Wednesday 19 December 2012

Christmas Meal

Following on from our Christmas fishing competition held on Saturday 8th December (see previous post), we met for our Christmas meal at the Jack Rabbit Pub, Derriford, on the following Monday evening 10th December. Officially this was meant to be our last club meeting of the year but we soon got our one bit of business out of the way and settled down to a very decent meal and a few glasses of wine and beer.

It has been an interesting year for the club so everyone was in a positive mood about the future; a very marked contrast to this time last year. The fishing at Burrator has been the best for some years, a positive working relationship between the club and SWLT seems to have been reinstated, and there are one or two more postive developments on line for 2013 (more details at the AGM). Anyway this was an evening to to be cheerful and for one or two awards and raffle prizes to be handed out.

Tom & Linda share a joke
'Merry Christmas' Gentlemen
Tony with one of his many prizes
Tom with his prize for 'Best Fish Of The Year'

Mike says 'It was that big!' Frank is more interested in the menu.

Christmas fishing and a bit of Lunch.

On Saturday 8th December we held our final club competition of the year. It took place at Bake Lakes and was won by Tony Vallack with the best brace of 5lb 12oz. The day itself was beautiful with the sort of brilliant sunshine that occurs on some winter days. It was a wonderful treat after all the days of rain and floods so recently experienced. The effect of this rain could be seen  in the slight tinge of colour in the water; though there was not enough to make fishing too difficult. However, it was a day for bright flies and pulled retrieves

In the event, all but one of the six members who attended caught their brace. The fish were of a good size, fully finned, and hard fighting.

Peter's Brace
The members who fished were Peter Macconnell, Terry Denley, Tony Vallack, Mike Duckett, Frank Dunlop and Linda James. Terry, who was obviously very keen, got there shortly after 8.00am and had landed his brace before any of the rest of us turned up at around ten. He seemed happy to spend the rest of the day sitting by the fishing hut dispensing both sage advice and killing flies. Linda caught both her trout on one of Terry's flies.

Terry & Mike

Linda plays her fish while Terry and Mike offer 'helpful' advice
Ready with the net
In addition to the very pleasant fishing we had a bit of a lunchtime feast because Linda brought along a great big Dundee Cake and a Bread & Butter Pudding laced with Whisky and Marmalade; Fab-u-lous (as Craig-Revel-Horwood would say)!
Shall I be Mother?
Time for Lunch

Monday 15 October 2012

Update from South West Lakes Trust

The South West Lakes Trust (SWLT) website is currently carrying the latest report on how the reservoirs have been fishing. The report is reproduced below but is also accessible direct from their site along with other useful information which can be found here. From our point of view the most important aspect is that fishing at Burrator (along with all other waters that are stocked with rainbows) will remain open to the end of November. There will also be a reduced price for day permits during that month. This being the case it was decided, at our monthly meeting last week, that our November competition will be at Burrator and not at Newhouse as stated in the original programme for the year's events:
South West Lakes Trout Fisheries (September 2012)
The unsettled weather that has typified this summer slightly improved in September, with some extended periods of warm dry days, although as the month progressed, fewer and fewer surface feeding fish were evident. Nights are starting to cool, and water temperatures have fallen by a couple of degrees over the month. Water levels are all still at top level.  
Kennick – Weekly rod averages varied between two and three fish per angler for the month. Most of the fish were caught in the Northern end of the water, with boat and bank anglers reporting Clampitts, the Narrows, Laployd and Smithacott as the most productive areas.
With some Daddylonglegs being blown on to the water, Daddies and Hoppers have had some success. Subsurface nymph patterns fished high in the water column have caught the most fish, particularly Damsel Nymphs, Buzzers, Diawl Bachs (green and red variants fished in a team worked well), and Montanas.

A 5lb rainbow was caught by S. Groucher (from Teignmouth), using a Fritz Damsel fished from the bank on 1 September; Barry Ware (from North Tawton) and L.Pabless (from Exmouth) both caught rainbows of 4lb 2oz while fishing from the bank.

