Posts Tagged ‘River Exe’

The River Exe winds it’s way across Devon and Somerset for more than 50 miles before reaching the Sea at the substantial Exe Estuary ria in Exmouth. This large body of flowing water is home to a large number of coarse, game and sea fishing species making it a challenge to anglers all year round. The River Exe always has been, and still is, a favourite among those who fish it – not really surprising when it contains legendary fish like the 64lb Salmon Richard Voysey caught in 1924!

As mentioned previously I have an Exeter Angling Association annual permit granting me access to a great number of fisheries in and around the Exeter area. The Countess Wear Fishery is 1 of 4 fish-able stretches on the River Exe included on said permit. Located a couple of miles up stream from the Exe Esutary it is influenced by the tides in terms of fish species and water levels. Changing conditions make the fishing a little more challenging and often requires a change of tactics upon each visit.

Within the short stretch of the River exe from the Countess wier bridge up to the first bend it contains a real mixed bag of species. You can expect to catch Bream, Mullet, Carp, Chub, Dace, Brown Trout, Eel, Par Salmon and Roach offering you a better than average chance of catching a lot of fish.

This particular fishery is less than a mile away from where I live, an ideal place to fish in the evening after work or whenever I have only a few hours to spare. I set up around 5pm, 100metres up stream from the bridge. Please be aware of the overhead power cables, they are a lot lower than you think. I have witnessed someone cast right over the top of the cables without realising until they saw a swim feeder swinging 7ft above the water surface.

I decided to take my two Chub Outkast Twin Tip rods fitted with the 5oz quiver tips and Shimano Exage 4000FA reels. The flow of water between low and high tide can be somewhat rapid, using a heavier tip and feeder allows me to fish through the periods of strong flow. The end tackle is very simple, A Drennen Oval 2oz feeder that can run freely up and down the mainline on a Korum Feeder Bead. The main line is attached to a swivel with the knot protected by a Drennen swivel stop bead. To finish a size 12 Drennen Super Specialist hook is tied to a 2ft long fluorocarbon 3lb hook link.

I started with 2 maggots on the hook, clipped up my reel and began to feed the swim by recasting every 5minutes for the first 4-5 casts. The tide was on it’s way in and the action was instantaneous, as soon as the bait hit the water the rod tip would start to twitch. During the first 20 minutes I had to resort to using one rod as I simply couldn’t keep up with the bites! Brown Trout, Chub, Par Salmon and Dace made up the majority of the catch. A hard fighting brownie of 1lb and a Chub of 1.5lb made an appearance along with some decent size Dace. The par salmon looked wonderful in the setting sun, each spot on their flanks glistening like a ruby.

River Exe - Brown Trout

River Exe - Brown Trout

River Exe - Par Salmon, beautiful

River Exe - Par Salmon, beautiful

As the tide reached it’s highest point fewer bites gave me the opportunity to change one of my rods over to a large chunk of luncheon meat and 1oz lead. I cast this out with the hope of catching something larger and allow me to keep up with all those bites when the tide started to turn. If you are going to fish the River Exe when the tides are large you will need to wear waders, the entrance to the field gets submerged under a few feet of water cutting off  access to the car park.

River Exe - Entrance to field floods when tides are high

River Exe - Entrance to field floods when tides are high

The tide began to turn and once again the bites came thick and fast. After landing another Brown trout the tip of the rod baited with luncheon meat slammed round. Frantically picking up the rod and reeling into the fish I felt two very powerful lunges before the line went slack. Probably a 30000000lb mako shark, oh well better luck next time.With the sun well below the horizon darkness closed in rapidly, I packed up and went home wondering what took that luncheon meat in such a hurry.

For more information take a look at the Exeter Angling Association Website.


View River Exe – Countess Wear Fishery in a larger map

River Exe - Countess Wear

River Exe - Chub Outkast Twin Tip

RIver Exe - Countess Wear

RIver Exe - Countess Wear

River Exe - Countess Wear

River Exe - Countess Wear

This weekend I decided to visit the Exe Valley Fishery in North Devon, after speaking to James at Exeter Angling. He assured me that although relatively small in size Exe Valley fishery would provide me with some excellent sport on light tackle.  Sounding like my kind of place I loaded up the Turbo Wagon and set off early Saturday morning.

