Fishing in Devon
Whether you're heading to Devon for a relaxing day fishing or you're competing, there are lots of spots for a day fishing.
Sea or River?
Serious sport or a day's excitement for the family, Devon's multitude of fishing spots will give you the perfect answer. For sea fishing trips and the thrill of wrestling with vigorous mackerel or pollock, try Brixham, Exmouth or Appledore.
Flick a fly for trout on the Exe and Tamar, two of Devon's many rivers justly popular for fly fishing. Spend a satisfying day at one of the dozens of lakes and reservoirs kept well stocked with carp, rudd, tench and ghosties.
Here's what the experts say...
All along Devon's coastlines, breakwaters, rocks and beaches offer superb spots for reeling in a fine dogfish or bass.
Devon has a wealth of fly fishing opportunities, being blessed with many rivers and streams offering exciting fishing for wild brown trout, sea trout and Atlantic salmon. Both the Exe and the Tamar river systems also hold grayling, allowing the fly fishing season to extend into the autumn months. There are a number of reservoirs offering fishing for stocked rainbow trout, and also brown trout at Roadford and Fernworthy reservoirs. (Contact the South West Lakes Trust for details).
A number of fishing clubs and hotels offer fly fishing on the rivers, the largest of which is The Arundell Hotel at Lifton in West Devon, which has a fly fishing school with 6 qualified guides and 22 miles of private fishing available on 6 different rivers, 5 of which are all within a 2-mile radius of the hotel. Often guests at The Arundell can park the car by a bridge, wander off along the river, and not meet another human whilst fishing for the entire day. This is one of the many attractions, which makes fly fishing in Devon such a wonderful experience. For lovers of wildlife, Devon has a healthy population of otters, while kingfishers, dippers and grey wagtails are found on all our streams. Recently released and introduced European beavers are now also making their homes along the rivers of Devon, although, being nocturnal, you are more likely to see the very obvious signs of their activity rather than the creatures themselves. The Westcountry Rivers Trust offer a wide variety of fishing through their passport scheme, including the extensive Duchy of Cornwall fishing up on Dartmoor.
The best times for brown trout fishing on the rivers in Devon are May and June, with good hatches of Mayflies, Olives and Black Gnats around at this time, and then again in September when stoneflies and sedges will be hatching. Sea trout start to run in early summer, being at their best from the end of June on until their season closes at the end of September. Fly fishing at night for sea trout on the Devon rivers has to be the ultimate fly fishing experience, and is certainly not for the beginner or the faint-hearted. Salmon fishing in Devon is sadly not what it was, reflecting the nationwide decline in stocks of salmon, but given the right water there is always the chance of a fish on the main rivers such as the Tamar, Exe and Taw.
Devon is the only English county with two separate coastlines, and with the growing interest in saltwater fly fishing, many visitors are now targeting bass, mullet and other species with a fly rod on both the North and South Devon coasts. Given the recent hot dry summers, during the peak of which the rivers can be very low and difficult to fish, the coastlines offer an excellent alternative during the hot weather.