Siblyback - the fishing improved as the month progressed, with fish rising well on the warmer, calmer days, when Hoppers, Black Beetles, and dry Sedge patterns caught well. Generally subsurface flies produced the best results, particularly nymph patterns (Damsels, Montanas, Buzzers, Hares Ears, and Corixa patterns all worked well); Black lures and pulled Fritz patterns also caught fish. Bank fishing proved the most successful, with Stocky Bay and The Marshes producing the best results. The best fish of the month was a 3lb 12oz Blue Trout, caught by J. Dolley (from Redruth), fishing a Corixa pattern from the bank. K.Jane (from Callington) caught a bag of twelve fish weighing 12lb 8oz, fishing from the bank.

Wimbleball – the boats met with more success than the bank anglers in September, with the North end of the Lake providing the best sport (Ruggs for bank anglers, and Ruggs, Bessoms, and the Narrows for boat anglers – a long drift from Bessoms to the Pontoons worked particularly well). With some terrestrials being blown onto the water, Hoppers and Black and Peacocks fished in the surface film tempted a few fish (with surface feeding fish evident at Ruggs, The Upton Arm, and by the Dam); however, subsurface nymph patterns (Montanas, Damsels, and Buzzers) caught the most fish. Pulled lures (both dark patterns, such as Vivas, Cormorants, or Black Makutas, or brighter patterns – Pink Blobs and Orange Lures) on a sinking line also caught fish. The best fish of the month was a 4lb 10oz rainbow caught by Maurice Woodward (from Dulverton); Paul Madge (from Cullompton) caught rainbows of 4lb 2oz and 3lb 1oz while fishing from a boat. Peter Hancock (from Exeter) caught two fine brown trout of 2lb 8oz while fishing the Upton Arm – both were stuffed with daphnia.

Burrator - provided some good sport with a number of fish up to 2lb 8oz. With the water level full, the majority of the bank fishing has been from the Longstone Peninsula, with traditional wet flies and nymph patterns proving to be the most effective (Kate McLaren, Damsel Nymphs, and Montana). With terrestrials being blown onto the water, fish have been coming up to Daddies, Hoppers, and Zulus fished in the surface film.
Stithians - In spite of the mixed weather, dry patterns continued to produce the best sport – terrestrials blown on to the water meant that Daddies and Hoppers fished well. Subsurface feeding fish were also caught on imitative nymph patterns (such as Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Hare’s Ears, and March Browns). Most productive areas included Goonlaze Bank, Yellow Wort, Chapel Bay, and by the Dam. End-of-season prospects are good for fry and stickleback in the margins

Colliford – while Colliford did not produce any big brownies in September, there were a number of grown-on fish up to 2lb 4oz caught in the month. A few fish were caught on Daddies and dries, but the majority fell to nymphs - Diawl Bach, Pheasant Tail, Hare’s Ear, and Damsel Nymphs all caught well.

Fernworthy – The unsettled weather toward the end of the month meant that there were not as many insects on the surface, although large dark bushy flies fished in the chop still brought fish up, with Black Gnats working well on the calmer days, and dry sedge patterns doing the same in the evenings. A selection of more traditional nymphs (dark Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears, Diawl Bachs), as well as Dunkelds and Black Crunchers, all caught the deeper feeding fish. Invictas fished just under the surface took fish feeding on emerging sedges. Late afternoons continued to fish well, with a number of fish feeding off the bank below the permit hut and near the dam.
The Trust will be extending the fishing season at its rainbow waters until the end of November, with specially priced two-fish tickets available.

Chris Hall (September 2012)

Wednesday 26 September 2012

A Fernworthy Interlude

Although this blog is primarily about fishing at Burrator, our other local Dartmoor water, Fernworthy, has only three weeks to the end of its season. Because it is, along with Roadford and Colliford, a brown trout water, the last day is 12th October. Last year it fished very well during the final few weeks, so for anyone who fancies having a go here are a few pictures which, hopefully, capture something of what fishing at Fernworthy is like.



In terms of flies, what works at Burrator works at Fernworthy, especially small and black. What doesn't seem to work so well is a slow figure of eight retrieve. At Fernworthy pulling wet flies fairly quickly in a ripple/wave, or more or less static dry fly and emerger fishing in calmer conditions, are what has worked for me. There are good hatches most days and fish can be seen taking flies, however the lack of obvious surface activity should not put you off using dries and emergers.

Friday 21 September 2012

September Competition - A good day out, but...