Exe Valley Fishery has been hatching and rearing fish on a large scale for more than 110 years. As well as the hatchery / smoke houses it is the home to Nick Hart Fly Fishing and the Hart Fly shop. Nick Hart is an extremely accomplished fly fisherman and a AAPGAI casting instructor which you can benefit from by taking up one of his fly fishing courses.

The location of the fishery is probably one of the best I have seen. The River Exe forms part of the fishery boundaries giving you a great view of the Exe bridge and a chance to see many of the wild fish rising (which can be fished for on a separate permit).  The walk to the main lake takes you over a small stream running adjacent to a series of houses with beautifully landscaped gardens.

Exe Valley Fishery

Exe Valley Fishery- On route to the main lake

Exe Valley Fishery

Exe Valley Fishery- On route to the main lake

Before fishing I took a walk around the main lake and was pleasantly surprised by the clarity of the water and a very interesting feature. The lake is supplied by a fast flowing small stream through a channel at the shallow end of the lake. This creates conditions very similar to that of a river and a number of nice fish could be seen sat in the slack waters next to the faster flowing water waiting for food to come their way. This ‘flow’ continues across almost 1/3rd of the lake until the water deepens. Having such a high rate of water flow should mean that the fish benefit from the higher levels of oxygen and should be of quality in terms of taste and fight.

Exe Valley Fishery - Stream supplying water to the main lake

Exe Valley Fishery - Stream supplying water to the main lake

Exe Valley Fishery - Interesting lake feature

Exe Valley Fishery - Interesting lake feature

Without wanting to miss an opportunity I quickly assembled my 4wt Wychwood Truefly rod and attached a black Diawl Bach. It is always magical to watch fish oriented against the flow of water, and even more so being so close and with the chance of catching them many times over. I made a small cast and watched the Diawl Bach drift slowly through the slack water against the flow of the faster water. The fly drifted a little too far in front of the fish so I gently retrieved the line and made another cast. Disaster, the line brushed against one of the fish spooking it into the fast water. I made a third cast. The fly gently drifted towards the fish and with an extremely small tweak I induced a take. I struck and the fish exploded out of the water, jumping straight into the faster water. After receiving a face full of fly line and spooking everything (including myself) within an 8 mile radius I moved further down the lake to the deeper water.

Towards the middle of the lake there was a lot of fish activity and when the sun came through the cloud dark shapes could be seen moving. There were so many fish concentrated around this area I was constantly casting over fish and spooking them. To reduce this I decided to start with a short cast, increasing the distance each time. Despite the large number of fish I was struggling to get any positive takes and after 2 hours, some swearing and trying quite a few sub surface patterns I thought it would be a good idea to try a dry fly.

My favorite dry fly pattern has to be the Klinkhammer. For me it has always been extremely effective and consistent on rivers, streams and still waters. It remains buoyant, easy to see and if using a foam topped Klinkhammer is robust enough to be able to catch more than one fish. I started with a black Klinkhammer, applied a small amount of gink to the emerging part of the fly and made a short cast to some fish moving. As soon as the fly hit the water a fish burst from the water, I wasn’t expecting such an instant response and stuck into all the slack I had in the line.

After missing another take I struck into a fish that felt rather solid. It started to swim towards me and I had trouble keeping in contact, it turned and made a series of lunges stripping enough line allowing me play it on the reel. The fish happily swam around making my Pflueger Trion scream. After a nice 5 minute fight I had a 7lb rainbow in the net.

Exe Valley Fishery - 7lb Rainbow Trout

Exe Valley Fishery - 7lb Rainbow Trout

Over the next couple of hours I managed to catch (and lose) some great fighting fish all of which greater than 3lb in weight. My favorite fish of the day had to be a 4lb’er that was very dark in colour and in great fighting condition.

