The 2020 Season
Fishing Reports

The 2020 Season

My thanks to the 45 members who have to date submitted their catch returns. If you are one of those who have still to do so please could I have your return – even if its a nil catch. Catch return data is really helpful to us when we argue the case for continued voluntary catch and release.

Looking at the information supplied so far it is really impressive to see the number of Sea Trout and Salmon that were released last season to fight another day. Thank you.

As winter arrives and a second national lockdown is announced – I hope the picture below of a fine Sea Trout (5lb 7oz) caught on a fly by Matthew Healey will inspire you for next year.

Sea Trout upper Teign

Please could I remind all members to send or email your catch returns for the 2020 season (including nil returns) by 1st Nov 2020. For posting returns my address is David West – UTFA Catch Returns, Meade House Flat, Moorhaven Village, Ivybridge, Devon PL21 0HB alternatively email me at

These returns are important to the club and for helping to assess fish populations in the River.

On 27th September Ryan Smith landed a 23″ hen Salmon with an extimated weight of 8lbs. Ryan reports catching the Salmon on a Flying C while fishing at the top end of Boars Reach. The fish was carefully returned to the river.

As we enter the final 6 days of the 2020 season I hope that more members found the time to fish this year. On Thursday 17th September, Stuart Summerell had an eventful afternoon – having landed half a dozen Brown Trout to 12″ he then managed two in one go: a fish on the dry fly and another on the dropper at the same time!

To top it off, while fishing further up river, Stuart disturbed four deer, one being albino, He writes – “I’ve heard about an Albino Deer in the valley but never seen one before. I must admit, for a second I thought it was a bloody big goat!”

On the weekend 12th /13th September visiting angler Phil Turnbull from the Westcountry Rivers Trust fished the Upper Teign for the first time. He concludes that it is a truly wonderful river to fish and added the following to his catch return;

‘The stand out moment is a memory I shall treasure:
Sunday afternoon, warm sunshine, splashy takes by excitable trout.  Having been moving like a stalking heron after a few rising 10-12” trout in a pool, each foot movement taking a minute to complete to minimise any surface agitation, I failed to notice until I was half way along the pool against the LHB that 4 salmon were gently resting in the depths, but 3m from my feet to the side.  My heart both froze and sank – I would never wish to disturb should awesome creatures in such a manner, especially as the next nearest pools were a few hundred meters away either side of long riffle/ glide sequences. 

I have never seen adult salmon so close, and was distraught at the idea of unintentionally spooking them.  Having now spent a good minute staring in frozen disbelief, I realised the only way out was to gently move myself out of the water.  The operation begun, and I began moving slow enough that growing limbs of the nearby willow were overtaking me.  Keeping a beady eye on the salmon, which were happily gently jostling for position, I managed to (eventually!) reach the shelved rocks near the pool inlet and slunk away into the shadows of a large trunk of an oak tree, enabling a (slightly) quicker pace into some riffled shallows that masked the sound of my footsteps. 

I turned back and watched from the shelter of overhanging branches and noisy water to see the salmon still happily resting in the pool, and I gave a sigh of relief.  A slightly shaky cup of tea to reflect on the awesome experience, and onwards to seeking brown trout ready to snatch my fly.

This, following the spotting of sea trout hugging the LHB in the weir pool upstream of Fingle Bridge before the crowds appeared on Saturday, have put a smile on my face that I think will remain until next season!

We have just received the data on fish passing over the counter at Sowton. In the month of August 195 fish passed over the counter with 25 fish in the over 50 cm size category – large sea trout or salmon. So there are some large migratory fish to be had in the upper reaches – you have just 29 days left to seek them out!

It is always good to hear of Salmon in the river. On 20th Aug Derek Myhill had two grilse of 3lb and 4lb – fishing above Clifford Bridge he was spinning with a Mepps. On 21st Aug Gary Clark caught a 22″ Sea Trout while spinning for Salmon above Fingle and Peter Reid lost a decent fresh fish above MIll End.

Richard Jackson ( reports that he has had few fishing clients this year however on 24th Aug he accompanied visiting angler Philip Bilney. In a 6 hour session, Philip caught over 25 Brown Trout on the dry fly – mainly Elk Hair Caddis – which included 4 fish of 10″ and 1 of 12″.Finally on the 26th Aug Harry Chance had 9 Brown Trout in a 2 hour session with wet flies (Black Pennel / Teal Blue & Silver) above Steps Bridge.

Hope you all get a chance to fish the river in September – do send me your catch reports and any pictures taken. Tight lines DW

David Pagett was fishing upstream of Clifford Bridge on Monday 17th August when he lost his landing net somewhere in the undergrowth. If anyone finds the lost net please could you let me know using the above email address and I will in turn let David know. Thanks DW

Just when I thought that my own season best 14″ Brown Trout was in with a chance for some silverware along comes a monster!! On Sunday 16th August Harry Chance had a memorable evening first catching a 12″ Brown Trout just below the slabs and then a 17″ monster (see photo) just above. Committee member Lesley Bryant witnessed this fine fish which has now set an extremely high bar for the best trout of the season! Well done Harry. Both fish were caught on a nymph.