With there being no club competition in August, most of us were looking forward to our September visit to the Innis Fishery in south-east Cornwall. And, for the six of us who went, it turned out a very enjoyable social fishing day. We were blessed with mild and sunny autumn weather, very little wind, not a sniff of rain in the air, and trout rising everywhere. What is more we made, at Linda's suggestion, the decision to stop for lunch in the Innis Inn next door to the fishery. Their friendly service and very acceptable sausage, egg and chips, washed down with a glass of beer, made for a very pleasant mid-day break.

It is some years since I visited this fishery (probably more than fifteen) and I was interested to see how it has developed into an accessible and attractive venue with manicured pathways, mature shrubs and trees, and not a sign of mud anywhere. I fished the whole day wearing casual shoes. There was simply no need for boots, wellies or waders; almost armchair fishing one might say, certainly far from wild. It was a bit like fishing in a large garden.

Why then were the fish so hard to catch? Of the six of us who went only three caught fish, and only one angler caught more than one. It was possible to sight cast to trout in crystal clear water and even to get them to inspect your fly. But to get them to take and to hang on was another matter altogether. I think the answer lies in the fact that there is at Innis quite a strong emphasis on 'catch and release' fishing; quite unusually so for a 'put and take' fishery. This of course meant that many of these oh so obvious fish had been caught once or perhaps several times before and, in my view were fairly 'educated'. It is also quite difficult not to cast an obvious shadow from the bank.  It could also be, of course, that we are a particularly incompetent bunch of anglers!

The average size of fish seemed quite small; the best fish of the day being only 1lb 10oz and the best two fish bag only 2lb 1oz. Though they were scrappy little devils.

Here are a couple of pictures:

Mike, Linda, Peter and Frank - full of optimism (and lunch) 

Peter Phillips with a typically dark Innis rainbow

Thursday 19 July 2012

July Club Competition - Tony Vallack 'triumphs' in difficult conditions

Once again the weather proved difficult for us in this month's club competition. While there was nothing like the torrents of rain we experienced in June the wind on Tuesday was very blustery and in something of the wrong direction in that there seemed very few places where we could fish with the wind behind us. Attempts to fish around Longstone Peninsula were only possible out on the end and tucked into the back bay on the north side. And that is where several anglers choose to fish.

Tony McCoy and Mike Duckett with a couple of typical rainbows
Tony Vallack caught two fish for 2lb 12oz and that would seem to be the best bag from a club member, and he wins the bottle of wine. Here is a picture of him, looking pleased with himself, outside the Rock Inn at Yelverton  just before he bought drinks for us.

Tony just about to 'get them in'
Additionally, just to remind you, there is no club competition in August, neither is there a Monday Club meeting. Details of the September events can be found in an earlier posting from March. What there is, during August, is the combined South West Lakes Trust/West Country Rivers Trust Open Fly Fishing evening at Roadford Lake. Their flyer says:

"South West Lakes Trust will be hosting a free fly fishing event at Roadford in conjunction with the Westcountry Rivers Trust on the evening of 15th August (4pm onwards), featuring fly-casting demonstations and clinics, fly tying demonstrations etc. Refreshments will be available."

This sounds like it could be a fun event, especially if the weather is nice (it must get better soon!). If anyone who fancies going lets me know and we can arrange to meet up there or perhaps travel together.

Monday 16 July 2012

SWLT Fishing Report

The following report has been issued by South West Lakes Trust: 

South West Lakes Trust Trout Fisheries (June 2012)
June continued with mixed and unsettled weather, and temperatures below the seasonal average. Hatches and surface activity increased as the month progressed, providing good dry fly fishing at most of the South West Lakes Trust waters. The high rainfall throughout the month has meant that water levels are generally still at the top water mark.

Kennick – The fishing remained consistently good throughout June, with rods averaging 3.3 fish per angler. An abundance of insects on the surface (Hawthorns, Beetles, Heather Flies, and Buzzers) meant that fish were eager to come up for food, and many were taken on dry patterns (Hawthorn, Foam Beetles, Hoppers, and Coch-y-bondhu patterns in particular), or nymph patterns (such as Diawl Bachs, Buzzers, Pheasant Tails, and Damsel Nymphs) fished on a floating line. Some excellent fish were caught in the month, including a 7lb 14oz rainbow (the fishery’s best so far this season) caught by Alex Brimblecombe (from Bridford), using a Hawthorn Fly fished from Laployd Bank on the evening of 24th June. A 7lb 4oz rainbow was caught by Andy Lobb (from Newton Abbot), using a Montana Nymph fished from the bank, and ten other rainbows over 5lb were caught during the month. Duncan Keir (from Belstone) caught and returned a cracking 3lb 8oz brown trout (as part of a bag of ten fish) when fishing from a boat using his ‘Kennick Killer’ pattern.

