trout fish­ing on the Teign was dif­fi­cult, with only the oc­ca­sional fish caught, and there were no re­ports of salmon. On the Lower Teign Fish­ing As­so­ci­a­tion water the most suc­cess­ful mem­bers appear to have been Eddy Gray with six seatrout and Bob Michael with five. Neil Ye­an­dle re­ported only one pull in three out­ings – an in­di­ca­tion of how re­luc­tant the fish have been. Fish­ing was also slow on the up­per Teign, with even the brown trout fish­ing sur­pris­ingly poor for May. How­ever, Si­mon Kidd, who was fish­ing on a day per­mit, caught a splen­did brown trout of 15.5 inches well up the Up­per Teign Fish­ing As­so­ci­a­tion fish­ery above Mill End Bridge. He was us­ing a very small nymph with a sil­ver bead­head, fished up­stream. The first sea-trout caught on fly at night this sea­son – fish of 2 lb 11 oz and 2 lb 3 oz – were taken by Richard Jack­son on May 4 and 9 on a Sil­ver Stoat tube. On the Exe, May was yet an­other month of very low water, re­sult­ing in only a few salmon seen and no re­ports of any catches. The storms forecast for the mid­dle of the month pro­duced only a small spate and the lower river be­came par­tic­u­larly dirty. On May 28 there was a re­li­able re­port of a large shoal of smolts in the mid­dle river, which although late was en­cour­ag­ing. How­ever, con­sid­er­able num­bers of goosanders with chicks were caus­ing con­cern. There was some good brown trout fish­ing on the East Lyn but very low water dis­cour­aged salmon from com­ing into the river and the only re­port was of a fish lost. On the South West Lakes Trust reser­voirs water tem­per­a­tures con­tin­ued to rise with the warmer weather and by the end of May were around 16 deg C, re­sult­ing in an in­crease in in­sect ac­tiv­ity and trout feed­ing at the sur­face. An­glers at Ken­nick av­er­aged just over two fish per visit in May, with plenty of rain­bows over 4 lb. The best fish of the month was a 7 lb 1 oz brown trout caught by Barry Ware Jnr as part of a full bag, which also in­cluded a rain­bow of 4 lb 4 oz, while fish­ing from the bank. Dar­ren Everitt caught a 5 lb 12 oz brown trout from the bank on a Dam­sel nymph. The best May rain­bow was a fish of 5 lb 6 oz caught by Mike Steer on a Dam­sel nymph fished from the bank in Boat Bay. Clampitts Bay, the Nar­rows and the Lawns were the most pro­duc­tive lo­ca­tions for both boat and bank an­glers, and when hawthorns were blown on to the water or buzzers were emerg­ing on the warmer days there was plenty of sur­face ac­tiv­ity. At other times the usual va­ri­ety of nymphs and lures caught fish. The level started to fall at Bur­ra­tor and boats be­came avail­able through the Bur­ra­tor Fish­ing Club. An­glers av­er­aged 2.4 fish per visit, with the Long­stone Penin­sula still the most pro­duc­tive area. Buzzers, emerger pat­terns and Hawthorns fished on the sur­face pro­duced some good sport, while most fish were caught on var­i­ous nymph pat­terns fished on in­ter­me­di­ate or sink-tip lines. The best fish of the month was a 3 lb 13 oz rain­bow caught on a small black pat­tern fished on a float­ing line from the bank at Long­stone. Jonathan Rood caught a 3 lb 4 oz rain­bow at Long­stone on a small Dam­sel nymph fished on a float­ing line. At Wist­land­pound the water level was two me­tres be­low full by the end of May and the fish­ery was pro­duc­ing some fine sport, rods av­er­ag­ing 11.5 fish per an­gler on a catch-an­drelease ba­sis. One boat re­turned 50 browns to 1 lb 8 oz, with Dam­sel nymphs, Sedge­hogs and weighted mini Tad­poles all do­ing well. – MIKE WEAVER.

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