By Allan Shephard AAPGAI
Devon is the third largest county in the England and offers some of the finest gamefishing opportunities available. Much of the fishing is easy to access with day tickets often being available. The main rivers of interest are:-
A stunningly beautiful moorland river with good runs of salmon and sea trout and wonderful wild brown trout fishing in exquisite surroundings. The Dart has some charming fly water and can produce some good sea trout both at night and during the day in high water. The river is very much a spate river and drops quickly after a rise in water keeping a peat stain as the water falls away.
Fishing is available from:-
Dart Angling Association – Hon. Sec. Philip Prowse tel 01626 872434
Duchy of Cornwall Fishing – 01822 890205
The Exe is one of Devon's major salmon fisheries and whilst catches have been reduced in recent times it still has a significant run of spring and summer salmon and grilse. A small run of sea trout enter the river every year although the Exe is not generally fished for them. Trout and Grayling are found throughout the river system. The major tributary is the Barle which offers great moorland salmon fishing when water levels are good. In lower water levels fishing for trout can be very good.
Fishing available from Lance Nicholson - 01398 323409
A pretty little river that rises on the south side of Dartmoor and flows through a charming wooded valley finally entering the sea at Bigbury. The river holds good numbers of wild brown trout complemented by a run of sea trout and a strong run of salmon in the later half of the season.
Fishing available from :- Avon Fishing Association - 01803 403487
The Taw enjoys a great reputation as a salmon and sea trout river. It starts its journey like many Devon rivers high on Dartmoor flowing north through pastoral countryside to the sea at Barnstaple. The major tributary is the Mole – a river more than capable of holding its own given good water levels.
Fishing available from :-
Barnstaple & District Angling Association – 01598 710857
Crediton Fly Fishing Club – 01626 364577
Fox and Hounds Hotel – 01769 580345
Highbullen Hotel – 01769 540561
Sister river to the Taw, the Torridge is quite similar in many respects. It rises near the coast in North Devon flowing inland and around in a 'U' shape entering the sea at Bideford. It is best known for salmon and sea trout fishing but can offer excellent wild trout fishing as well.
Fishing available from:-
Half Moon Inn – 01409 231376
Little Warham Fishery – 01805 603317
A short attractive river flowing south from Dartmoor into Plymouth Sound. The Plym produces all salmonoid species
and is at its best for salmon later in the season.
Fishing available from:-
Plymouth & District Freshwater Angling Association – 01822 854241
The Teign starts its journey to the sea on Dartmoor as two streams – the North and South Teign. The streams meet near Chagford and continue to the sea at the popular Devon holiday destination of Teignmouth. The Teign is quick to rise after a summer spate and falls away quickly afterwards.
For the fisher this means a short window of opportunity will present itself to make the best of summer salmon and daytime sea trout fishing. Salmon, sea trout and brown trout are all present. The best sea trout opportunities will be at night or in a clearing river after a spate. Salmon are caught in the river from April or May onwards with catches peaking in September.
Fishing available from:-
Upper Teign Fishing Association – available from various outlets including
The Fingle Bridge Inn. Drewsteignton
Bowdens, The Square, Chagford.
Drewsteignton Post Office.
Cheriton Bishop Post Office.
Dunsford Post Office.
The White Hart Hotel, Moretonhampstead
Mill End Hotel, near Chagford
The Lyn is well known both for the quality of its wild brown trout fishing and runs of migratory salmon and sea-trout. The watercourse can be divided into the West and East Lyn rivers with the main fishing being on the East Lyn. To get the best salmon fishing you need to be on the river after a summer spate as the water starts to drop back and clear. The river runs through an impressive rocky gorge and rushes between a series of pools and pots. Fish can be found in very small areas of calm water behind rocks or tight against steep banks after spates and it pays to fish every bit of fishy looking water as diligently as possible. In spate conditions many fish are caught on spinners and worms.
Trout fishing is generally carried out with a selection of buoyant dry flies and gold-head nymphs in lower water. The trout are free rising and generally small but will provide great fishing for the mobile angler. The trout angler may well encounter good sized sea trout as part of their bag.
Fising available from:-
The Enviroment agency at the Tourist Information Centre, Town Hall, Lynton on the famous Watersmeet & Glenthorne Fishery.
Tackle for Devon
As a general rule large double-handed rods are unnecessary although they may get an outing early in the season in the lower reaches of the Taw, Torridge, Exe and Dart. Most anglers prefer to use a 7 weight 9.5' to 10' single-handed rod for salmon and sea-trout for much of the season. The rod will be complimented by a quality large arbour reel with a smooth disc drag. You will need a selection of fly lines of different densities to cover all conditions through the season.
For trout it is simply a case of matching the rod to the size of river you are fishing. A good general purpose rod would be an 8' 4 weight.
Salmon Spring/High water fishing
Orvis Hydros Large Arbour
Speyworks Switch Tip