Burrator – the fishing at Burrator has continued to produce some excellent sport, with anglers averaging over three fish per rod. Fish have been feeding eagerly on hawthorns, and fishing a selection of dark dry patterns (such as Hawthorns, Bibio, Black Gnat, Black Klinkhammers) has worked well. Diawl Bachs and Damsel Nymphs have been the most successful sub-surface patterns. The fish have been well distributed around the fishery, so it has been more a question of finding a sheltered spot to fish on windier days when deciding on the best location. The best fish caught in June (and so far this season at Burrator) was a beautiful 6lb 10oz rainbow caught by Al Lawson (from Plymouth), using a Black Gnat while fishing from the shore at Longstone Point.

Siblyback - continued to provide good sport, with anglers averaging 3.4 fish per rod during the month, with good surface sport on calmer days, when fish could be caught on dark Hoppers, Beetles, Sedges, and Black and Peacock spiders fished in the surface film. Damsel Nymphs, Diawl Bachs, Montanas, and Buzzers all fished consistently well sub-surface, while pulled Orange Blobs, Tadpoles, and Vivas worked well on deeper fish. Most areas fished well, with Stocky Bay, Two Meadows, and the deeper water by the dam being particularly productive, with the area around the Marshes producing fish for boat anglers. The best fish of the month was a 3lb 10ozz rainbow caught by C.Hall (from Pensilva).

Wimbleball – anglers continued to enjoy great sport at Wimbleball, with rods averaging 4.7 fish per angler, with fish feeding well, and anglers catching from both boats and bank. Ruggs and Bessoms fished well for bank anglers, while boat anglers enjoyed success in Cow Moor. The Upton Arm, by the Dam, and Ruggs, as well as drifting from Bessoms to the Pontoons. Black Gnats, Hoppers, and Beetles all caught surface feeding fish well, with Damsel and Montana Nymphs, as well as pulled blobs and lures (particularly from boats) catching the deeper fish.

The best fish of the month were 4lb rainbows caught by Mr. Muckle (from Stafford) and J.Melhuish (from Tiverton). The fish-off for the 2011 Boat Pairs competition was at last held on 24th June, and was won by The Siblyback Raiders (Tony Chipman and Roger Truscott), catching 11 fish weighing 19lb 14oz. This year’s competition will be held on the weekend of 1 & 2 September.

Roadford - continued to produce some quality, if slightly more challenging fishing, with both boat and bank anglers catch resident Brown trout in excellent condition. Coch-y-bondus, Black and Peacock Spiders and Hoppers have all caught surface-feeding fish, with Black Tadpoles, Crunchers, and Pheasant Tails catching deeper fish. The best locations are on the East Bank, with many fish tight into the margins. The best fish of the month was a 3lb 1oz grown-on brown trout caught by Philip Smith using a Black and Peacock Spider, fishing from a boat.
South West Lakes Trust will be hosting a free fly fishing event at Roadford in conjunction with the Westcountry Rivers Trust on the evening of 15 August (4pm onwards), featuring fly-casting demonstrations and clinics, fly tying demonstrations etc. Refreshments will be available.

Stithians - Dry fly fishing has again produced the best sport at Stithians, with Hawthorns, Black Hoppers, and Beetles all catching well (particularly when fished near the bankside willows, where terrestrials are blown onto the water). Yellowort Bay and the deeper water by the dam also fished well, with Diawl Bachs, Pheasant Tails, Damsels, Montanas, and Buzzers catching fish, and pulled orange lure patterns taking deeper fish. The best fish of the month was a 4lb 8oz rainbow caught by R. Davies (from St. Day).

