News Archive 2008 (newest at top of page)

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30/12/08 - Bank maintenance time is here again and, as always, there is much work to be done, so we need plenty of volunteers. Usually we meet on each Sunday morning for the first few weeks of the year and the work can be more or less physical, depending on the individual. In any case it is a good way of working off some of that Christmas pudding, good fun and, particularly for newer members, a good way of getting to know the river and an perhaps an opportunity to discuss tactics with other members.

The first session is on Sunday 4th January, meeting at Caddaford lay-by at 9pm. The main purpose for this Sunday will be to clear some vegetation at Abbot's Mead and below at Colston, not over doing things too much. Robin Thorn, who is again in charge of operations this year will not be available for this first meeting and Andy Myall has kindly volunteered to fill the breach.

This year we are also trying to organise a mid-week session (probably wednesday) under the leadership of Luke Chester-Master. It would be useful if anyone wishing to help with either the Sunday or mid-week session would e-mail to register their interest so that they may be kept up to date with locations etc. Also if there is any work you feel needs doing please let us know and we can try to fit it into the schedule.

8/12/07 As usual, our prize draw was held following the AGM, at the annual dinner. It was skillfully organised by Rob Dart and Robin Thorn who, on behalf of the DAA, would like to thank the following individuals and firms who donated prizes. The draw is an important means of fundraising for the Association and it is to be hoped that members, where possible, will show reciprocal support to the firms listed below.

N.Thomas Carbotec ten ft 7 weight TROUT ROD.
Snowbee FLY LINE.
Exeter Angling Centre FISHING WAISTCOAT
Swift Tackle FISHING BAG
Swift Tackle FISHING BAG
Torbay Angling Centre £ 20 GIFT  VOUCHER
Dartmouth Smoke House SIDE OF SMOKED SALMON
M. Davis, Hatchlands Trout Farm £ 20 VOUCHER


28/10\08 - Members may be aware of the proposed combination of the various bodies representing anglers into one entity, to be called The Angling Trust. Such a body would provide a united and more powerful organisation lobbying for the interests of all anglers. The following link points to a PDF document with details of the AT. Your browser should open it but if you have trouble viewing it you may need to download Adobe Reader from here.

Angling Trust PDF Document

23/9/08 - Disappointingly, there has not yet been any response to the item I posted a while ago regarding a fly swap with Gwent AS. I repeat the posting below. If you feel you would like to give it a go and help to foster ties with a similar club to ours in Wales, now would be the time to get in touch. The swap would get under way at the end of October.

Mark Evans of Gwent Angling Society has contacted me suggesting a fly swap between our members. This would take place during the winter months. For those of you who are not familiar with fly swaps, Mark explains:

"It basically works like so. A swap master is selected to over see the swap. Two swap minors are selected, one in daa, and one in gas, to collate each clubs contribution and post to the other swap minor. The swap master selects a species, or style. I would suggest maybe salmon or sewin(sea trout). Depending on the size of fly swap(say 10 people), each member of the fly swap ties 10 of his/her favourite salmon or sewin fly, providing the details of how to tie the fly and how to fish with it."

Would any member interested in participating please get in touch with me to register their interest. If you know of any other member who is a keen fly tier but might not be in the habit of visiting this web site, please pass on this request.

The next habitat work party is this Saturday on the East Webburn. Meet at the Old Inn car park in Widecombe at 0930.

1/9/08 - Unfortunately, with 2 inches of rain forecast for the moor for next 36 hours, the Blackabrook working party for tomorrow (Tues 2nd) has had to be cancelled.

29/8/08 - Here is the amended schedule for habitat work on the moor. Please note that the Pizwell session which was postponed has now been rescheduled for Monday 22nd Sept.

DATE                         LOCATION                               MEETING POINT


Tues 2nd Sept               Upper Blackabrook              Lay – by on B3357 1mile west of Two Bridges


Wed 10th Sept               Lower Blackabrook             Entrance to Prince Hall Hotel, 1 mile east of Two Bridges


Thurs 18th Sept              Stannonbrook                       Postbridge car park


Mon 22nd Sept                 Pizwell on Wallabrook       Pizwell


Sat 27th Sept                    East Webburn                     Old Inn, Widecombe            


27/8/08 - Would any member wishing to fish during the Salmon season extension please register with Hon. Sec. by the 6th of September at the latest so that a permit can be issued in good time. Members must register in order to fish.

