Wild Brown Trout on Dartmoor

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.

Two Bridges - West DartWest Dart

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.

Fly Fishing - Brown Trout

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.

Fly Fishing Dartmoor Brown Trout

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.