Fernworthy – The Brown trout at Fernworthy have continued to feed eagerly, with predominantly dark patterns still catching fish – these included Black Buzzers, Black Pennells, Bibios, Montanas, small Tadpoles, and Claret Bumble patterns, while fish rose to Black Hoppers, Beetles, and Hawthorns. Late afternoons have fished particularly well, with a number of fish feeding off the bank below the permit hut and near the dam. July Prospects are good for surface fish to soon start coming up to Coch-y-bondhu beetles, which can be prolific at Fernworthy. Anglers are advised to come armed with a good insect repellent, as the midges will be much in evidence (particularly in the evenings).

Chris Hall (July 2012)

July Competition date and venue changed

At our our club meeting on Monday 9th July it was decided that the date and venue for our July competition is to be changed.

We were due to visit Fernworthy on Wednesday 18th July but it became clear that Tuesday would be more convenient for most members and, given the fact that it is fishing really well, it was decided we would stay 'at home' at Burrator.

So, officially, the July competition is Tuesday 17th July at Burrator. Only fish caught after 12 noon will count.

See you there.

Friday 6 July 2012

Burrator back 'On Form'

Since our somewhat dismal showing at the last club evening (see the previous post), Burrator has quickly got back to fishing well.

On the Friday 22nd June, only two days after our 'washout', Ken Hindley fished it and had his limit on dry fly (a small black gnat) in the bay on the north side of the peninsula. This has been followed by reports of lots more fish coming to anglers' nets, including two six pounders (best 6lbs 10oz).

I fished today and in a short session between 12 noon until 5 o'clock caught six fish, of which I kept only two, releasing the other four. I also lost two or three others including one that I played for what seemed like five minutes at least, and which eventually bent out the hook on my black hopper fly, having taken out the best part of my 30 yard fly line. All the others were typical Burrator rainbows of about a pound and a half, but full tailed and good fighters nevertheless.

My brace of 'keepers' - typical Burrator rainbows
I chanced to meet the 'Two Alans'; Alan Behan and Alan Lawson who are regular fishers at Burrator and both have taken on the role of volunteer bailiff. A nicer couple of chaps one couldn't wish to meet and, it turned out, they are the two anglers who caught six pounders in recent weeks. If you are fishing Burrator this season you are bound to come across them. Please cooperate with them if they ask to see your permit. This initiative is, in my view, very welcome and,with luck, might really help to reduce 'poaching' on the water.

As to flies, most of my fish today were taken on a small black hopper (size 14) that, in the end, was so busted up from being attacked by the trout that it lost its 'legs'. I also had a couple of fish on a fly that has no official name, but I call it the 'Orange Hill Special'. It was tied by Tom Hill who runs Fishing for Heroes down here in Devon (see website link).

The 'legless' Hopper

The Orange Hill Special

The other thing about Burrator at the moment is how high the water level is. I can never remember it being so full at this time of the year. Here is a picture of some more of the stuff going in.

Saturday 30 June 2012

Black Snatcher wins the day - or at least the wine.

The afternoon and evening of Wednesday 20th June was the time arranged for our monthly club competition. Frankly, we couldn't have picked a more unsuitable day if we had tried. The weather was appalling with constant winds of more than 20mph and gusts up to twice that. From four o'clock onwards this was supplemented with heavy and unrelenting rain.

Only one fish was caught. It was a rainbow of 1lb 14oz. The killing fly was a Black Snatcher and the fish fell to the rod of Tony McCoy, who, shortly after, packed up a went home, saying that he was allergic to rain.

A Black Snatcher - The fly that won Tony the bottle of wine
Tony, Mike and I arrived about four thirty just in time to meet Linda who was packing up, having had enough of the inclement weather and the seriously slow fishing. But she left us a fruitcake she had baked earlier. We then found Terry Denley hiding under a bush to keep out of the, by now, torrential rain. He went home shortly after that.

We persevered but with only a few tugs and pulls to show for our efforts. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of the fishing was the wind with its frequent strong gusts and its sudden changes of direction. The highlight was certainly our alfresco buffet supper of sandwiches, pork pies, scotch eggs and, the undoubted 'piece de resistance', Linda's fruit cake. It was worth getting drenched for. However by eight o'clock we were back in the car greedily consuming the last of the sandwiches and with the heater going full blast. Let's hope for better weather at Fernworthy next month.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Good sport thanks to the Hawthorn Fly

Today at Burrator there were Hawthorn flies on the water throughout the middle of the day. They were being blown from the surrounding trees and bushes and the trout were very keyed onto them, making big splashy rises to take the flies off the top or just below the surface. The Hawthorn is a terrestrial fly that for a few days or weeks in May and June can be an important food item for the trout.

