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

The Upper Yealm Fishery is part of the Westcountry Angling Passport scheme.

Access is available on a day or season ticket basis. Salmon fishing runs to 15th December

We hope these anglers' catch reports and comments help you enjoy your trip. They contain useful pointers to successful tactics.

Tight lines, enjoy your fishing. Paul Kenyon & Russell Weston

September 2018

9th September

Two Westcountry Angling Passport visitors caught 17 brown trout on the Lower Beat and 7 brown trout on the Upper Beat. Flies: CDC emerger and Parachute Adams.

They emailed this report:

"Just to report Dad and I spent a great day yesterday on the upper Yealm. Level was low at around 4” below when we fished with you, but we still managed to tempt the fish.

I notice some pruning has taken place to open up some of the sections which has helped to reveal some more likely areas.

Wildlife out in force with a kingfisher giving us a great display.

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.

Best thing was that we saw a sea trout holding under those trees up from the weir. Didn’t seemed bothered by us at all, but great to see.

I saw some otter footprints in the mud/shale bank on the corner where I tried my best to hook and miss a number of fish, so they must be around not too far away.

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!"

5th September

Note added by Paul Kenyon: Some years ago a survey of invertebrates in the River Yealm in September found:

1st September

Paul Kenyon: no brown trout to hand. Very few rises. Little insect activity. River height 0.23m. Filmed shoal of sea trout.

August 2018

25th August 2018

Rain expected tomorrow. Made video of sea trout lying above weir.

23rd August 2018.

Westcountry Angling Passport visitor. Saw 3 sea trout jump out of river above weir.

22nd August 2018.

Westcountry Angling Passport visitor. One 6 inch brown.

18th August 2018.

Westcountry Angling Passport visitor. One 11 inch brown trout. Lots of sea trout in evidence.

17th August 2018.

Westcountry Angling Passport visitor: 8 brown trout on nymph and dry. Paul Kenyon fished 8pm-10:15pm. 4 fine brown trout on Pilk's Bumble + several plucks. 3 sea trout jumped at dimpsey. Water height 0.28m. Few fish rising around 8:30pm but not much insect activity. Saw group of Fallow deer whilst tackling up.

14th August.

Paul Kenyon & Geoff Stephens guided experienced anglers Bill and Richie Blake winners of Wild Trout Trust 2018 auction. Fished 10:30 to 5pm. Water height 0,28-0.30. Lots of rising fish.The Blakes rose about 40 fish and had 20 to hand. Water flowing nicely after several weeks of low flow. Weather overcast with occasional showers.

13th August.

Paul Kenyon fished 3:30-5:30. Four trout to hand on Tups Sparkle Dun. Many splashy rises. Saw ?sea trout? take surface fly. Water height 0.34 after very welcome rain. Water stained from R. Piall.

9th August.

Paul Kenyon and Geoff Stephens on a 'Guides Day Off'. Three trout missed, and much leg-pulling ! See YouTube video

8th August

Westcountry Angling Passport visitor. One 8 inch brown trout on Sawyer Killer Bug

5th August

Paul Kenyon guided guests John & Joe Furlong. They had five brief encounters of the heart stopping kind with sea tout between 9:30 pm and 11pm on the Weir pool of the Upper Yealm Fishery. There are several daytime sea trout lies in the Tunnel section above the weir with shallower water nearby that are occupied by sea trout as darkness falls. John and Joe fished with Pilk's Bumble, WMD Gurgler (without the flying treble) and Lloyd Morgan's Cannon. They cast upstream and varied the retrieval speed of the fly to cope with the low water conditions and reduced speed of the current.

July 2018

30th July

Paul Kenyon arrived at the Yealm around 8pm and fished through 'til 10:30pm (sunset was at 9pm). Started at the very top of the Lower beat (Finn’s pool). Water height 0.27m after rain that had peaked at 0.40m on Sunday mid-day. River still slightly coloured - v. Weak tea. One brown trout to hand, many splashy rises / swirls to Tups comparadun / Sparkle dun. Flow much better than we have had for several weeks. Noticeable that the high water had scoured the slime from the river bed. Trout activity noticeably declined as darkness approached. Switched to fishing down-and-across, first with a Red Medicine when there was some colour in the bankside vegetation - few tweaky pulls. Changed to larger/bulkier fly (Pilk's / Black Bumble) as light faded. Caught one brown trout. I only saw 2 small sea trout jump clear of the water; I hadn't seen sea trout in usual lies earlier. Fished all the way down to the weir - "dead as a doornail". Prospects: It depends on how long the river maintains the current flow. The EA graph shows it has not plunged back to below 0.2m, but it's difficult to say how long this will last.

