Fly Fishing Devon: Instruction & Guiding on Dartmoor & South Devon Rivers      Email an enquiry

Beat Closure: The Upper Yealm beat is closed for one day on Saturday 3rd June 2023. Two anglers who won our lot on this year's Wild Trout Trust auction are being guided by Geoff Stephens and Simon Kidd (Snowbee) on that day.

Welcome to Fly Fishing Devon

run by Geoff Stephens and Paul Kenyon

We are qualified fly fishing instructors and Snowbee registered fishing guides

This video - and others on the website - show how we can help beginners and experienced anglers enjoy wonderful fly fishing on Dartmoor and in South Devon

Contact us to arrange
instruction and guided fly fishing
or purchase a Gift Voucher

I've put together a collection of essays in "The Heuristic Trout" that complement articles in:
  • the May 2020 edition of The Field
  • the 2022 Wild Trout Trust's annual journal Salmo Trutta

  • Fly fishing with a guide on the Upper Yealm in South Devon

    Guiding ITV News reporter in June 2019

    Upper Yealm Fishery offers ...

    Tap to show/hide transcript of video commentary
    • The Upper Yealm Fishery is tucked away on the southern edge of Dartmoor National Park
    • There is private parking alongside the meadow that borders the river
    • This section of the river has a good stock of brown trout and receives a run of sea trout in the summer
    • There is a chance of catching a salmon particularly in the autumn when salmon fishing extends into December
    • The Yealm Fishery is divided into two beats 
    • The Lower beat has five holding pools and offers good brown trout fishing 
    • The Weir Pool is especially suited to beginners. It is relatively wide and free from overhanging vegetation.
    • The majority of wild brown trout caught on Dartmoor and South Devon rivers are less than eight inches long
    • But each season anglers catch larger twelve or thirteen inch fish
    • The graph show the number of trout - of various sizes - caught during a survey by fisheries scientists on a local river 
    • Most of the trout were less than eight inches long Relatively few trout of ten inches or longer were caught and hardly any fish of thirteen inches or longer were taken
    • Video shows 12 inch fish to hand
    • It is possible to use an overhead cast on some places on the Lower beat 
    • But a roll cast is better especially on the Upper Beat where the river is narrower and overhanging vegetation can catch your fly 
    • In the summer months the Yealm enjoys a run of sea trout 
    • These are occassionly caught during the day 
    • But sea trout are very easily spooked during the daylight
    • More success is likely by fishing after dark 
    • Daylight reconnaissance is essential to learn where the sea trout are lying 
    • I hope you enjoy the Upper Yealm Fishery and that you encounter the wildlife, some common and some rarely seen.
    • When I first started fishing Westcountry rivers 40 years ago otters were rarely seen, but they have made a comeback 
    • Nowadays it's not unusual to see otters during daylight 
    • Last summer I was lucky enough to encounter a pair of otters while I was watching a shoal of sea trout 
    • The adult otter and pup had caught a fairly large sea trout and they both held on to the fish as they tumbled with it downstream
    • I was taken completely by surprise but I did manage to catch some footage after I had fumbled around and retrieved my camera 
    • If you listen carefully you can just make out the cat-like cry of the pup in this video

  • More about the   Upper Yealm Fishery
  • Upper Yealm Fishery   Catch reports  and video diary
  • Seasonal variations in the   natural flies  of the River Yealm

  • The Rake beat covers 2 km of fishing on the River Avon near Kingsbridge. Fishing is available on a day ticket basis through the Westcountry Angling Passport scheme.

    This beat offers good brown trout fishing from early April with plenty of water for several anglers to enjoy a day’s fishing using upstream dry fly, wet fly or nymphing tactics.

    The beat has two named pools, ‘Pembertons’ and ‘Bramble’, as well as a long section of deep glide called the ‘Flats’. Wading is generally easy over gravel and cobble substrate, with good bank access throughout.