Hawthorn Fly (Bibio marci)
Having realised what the trout were feeding on I fished a two fly cast of size 10 Bibio on the point and a  size 10 Clan Chief, another black palmer hackled fly, on the dropper.

Size 10 Bibio
I had sport more or less directly from the start at just after 12 noon. When I finished at 4.00pm I had caught around a dozen rainbows (of which I kept only two) and hooked and lost nearly as many again. The light varied between being bright and quite overcast and the wind from a light breeze to quite a stiff blow, but the hawthorn flies continued to appear on the water and the trout continued to take them. At around 4.30pm the rain came again in  another of the torrential downpours that have been so prevalent this week. So I packed it in and got back to the car as quickly as I could. I had hoped to call in to see Neil Reeves the SWLT Burrator Ranger but he was nowhere around. 

All in all a good bit of sport 

Sunday 3 June 2012

Still fishing well

Recent reports suggest that Burrator is still fishing well. my friend Jon and I fished it on Monday evening. When we got there at about 4.30pm there were a number of anglers around three sides of the water. We fished the Longstone Manor peninsula and met a group of visitors from the Bath and Bristol area who had all caught fish, including several on dry flies. 

It has to be said, however, that the overwhelming majority of the fish are rainbows of about 1lb 8oz to 2lbs, although I did make contact with a much bigger fish which I eventually lost. Neil the Ranger reports that a six pounder has been caught a couple of weeks ago. It would be useful to know if there are significant numbers of brown trout being caught. Perhaps we will find out when we have our postponed meeting with SWLT in the next few weeks.

Three rainbows from the 'Manor'
A bit of local history to go with the fishing

Sunday 20 May 2012

First Burrator Evening - Wednesday 18th May

Six members turned out for our first evening visit to Burrator this season. They were Ken Hindley, Mike Duckett, Terry Denley, Frank Dunlop, Tony McCoy, and Peter Macconnell.
This was Ken's first fishing trip for quite some time so it was good to see him get right back into the swing of things with a couple of nice rainbows taken on a scruffy looking little black fly, the name of which he couldn't remember.

Ken keeping out the evening chill
and looking pleased with his fish

Most members saw a bit of action and, in the end, the results were:

Ken Hindley two fish for 2lb 15oz.
Peter Macconnell two fish for 2lb 14oz.
Terry Denley two fish for 2lb 11oz.
Tony McCoy one fish for 2lb 0oz.
Mike Duckett and Frank Dunlop blanked but had a few takes.

So overall it wasn't bad and a bit of sport was had because all the anglers had numerous other takes and hooked and lost fish. As dusk approached there was a flat clam and some surface movement from fish that proved particularly hard to catch. 

Some more pictures (Double click on any picture to see them enlarged as a slide show):

Last of the Summer Wine? 
Terry Denley, Frank Dunlop & Mike Duckett

'It was this big...' 
Tony McCoy describes the one that got away

In a tangle...? Mike Duckett sorts out his 'knitting'

Next Burrator evening 
Wednesday 20th June 2012
5.00pm onwards.

Monday 14 May 2012

Three Fly Competition - Hard Going

This year our 'Three Fly Competition' took place as planned on Saturday 14th April at Bake Lakes. Unfortunately our planning was not very good and neither was our luck.

In years past Terry Buttle tied the flies for members to use, but this year, Terry having left the club, our other 'expert' fly dresser, Tony McCoy, offered to do the honours. Unfortunately he forgot to tell us that he would be in Gran Canaria soaking up the sun and the wine during April. So in the end we fished with bought flies. After lengthy discussion Peter and Mike decided that the flies for the day would be a lure (Viva), a nymph (Pearl Daiwl Bach), and a traditional wet (Goat's Toe). these were duly handed out to the half dozen or so members who turned out, and with the exception of Tony Vallack we all managed to blank! to be fair, it was a difficult day weather wise and very little was being caught by other anglers.

So congratulations to Tony for his fish of just over three pounds. Also welcome to our newest member Peter Phillips who came along for the first time.