Exe Valley Fishery - Dark coloured hard fighting rainbow

Exe Valley Fishery - Dark coloured hard fighting rainbow

Exe Valley Fishery - Trout taking a Klinkhammer

Exe Valley Fishery - Trout taking a Klinkhammer

As mentioned in previous posts small trout fisheries can prove to be quite tricky to fish and many people come away disappointed because they have failed to catch. Even though they contain a large number of fish in a small volume of water they can become very wary especially after a day of fly lines slapping the surface. If you find that your are struggling, talk to other people who are catching and see what a change in approach can do.

Exe Valley Fishery provided me with a great day of sport amongst beautiful surroundings. I opted for a 5 fish ticket at £25 which is very well priced considering the size of the fish and the oxygen rich environment they have been given. Amongst the small fly fishing venues in Devon the Exe Valley Fishery is one of the best. If you are new to fly fishing, looking to improve / gain confidence or just for a place to relax and have some fun then you should definitely visit the Exe Valley fishery.

For more information on the fishery and Nick Hart take a look at the following websites.

Exe Valley Fishery – http://www.exevalleyfishery.co.uk/
Nick Hart Fly Fishing – http://www.hartflyfishing.demon.co.uk/
Hart Fly Shop – http://www.hartflyshop.com/


View Exe Valley Fishery in a larger map

Exe Valley Fishery

Exe Valley Fishery

Exe Valley Fishery

Exe Valley Fishery

Exe Valley Fishery

Exe Valley Fishery

Exe Valley Fishery

Exe Valley Fishery

Exe Valley Fishery

Exe Valley Fishery

Coarse fishing in and around Exeter

0, August 5, 2009
Posted by james

Having made a post in every other category on my blog the coarse fishing section is looking rather neglected so this is going to be a place holder of things to come. Exeter and the surrounding area has a large number of coarse fishing venues, each of which can provide the keen angler with a wide range of species and opportunities to catch them using different techniques.

I first cut my teeth on the Exeter Canal, a free permit can be obtained from the council (here) allowing you to fish from the Basin to the Double Locks. This large stretch of water contains pike, perch, carp, tench, roach, eels and bream. Carp (up to 40lb) and pike (up to 30lb) have been caught in the past making it a stretch of water extremely rewarding to those willing to put in the time, or a shock to those hooking into a fish of that size without realising what the canal contains. I started off by catching roach and perch, progressing to pike of varying sizes. Although I don’t really fish the canal very often I do like to catch perch on the fly when I have a few hours to spare in the evening.

After rekindling my passion for angling I started to research and explore other locations. I eased myself back into carp fishing at Darts Farm which although quite small in size still holds some very big carp (30lb+). On one occasion after becoming frustrated with catching eels and being rained on  I landed a 20lb common carp in perfect condition. I had great fun fishing Luccombes Ponds in the summer months, catching fish after fish off the surface on light tackle. Luccombes again is not very big in size but the 5 ponds are well stocked with some nice carp to 20lb. Over the period of about 2 months I targeted a number of different fish from each pond, including Koi, ghosties, commons over 10lb and mirrors to 14lb.

During the Autumn I decided to purchase an Exeter & District Angling Association permit for the insanely cheap price of £36 (for 1 year). The permit allows you to fish the entire stretch of the Exeter canal,various parts of the river Exe, a large section of the river Culm and a number of ponds. I really recommend this to anyone in the Exeter area, it would take you the best part of a year before you had even scratched the surface of the fishing potential.

Using the Exeter Angling Association permit I found that I had a particular soft spot for the river Culm, and spent a good few months exploring the Killerton stretch. Containing a good head of pike, perch, chub, roach, trout, and the occasional Barbel. One sunday I was fishing for Perch  when I spotted an exceptionally large salmon making it’s way up the shallow part of the river, the Culm is full of suprises. Again even though the Culm is small in size it contains a lot of pike from tiny jacks up to 20lb’ers. Fishing is best when the water level starts to drop after a flood, in one day I caught 6 pike in around 3 hours, the largest of which being 17lb.

Over the next 2 years I visited most of the fisheries and stretches of river, spending a great deal of time trying to catch all the different species each location had to offer. I plan to revisit a lot of these and share my findings both new and old. It is also a good time to thank Exeter Angling and the staff for all their expert advice which has always been offered so enthusiastically.

River Culm Pike

River Culm Pike

12lb Luccombe Pond Carp

12lb Luccombe Pond Carp