There is a habitat improvement session on the Upper Blackabrook on Tuesday morning next (2nd Sept). (See list of other sessions below) Now that the rain seems to have abated it looks like it will go ahead. If you are available then please try to attend and lend a hand. Anglers were a little thin on the ground for last year's programme. Habitat improvement work is probably the most important thing we can do ourselves towards restoring numbers of fish to the river. It is probably a good idea to check with Toby on 01566 771810 before turning up.

19/8/08 - A reminder that the fishing platform at Admiral's Walk is UNSAFE. Further damage has been done by recent spates. Please keep off the structure. A plan to repair it is in hand but may take some time to realise.

Recently, a salmon was caught on our water which showed signs of probable nematode worm infection. The visible symptom of an infected fish is a reddened, swollen and possibly bleeding vent. This is often referred to as Red Vent Syndrome (RVS). It does not appear that this is a particularly serious condition and it is perfectly OK to release such fish. However, if one is taken for the pot, it should be cooked thoroughly as the worm can infect humans. As parasites may be present undetected in any wild fish, the Food Standards Agency gives the following advice regarding the preparation of fish to be eaten raw:

"If wild salmon is to be eaten raw or almost raw it should be frozen in all parts for at least 24 hours, at a temperature of –20oC or colder. This will ensure that any non-visible parasites or undetectable larvae of nematodes are destroyed."

There is a good article with more information on RVS on the 'Fish and Fly' web site and also a PDF document here, from Fisheries Research Services (Scotland). Please report any such fish caught so that we may monitor the situation.

15/8/08 - As expected, the habitat work at Pizwell tomorrow (Saturday) is postponed. Watch this space for rescheduling.

13/8/08 - The following released yesterday by the National Press Office:

A new strategy through to 2021 to help protect the iconic salmon and sea trout from the complex environmental challenges they face was launched today (Tuesday) by the new Environment Agency Chairman Lord Chris Smith.

Officially opening the Blachford Fish Pass in Devon, Lord Smith, said: “The dramatic sight of a salmon or sea trout leaping from the water is one of nature’s greatest spectacles.

“These special fish are very valuable as they bring social, economic and environmental benefits to local communities. Their sensitivity and need for a good quality environment means we need to work together with our partners to address the complex factors affecting them.”

Work to protect these fish, which attract tourism and act as indicators of a healthy environment, has already improved stocks in some rivers and has helped increase salmon numbers in England and Wales by 40,000 in the last ten years. The new work programme, ‘Better sea trout and salmon fisheries strategy’, which the Environment Agency consulted widely on now includes goals to protect sea trout as well as salmon.

Lord Smith continued: “The Better sea trout and salmon fisheries strategy will help us focus our work over the next decade to be more efficient and effective. It’s not just about us – we need everyone with an interest in our rivers to work in partnership, to help bring more sea trout and salmon into more rivers, bringing more benefit.

“It is a privilege to open the Blachford Fish Pass to mark the launch of this strategy as the project encompasses much of what our strategy is calling for. The pass will help salmon and trout reach their spawning ground safely, and could not have happened without the hard work and partnership of the Yealm River Association, Action for Wildlife, Westcountry Rivers Trust, and the Environment Agency.”

The strategy sets out a number of key aims the Environment Agency wants to see achieved by 2021, which includes:

§ improving the quality and increase the availability of good quality habitats,
§ promoting and realising better land management practices,
§ working with partners to remove or reduce impacts of barriers affecting fish migration,
§ reducing the exploitation of at-risk stocks,
§ making the most effective use of resources by working to the strength of our partners,
§ establishing sea trout and salmon as widely recognised environmental icons.
Paul Knight, Director of the Salmon and Trout Association, said: "The Salmon and Trout Association very much welcomes the Environment Agency's new strategy, especially the inclusion of sea trout. We have been consulted at all stages during the evolution of the strategy, which is an excellent example of the Environment Agency involving partners in a major project.

