"FISHING IN DEVON" -- Crediton Fly Fishing Club

Fishing Reports 1998


For several weeks before the planned outing, the South West rivers had been on flood alert, and it just didn't seem possible that the Exe would fall sufficiently to allow any fishing at all.

On the Friday, Jeff phoned to say that the river level was dropping and if there was no more rain, then just possibly we might be OK for Monday. It rained heavily again that night, but by Saturday evening levels were falling again. The forecast for Monday was dry and sunny, so it was decided that the fishing trip was, tentatively, on.

The Exe was a wide vein of silver as it shone in the early morning sun. Driving up the Exe valley was hazardous: there was a frost, but more dangerous than that was the lure of the river running beside the road for most of the way between Tiverton and Exebridge. After seven weeks of fishing inactivity it was difficult to keep one's mind on driving.

At the Carnarvon Arms we met Jeff who is now i/c fishing at this renowned hotel. Hot coffee and a decko at Jeff's recommended flies (heavy gold- and titanium-head nymphs) was followed by walk in the autumn sunshine as we set off for our respective beats.

For my part, fishing on the Barle just above the confluence with the Exe, the river was a bit high, but very fishable. Lovely pools and glides, and I expected a take at every cast. Wading was permissable but care had to be taken not to disturb any salmon redds. But it was cold! It put me in mind of Walter Scrope's immortal comments: " Should you be wading ..... when it may chance to freeze, pull down your stockings and examine your legs. Should they be black or at least purple it might perhaps be as well to get on dry land, but if they are
merely red you may continue fishing if it so pleases you." ... He didn't mention about the pain!

 fly fishing at Carnarvon Arms 1 After a couple of hours and no sign of a fish, it was getting close to lunchtime so I took a break and wandered down to see how others were faring and to take a few photos of them "at work". It was a glorious day in the sunshine, but ground temp hardly got above freezing. Downstream beyond the confluence, Bob Swinhoe and Greg Mason were finding the river a different beast. The current was fierce and there were few back eddies in which to cast.

Lunch was a very enjoyable pint and bowl of hot soup and a roll. We decided to swap around a bit to give others a chance to fish the calmer top beats. Nonetheless, somehow Bob and Greg ended up lower down than before.

The afternoon was very similar to the morning....no fish.

Jon Ponting was the epitome of stealth, keeping low, staying back from the edge and casting a mean line. We tried gold heads, leaded shrimps, egg sucking leeches, and even streamers in an attempt to catch the odd rainbow escapee from the hatchery close by.
No luck at all.

 Jon Ponting fly fishing for grayling in River Barle at Carnarrvon Arms
No luck except for Bob that is.  He hooked and landed a fresh looking grilse of about 5lbs on a #14 gold head nymph, and without an landing net.   After beaching it he reluctantly returned it (Why can't we catch them in season like that?)

It was a good day, and everyone seemed glad to have come.   A nice break from the autumn gloom.   It was summed up by the response to someone asking "Would you go again next year?"...
A definite yes.


After the poor fishing in 1997, most members would have started the 1998 season with some misgivings about prospects, but any such doubts were soon put to rest, with a vengeance.

The first indications of a bumper season were on my first outing on 2 April, when I fished the Yeo above and below Uton Bridge.

On arrival at noon nothing was rising, but a 14 Copperhead Hare's Ear produced three 8" browns in the first pool under the bridge. Soon after, the best hatch of dark olives that I have seen at Crediton got under way and soon the fish were rising everywhere. From then on it was suface fishing all the way and the next three hours produced 27 trout, the best a fish of 12" from the open stretch below the bridge. For the record, the successful fly was a #16 Sparkle Emerger (Olive Antron tail, medium olive abdomen, hare's ear thorax, olive deer hair wing).

From then on, the fishing on the Yeo just kept going with the wet spring and early summer always keeping the river at a good level. The fly life was usually good enough to bring the fish to the surface, with the hawthorn, black gnats, mayflies, sedges, blue-winged olives and a variety of terrestrials all making a contribution.

