THE 2018 SEASON
There is nothing like a good sharp picture of a fresh run migratory fish or a well marked brownie to inspire us fishermen to head off to the River and we are keen to continue including pictures here as part of the regular fishing reports on this website. The Wye & Usk Passport Scheme recently produced the following guidance for photographing fish and I think it is worth reproducing it here for members and visiting anglers alike:
"We are more than grateful for all the photographs sent in, but photography should always take second place to fish welfare and safe catch and release techniques. Thus, we really don’t like to see photographs of fish laid out on grass, on dry rocks or on dry shingle. As we all know, live fish don’t lie still, but are prone to kick and injure themselves and big fish are more vulnerable than small ones. By all means photograph your catch lying in a wet net with fish friendly mesh just above the water, or else lifted momentarily above the surface on one or two wet hands to take the shot. Please don’t ‘grip’ the fish and most importantly make it quick – get the fish back in the water again as soon as possible and make sure it is actively swimming and strong again before final release. If you catch a salmon or large sea trout while fishing alone, there usually isn’t a responsible way to take a photograph of the whole fish. Don’t be tempted to drag the poor creature onto the bank, but content yourself with photographing the head or the tail while in the net and in the water, before releasing it carefully. For measurement of larger fish, please carry a cloth measuring tape with you in your pocket or else mark the inches on your landing net handle or wading staff"
Others will judge our sport by the images they see on websites / leaflets etc – so lets make sure that we keep the welfare standards as high as possible in photographs.
I look forward to seeing your pictures for the 2019 season.
UTFA Treasurer and Catch Returns
Sadly we have reached the end of another season – 2018 has been a difficult season for river fishing across the South West particularly for migratory fish. Catch reports received from visiting anglers in the final fortnight included the following:
Neil Owens fished for Brown Trout on the 20th,21st and 22nd September experiencing some challenging water conditions with low water followed by torrential rain on the 20th and was rewarded with a total of 25 fish to 10”. Neil noted that the Fingle Brook deposits a large quantity of sediment into the main river following very heavy rain. Fish were taken on a mixture of Klinkhammers, Elk Hair Caddis and nymphs.
Nigel Nunn a visiting angler from London had a great days fishing on Saturday 29th Sept fishing with very light tackle he caught over 20 fish in the section between Chagford Bridge to Chagford Weir Pool. Although these were largely small wild fish, Nigel commented that this was one of the best days he had spent on any river and a great indicator of a healthy river system. Nigel includes a picture of his successful flies (both home tied) see below – a size 18 beaded black ant and a ‘scruffy olive’ size 14.
Denis Copeland had an enjoyable morning below Fingle Bridge on the morning of Sunday 30th September catching 8 Brown Trout to 12” with an Elk Hair Caddis proving to be the most successful fly.
All the above visitors are promising to return again next season.
So all that remains is for me to ask members to complete and return your annual catch returns to me (by mail or email) and to hope that the weather gods look more favourably on the river next season!
Heavy rain over the weekend of the 22/23rd September finally brought some much needed freshwater into the Upper Teign. Bill Crumby landed two Salmon (weighing 5lb and 10lb) on 24th September. Derek Myhill fished from Fingle Weir to Clifford Bridge on the 21st and was pleased to catch and release three peal up to 3lb. On the Brown Trout front – visiting angler Denis Copeland made three trips to the River catching a total of 24 brown trout of which 10 were between 9” – 10” on a variety of dry flies. A nice comment attached to one of his returns:
This is my first year of fishing the River Teign after viewing the website many times over the last year - I made the 1 ¼ hr drive from Somerset and although the river level was low and only fishing in a morning I was well rewarded, a thoroughly enjoyable experience in beautiful surroundings.