“It is fitting that another partnership, the Blachford Fish Pass on the River Yealm, should be chosen for Lord Smith to launch the strategy. Opening up new spawning and juvenile areas to migratory fish is an essential part of managing and conserving fish stocks. The Environment Agency has joined forces with local fisheries and environmental interests to make this happen, helping improve the river's salmon and trout populations.”

The work at Blachford, carried out by the Environment Agency’s workforce, involved removing the existing 7m long stone upper weir and replacing it with a ‘pool and traverse’ fish pass for fish to swim up. At least 15km of spawning grounds has been opened up by the new fish pass and as many as 50 sea trout and salmon were seen to ascend in the first day it was used.

The ‘Better sea trout and salmon fisheries strategy’ is available for download from the Environment Agency publications catalogue.


12/8/08 - We have again secured a salmon season extension for a duration of two weeks. All methods permissible will apply as during the rest of the season but the extension will be entirely catch and release with single barbless hooks. Those members intending to fish must register with Hon Sec in order for permission to be issued. Any catches should be reported to Hon Sec by telephone or email as soon as possible after the event to allow inclusion in the season's statistics.

Due to unusually high water levels the habitat management work on the Lower Cherrybrook has had to be postponed. Unfortunately the Pizwell session on Saturday is looking doubtful as well. Those wishing to help should contact Toby on the number below for up to date information.

6/8/08 - The first of the habitat management sessions is tomorrow. Please lend a hand if you have the time. This is important work to help improve spawning habitat higher in the catchment. The timetable for this year's work is below. Meeting at 9.30am on all days. Please bring wet weather gear and wellies / sturdy footwear. For further info and to book a place on the river walk and redd counting days please call Toby Russell at the Westcountry Rivers Trust on 01566 771810. Those wishing to participate may register with Toby to be informed of any last minute changes due to weather etc.




Meeting Point

Thurs 7th Aug

Habitat management

Upper Cherrybrook

Upper Cherrybrook Br., 2 miles west of Postbridge

Wed 13th Aug

Habitat management

Lower Cherrybrook

Lower Cherrybrook Br., between Dartmeet and Two Bridges

Sat 16th Aug

Habitat management

Wallabrook at Pizwell

Pizwell Br., 1 mile south of Bellever Forest

Thurs 21st Aug

** River walk **

Wallabrook at Runnage

Runnage Br., 2 miles south of Postbridge

Wed 27th Aug

Habitat management

Wallabrook at Runnage

Runnage Br., 2 miles south of Postbridge


Tues 2nd Sept

Habitat management

Upper Blackbrook

The lay-by on the B3357 1m west of Two Bridges (on the western side of the Blackbrook)

Wed 10th  Sept

Habitat management

Lower Blackbrook

Entrance to Prince Hall Hotel, 1 mile from Two Bridges on road to Dartmeet      

Thurs 18th Sept

Habitat management

Stannon Stream

Postbridge car park

Sat 27th Sept

Habitat management

East Webburn

The Old Inn car park, Widecombe in the Moor


Fri 19th Dec

** Redd counting **


Bellever car park

Mon 22nd Dec

** Redd counting **


Bellever car park





























29/7/08 - Just a reminder that our fly fishing taster day is going ahead on Saturday the 9th of August. One of the qualified casting instructors we had lined up has had to pull out due to business commitments so if there is another instructor out there who would be willing to donate a little time on the day and possibly drum up some future clients I would be grateful if they were to contact me. Also we could do with the loan of some kind of tentage to provide some cover from the sun and/or rain at the event. Something with walk-in headroom would be ideal, perhaps a frame tent or even one of those folding canvass gazebos. Please let me know if you can help.

19/7/08 - Mark Evans of Gwent Angling Society has contacted me suggesting a fly swap between our members. This would take place during the winter months. For those of you who are not familiar with fly swaps, Mark explains:

"It basically works like so. A swap master is selected to over see the swap. Two swap minors are selected, one in daa, and one in gas, to collate each clubs contribution and post to the other swap minor. The swap master selects a species, or style. I would suggest maybe salmon or sewin(sea trout). Depending on the size of fly swap(say 10 people), each member of the fly swap ties 10 of his/her favourite salmon or sewin fly, providing the details of how to tie the fly and how to fish with it."