Throughout the period I was keeping an eye on the stretch of the Creedy that we cleared last winter but it was often a bit coloured and it was not until late June that I started fishing it regularly. From then on it provided the mainstay of my summer fishing with excellent day-time fishing in July and August. There always seemed to be fish rising, and good fish too. The best flies were a Sparkle Caddis (with orange tail) and the Klinkhamer, with this huge fly taking trout regularly when they were clearly feeding on tiny items like reed smuts. Thank goodness I was a member of the party that cleared this stretch of the Creedy, or I might have felt guilty about enjoying such splendid fishing.

Up to 25 August, when I departed on holiday for a couple of weeks, the tally had reached 260 trout in 19 trips, and the fact that easily as many had been missed or come adrift is proof of the great head of fish in the Creedy and Yeo. After the tiddlers of 1997 the return of bigger trout was also very welcome. My best fish of 14" and 13.5" came from the Creedy, but the Yeo was close behind with two fish of 13", and the number of 10-12" trout was really encouraging. If they over-winter well, we are in for some great sport in 1999.

So what about the Taw this year? I don't really know, because fishing on the Creedy and Yeo was so good that I only got to the Taw on two occasions.

Mike Weaver.

Sun, 5 Jul 1998

Dear Howard,

Many thanks for your e-mail with the up to date tips. Unfortunately I'd left for Devon before receiving it.

But - what a day I had!

Got to the Creedy at about 11am - worked my way across the fields - on the playing field side. My casting is far from brilliant, so inital reaction was "where on earth will I be able to cast here?" But dropped into an opening near the end of the 3rd field - quite a clear opening, a good bank of sand to drop onto and steep on the other side.

Put on a grey sedge. First cast. Fish went for the fly - but too quick for me!

And so it continued. I'd drop down where I could - had a few cast - kept losing fish - some went for the fly but I didn't react quick enough - have a couple on for a few seconds, but which shook themselves off.

Eventually got an excited 6" fish - returned. Out of interest, do the bigger fish tend to be a little more wary - and deeper than the 6" fish?

What a spot though - saw 3 kingfishers in the time there.

Next stop - the Yeo at Salmonhutch. A beautiful spot. I found the access here that much easier and spent a little less time retrieving flys from trees. Fish kept coming to the fly, but only managed the one here - again about 6". Walked down a couple of fields, worked upstream to the bridge, the worked upstream to a bridge and some sort of gate across the river.

A brilliant day - though not easy. As I'd said, I haven't had a lot of river experience fishing, but have learnt more in that day than in all the books I'd read on the subject.

We stayed at the Arundell Arms - which was a really good hotel. I'm often wary of hotels that have such a good reputation in a specialist area - but it was really well done. My wife had a days tuition with Roy Buckingham (a character!) - and caught her first 2 fish in the lake there. We then fished the Lyd together on the Friday. Managed 1 small trout.

So - all in all a very good couple of days - though I'm looking forward to return visits - and bigger bags!

Thanks for all your advise before hand. I may well put a few words about this 'first time' down for possible inclusion in the newsletter.

Hope to hear from you soon,

Simon Lewin.

Sat, 27 Jun 1998

.... went to the Taw at Chenson on Thursday. Caught a 4lb grilse. There was a larger but coloured fish in the pool as well. Probably about 12lb but he wouldn't be tempted. Looks like the season is starting to improve. .....Got to the river at about 11:30 and started tackling up... As I was putting things together, I heard a bit of a big splash and looking across the pool saw a biggish wake under the trees on the far side. As this was the first sign of significant activity I'd seen this season at all, the old heart rate quickened a bit and I thought I might as well make a start here.

I put on a size 8 double orange, black and silver prawn style fly.   After about 15 minutes of chucking this all round the pool, with the fish still showing itself occasionally, I decided that this was not the right fly. So I changed it for a size 10 teal, blue and silver, also on a double hook.