24th July

Paul Kenyon took an instruction session from 6pm-10pm. Client hooked 2 fish on a 'Lloyd Morgan's Canon' in the late dusk (no colour in vegetation), 'long-range-released', therefore not sure if brown or sea trout, fish dimpling at that time. Noticed that fish (brown trout?) in the faster moving water (head of Finn's Pool) stopped rising once the last rays of the setting sun were off the water. Saw several small sea trout jump clear of the water during mid-dusk (colour of vegetation remains discernible) in shallow water above & below normal holding areas. Conclusion: Under low water conditions the windows of opportunity are very restricted.

19th July

Paul Kenyon fished the Upper Beat from 2:30-5:30pm. One brown trout to hand on Tups comparadun. Many splashy rises. Egg-laying caddis naturals elicited abortive rises from small fish. Upper stretch low water (0.2m) but shading from bankside trees gave relief from heat and bright sun. It was worthwhile fishing the slower moving water towards the middle & tails of pools

15th July

Paul Kenyon fished 8:30pm-10pm. One brown trout to hand. Many splashy rises especially at dusk. Sea trout less active. A few caddis and upwings seen.

13th July

Paul Kenyon fished 8pm-11pm. 5 brown trout to hand, 3 before, 2 after sunset (c 9:30pm) Flies: Tups comparadun, Lloyd Morgan's Canon (after sunset). Caddis & occasional upwing, v.few rising trout. Sea trout crashing about before sunset, chilly after dark, slight mist over water. Water height 0.19m.

11th July

Westcounty Angling Passport visitor fished 6:30pm-10:30pm. Nil. Sea trout seen. Insects: Caddis, upwings, Yellow Sally. Overcast, river at 0.20m

4th July

Paul Kenyon fished 3:35-6pm. Very few rising fish or fly life. Offers from feeding fish in faster water. Overcast, warm, water still low (0.22m). Difficult to see sea trout in poor light, but 'flashes' observed as they turned in their usual locations. Kingfisher seen.

June 2018

30th June

Westcountry Angling Passport visitor. "Nil. Seen both salmon and sea trout".

29th June

Paul Kenyon fished 8-10:30pm. 3 trout. One sea trout jumped clear of water in Finn's Pool. Confirmed that there is much more fish and insect activity in the evening: Yellow Sally stonefly? & sedge?. Water still low at c. 0.22m

28th June

Paul Kenyon and Geoff Stephens guided Tim Rolston. From 3:30-4:15pm: 2 trout to hand, and several offers. 8:00-10:15pm: 2 trout to hand many offers as darkness approached. Sea trout clearly visible in afternoon sunlight. River low (0.21m), much more insect and fish activity in evening.

24th June

Paul Kenyon fished 2-5pm. Water low. 2 brown trout to hand.

20th June

Paul Kenyon fished 2-4:30pm. Five splashy rises and 1 lost small sea trout (schoolie). Flies: Tups comparadun and small black midge (size 19 Tiemco 103BL) fished as 'dry duo'. Very few rising trout and little fly life. Water height 0.24m. Overcast, light rain. Sea trout (ST) took the Tups comparadun. ST in thin water close to bank.

13th June

Westcountry Angling Passport visitor. Nil. Four sea trout seen. Water height 0.23m.

6th June

Westcountry Angling Passport visitor. Six brown trout to 9 inches caught on New Zealand dropper.

5th June

Paul Kenyon. Fished 2-4pm. One long=range-release to nymph (pheasant tail, hare thorax, foam thorax cover). Dry fly ignored. Chilly, overcast, water height 0.26m. V. few rising fish and then only in short bursts. Occasional dun, spinner & sedge seen.

May 2018

29th May

Westcountry Angling Passport visitor. One 7 inch brown trout.

28th May

Westcountry Angling Passport visitor. Frustration. Nil fish. Plenty of rising fish.

26th May

Paul Kenyon. Fished 2:30-5pm. 2 splashy rises. Few rising fish. Few stonefly, caddis and upwings seen, several midge and ?black gnats?. Gusty wind, overcast. water height 0.28m

25th May

Westcounty Angling Passport visitor. 2 trout to hand, 7 missed / splashy rises. Successful fly: Grey Sparkle Dun Weather overcast, water height 0.28m. Many rising fish to unidentified insects.