A 17″ Brown Trout is a real specimen for the river and it looks to be in fin perfect condition.

On the 10th August Andrew Keating caught 12 Brown Trout in the evening mostly in the 6 – 8″ size range with one just shy of 12″ caught just above Upperton Reach. All fish were caught on a small Elk Hair Caddis fly.

Anyone thinking of Sea Trout fishing this week will be encouraged to see the photo below. John Wilding caught this fine Sea Trout above Sowton (downstream of UTFA waters) – it measured 26.5″ with an estimated weight of around 8lbs.
The fish was returned to fight another day.

As many members will be aware there is a fish counter located at Sowton. Results for the month of June show that 320 fish went through the counter with 70 of them being large Sea Trout / Salmon (over 50cm in length). These large migratory fish are all heading for UTFA waters. Neil Owens spent a week fishing for Brown Trout from the 11th July. In total he caught 51 trout to 11″ mainly on emerger patterns. On 20th July Graham Dance fished just above Fingle Bridge and caught 5 Brown Trout to 12″ on a Hawthorn fly. Visiting angler Matthew Wright caught 9 Brown Trout to 8″ upstream of Mill End on a variety of small klinkhammers, sedges and griffiths gnats.


On 16th July Tim Robinson caught a very nice 3lb Sea Trout on a wake lure at Upperton. The following evening he lost a Sea Trout at Chagford. Harry Chance had a couple of great days fishing for Brown Trout on the 10th and 11th July. Harry caught his best trout of the season (pictured) on a humpy dry fly kindly given to him by a fellow member the night before – Harry says thank you!

On the 10th July Graham Dance fishing below Fingle Bridge caught six trout to 14” on a black bug.

It would be good to see some rain as river levels in the upper reaches are now getting low. Do keep sending in your catch returns.

Matthew Henley was pleased to report catching his first Sea Trout last week at Upperton. The fine looking fish (pictured below) took Matthew down to the backing and was taken on a silver stoat tube. The fish was estimated at 24″ (5lb) and returned to fight another day – well done Matthew.

Sea Trout upper Teign

Tim Robinson fished below Fingle Bridge on Thursday afternoon (2 July) and had 8 brown trout to about 7″. Then fished Upperton that evening and had two sea trout of about 2 1/2 lb and 1 1/2 lb.  Another member also had a nice fish that evening of about 3 lb perhaps slightly bigger.

On Friday 3 July Tim fished at Upperton again with no luck though Richard Jackson was delighted to catch a small peal.

Harry Chance reports catching Brown Trout to 11 inches this week with fish taken from the top of Fingle Weir Pool and from Holly Pit. Jonathan Meredith had a wonderful evening on 24th June catching a 21” sea trout on a ‘Stinger’ type fly. Visiting angler James Maben and myself fished above Fingle on the afternoon of 27th June taking 19 trout including a fine fish of 13″. All fish taken on dry flys with most coming from the faster flowing sections between Fingle Bridge and Drogo Weir Pool. Great to see the pub offering a take away service!!

Richard Penrose reports a highly successful first Sea Trout outing of the season. Last night Richard caught two Sea Trout from Chagford Weir Pool. One was exactly 4lb and the other around 1.5 lbs. Both were taken on a home tied Teign Ghost with a 1″ aluminium tube. Do keep emailing me your catches.

Gary Clark, spinning with a Rapala at Upperton on the 19th June, caught the first Salmon reported this year. The fish measured 27″and estimated to weigh around 7lb. Gary reports that the fish initially shook free and then took again immediatly on a re-cast. The fish was returned.

Fishing between 7th – 21st June, Harry Chance reported some quality Brown Trout caught above Fingle on dry flies.

Between claps of thunder and heavy showers, I had a very successful afternoon catching 10 Brown Trout to 13″ on a size 13 Sparkle Dun dry fly below Fingle Bridge. Sharif Adams reports catching a lovely Sea Trout measuring just under 20″ from Chagford Weir on a small silver stoat fly.

A great time for all members to venture down to the river by day for tthe Brown Troout and by night for the Sea Trout. Do keep sending me your reports.

David W

On 14th June Grahm Dance reports fishing down stream of Fngle Bridge and catching 10 Brown Trout to 8″ on Black Gnat and Hawthorn Fly.

UTFA Member Sharif Adams reports 3 trips to the River this month and two Sea Trout.The first fish was caught by Nick Evens on a surface lure, a nice sea trout of about 2lbs. The following night Sharif caught  a Sea Trout on a silver stoat tube which measured 17.5 inches, so about 2lbs.

