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

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

West Dart in June 2019

West Dart in May 2018

Upper Yealm 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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

If you tie your own flies, you may also find it useful to get hold of a copy of Peter Gathercole's book "The Fly Tying Bible".

Here is a list of flies from Gathercole's book that we find useful on our local rivers

  • Elk Hair Emerger 
  • Polywinged Midge 
  • Elk Hair Caddis 
  • Adams 
  • Balloon Caddis 
  • Sparkle Dun 
  • Hare's Ear Nymph 
  • Flashback Pheasant Tail Nymph 
  • Goldhead Bug 
  • Sparkle Pupa 
  • Soft Hackle -  use pheasant tail or hare's ear for the body 

Another useful book is Max Fielding's "The Complete Fisherman's Fly".

Here is a list of flies from Fielding's book that we use on local rivers:

  • Bead Sawyer Bug 
  • Endrick Spider (add a thorax to convert it to a Cruncher) 
  • Balloon Caddis 
  • Sparkle Dun 
  • Hawthorn Fly 
  • Adams 
  • Elk Hair Sedge 
  • Sedgehog (used for sea trout as a wake lure) 
  • Black and Peacock Spider 

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 433373

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 £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.