    We offer fly-casting instruction and guiding for visitors, and anglers considering application for membership of the   Avon Fishing Association

    More about the   Rake beat  on the Devonshire Avon

    History of   fly-casting instruction and guiding  on the Devonshire Avon

    Developments in Spey and Skagit casting  on the Devonshire Avon

    Changing attitudes to sea trout: Salmo trutta's lifestyle choices

    West Dart in June 2019

    West Dart in May 2018

    Map showing the Duchy of Cornwall   fishing on Dartmoor

    How a fly fishing guide can help you

    We will introduce you to catching wild brown trout in unspoilt surroundings

    Tap to show/hide transcript of video commentary
    • Over 50 years ago when the pace of life was much slower, the writer Dermot Wilson commented “In the West Country you can catch trout from after breakfast till sunset, and enjoy the open air and the country for as long as the sun is in the sky"
    • Devon is still blessed with mile after mile of superb fishing for wild brown trout, sea trout and salmon.
    • A fly fishing guide can unlock the secrets of catching these wild fish in unspoilt surroundings.
    • Many of the beats we use have benefited from work carried out by the Westcountry Rivers Trust to improve access for anglers.
    • A guide can help you read a river and understand why some parts of the river are more likely to hold larger fish.
    • Westcountry trout are generally not fussy eaters but sometimes the size of the fly does matter.
    • Being able to recognize the insects that live on stones on the bed of the rivers will give you confidence that you are using the right type of fly.
    • A roll cast is often the best way of delivering a fly when you are faced with overhanging bankside vegetation.
    • We can help you refine your casting techniques.
    • If you understand what triggers a trout to take a natural fly then you will be able to choose an artificial fly with greater confidence.
    • A guide will explain how a trout manages to intercept a tiny morsel of food being carried by the current down a fast flowing river.
    • This will help you present your fly more effectively.
    • We can help you plan your trip by offering advice on where to stay and suggesting places to eat after a day on the river.
    • You probably prefer to use your own equipment. But if you want, we can lend you a rod, reel and line and supply flies and tippet material at no extra cost. Please bring your Environment Agency rod licence. We can supply you with Westcountry Angling Passport permit tokens.

    Tim Rolston - a South African fly fishing guide - wrote this after a day fishing on Dartmoor with Geoff:

    "As a fishing guide myself I am well aware of the advantages of getting some local knowledge to kick start things and I was not in the least disappointed to have Geoff with me on my first forays. In fact without his assistance I doubt that I would have found the best parts of the river or been confident enough that I was using the right tactics. If you have yet to sample these streams, and I strongly suggest that you do, then you can contact Geoff or his partner Paul Kenyon. Fishing guides do it because we love to help other anglers get the most of their time on the water. Geoff definitely fits into that category."

    Tim Rolston visited Devon as manager for the South African team that took part in the 2014 Commonwealth Fly Fishing Competition on Dartmoor. You can read more on his impression of Westcountry fly fishing here

  • More about the wild brown trout of Dartmoor and South Devon
  • How does a trout catch a fly?
  • Why does a trout miss a fly?
  • The importance of stealth
  • The importance of underwater   behavioural drift  from an angler's point of view:

  • Sea trout: Fly fishing with a guide for Devon's Silver Tourist

    This video contains tips on using sea trout behaviour, shape and colour to spot these very shy fish.

    Sea trout enter rivers during the summer months. Daylight preparation is essential before fishing for sea trout at night

    "I thought Paul was joking when we started a Monty Pythonesque, slow walk from the middle of the field. The river wasn’t even in sight at that point, but the Sea Trout are so spooky that one has to proceed with extreme caution. In the end we spotted a few, fascinating things they are, and tricky to see, they barely move, trying to hang on to reserves of energy that they will need to reach the spawning grounds when the rain comes. Fish in a river are tricky to spot at the best of times. Fish that don’t move are near impossible and Paul’s eagle eyes and experience revealed fish that took me minutes to locate."
    Extract from Tim Rolston's   blog

  • More about   where, when and how  to fish for sea trout on the Yealm
  • Changing attitudes to sea trout  :   Salmo trutta's  lifestyle choices

  • Learning with a qualified fly fishing instructor

    We will teach you to cast a fly and more ...

    Tap to show/hide transcript of video commentary
    • Learning how to cast a fly can be difficult because you can’t watch yourself while you cast to see what you’re doing right or doing wrong.
    • The best solution is to spend a few hours with a qualified game angling instructor.
    • We recommend beginners take their first lesson on a stocked stillwater that gives you an opportunity to catch a fish on a fly.
    • We provide suitable rods, reels, lines, flies and explain how to select appropriate tackle for different types of fishing
    • We will teach you how to perform roll and overhead casts and shoot line to achieve distance.
    • We can also teach you how to single and double haul to deal with awkward winds and cope with those “just out of reach” fish.
    • We will introduce you to some of the bugs that make up a trout’s diet. And how to select a fly to “match the hatch”.
    • Hopefully you will then catch a fish so that we can show you how to play, land and safely release a fish

    Instruction improves roll casting & double hauling

  • More about our approach to   fly casting instruction
  • Fly casting concepts,  faults diagnosis and treatment
  • Refining a Roll Cast to Improve Accuracy
  • Spey and Skagit casting  on small and medium sized rivers
  • Instruction for   young people
  • S-Mends:Presenting a fly to salmon and sea trout

  • Advice on buying  fly-fishing equipment
  • Balancing a fly rod  with a fly line, leader, tippet and fly
  • Wader Choice:  Death, Taxes and Leaky Waders

  • Selecting flies to tempt wild brown trout on Dartmoor and South Devon rivers

    We are often asked for advice on what flies to use on local rivers.