With only a few days left now before the end of the season please could I take this opportunity to remind all members to complete your catch returns – including nil returns (forms available on the website) and send them to me before 31st October either by email or post: David West – UTFA Catch Returns, Meade House Flat, Moorhaven Village, Ivybridge, Devon PL21 0HB – email@example.com
27th AUGUST UPDATE
The heavy rain on Sunday did indeed bring fresh fish into UTFA waters! I was delighted to hear that Bill Crumby was waiting for them! He reported this morning a catch of 3 Sea Trout and a Salmon of around 5 – 6lbs from Upperton. See picture below:
LATE AUGUST UPDATE
On 17th Aug Gary Clark reported an exciting evenings sport. After successfully catching brownies on an Elk Hair Sedge downstream of Fingle Bridge, the same fly attracted the attention of a Sea Trout (around 2lb) that he went on to land on his weight 4 trout rod following a ‘hell of a fight’! While River levels are particularly low at present, fishing a buoyant (Elk Hair, Humpty or similar) fly in the foaming fast current at the top of the pools is a proving a successful and exciting technique for catching Brown Trout.
With heavy rain predicted over the Bank Holiday weekend hopefully more migratory fish will enter UTFA waters.
Despite lean times so far this season, Salmon and Sea Trout anglers can perhaps be optimistic for the future as the following report from Neil Yeandle highlights:
I helped the Westcountry Rivers Trust (WRT) with the annual Juvenile Survey on the River Teign and its tributaries on the 15th and 16th August. The survey is undertaken, and paid, for by the Teign Fisheries’ Association.
One day survey was undertaken during the previous week, and there are two days still to do to complete the 21 sites which are surveyed annually. The purpose of the survey is to see where salmon are successfully spawning, and, indeed, not spawning, thereby identifying trends and problem areas prior to any interventions and works. The surveys target salmon fry which are just a few months old and which are typically 45 – 70 mm long. These fry are the progeny of adult salmon which spawned probably in December and emerged in the Spring. They grow fast, and are found in very specific fast, shallow riffles. If the water is too deep (i.e more than typically 8 inches) and/or slow, trout fry and salmon and trout parr will dominate.
Four sites were surveyed during week beginning 6th August at sites on the North and South Teign. I am not sure of the results, but understand that some salmon fry were found. The surveys take five minutes fishing time and the number of fry and parr caught are identified and counted. Following some adjustment for missed fish, the sites are given a rating ranging from Absent to Excellent. The results can be compared with previous years and trends and problems identified.
Five sites were surveyed on 15th August with the following result:-
Downstream of Stepps Bridge - 87 salmon (including 3 parr) and 1 trout. This site will be rated Excellent.
Upstream of Stepps Bridge - 12 salmon and 1 trout.
Clifford Bridge - 86 salmon (including 12 parr) and 6 trout. This site will be Excellent.
Fingle Bridge - 51 salmon (including 9 parr) and 7 trout. Again this site will be Excellent.
East Fingle Farm (on Fingle Brook) - no salmon, but plenty of trout.
Four sites were surveyed on the 16th August. The results are as follows:-
Hisley Wood (River Bovey) - 19 salmon (including 3 parr) and 10 trout.
Wray Brook (tributary of River Bovey) - no salmon and 25 trout.
Bovey Castle Hotel (River Bovey) – no salmon and 37 trout.
Parke (River Bovey) - 5 salmon and 2 trout.
Let’s hope these young fish will successfully survive the numerous challenges ahead and return to the fishery as healthy mature fish.
Do email me your catch returns over the next 5 weeks (with photos if possible). Looking back over previous years catch records, September can often be the most productive month of the season.
A ‘bushy’ Elk Hair sedge proves effective!
LATE JULY UPDATE
Does anyone know of any good rain dances! After such a prolonged period of dry weather the River Teign is running very low and I have not received any reports of Sea Trout caught since back in early June. It is rumoured that there are plenty of migratory fish in the estuary waiting for a surge of freshwater to enable their journey up-river – so fingers crossed for some much needed rain and soon.
