Fly Fishing Devon: An introduction to the Upper Yealm Fishery

The Upper Yealm Fishery

The Upper Yealm Fishery is managed by Russell Weston and Paul Kenyon.

We appreciate that finding a local river that offers a day ticket to fish for wild brown trout, sea trout and occasional salmon in South Devon can be difficult.

However we have some of our own water, on the upper reaches of the River Yealm, available to visitors and locals on a day or season ticket basis.

Located in the South Hams on the southern edge of Dartmoor, the fishery is conveniently located for visitors to, and residents of, South Devon.

The Upper Yealm is a superb location for beginners, experienced anglers, and those looking for access to fly fishing on a Dartmoor river.

A visiting angler commented: 20’ish brown trout (lost count in the teens), 6-11 inches. A few 10 inchers and an 11’incher being the highlight. Mostly on PTN. A great day’s fishing.


Access & parking

If you are travelling along the A38 take the exit for Lee Mill. Take New Park Road out of the village. Outside the village, the turn marked Venton takes you along a single track road with views of Dartmoor in the distance.

Take care on this narrow winding road. The locals are friendly and actually pause and thank you for considerate driving. Turn right at the 'Hump Bridge' road sign before 'Mark's Bridge'.

Go down the track and park by the field gate.

Welcome to the Lower beat.

Yealm roadside Yealm roadside

The Lower beat runs along the edge of this meadow. The path and adjacent car parking provide easy access to the fishing.

Yealm Lower beat

The Lower beat

The Lower beat starts at the upstream corner of the meadow.

Easy access from just above the weir. Wading upstream is straightforward, but a wading staff is useful. It helps to use a short rod and think 'roll cast'.

The river deepens in places against the banks under a protective canopy of trees.

A long and productive stretch of the river for brown trout with sea trout throughout the summer.

The Lower beat has an impressive number of wild brown trout.

You may be lucky and hook a sea trout during daylight - a truly memorable experience.

This page has advice on   fishing for sea trout on the Upper Yealm

Spotting sea trout

That dark shadow may be a sea trout lying in the pool above the weir – and between June and September there will be more hidden beneath trees tight against the banks.

Sea trout can be difficult to see. This video explains how their shape, behaviour and colour can help reveal their presence.

As you walk down the meadow the river opens out and slows as it is held back by a weir.

This 18th Century weir was built to serve a mill downstream at Lee Mill – long gone now.

As you walk downstream of the weir you pass a succession of small but perfectly formed pools.

Each hold brown trout, but they must be approached with extreme stealth.

Inevitably flies get caught up in bankside vegetation.

Here is a tip that can be used to retrieve a fly.

The trick is to vigorously wiggle the rod horizontally from side-to-side. This works surprisingly often.

It is important NOT to try to pull the fly free - that only embeds the fly further into the obstruction.

Be prepared to break off rather than disturabing the pool by crashing across it. You can always mark the spot and retrieve the fly later.


The Upper beat

Drive up the road a few hundred yards to skirt the gardens of houses that back onto the Yealm and pick up the river again by crossing Fardel Moor Bridge. Park by the gate marked 'Private Fisherman's Path'.

There is a carefully maintained private fisherman’s path on the eastern bank. In several places there is good access from the path into the river.

One visitor wrote: The upper section is really quite incredible - Like stepping into a different world. I don’t know how much it has been fished this season, by it felt quite untouched and the perfect habitat for happy trout!

Managed to fish the upper beat too with dad taking a 12” fish out of the last pool before the upper limit. We also took a few double digit trout out of the upper bit also.

The Upper beat is more challenging. It is darker in places and seems to have darker coloured trout than the Lower beat. It has deep pools worth trying for a salmon.


Snowbee's retail outlet

Upper Yealm Fishing Permits & Regulations

Subject to availability Day and Season Permits can be purchased from Snowbee

Snowbee's retail outlet is conveniently located about 3 miles from the Upper Yealm Fishery:

Drakes Court Langage Business Park

Plymouth PL7 5JY UK

Tel: Snowbee UK Ltd:  01752 334933

Website: Snowbee UK Ltd

email: flyfish@snowbee.co.uk


The Upper Yealm Fishery is a Westcountry Angling Passport token beat.

Please note that certain days of the season will not be available on this beat. These days will be few but are subject to change at short notice. In order to avoid disappointment  always check this page for availability before visiting the beat.

For example, each year Russell Weston and Fly Fishing Devon guides Geoff Stephens and Paul Kenyon offer a day's guided fishing on the Upper Yealm Fishery to the winners of the annual Wild Trout Trust Spring auction.

The fishery is closed for the day of the winners visit.

Details of the 2019 auction are available on the   Wild Trout Trust website


Fishery regulations

Please do not bring dogs to the fishery

  1. Fly fishing only
  2. Catch & Release for salmon & brown trout
  3. Two sea trout, over 12”, may be retained per day
  4. Please use barbless or de-barbed hooks
  5. Sorry, no dogs
  6. The river between the Upper and Lower Beats is strictly private
  7. Please show consideration for other anglers, local residents, the riparian owner’s family (Mr & Mrs Josh Dalton) and follow the Countryside Code
  8. On certain days of the season the fishery is closed
  9. In order to avoid disappointment please check this page for availability   before visiting the beat


The Yealm is one of Paul's favourite rivers, here are some videos showing the reasons why it is a great beat for instructing and guiding ..


About us & the Upper Yealm Fishery Facebook Page

Russell Weston

Managing Director of Snowbee UK Ltd

Russell founded Snowbee UK Ltd in 1984 and currently distributes its fly fishing products in more than 30 countries worldwide.

Tel: Snowbee UK Ltd: 01752 334933

email: flyfish@snowbee.co.uk

Website: Snowbee UK Ltd

Paul Kenyon

Fly Fishing Devon guide and instructor

Paul is a retired university lecturer and now devotes more time than is reasonable to his lifelong love of all things associated with fish, fishing and Dartmoor rivers.

Tel: 01752 893382

email: enquiries@flyfishingdevon.co.uk

Website: Fly Fishing Devon