Note posted by Paul Kenyon on 23rd May

Historical kick-sample surveys indicate that the following insects are likely to be available to trout at this time of year. Olive Upright ( Rhithrogena semicolorata) - present at all sites and recorded at quite high abundances in certain locations. Blue Winged Olive (Ephemeralla / Serratella ignita) recorded at high abundances at all sites. Small Yellow Sally ( Siphonoperla torrentium) - present at all sites and recorded at quite high abundances in certain locations. For more information there is a link on:

22nd May

4:30-6:15 pm Paul Kenyon 1 trout to hand, 2 fish lost, about 6 splashy rises Flies: nymph(pheasant tail body, hares ear thorax, yellow foam thorax cover), Comparadun (grey body, black fur thorax, mixed deer hair + synthetic wing). Naturals: midge, Yellow Sally, occasional sedge. Sunny, v.light breeze. Water height 0.28m

18th May

Westcountry Angling Passport visitor No catch return in Token Box

13th May

Paul Kenyon fished 2pm -4:30. One trout to hand, 3 hooked, further 6 splashy rises all to Olive Compradun. Water height 0.32m. Sunny with occ. chilly breeze from NW. Some rising fish, midge + possible black gnats.

14th May

Westcountry Angling Passport visitor. 5 brown trout, all small

10th May

Westcountry Angling Passport visitor. 1 brown trout on dry fly.

4th May

Westcountry Angling Passport visitor. About 14 brown trout. Mainly on dry Black Gnat. Biggest about 8 inches.

1st May

Westcountry Angling Passport visitor. 1 brown trout

April 2018


Paul Kenyon fished Lower Beat 12-2pm. 4 fish to hand. 2 x 8+" on olive Sparkle Dun. Many 'splashy' offers - small fish? . Fish seen taking something in surface film. V. few naturals seen: midge, and possible olives. Better fish close to overhanging bankside vegetation - taking terrestrials?. Cold wind, occasional sunny intervals. Water height 0.35m, water still carrying slight colour. Pictures on Facebook

20th April

Paul and Aidin Kenyon. Fished Lower beat 2-4pm. Water height 0.38m, still coloured with China Clay AK caught 2 trout on wet Greenwell's Glory PK caught 3 on Sparkle Dun. Fish taking naturals in the surface film. It felt like the season has started at last

18th April

no catch return from Westcountry Angling Passport visitor in box

15th April

no catch return from Westcountry Angling Passport visitor in box

10th April

Westcountry Angling Passport visitor.2 x brown trout, 6in & 8in

12th April

Paul Kenyon:no fish caught. Lower beat stained grey/beige with input from River Piall. Upper beat running clear. No rising fish, few midge & sedge seen. Water height 0.4m

6th April

Paul Kenyon: 1 small trout on beadhead, v.little aerial fly life on Lower beat, few midge & sedge on Upper beat. Water level 0.52m

Westcountry Angling Passport anglers' comments pre-2018

Date Fished: 30/07/2017

“Fished the lower section of the beat in the morning. Caught 6 or 7 smaller 4-6″ browns and landed a much larger, more silvery brown of 8-10″, perhaps even 12″. Not sure if this was a Sea Trout? All returned safely, of course. A very good morning’s fishing. Thanks.

Date Fished: 21-Jul-17

“ Two BT of about 6-8 inches. Many fish rose to fly but missed 90% of the takes. Also got a pull from a Sea Trout.

Date Fished 18/04/2017

“ 12 x BT on a hares’ ear emerger “

Date Fished 11/4/17

“ 12 brown trout from ca. 3-8 inches “

Date Fished: 12/08/16

“ 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. "

Date Fished: 5/06/15

“ 3 brown trout to 10″ – mayfly “

September: sea trout

Low river levels provided an opportunity to observe sea trout. This video contains tips on using their behaviour, shape and colour to spot these very shy fish.

August: brown trout

The 2018 winners of the Wild Trout Trust auction fish the Yealm in August after a period of low water followed by brief but significant rainfall.

June: brown trout

Tim Rolston (MCI), South African fly-fishing casting instructor, guide and author, caught brown trout & observed sea trout in late June 2018.

May-June 2018

Lessons learned and re-learned fly fishing on the River Yealm in South Devon under low water conditions in May and June 2018

Roll casting

Roll casting is a useful technique when bankside vegetation restricts space for an overhead (pick-up-and-lay-down) cast

Double Spey Cast

The Double Spey cast is another useful technique when overhanging vegetation restricts an overhead cast

May 2014: brown trout

Wild Trout Trust auction winner

June 2015: After rain

Fly fishing for wild brown trout on the river Yealm in South Devon on 13th June 2015

May 2014: brown trout

Swarms of upwinged flies rising and falling close to the river.