"FISHING IN DEVON" -- Crediton Fly Fishing Club

Fishing Reports 1999

A River Revisited

As a child growing up in Crediton, with a father who was a member of the fly fishing club, I was myself a junior and then cadet member.   My early efforts were rewarded more with the fun of fishing than a ‘full bag’.   Successful trips were very much the exception rather than the rule.

Gradually the lure of free biting, large rainbow trout, in the ever increasing number of small lake fisheries, proved to strong to resist, and became my main fishing interest for the next few years.   A university course and a job in Dorset drew me still further away from the rivers of Devon, and my involvement was reduced to tantalising glimpses over bridges into well-remembered stretches of water.

All this was to change in 1998, when a new job was to take me back to Exeter.  I contacted Howard as soon as possible to enquire about membership, and was delighted to hear that the river was fishing extremely well, with unimaginable numbers of fish being caught.   I might add, that to me, more than one fish in a trip was ‘unimaginable’.

After a winter of great anticipation, where my excitement was only partly relieved by frantic fly tying and chilly Sunday morning bank clearances, I launched into my first season on the club’s waters for many years.   My optimism was not misplaced with more fish brought to the net in the first two weeks than I had caught in all previous seasons put together.   The season continued in the same vein, despite several fishless days cast among the delightful evenings when the fish were more obliging.

I look forward now to next March, and a new chance to tackle those truly wild fish in what must be some of the most delightful fishing in the county.   How lucky we are!

Jon Ponting

Thoughts at the end of a first season

Howard, hopefully you have recieved my catch return list which, although not brimming with fish has been some of the most enjoyable fishing I have ever experienced.   I must say that I've fallen in love with the Taw and its fish.   I've never caught a sea trout before but think my last of the season might well have been one.   It was one of the those first cast or never situations which involved not only a tricky cast through the branches of an overhanging tree and very little room behind me.   I must admit I was very happy that I managed to land the fly where I wanted to but even happier when the fish rose and took my green klinkhammer!

I've found parachute adams and black gnat have worked best for me but nothing can compare to the savage takes I've had to the green klinkhammer ... they really have been explosive!

We've not fully moved down to Zeal Monachorum yet and will probably do so in the next year or so but I will try to fish as much as I can whenever I'm down which tends to be once or twice a month over weekends and holidays.   I must admit that the more that I come down the less I want to go!

I can't wait for next season and hope I'll bump into yourself and Mike Weaver whose book played a very large part of the reason that we bought a house in this part of the country.

Please keep me in touch with any news etc but as I'm sure you can appreciate getting down is sometimes a problem.

Peter Tyjas


Excerpt from Tom Sato's letter to David Pope:-

"Thank you again for the arrangement of the fishing permit for me this time.

As I told you on the phone, I am enjoying fishing on the R Yeo and R Creedy.
On the first day, I fished on the upper Yeo, and on the second, on the lower Yeo.   It was not easy to find a sufficient space and deep enough water, but I saw several nice rises toward my flies.   I missed most of all because fish jumped very, very quickly.   But I caught small but wild brownies, three in total.
Today, a most difficult day, the coloured water.   It might be better to use nymphs or wet flies, but I stick to dry flies simply because it is very thrilling to see fish jump!   Unfortunately I could not catch any, but I am satisfied to see such a beautiful scenery, green and yellow hills, sheep, and of course, nice rivers!

I kept fishing since I was very small.   My father took me to his favourite rivers and taught me how to fish -- expectation, patience, and a love for fish.   Recently, these five years, I was keen on bait fishing for mountain trout in Japan.

I just started fly fishing in May, but I found flies very effective.   In June I took a four day trip to Brecon and Builth Wells and caught wild brown trout for the first time in my life

Please forgive my poor writing.   I am glad to find such a nice place to fish and stay."

