2015 Season Summary (17.11.2015 – to be updated)

Westcountry Angling Passport

At WRT we headed into 2015 with some trepidation, we had lost a number of beats from previous years and we could no longer afford to produce the printed brochure.  How would anglers manage this year, particularly without the brochure and having to rely on downloadable beat details?  On top of this, the Booking Office was not going to operate with these beats reverting to token fisheries.       

Although we didn’t want to make these changes something had to happen to ensure the scheme could continue.  All in all and given the scale of the changes, things have gone well, most anglers have stuck with us, gone fishing and caught some fish – thank you.

The updated website has worked well (apart from the occasional glitch with the token shop) and we made a beat details brochure available for purchase later in the season; this has been popular even at £4.99 so we intend to offer this again next season.

Fishing – another cool spring, the third in row, meant sport was a little slow to get going.  It was hard work until around May although some sport was had with grayling and brown trout in the relatively low water.  Reports of diseased salmon and sea trout were also coming in, something that got worse as the season went on resulting in the introduction of an emergency byelaw on the Dart confining salmon fishing to catch and release only; thankfully, it seems that some healthy fish did come into most catchments later in the season.

The mayfly really got going on the Torridge and Tamar in May, the best for many years, and went on for several months.  This didn’t mean the fishing was easy, particularly in windy conditions making dry fly presentation difficult, but some great sport was had.  We are still going through the returns for the Dartmoor Fishery but it looks to have been a really good second half to season with plenty of surface feeding brown trout.  The average size of fish isn’t large on the Moor but they are fantastic fish and there is always the chance of a larger fish.  A number of fish have been reported to 13” with the biggest at 15”, more details to follow once we’ve gone through all the returns.

Token Beat Highlights – the Upper Culm beat fished steadily producing 89 brown trout to 12”.  Castle Hill on the Bray didn’t see the usual fishing activity but still produced 260 brownies.  Lane Barton, the most productive Torridge beat this year had a great season producing 294 brown trout, with a lot of these coming during mayfly time.  The other beat in the Torridge catchment to do well was South Yeo on the River Lew tributary; this beat produced 113 brown trout with a best of 13”.  In south Devon we were delighted that the Rake Water beat on the river Avon remained in the scheme.  This beat wasn’t fished quite as actively as a token beat (it was previously a Booking Office beat) but still produced 124 brown trout with a good number of fish in the 10 to 12” range.  On the Tamar, which also has grayling population, Druxton (114 brown trout and 24 grayling), Ham Mill (113 brownies, 35 grayling including one of 15” and a couple of sea trout to 16”) and Knowle Farm on the Lew tributary (148 brown trout and a couple of grayling) all did really well. No surprise though that Sydenham on the Lyd topped the Tamar catchment charts.  This is a long beat with a good mix of pools and glides, and it also fines down nicely after a spate.  It produced two salmon, two sea trout, over 400 brown trout to 13” but surprisingly only 19 grayling although a couple were 16”.  More Details are still coming in so we will update the highlights soon.      

Dartmoor – a good second half to the season, more details to follow shortly.