The first cast went out toward the far side and let it swing round as slowly as I could until it was near enough downstream in the current. As I started to retrieve slowly I felt a resistance, which could have been the bottom. It was not however, and having paused for about 3 seconds, I lifted into it and the bottom started to move. Slowly at first but when it realised all was not well it livened up a bit.

Even a smallish fish can feel quite strong when there is a reasonable current. We tussled to and fro for about 5 minutes with me trying to get the fish upsteam of me and the fish trying to stay downstream. Eventually he tired and having got him in the desired upstream location, it was fairly easy to draw him down into shallower water and over the waiting net.

I carried him well away from the edge and showed him the priest. A nice fresh silver cockfish of 4lb, my first Taw salmon.

The other fish was still in the pool and continued to show occasionally during the rest of the day. She was a lot bigger, about 10 to 12lb but was also somewhat coloured and showed absolutely no interest in any fly.

With all the rain we've been having I hope this is a sign of more to come over the rest of the season.

Bryan Martin

Recent fishing:

.................. Mon, 15 Jun 98
Dear Howard,
Here are my details to date on the club water. Fished till late Friday night on the Taw for sea trout - water level perfect - saw no fish.

All Brown Trout
8.5.98 - 11 fish (3 x 10", 2 x 9", 2 x 8"+ others) - YEO 9.5.98 - 1 fish (6") - YEO
11.5.98 - 1 fish (10") - YEO
15.5.98 - 4 fish (1 x 10", 2 x 6", 1 x 4") - YEO
18.5.98 - 3 fish (2 x 8", 1 x 5") - YEO
19.5.98 - 5 fish (1 x 10", 2 x 9", 1 x 7", 1 x 6") - YEO
31.5.98 - 6 fish (various) - CREEDY
5.6.98 - 12 fish (2 x 9", 1 x 8"+ others) - YEO
6.6.98 - 3 fish (3 x 8") - YEO
8.6.98 - 6 fish (2 x 9", 1x 8"+ others) - YEO
9.6.98 - 1 fish (10") - YEO
12.6.98 - 6 fish (1 x 9", 1 x 8"+ others) - TAW

Flies - GRHE and Pheasant Tail nymphs (size 14/12), Mayfly dry.

Wimbleball on Sunday - won prize for biggest fish! (last cast and only fish of the day) Unfortunately the local club who were hosting this introductory day, put me in a boat with a dedicated lure angler so it was dog noblers all the way. Not my sort of fishing. Anyway, I won a free day ticket so I'm going back with one of their more experienced loch-style fishermen in a couple of weeks.

Tomorrow - not sure of my movements - may be free late evening if you're going out.

Greg Mason


On Monday I tried the bottom beat (where we did bank clearance) and had a good 10" fish with plenty of others played and lost - there are a LOT of fish in that large pool where we concetrated on the submerged tree trunks. I heard a train stop by me at dusk and later found out that it had hit and killed a cow.

Last Friday I took a couple of hours fishing up from Salmon Hutch again - this time armed with a new fly. I had noticed a lot of yellow upwinged flies on the river and identified them as yellow Mays, but as I didn't have the right material for tying a dry pattern, I made up a yellow nymph - this worked a treat with another 10' fish and three other smaller ones.

Last night I popped out to the football pitch at dusk and was just working my way up river to the rising fish when a great bow wave came towards me, then up came the head of what at first I thought was an otter. However, by it's manner - which was somewhat agressive - I think it was probably a mink. Needless to say it put the fish right down so I came home.


A Trout Bonanza!

Fishing small nymphs upstream of Salmon Hutch I had 11 fish up to 10 inches - the majority over 8 inches - between 1.00pm and 4.00pm. My advice is get out there while the water is still a little coloured and moving through. Investigation on those kept, showed trout feeding on large nymphs, black beetles and small fry.

Greg Mason

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