For anyone has access to the internet and who is interested in the types of trout and the mountain rivers of Japan, it is well worth visiting the very beautiful web site of Yoshikazu Fujioka : the Trouts and Seasons of The Mountain Village in Japan   A link can be found found at:


September holiday

Sunday morning, 25th September saw me loading the last of my provisions into Betsy (ageing VW camper) ready for a week's fishing.   Soon we were speeding up the M5, well plodding more like it. Betsy's top speed of 55mph (that's down hill) makes a trip to North Wales a marathon undertaking.

Eight hours later we were parked on a bridge over looking the Afon (Welsh for River) Dwyfor and it looked good, a lovely peat stained flood rushing towards the sea.   One thing I have learnt over the last few years fishing these short rivers that flow from the western slopes of Snowdonia, is that they rise and fall very quickly and the fish likewise respond.

This year I was going to fish the waters of the Criccieth, Llanystumdwy and District Angling Association on the Dwyfor.  They control about 8 miles of the river from the tidal reaches to the upper reaches, most of the fishable river.  I found a campsite for the week, parked up, put the kettle on and turned in for an early night, it started to rain again.

Monday morning saw me down on the river by 8.30, it was still running high but clear enough for the fly, or so I thought.  I had been fishing for about 1/2 hour when another angler came along the bank and stopped to pass the time of day.   Stuart had been fishing the river for years and said it was carrying too much colour for the fly (it was clearer than the Creedy ever is) and if I had an hour or so to spare he would walk down the river with me and show me how and where the best lies were to trot the worm.   As I had all week an hour seemed a good investment and proved to be.

The river was high all week with rain every night topping it up.   Wednesday, conditions were perfect (for the worm) and I had found a hot spot, my worm was being stripped every cast and I ended the day with 4 sea trout between 1lb -1lb 8oz, returned 3 and kept one for tea.   Grilled with mixed herbs and butter and eaten off the bone with wholemeal bread and butter, fresh off the tide that morning it was delicious.   Thursday and Friday I spent walking and fishing the middle and upper reaches, no fish but great scenery.

Saturday dawned, more rain over night, I planned to return to the pool I fished on Wednesday for an hour's fishing in the hope of a fresh sea trout to take home for Yvonne's tea.   Got down to the river by 8.00 a.m., someone had beaten me to the pool, so I made my way down to the next pool Hen Bont, the first holding pool off the tide.   I cast my worm into the current and let it drift into the slack water.   I felt a tap and struck, nothing, this went on for 1/2 an hour with worms diminishing fast.  It's amazing how fish can strip worm from a hook without being caught.   I caught it, a 7 inch brownie, the first I caught all week, I put it back.B  Two casts later I had a nice sea trout of 1lb 8oz.  Nine thirty, I must leave by 10.00 a.m. I thought, but 2 sea trout would be nice, one each for tea.

I cast again, this time my line stopped in mid stream, tap, tap, I struck, the fish hit back and moved up stream.   This was no 1lb sea trout, then it broke the surface, it was a salmon.   Panic set in, I was using a light 6ft spinning rod and there was no way it was going to fit into my landing net either.   Twenty minutes later I managed to attract the attention of the angler up stream who netted my fish, fresh sea liced salmon of 8lb.  What a way to finish the week.

More information on the River Dwyfor can be found on CL & DDA's extensive web site.


July -- Night fishing reflections

Some time ago, it was a bright winter’s afternoon if I remember it right, Sandra and I decided to go for a coastal walk, and after driving for about an hour and a bit, we took a narrow lane as a short cut to somewhere else, and ended up beside the sandy beach of a narrow inlet.   The tide was out, and a crystal sliver ran out over the strand to an ocean that was so far out that you could only guess at its existence.   We only stayed for about an hour, but in that time I was mesmerised by the stream, thinking only that this had to be the perfect place to return on a summer’s night to fly fish for sea trout.   --   There were rocks and sea weeded areas exposed by the tide, areas that I could imagine the trout chasing sand eels, and the sinuous stream was sufficiently narrowed at various points that the fish would have pass within casting distance as they moved on up and dropped back again with the tide.

