An amazing meeting of good weather and some free time on Sunday allowed me to get up to Dartmoor to fish the River Dart on the Westcountry Angling Passport scheme. I arrived at Two Bridges late afternoon / early evening and decided that with only a few hours of daylight left I’d fish the section nearest the Inn.
The weather was particularly glorious with sunshine and calm conditions. What a joy to be able to fish in shorts & T-shirt! This was to be the first trip here for a while, and I opted for wellies this time on the basis that the temperature would see me sweating profusely if I wore my neoprene waders… besides, the river Dart here is quite shallow in places and I preferred comfort over fishing convenience on this occasion.
I took along my trusty #4 rod with floating line, and tried a selection of small dry flies. Despite there being quite a lot of insect lift, there weren’t that many fish rising. I had 4 small brown trout and lost another, but only saw one sizeable fish on my wanderings (which I didn’t spot until I’d already spooked it). The end result of my efforts was a thoroughly pleasant evening in idilic surroundings, no other fishermen in sight with the bonus of a few fish. Next time maybe I’ll manage to spot the better fish before I scare them off…
Following yesterdays success in fishing for the wild brown trout of the West Dart up on Dartmoor, I decided to return and explore a slightly different section of the river. Yesterday I’d fished downstream from the Two Bridges Inn, whereas today I wanted to explore further upstream.
The weather had taken a turn for the worse over night with it being decidedly cooler as well as overcast and drizzly at times. There was very little in the way of rising fish which contrasted quite sharply with the day before. The river was still crystal clear and fast flowing but the fish didn’t seem to be feeding with quite the same vigour. I used the same flies that had been so successful yesterday and did eventually get a reasonable number of takes, but again think it was predominantly from tiny fish as I had real problems actually hooking any.
Eventually one small fish did save the day, but then with the onset of more persistent rain I decided to get back in the car and explore some of the other stretches of water available on the Dartmoor Fishery Permit even if I didn’t go on to fish them. I did have trouble finding some of the sections of water identified on the map that came with the day ticket and will probably need to bring along the OS map next time. Two easy to find locations that I thought looked worth a visit in the near future, were on the East Dart, particularly the sections at Postbridge and Bellever. Just need to find the free time to pay them a visit.
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.