The 1st of March saw the start to the 2019 salmon fishing season on the Torridge. Conditions were excellent for the opening day, with the river low and clear for the time of year.
2 Salmon have been reported, one at Little Warham and one immediately above the tide at Weare Giffard.
Looking upstream towards Beam weir 01/03/19
The river is now in full spate after several days of heavy rain, a dry spell is now needed before fishing can resume.
Friday 8th March: we are now in a very unsettled spell of weather. However it has been dry for 36hrs and tomorrow beats on the Upper River should become fishable. River height 2ft 6inches at Sheepwash.
It has been one of those years. The cold wet spring with the river in spate throughout March and April has been followed by the hottest driest summer since 1976.
Apart from a short period in May salmon and sea trout fishing has been at a standstill. The few anglers that have ventured out have on occasion been rewarded with some good brown trout fishing.
Salmon Bye-law: a reminder that all salmon over 70cms (approx 7lb) must, after 1st August, be released. This season in particular, the committee is requesting that all salmon and sea trout are released.
During a very brief window of opportunity the first salmon (9lbs) of the 2018 season was caught at Beam on Sunday 25th March by Alastair Blundell. The river dropped just enough between spates, however the river was still very full so this was a very good effort.
Since then the river has continued to be practically unfishable with spate after spate, and the whole month of March a complete wash out. The graph below shows the river level over the last 5 days at Rockhay Bridge Sheepwash, where the water level has barely been below 1m. A good fishing height here is around 0.6m.
Some settled weather is desperately needed to allow the river to settle to a good fishing height.
The season began on the 1st of March, which coincided with a spell of snow delivered by the ‘Beast from the East’. Since then the river has been in spate on most days and unfishable. We are now in the grips of a second spell of snow and it seems that the start of the season remains on hold.
In the first week of August, middle river beats have been fishing particularly well with 14 salmon known to have been caught at Little Wareham, Madeira, Brightlea and Brimblecombe. Several of these fish were between 12/14lb, and also some fresh grilse. An encouraging number of sea trout have also been caught.
With the current water levels fishing prospects look excellent.
After the recent wet weather the river level has been up and down, which has given some good opportunities for excellent fishing.
Last weekend 3 salmon were caught at Madeira, 2 (10lbs and 8lbs) by John Graham and a grilse (4.5lbs) by Val Roberts. Graham Roberts caught a 2.5lb brown trout on a size 20 midge. Several school peal were also encountered in the high water but landing them was tricky.
The previous week saw 6 salmon from the Half Moon fishermen, 2 at Junction, 2 at Brimblecombe, 1 from Brightlea and 1 from Beam.
Sea trout and salmon should now be spread throughout the river.
Considering the low flows since the early spring it has been an encouraging season so far. Unlike some years the salmon have moved upstream and seem to be spread through all the middle river beats. At last 30 have been caught, mostly in the range 8/12lbs but in the last fortnight some grilse have been caught in the 4/6lb range.
The sea trout anglers have also enjoyed some good fishing, highlighted by Martin Weeks and his friends who caught 17 in two nights fishing at Brimblecombe.
The brown trout fishing has been patchy, with little surface activity and most of the fish being caught with a nymph. Several fish over 2lbs have been caught.
At the time of writing there is much needed rain, so here’s hoping a spate will bring a run of fresh fish into the river.
It has been an unusually cold spring so far and after a wet spell at the end of March, April was exceptionally dry. In May the weather finally warmed up and the trout started to feed on the surface.
There has been an encouraging run of salmon and six have been caught below Beam Weir. Some warm rain and a spate will encourage these fish to move into the middle river.
The early sea trout have begun to make an appearance also, with two caught so far.