Urban fly-fishing report: River Exe, Tiverton


On a sudden half-term whim, the Urbantrout team went west to try something we’d never done before.

If you’ve read Trout in Dirty Places, you may recall that the little River Lowman got most of the word count in the chapter on Tiverton – we photographed the main River Exe in the middle of town, but didn’t have the chance to fish it really assiduously. So this was a chance to put that omission right…

As it turned out, the fly-fishable water on the 6-quid Tiverton and District ticket between the town’s two bridges wasn’t as extensive as we thought – especially when you remember that the upper half is deeply impounded behind a massive weir. (Note to self: next time, bring streamer rods and Kelly Galloup-style full sinking lines to tackle this section!)

Before rigging up the rods we had brought, we spent quite a long time checking out water we couldn’t touch, watching grayling rising quietly in the good-looking (but still pretty urban) pools just downstream controlled by the Tiverton Fly Fishing Association.

Still, when a series of splashy rises finally pulled our attention back to the single, long pool below the weir, all those little slots and channels turned out to be surprisingly complex, and just enough to occupy a fisherman for a slow, painstaking day. Water levels were low, so the grayling were looking up to a trickle hatch of pale watery olives among the drifting leaves – and when activity petered out on top of the water, you could still get a grab on a jig fished with a tight-lined French leader.

In any case, part of the plan involved trying a few different rigs for feel and effectiveness on the current armoury of 10-foot 2-weight rods (as well as field-testing a new edition of the famous Urbantrout Kryptek fishing cap) and by the end of the session the score card also showed 7 grayling and a single out of season trout.

Add lots of irrepressibly fishing-mad kids scrambling around on the concrete flood defences and steps down to the river (“Got any maggots, mate?” “Got any weights?”) and a big box of cod and chips from the shop across the road…

… and that’s a late-season outing that any urban fly-fisher could easily get behind.

We’ll definitely be coming back to Tiverton.







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