Would any member interested in participating please get in touch with me to register their interest. If you know of any other member who is a keen fly tier but might not be in the habit of visiting this web site, please pass on this request.

17/7/08 - One of our members has mislaid a gye net on the river, possibly at Kilbury. If you have found such a net, please let me know and I will reunite it with its owner.

The Westcountry Rivers Trust has provided a timetable for habitat improvement work this year. It can be downloaded here: Dart REDDS dates. Each year, the work involves conservation volunteers and anglers alike, although last year it must be said that anglers were a little thin on the ground. That having been said, this is not just limited to members. Anyone interested in conservation work is welcome to join in. Please try to find time to help with this work, which is vital to the future of our river.

With their copy of the newsletter, members will have received a copy of the flyer advertising the beginners / junior day on the 9th August. Please try to display this in a prominent place if you can. The event is free of charge and it may help to add the word FREE in felt-tip to the flyer.

10/7/08 - Lots of water over the last few days, especially yesterday. Andy Myall has sent in these pictures taken at Dartbridge last evening.





28/6/08 - Another reminder for the need for vigilance was given when two suspected poachers were seen leaving the river near Austin's Bridge. The member who observed them wisely did not approach them but called both the Police and the EA and representatives of both attended. The individuals concerned were tracked to Buckfastleigh, where the trail went cold. Members seeing any suspicious goings on should call the EA hotline on 0800 807060 and/or 999.

20/6/08 - The Brown Trout stocking has now been completed for this season. Some of them are seen being released below. More pictures of the operation are available via the Photo Gallery page


19/6/08 - The Association will be holding a fly casting 'taster day' on the Dart near Staverton on Saturday 9th August. There is no charge and the fun starts at 11am. Qualified instructors will be on hand to teach the basics. Juniors are particularly welcome (accompanied by an adult). We are indebted to Mike Burrows and to Riverford Organic Farm for supplying the venue. Please contact Hon. Sec. Phil Prowse on 01626 872434 for details.

9/6/08 - We are indebted to Allan & Carol Tudor and members of Totnes Sub-aqua Club who provided assistance with the removal of the tree from Halliwells yesterday. Eight members of the TSAC volunteered to help. Our thanks to them and especially the five who were able to turn out at short notice on the day. Thanks also to those of our own members who were involved, including regulars Steve Burt, John Harris, Andy Myall, Phil Prowse, and of course Robin Thorn who does such sterling work organising our bank maintenance.

Steve Burt was kind enough to send the following photos of the work in progress.




Phil directs operations from the bank

7/6/08 - Please note that the work party for Halliwells (see below) is ON for tomorrow.

6/6/08 - I have just had a look up at Halliwells and it did not appear that the strop has been fixed to the tree (see below). Please check here before turning up on Sunday.

5/6/08 - There is a large tree in the river at Halliwells. We are going to attempt to remove it on Sunday morning (8th), starting at 0830 and will need as many people as possible to get the job done. By Sunday, a chain strop should have been attached to the trunk, making it easier to drag the tree to the bank where it can be de-limbed and removed. Please come and help if you can.

30/5/08 - Recently there have been two sightings (on the same day) of an individual swimming in Totnes Weir pool in a wet-suit and carrying a spear-gun. On at least the first occasion, at lunchtime on the day in question, he was accompanied by two other men with pushchairs and two small children. Would all members please be alert to such goings-on and if anything suspicious is seen please call the EA hotline 0800 807060 (put it in your mobile phone now) and/or the police on 999.

26/3/08 - The Maps page now has a link which should download a folder of Google Earth placemarks showing various relevant sites on the river Dart. These should help members and visiting anglers to orientate themselves with our fishing, find parking spots etc. Please note that the placemarks are provisional at the moment and reports of mistakes and suggestions for corrections and additions would be gratefully received. There is also a link on the page to where you can download Google Earth for free if you do not already have it.

15/3/08 - A little more information on the DFA AGM. After the meeting there will be an auction of fishing. There will be 17 lots donated by riparian owners in the Dart catchment as well as a casting lesson with fishing at Kennick. Also after the meeting there will be a hot buffet supper, price £12 per head. (Please send cheques to Nick Holding, payable to Dart Fisheries Association)

The Fishing Regulations page should now be fully up to date. Apologies for the delay.