Trout fishing in the first two weeks of July remained productive despite the low flows. A party of 3 visiting anglers led by Mr Robinson fished on 14th July with day tickets and reported ‘We probably caught in excess of 100 fish between us, 3 of 8 inches 2 of 12 inches and 1 of 18 inches – a good fat fish that was above Steps Bridge, after lunch . We fished above Clifford bridge before lunch.’ An 18” Brown Trout is a fine fish for the River and good to know that such specimens can be found in the far eastern end of the UTFA fishery.
New member Andrew Keating was down at the riverside early on 8th July above Upperton Weir and witnessed, at very close range, a sizeable sea trout fleeing one of the deeper pools under hot pursuit by an Otter – a rare sight to treasure – the Sea Trout managed to get away - this time!
Graham Dance fished downstream from Mill End on 6th July and caught 6 Brown Trout to 6” – all fish caught on a size 16 black gnat. I fished the River with visiting angler James Maben on 6th July below Fingle – we caught 30 recordable fish from 7” up to 12”. All fish taken on dry flies with Griffiths Gnat being most productive and fish located in the deeper pools and glides.
Over the last week I have also received a number of nil returns from both members and visiting anglers.
If you are fishing in these drought conditions do please take particular care when wading – the rocks are extremely slippery even with studded soles and a wading staff is highly recommended.
Tight lines, David W
LATE JUNE UPDATE
There is no finer place to be at this time of year than fishing along the banks of the River Teign. The lack of rain in May and June is taking its toll on river levels however Brown Trout fishing remains strong with most fish falling to dry flies. Visiting angler Clive Davies purchased a week long permit and fished between 12th – 16th June catching 20 Brown Trout with 3 fish at 12” largely on Humpy and Klinkhammer patterns, Clive also caught a 13” Sea Trout just below Fingle Bridge. On 2nd June Nick Martin, a visiting angler from Brighton had a great day catching 18 Brown Trout with over half in the 12” size category. Nick noted that fish were rising readily and were ‘plump and feisty’! Martyn Storer had 5 smaller fish on 12th June and lost a big trout. I have recently acquired a 3 weight 6ft 6” rod outfit and have had great fun catching wild Brown Trout from either end of the fishery - casting easily under low hanging branches and dropping a delicate line onto the tail of pools where larger and easily spooked fish can often be found. 4 evening trips for me this month have yielded 15 Brown Trout to 11”. These beautifully marked fish came from the Steps Bridge and Rushford Bridge areas all on dry flies and ideally suited my light little outfit.
Finally a date for your diaries. On 14th July we will be holding an Open Day to encourage new members to join. This will take place in the field beside Fingle Bridge. Richard Jackson and another professional casting instructor will be providing free casting tuition sessions and running a casting competition. Our President - Mike Weaver will be on hand to demonstrate how to tie highly successful fly patterns and UTFA Committee Members can answer questions on the Club and our fishing. If you know someone who might be interested in joining the club do encourage them to turn up – they will be made very welcome.
The hot thundery weather over the last fortnight has helped stimulate an abundance of fly life on the River and anglers fishing for Brown Trout have reported good catches and a good mayfly hatch. Gary Clark reported on his first trip of the season on June 1st. Fishing below Fingle Bridge during the evening he caught a total of 16 fish over a 3 hour period all on a Parachute Adams with fish between 9”–12”. At the time trout were rising freely with a good number of mayfly present. Over the late-May bank holiday weekend, I took the opportunity to fish the River twice with 6 fish to 12” during the evening of 27th May all on dry flies (mainly Comparadun) below Fingle Bridge followed by a first visit to the water above Rushford Farm to catch 2 beautifully marked wild Brown Trout both around 10” .