Tony with Bake Lakes rainbow

Our next event is our first Burrator evening on Wednesday 16th May.

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Friday 16 March 2012

Opening Day

Well, yesterday, 15th March, was opening day. the weather was grey, misty and overcast. There was even a hint of rain. The wind came and went but was never more than a breeze. Several BFF members turned out and all but one caught fish. The best bag of the day was recorded by Terry Denley who had four rainbows for a bit over 7 lbs. Tony McCoy had three fish, also for around 7 lbs in total. They are pictured below:

The new daily bag limit is five rainbows (all browns have to be returned). Numerous non members also fished, and more than one angler achieved their five.

In addition to fish caught there was plenty of frustrating action from fish taking short; being there and then gone, and fish hooked and played for a time and then lost. One member commented that all his fish were hooked in the front and top of the mouth, suggesting that the trout were following and 'nipping' the fly from behind, rather than turning on the fly and being hooked in the 'scissors'.

The general stamp of fish seemed good, appearing to be a little larger, on average, than in 2011. Most had full tails, very sprightly in the fight, and well worth catching. Buzzers, Loch Style Wets, Montanas, and numerous others patterns were effective on the day.

Perhaps the highlight of the day was the shore lunch of bacon sandwiches (with HP Sauce for those who wanted it) provided by Tony Vallack and his trusty camping stove.

Neil Reeves the SWLT chap who manages all the Dartmoor sites was around, meeting anglers. It was good to have an initial shoreside discussion about some of the ways in which the Burrator fishing can be improved and how we can help ensure that the lake is not misused by irresponsible people, often to the detriment of our fishing. He promised an official meeting with the club in the next few weeks.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Burrator Opening Day Thursday 15th March

Don't forget that this Thursday 15th March is Opening Day at Burrator. It will be interesting to see, firstly, what head of fish have gone in and what is coming out, and, secondly, how many anglers turn out for it. The weather forecast is quite reasonable, so see you there.

Just to whet the appetite here are a couple of charming pictures of Burrator member Tony Vallack on a previous opening day, and a couple more from a coaching event held at the lake some years ago. Some people may recognise themselves. If memory serves the coach was Garry Champion, and a very good day it was.


Angling Trust "Building Bridges" Press Release

OK, its not a lot to do with fly fishing at Burrator but nevertheless this press release issued by the Angling Trust today. You can see it at Angling Trust - Building Bridges

Friday 9 March 2012

Angling Trust Press Release 9th March 2012

The most recent Angling Trust Press Release, which is on the subject of poaching can be read here

Wednesday 7 March 2012

More information about changes at Burrator and other waters

The following report is taken from the Kennick Fly fishers website and refers to a meeting that took place in the Autumn of 2011. All the items are of some interest to us but items 5 & 6 mention Burrator quite specifically and help to clarify the changes alluded to in the SWLT Booklet here.

Following a meeting back in November there was a Game Fisheries Consultation Meeting held with many SW fishermen to understand the future of Fishing in the SW and voice opinion / concern. These were the main points discussed with changes below. As agreed, Chris Hall and I have drafted a proposal for our game angling venues - it is attached for your information. The key changes to how we will operate include:

  1. More flexible season dates - including part-seasons and the opportunity to fish for Rainbows during the winter months (no stocking will take place between November and February).
  2. A big reduction in price and far greater promotion of the 'All Waters' ticket - giving better access for everyone.
  3. A 33% discount off boat hire for 'All Waters' ticket holders.
  4. An online booking facility will be available from March 2012 to give anglers the option to purchase permits and boat hire via the website.
  5. Changing of names to 'Rainbow Plus' (former Premiers) and 'Rainbow' (former intermediates and Burrator).
  6. Burrator will be upgraded to the same level as Stithians and Wistlandpound and stocked accordingly.
  7. 'Rainbow Plus' season tickets will only allow you to fish one venue (additional venues can be added).
  8. Brown trout season tickets will allow you to fish all three venues - at a reduced rate from the 2011 'Castabout' price.
  9. Fishing boats will be relocated to best accommodate anglers' demands and it is proposed that the fleet will increase in 2013 and 2014.
  10. Higher standards of boat preparation and cleanliness will be a key area of improvement.
  11. Stocking - increase the minimum fish weights and provide better clarity on numbers stocked per venue.
  12. Better and more extensive staff training - including Level 1 coach awards.
  13. Promote the recruitment of 'Volunteer Angling Officers' to assist the Trust's work and supervise other volunteers on the ground.
  14. Develop a 'Regional Advisory Group' to help steer still water game angling in the SW.
  15. Improve methods of communication at all levels.
I hope you will approve of the proposal and, as always, please do not hesitate to contact Chris, me or your local Area Manager if you have
any questions or comments. Best regards and may I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Andy Parsons
Head of Operations
South West Lakes Trust
South West Lakes Trust
Lidn Park
Quarry Crescent
Pennygillam Industrial Estate
Cornwall PL15 7PF
Tel 01566 771930
Fax 01566 778503
Visit our website
Email us at