14/3/08 - A date for your diary. The Dart Fisheries Association AGM is on Saturday 12th April at 1830. There is a new venue this year i.e. The Seven Stars Hotel in Totnes. All members are invited to attend to learn more about the work of the DFA and the new Dart Partnership, involving the DFA, EA and Westcountry Rivers Trust.

Good luck, everyone, for the new Trout season, which of course starts tomorrow.

5/3/08 - First fish of the season caught. See 'Catch Reports'

3/3/08 - Many thanks to those who turned up to work on removal of the tree in TWP on Sunday morning. There was a good turnout and the Island is now clear for the start of the Sea Trout season.

1/3/08 - ...and you thought we had problems with a seal in the weir pool...

25/2/08 - Members (and others) might be interested in the following post regarding Orri Vigfusson's letters to the Norwegian government re their record on Salmon Conservation.

Some of you may have seen that there is a tree stuck on the island in Totnes Weir Pool (see photo). It needs to be shifted before the start of the season so a work party is arranged for this Sunday 2nd March. This will involve an early start at 7am due to the tide. Again, many hands are needed. Please attend if possible. Waders essential.

twp tree

Tree in Totnes Weir Pool

22/2/08 Bank Maintenance this weekend: Please meet at Halliwells, 9am onwards.

23/1/08 (2) - Robin Thorn, who, for those of you who don't know, organises bank maintenance, has confirmed that he needs as many bods as possible this Sunday. Rather than the usual RV at Kilbury he suggests meeting at Stretchford. The work is taking place at the head of Quarry Pool (left bank), so alternatively helpers could make their way there.

23/1/08 - Members should by now have received their copy of the January newsletter. Highlights are as follows:

The only change in the fishing regulations for the coming season is that an extra day ticket per month will be available to Trout and Sea Trout members, potentially doubling their Salmon fishing on the river. This ticket will be for Salmon only, strictly on a catch and release basis. Conditions placed on the existing ticket will remain the same. (ie not catch and release only, but subject to our regulations and to national bylaws.)

In order to meet the 90% C&R target requested by the Environment Agency the committee urges that catch and release is exercised on an increasing basis. Obviously, a 90% target means that only one in every ten Salmon may be retained.

The committee seeks the views of members on increasing the number of anglers in a Salmon category. This is still very much in the early stages of discussion but if implemented would probably not include an increase in members authorised to fish Totnes weir pool and would likely necessitate more C&R.

Would anglers fishing the Colston (Wilson's) water please note that the field directly in front of Colston House is no longer included in our fishing. This effectively divides the water in two. Members can still cross this area to access the other half of the fishing but must keep close to the river bank and be mindful of any members of the Colston household who may be around. Access to the lower half is also possible on foot through John Thorn's campsite.

There is still much work to be done with regard to bank maintenance. We seem to have more fallen trees than usual and plenty of manpower (or womanpower) is needed to clear them. Pease attend if you can. The RV is at Kilbury lay-by at 9am on Sundays for the next few weeks unless otherwise stated.

7/1/08 - As this is the first posting of the year, we would like to wish all members and friends a happy and successful New Year.

At the first meeting of the 2008 Committee, Chris Glover was elected Chairman and Robin Thorn Deputy Chairman. Some changes to the fishing regulations were made and these will be circulated to members soon.

The following received from the internet Sea Trout Fishing Forum:

You may of seen in the Trout and Salmon a article about the Tees Barrage, and the fact that migratory fish can't get passed this obstacle.

This has gone on for 12 years and is set to go on for a minimum of another 3 years while more tests are carried out.

The A.C.A are running a petition on their web site, it only takes 1 minute to put your name to this petition, I would be grateful for any members or friends of members who would take a minute out of your time to view the petition and consider putting your name to it.

Even if you don't fish the Tees - the effects of such schemes are far reaching.

ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS- go to website and click on the link for Tees Barrage and put your name down.

Thank you Hoppy

If you feel this is an important issue, no doubt you will wish to add your name to the petition.


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