Do keep sending in your fishing reports – with a picture if possible – to

I spent an enjoyable afternoon trout fishing on the upper reaches of the fishery above Chagford Bridge today – 4 fish to 12″ all on dry flies. The Sowton fish pass is recording large fish (Sea Trout) moving upstream and Sea Trout have been seen at Chagford Weir pool. No UTFA members have submitted a migratory fish return so far but hopefully one of these dark June nights will prove fruitful for the skilled angler. Do please send in your reports with photos if possible. Hope all members can find an excuse to fish the River this year.
Tight lines

COVID- 19 UTFA Fishery is now OPEN to MEMBERS ONLY
As many of you will already know, fishing is now being allowed as an activity from Wednesday 13th May. Therefore the UTFA committee have decided to re-open our fishery for Members only. Day tickets are not availabe at present but we will be updating this page to let you know when guests can buy permits again.

We also require you to follow the Angling Trust guidelines so please make sure you read and adhere to them.

Also, to enable us to monitor who is fishing our water, it is essential that you carry your membership card with you, otherwise you should not fish. Within the distancing guidelines, anyone fishing our water may be asked to produce their card and be requested to cease fishing if they are unable to do so. We will continue to monitor and comply with Government guidance and, if necessary to safeguard members and the public, will restrict access to the fishery if so required.

COVID- 19 UTFA Fishery Closed until further notice
Following updated advice from Government on supporting the NHS and stopping the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus, the UTFA Committee have decided to close the fishery to members and day ticket holders until further notice. We will inform members and post an update on this website once the fishery can be opened again. We are sorry for this disappointing news but hope members and visitors will understand the reasons why we have needed to take this action (27th March 2020)

Yesterday afternoon I combined my essential food shopping journey with a trip to the River. The river looked great, the wild daffodils were out, the sun shone and the birds singing. For an hour or so I was able to escape from the worries of COVID 19 and just focus on the river environment and how to get my beaded nymph down on the river bed! March is always a tricky month for fish action (my excuse for a blank!) but it was so good for my own well-being to just cast a line. I can practice social isolating and still fish. I can improve my flytying skills in the evening and stock my fly boxes. I hope others can do the same – it is most uplifting to stay in touch with this special pastime. My only mistake was forgetting the wading staff!

Do let me know if you have a productive fishing trip. I am going to have a go at this ‘Euro nymphing’ style which is all the rage on social media. In fact if you are stuck at home and need to ‘escape’ for a moment there are lots of good fishing videos on You Tube.

STOP PRESS!! Just as I write this note – news of a successful visit by a day ticket angler who sent the second picture below of a beautiful coloured trout caught in the last few days – so they are clearly out there. Clive left a message ‘Lovely days fishing on a great stretch of river’. 


Just as the fishiing season begins in earnest the country is at a stand still with the impact of coronavirus. If you are wondering about venturing to the River it is worth taking note of the Angling Trusts guidance:
‘Where appropriate, anglers should carry on fishing and encourage others to do so. Angling gets people out into the fresh air and away from crowded, indoor situations where infections are more likely to spread. However, we need to be vigilant and take precautions to minimise the risk to ourselves and others. I would be encouraging everyone involved in angling to follow the official advice and adapt your plans and events accordingly’

Stay healthy. DW

With only a few days left before the start of the 2020 Trout and Sea Trout season, I hope you can all find more time for fishing on our beautiful river this year. Do email to with information on your results and attach images of good fish where you can. Look forward to hearing from you – Tight Lines!

FEB 2020 UPDATE: ‘A game fish is too valuable to be caught only once’ – Lee Wulf
The new Salmon season has begun and it is now only a matter of weeks (15th March) before Brown Trout and Sea Trout fishing can commence for another year on the River Teign. Storm Dennis has brought more tree debris down to the Upperton Weir and we are most grateful to Dave Rickwood and his team at the Woodland Trust for keeping an eye on this and removing large fallen limbs and tree trunks that are way beyond the handling capacity of volunteer work parties! Two dates have been agreed for the more simple bank clearing work – Sat 22nd Feb at 10:00 (Fingle Bridge) and Sat 7th March and we hope you will be able to help out.

2019 was a better year for Sea Trout with 85 fish caught. It was particularly encouraging to see 85% of Sea Trout carefully released and 100% of all Salmon caught released. UTFA is committed to encouraging best practice with catch and release. Catch and release is a great conservation strategy, but simply letting a fish go does not guarantee it will survive. The actions you take before, during and after you land a fish will hugely improve its chances of survival, keep fish stocks healthy, and keep fishermen fishing.

Before the 2020 season gets fully underway it is worth repeating below the catch and release quick guide promoted by the Wild Trout Trust;

  • Use barbless hooks
  • Bring fish to the net as quickly as possible
  • Keep fish in the water
  • Handle as little as possible, and always with wet hands
  • Do not squeeze – it damages internal organs
  • Remove the hook using forceps if necessary
  • Avoid contact with the bank or gravel as this removes protective slime
  • Release the fish by pointing its nose into the current so that water is flowing over its gills
  • Support it gently until it swims away.

I hope you have a great 2020 season and look forward to receiving your catch reports along with pictures if possible.