Clearly changes are on the way for the fishing at Burrator. It would be good if we could become a bit more involved in these discussions. Please note, in particular, the mention in Items 14 & 15 of a Regional Advisory Group and the intention to improve communication at all levels. The Burrator Fly Fishers would like to be involved in both these areas.

Monday 5 March 2012

Update on Burrator Prices and Fishing for 2012

It is now clear that things will be a little different at Burrator (and a number of other SWLT waters) for this coming season. The newly published South West Lakes Trust booklet for 2012 includes the following:

  • "This fishery has been upgraded for 2012, along with planned improvements to the anglers’ facilities. Fly fishing only for stocked Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout. Brown trout catch and release only.
  • "Fishing permits and boat booking will be available online from 1st April. please click on the BOOK NOW button at the top of the page." (that is the SWLT website page).
It is worth looking at the booklet in some detail. It can be downloaded here'

More information to follow on this.

New Members Welcome

In the last couple of years Burrator Fly Fishers membership numbers have fallen somewhat. So we would welcome a few new members whether male or female, an old hand, or new to the game.

Are you interested in fly fishing but never done it? 
If so then the Burrator Fly Fishers are happy to help you make a start. We do not claim to be great anglers or professional level coaches but between us we have a fair amount of fly fishing and fly tying experience that we are  only too happy to share. Whether you are young, middle aged or a senior citizen, the basics of fly fishing, sufficient to start catching trout, can be quickly learnt. Why not make contact with us and find out more?

Advice about tackle and equipment
Probably the best thing to do is to come and meet us  before you spend money. Members will be happy to discuss and demonstrate tackle suitable for trout fishing in both still and running water, as well as the various accessories and items of clothing needed. Additionally, perusal of the Snowbee, John Norris of Penrith, or Orvis websites (see list of Useful Links) will give you a good idea about cost and the range of tackle available.Typically you will need:

  • A carbon fibre fly rod. An AFTM 6/7 weight is usable for most sorts of trout fishing. 
  • A fly reel plus a spare spool, together with a floating and an intermediate fly line plus backing.
  • Leader material in 3, 5, and 8lb breaking strains.
  • A fly box and a selection of trout flies.
  • A landing net.
  • A fishing vest/waistcoat/bag to carry your stuff
  • A pair of waders.
  • A waterproof jacket.
  • Some sort of eye protection such as polaroid spectacles.
  • A 'priest' to administer the 'last rites'.
But remember, talk to us first.

Are you an experienced fly fisher?
If you would like to meet with other fly fishers once a month to talk about fishing and fly tying, and to fish together a few times each season then why not join us? Our competitions are friendly affairs and not to be taken too seriously. The prize will only be a bottle of whisky or something similar. The main thing is to take enjoyment from the day.

If you would like to know more then contact the Burrator Fly Fishers Secretary, Linda James, on 01752 569337, or the Chairman, Peter Macconnell, on 01752 560538 or 07738 378227 or email to

Burrator in Winter

Here are a few pictures taken in January 2012. The reservoir is quite full compared to how it is during the fishing season. In quite a few places it would be difficult to get a back-cast when the water level is so high. (Double click on a picture to enlarge and view in sequence).

Even with high water levels there is no overflow

The Longstone Farm Entrance
The Farm

The Water Trough
The Alderman's Visit
A Good Fishing Spot ?
Walking round the reservoir the most immediately striking feature is the amount of tree felling that has taken place. Presumably, this has been a necessary response to the discovery of Larch Disease in the timber. See for further details.