In May I spoke to David about this estuary, and we agreed to fish it one night in July.   We consulted tide tables and worked out when high tides would occur in late evening.

I took a trip to see the water again one afternoon in June, this time at high tide, just to assess the access points and any hazards that might lie in wait in the darkness.   It was a good thing that I did, because the returning sea had competely filled the funnel shaped inlet between my shore and the opposing steeply wooded cliffs, and it had swallowed all indication of the bed of the stream beneath.   The best place to fish became completely cut off from the road for about three hours around high water, and it would mean that we would have to get there earlier than we might have planned, and take everything with us rather than pop back to the car for sustenance or a change of tackle.   I also found a good spot that I would be able to wade out to in the darkness.   Here a rocky plateau overhung the deepest cut of the river, and I could imagine silent fish using its protection as they moved in on the tide before spreading out to feed over the flooded beaches upstream.   I fished this down with a float and strip of mackerel as I had been taught to do on Scottish estuaries several years ago.   There were no takers, but I got a good idea of the currents, and how a fly would work in the dark.

So it was that David and I came to fish this unnamed estuary on a balmy night in early July.

picture for night fly fishing report We arrived at 8pm, three hours before high tide, and walked about a half mile upstream.   We tested rods and fly lines for suitability to turn over various weights of tube fly in the salt water.   Next we set our bags on the rocks above
the high water mark, so they would not float away in the dark, and we memorised landmarks that would be helpful silhouettes when all else was starlight.

Seldom have I fished with such expectancy for so long.   That night the water was as warm as the air above it.   Early cloud gave way to a clear sky from which the only light came from the stars and planets.   There was little or no light from human habitation, perhaps an occasional car headlamp spoiling the coastal crests.   There was a moon we found out later, but the cliffs were so sheer that we did not notice it until 2.30am when we were driving home, and yet it was a huge full moon.

So we fished and waded and occasionally just stood and watched the shooting stars and satellites silently fly across the heavens, until all expectation was spent.   No fish.   We heard a couple of seatrout jumping somewhere beyond in the darkness.   Enough to draw us back next year.



In June the SW branch of the Institute of Fisheries Management visited the Yeo for their summer walk.   Jon Ponting was on hand to help explain some of the finer fishing points, and I talked about how we managed the fishing and river improvements.   Greg Mason was stategically placed at Salmonhutch to provide a short demonstration of dry fly fishing, and duly obliged with a couple of fine brown trout in perfect condition.   After the walk, we repaired to the Dartmoor Railway Hotel for some excellent beer and victuals.

Catch & Release

In June several members began to notice the occasional diseased or dead fish.   These occurred principally in the most heavily fished sections of the Yeo, and a couple that I caught showed evidence of having been caught and released with injuries at some time previously.   Some of the diseased fish looked similar to salmon with UDN, but fortunately there was no escalation of numbers of affected fish, and the problem seemed to go away again by the end of July.   It seemd highly probable that our catch and release policy was actually partly responsible for this problem.   It occurred to the committee that perhaps we should produce some guidelines for catch and release, so here goes:


16th May 99

Fishing on the above date from just below the golf course and Fordton bridge I took 37 trout on the yellow humpty and klinkhammer(green bodied).

A reasonably good hatch of Mayfly started coming of the water at about 2. 30.pm.   I had several good fish through the coures of the afternoon finishing with a total of 6 fish at 14ins though nothing yet creeping up to 15ins.   I am sure that someone sooner than later is going to crack the 15in mark this season.

During my time on the water I noticed reasonable hatches of BWO and a few olive uprights plus large swarms of Black Gnat.

Yet again the Yeo has proved in my opinion to be possilbly one of the best trout rivers in the southwest with some of the most consistent sport anybody will find in its class anywhere in England.


March/April 99

Opening Day:
I made the mistake of fishing the Taw on opening day.   I did see five fish feeding from the surface, and managed to hook three of them even though they came detached before reaching the net.

