THE TAW at Taw Bridge

A beautiful stretch of the upper Taw with a classically Devon mixture of streamy runs, longer stretches of shallower water and some deep pools. If methodically covering most of the water, it generally takes 3-4 hours for both upstream and downstream parts, so one can spend a full day covering entirely new water.

The wild brown trout average about 8 inches with a specimen being 12 inches and provide excellent sport on a light outfit. Occasional fish to 14 inches are caught most seasons. Small peal can be caught at night in the deeper pools or in daylight on a dry fly or nymph, particularly late in the season. There is a run of salmon through the beat, but none have been landed by members.

The Taw is a spate river. Ideal conditions are just after rain, as there tends to be a slight tinge which helps camouflage the fish and bring them on the feed. Once the river fines down or in summer conditions, the fishing becomes trickier and it often pays to target shaded stretches or wait until evening.

The parking area conveniently bisects the beat, giving an opportunity to focus upstream or walk down to the bottom pool and work back up to the car. Downstream tends to be slightly more open and easier to fish than upstream, which is often enclosed by tree canopy. Stealth is essential. A rising fish should be marked, and expect interest on the first cast that passes its nose.

There are good hatches of grannom, BWO, a variety of olives, mayfly and sedge in the evenings. There are always the small black "no see-ums" or midge and caenis. Given the canopy, a range of terrestials are present in summer.

Fly selection can match the hatch with the usual selections. General copies such as adams, klinkhammer, deer hair emerger, sparkle caddis are terrific fall-back flies. Sizes 12-16 (based on water levels) and 3lb tippets cover most conditions.

Early season fish show little surface activity, so a weighted nymph or nymph 2-3 feet below a bushy fly is a good set-up. Nymph selection is not too important - a PTN, black nymph (black seal fur, silver rib and black tungsten bead) or brown nymph (brown dubbing, gold wire and copper bead) will entice them.

From Crediton, take the A337 towards Barnstaple for six miles. At Morchard Road, take the B3220 to Winkleigh for a further six miles. At Taw Green the road crosses the River Taw.
Parking is in the farmyard on the right just before the bridge. Ensure access for large farm vehicles is not blocked.
The CFFC fishing is right bank facing downstream for half a mile. Upstream fishing is on both banks for half a mile and then left bank (facing upstream) for a further half a mile. For illustration of the fishing, see the Maps page.


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