    This is a perfectly understandable request. Even as guides we suffer agonies of uncertainty about what flies to take when we go on holiday to unfamiliar rivers.

    To overcome this uncertaintly there is a   Flybrary Fly Box  for anglers visiting The Upper Yealm Fishery - Westcountry Angling Passport Beat 39.

    Westcountry trout are generally not fussy eaters but sometimes the design of fly does matter.

    Being able to recognize insects that live on stones on the bed of the rivers and stages in their life-cycle will give you confidence that you are using the right type of fly.

  • Here is a selection of   fly-tying videos for productive flies on local rivers. As far as possible I have included videos made by the person most often associated with the particular fly. I have included improvements / variations on the original tying, particularly if made by the original tyer.
  • The design of effective trout flies
  • Evolution of the wet fly
  • Some lesser-known West Country river flies
  • If you prefer to buy a collection of suitable flies we recommend a visit to local firm   Snowbee's retail outlet  where you will find an impressive stock of suitable flies for local rivers. These flies are tyed by North Devon firm Tyrell  England's longest established company of fly dressers.

    • Snowbee SF203 River Dries Barbless
    • Snowbee SF204 River Nymphs Barbless

    Fly Fishing Devon guides and instructors

    We are qualified fly fishing instructors and Snowbee registered instructors and fishing guides

    Paul Kenyon

    Paul lives in Ivybridge on the southern edge of Dartmoor about 6 miles from the Upper Yealm Fishery. Paul devotes more time than is reasonable to his lifelong love of all things associated with fish, fishing and Dartmoor rivers.

    Tel: 01752 893382

    email: paul@flyfishingdevon.co.uk

    Geoff Stephens

    Geoff lives in Chagford half a mile from the river Teign and within easy distance of the Dartmoor lakes and streams. Geoff's favourite fishing is for brown trout in the wilds of Dartmoor.

    Tel: 01647 279421

    Mobile: 0774 986 7393

    email: geoff@flyfishingdevon.co.uk

    There is more to fishing than catching fish
    "Piscator non solum piscatur"
    It is not all of fishing to fish

    We instruct and guide because it gives us great satisfaction when a beginner presents a delicate cast, or an experienced angler admires the colour on one of Dartmoor's wild brown trout.

    But it should never get too serious.

    Here we are on a "Guides Day Off" fishing together

    Tim Rolston commented:
    "Paul and Geoff were generous with their time and hospitality, they know these rivers and the fish that inhabit them better than anyone and if you wish to fish this area you are well advised to be in touch with them for some hands on advice and guiding."
    Tim covers his visit to the Yealm in his blog

    Fly Fishing Devon Gift Voucher

    A Fly Fishing Devon Gift Voucher makes a great Christmas, birthday, surprise present or way to say "thank you" at any time of the year.

    The Gift Voucher can be designed to cover the needs of beginners as well as more experienced anglers.

    We provide all the equipment: rod, reel, line etc. for the recipient.

    Please ask the recipient to 'phone or email Fly Fishing Devon to arrange a suitable date and location and tailor a session to meet the needs of the person receiving the Gift Voucher.

    One angler £90 £150
    One angler N/A £150
    One angler £90 £150
    For each additional angler (maximum of 2) £30 each £50 each
    VOUCHER HALF DAY (3 hours) FULL DAY (6 hours)
    One angler £90 £150

    Prices for instruction and guiding include use of equipment but not the cost of a fishing permit and rod licence.

    The cost of a fishing permit ranges from £10 to £25.
    Westcountry Angling Passport Tokens are available online or through WRT local agents.

    Children under 12 do not require an Envoironment Agency rod licence.
    A day's Environment Agency (EA) rod licence costs £6 for non-migratory trout.
    EA licences can be purchased online , from any Post Office, or The Telesales Service on 0870 1662 662.