I heard that four other members fished the Yeo with considerably more success.   They all took fish, mostly on goldhead nymphs.   Jon Ponting in particuar had a good day with fish up to 14".

Two days later I took the day off with the intention of casting a fly or two:-   When I got to the river, I rather doubted the wisdom of the plan.   It was cold, half a gale blowing, and heavy cloud threatening rain.   Still, it was midday and if there was to be any fishing, I had to seize the moment.   Unbelievable... When I got tackled up and stood in the tail of the first pool, there were small dark olives hatching, and I could see several trout rising in the fast water in the neck of the pool.   My first attempts were rewarded by a couple of LDRs and several more splashy takes which resulted in nothing.   But the fish were very hard to put down, and resumed feeding almost immediately.   I changed to the smallest fly I had with me - #18 iron blue dun, and was immediatley rewarded with an active 12" brown.   This was to be the largest fish I caught, but I had a further eight fish in the next hour or so, including a beautifully silvered salmon smolt.   This just doesn't happen here in March.   Perhaps it's the global warming, I don't know, but as they say "Its an ill wind.."
Perhaps the sun will shine at some stage this year...   Anything's possible.

Early April has seen a continued abundance of trout in our rivers.   I have been out twice over Easter, and had nine fish on the Yeo below Folly Bridge (four on Klinkhammer with CDC, five on weighted copperhead nymphs) on Easter Monday, and nine on the Taw using the same copperhead nymph (never saw a single fish feeding).   I thought I had done rather well until I heard that Roddy Rae fished the Yeo today (April 6th) and caught 20 fish including four of 14+", mainly on goldheads.   So no excuses, get out there and fish.

Anyone thinking of fishing the Taw should take care when approaching the guage pool as Flood Defence has built a shallow weir at the tail, and it is very, very slippery to traverse.   They have also been down through the river from the bridge for about 400yds and gouged out the stream bed with the caterpillar tracks of their diggers and JCBs.   If anyone else were to cause as much damage to the aquatic habitat they would be fined heavily for the disturbance.   Flood Defence seem to be able to carry out such work without any prior notice, and with total disregard for the trout and salmon alevins hatching in the gravels.   When we suggest improvements, we are told that we must not disturb the bed of the stream.... Someone please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks this is crazy.



picture to accompany fishing report on Blakewell fly fishing trip

February 22nd was the day fixed for our trip to Blakewell Fishery in North Devon, one of the only dry days in February.   With a cold north west wind blowing and sun shining, foour of us loaded our gear into the boot of Keith's car and set off up the A377.   In no time at all we were on the outskirts of Barnstaple having exchanged fishy stories along the way.   Through Barnstaple with no hold ups, we were soon heading down the hill to the fishery.   Tickets purchased and all tackled up we made our way around the lake looking for a promising spot.

Bob was in a hurry to wet his fly, The rest of us decided t have a tea break first.   Thirst quenched, we then began to fish. Keith was first to land a plump 3lb rainbow.   When Bob started with his cast, walk and strip method he was soon rewarded with two fish in quick succession.  By this time Mick and partner had joined us, having driven down from Dorset.   Taking up position neat Bob on the arm of the lake they were quickly into fish.   This prompted Jphn and I to leave the calmer waters of the lake where we were yet to have a touch.

Although it was February with a cold wind blowing the fish were just under the surface and were taking various damsel fly imitations fished on a floating line.

By lunchtime I had two fish of about 4lbs in the bag and Bob was on his second ticket.   John, still fishless, was having problems with a new flyline which was doing its best to turn itself into a Fair-Isle sweater.   Mick, who was also on his second ticket, lent John his rod and he was soon into fish.   Keith, having taken root in the calmer water during the morning, still had only one fish; but when persuaded to join the rest of us at the windy end soon added another to his tally.  Three o'clock and we all had our limit of fish (all aprox. 3-4lb), and set off home.

Blakewell was a very tidy and well run fishery.   We all agreed to make a return visit, maybe next winter, and hopefully with more members.


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