Wistlandpound Reservoir Open day coincided with a biting North East Wind and steely grey sky. This did little to dampen the enthusiasm for the start of a new season and a new era of Wistlandpound as a brown trout fishery. South West Lakes Trust Ranger Danny Ford has a great deal of enthusiasm for the fishery and its future. I have fished Wistlandpound for close to forty years and have seen its status changed on several occasions and this is what makes it hard for some to accept. During the eighties the lake was a premier rainbow trout fishery with fish stocked into double figures. When I first started fishing the lake it was stocked with rainbows that averaged a pound similar to the fishing on offer over the last two or three seasons.
The fishery is now to become a brown trout fishery with a stocking of fish up 2lb in weight but averaging around 1lb. The lake will in essence be a semi wild trout fishery and this is not a bad thing in my view as it offers an alternative to the put and take rainbows of more commercial waters. There is a distinct choice between expensive day ticket waters with big trout and low cost catch and release semi wild fishing.
A write up on the open day will appear in the summer edition of ‘Exmoor Magazine’. Fishing was difficult from the bank during the open day with only a handful of trout caught. The new club boat however proved very beneficial with me and David Eldred taking advantage of this new amenity to land around dozen trout including a few overwintered rainbows. Successful tactics were a black and silver humongous lure fished at mid depth with rapid retrieve. The takes were savage and several fish were observed chasing the lure to the edge of the boat. This was not the tactics I had expected to work but I had a tip off from Nick hart that similar tactics had worked a few days previously.
A couple of weeks later I join Wistlandpound Fly Fishing Club for the first competition of the new season. It s still quite cold with a light south east wind blowing but the biting chill has gone and the sky is teaming with martins just arrived from there winter quarters in far off Africa.
It’s a good turn out for the event with at least a dozen eagerly booking in at the start. The fishing proves far from easy and by the end of the day several have gone home. I persisted for a large proportion of the day using small nymphs and wet flies on a floating line to no avail. The only tactic that proved to work for me a black and blue humongous fished on a sinking line and retrieved quickly.
Several trout were seen to follow the fly nipping excitedly at its marabou tail. I lost a couple and ended up with three browns two of them well over a pound. This proved enough for runner up spot in the competition along with Andy Facey who had landed 3 browns using small imitative patterns.
After two visits to the reservoir I have enjoyed some good fishing with the brown trout and I have to say that there is a part of me that prefers brown trout to the slightly more aggressive and flamboyant American rainbow.