The River is also fishing well for Sea Trout. On the 18th May Paul Osbourne caught a cracking Sea Trout of 22” (see photo below) and lost another. Matt Cooper had two fish during the last week of May (around 2.5lb and 3lb respectively). On 4th June Matt had a further two fish (again around 2.5lb and 3lb) – all fresh fish and all returned to fight another day. Richard Jackson had a stunning Sea Trout in June 1st from Upperton which measured a conservative 27” allowing for its rotund body places it around the 8lb mark – well done Richard - potential silverware for that one. Pleased to report that this specimen fish was returned. Richard also caught a 3lb fish on the 4th June.
With wild flowers in full glory and good fishing, June is a great time to be on the water and also to introduce potential new members to the River Teign and UTFA.
Hopefully the next spell of sustained rain will bring more Sea Trout up into UTFA waters. Do keep sending in your catch returns to firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Osbourne's fish – 22”
Richard Jackson's 27” – 8lb Sea Trout
I am pleased to report that the first Sea Trout catch return has been submitted for this season. On the evening of the 14th May, Matt Cooper had a nice Sea Trout – a very fresh fish of around 3.5lb caught on a Black and Silver tube fly from Fingle Weir Pool. The fish was returned.
Can I take this opportunity to remind members who were successful in catching migratory fish this year to complete their EA catch returns as well as the UTFA catch return. At a recent meeting with the EA locally, it became clear that they are using annual figures for both Salmon and Sea Trout catches on the River Teign which are very different from those collated by the two angling associations. With anticipated changes to the Salmon and Sea Trout Byelaws coming in 2019 based on river classification, it will be important to ensure that our catch records tally in future.
Visiting angler Ed Brown had his first ever trip to UTFA waters on 15th May and reports ‘My first time on your river, a very enjoyable day. I fished downstream of Fingle Bridge and had 10 Brown Trout all safely returned. Most of them were in the 7-9” size but I did have a lovely 11” fish and then to finish the day an even better fish which measured 12”. All fish caught on nymphs with a self-tied Frenchie accounting for the majority. Thank you for opening your waters to the fishing public (Day ticket from local Post Office)’.
Richard Jackson (www.devonflyfisher.com) reports taking a client out on the River during the second week in May. On this occasion there was a rise up to 09.30 and then it went very quiet. During the rise his client caught a 12” Brown Trout on a dry Elk Hair Sedge, followed by another of 10” later they caught 6 smaller fish on a nymph.
Do e-mail images to go with your catch returns. I must to confess that the fine fish below (2lb wild Brown Trout) came from my highly successful trip to the River Irfon in Wales this week!
At last the sun has arrived and with increased temperatures we will hopefully see more fly life and fish activity on the River. Graham Dance submitted the first catch report of the season although sadly the river was still running high and fast and the fish were not responding. Visiting angler Andrew Moss had a more successful trip on the 17th April – he caught 4 trout to 10” above Fingle Bridge during a morning session with a combination of gold ribbed hares ear (gold head) nymph and partridge and orange. A group of UTFA, LTFA and TFA members have now completed Riverfly training and we are hoping to co-ordinate a number of surveys to record aquatic invertebrate life over time at agreed points along the river. Our new Chairman, Dave Scott was delighted to record a successful catch of salmon parr during the training day – he assures me that the ladies hand in question was huge!!!!
Do keep sending in your catch reports along with images of – hopefully more notable! – fish.
Tight lines! David
No Salmon reported to date since the season got underway on Feb 1st. The Brown Trout season has just opened (15th March) so fingers crossed for a good season this year for all Salmon, Sea Trout and Brown Trout anglers. While the results from last season were mixed there were some memorable catches. For me one of the best outcomes was the end of year total release rates for both Sea Trout (at 83% released) and Salmon (at 91% released). Hopefully successful members and day visitors will continue to get a great deal of pleasure from just catching and taking a photo of these fine migratory fish then watching them swim away.
As the new season progresses, do please send an email to email@example.com with your notable catches, along with a details of the fly / lure and location. It is also great to have a picture attachment wherever possible.
David West – UTFA Catch Returns Officer
Mid-March on the River