I headed up to Two Bridges, on Dartmoor yesterday to try out fishing a river for wild brown trout for the first time. My trout fishing to date has been limited to still waters, and has generally been for rainbows so I fancied seeing what could be gleaned from the small fast flowing dartmoor streams.
Day tickets are available via the Westcountry Angling Passport scheme for many of the Duchy of Cornwall controlled rivers across dartmoor. The Dartmoor Fishery Permit is only £10 a day. I picked my day ticket up at the Two Bridges Inn near Princetown and set off downstream from the Inn to see if I could tempt my first ever brownie from a river.
It was a sunny and warm day with a bit of breeze ruffling the water. The river was crystal clear and fast running. I took my chest waders and was glad I had done so in a few places. In many places the river was only ankle to knee deep although a few sections neared waist deep. Fishing with wellies may have been possible but would of severely limited accessibility in a few locations. I took along my #4 rod, with a floating line, tapered leader and 2.5lb tippet. With quite a few fish rising, I tried various small dry flies and had instant and pretty much constant action with numerous takes. Despite the number of takes, I found actually hooking anything particularly taxing. I’m guessing that these were mainly small fish, and as if to prove this hypothesis right, my first ever wild brownie from a river was a small and feisty, beautifully patterned little fish of around 4 inches.
I only really fished a short section of the river as the bites didn’t really dry up so I felt no need to move on. I ended the day with 5 fish – 3 of them being tiddlers, but with two slightly better fish as well – the bigger of which really put up a scrap.
I did see a much larger fish that I’d spooked, that showed there are much better fish there and which gives something to aim for in the future.
With the profusion of bites, I experimented with various dry flies and found that anything small and darkish coloured would get a bite. The only fly I tried that had no interest at all on the day was a small white moth type dry fly.
My first day on a trout stream was pretty perfect with no shortage of action and a few fish thrown in too. It certainly showed the potential of fishing up on Dartmoor, and at only £10 seemed really good value.