Some of England’s finest reservoirs are set in the beautiful counties of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. The majority are landscaped, and their natural banks are a delight to fish from for trout and coarse species. The largest reservoir is Chew Valley Lake (1,200 acres) in Somerset, considered to be one of the top trout fisheries in the country. This water produced a record brown trout of 10 lb 12oz, and in 1981 18,231 fish were caught.
The reservoir is situated at Chew Stoke, near Bristol, and is reached via the A37 and B3130 from Bristol. First opened in 1956, it is regularly stocked with quality brown and rainbow trout, and offers fishing from bank and boats. In 1970 a record 18,841 trout were taken from the fishery.
The other great reservoir in the Bristol group is Blagdon, Somerset, reached via the A368 and A38. Although much smaller than Chew, it produced a record 18,095 trout in 1981. It was first opened for trout fishing in 1901, and is well stocked with quality trout. Fishing is from the natural banks and also from rowing boats.
Chew Valley and Blagdon are owned by the Bristol Waterworks Company, which also controls the small Barrow reservoirs. The catch from n all these reservoirs in the 1981 season was an all-time record – a total of 41,525 trout.
Day bank tickets at Chew and Blagdon cost £5.50, while the season permit of £300 allows bank fishing on all the Bristol Waterworks reservoirs. A season permit for Chew and the Barrows costs £230, and for the Barrows only, £105. Fishing from a motor boat at Chew will cost £13 a day, and from a rowing boat at Blagdon £11.50. Season permit holders have reductions of up to £4 when they hire a boat. There is a reduction for OAPs, disabled people, and juniors under 17 years. Day tickets can be obtained at the self-service unit at each of the reservoirs, while for season permits and advance booking you should write to the Waterworks Company.
The three Barrow waters are rather small concrete reservoirs, situated at Barrow Gurney, and reached via the A38. The largest is 39 acres. Stocked regularly with one and two-year-old trout, the waters do produce the occasional big fish. The season is from April 1 to October 15. Day tickets cost £4.40, season tickets £105, with a reduction for juniors and OAPs.
Another reservoir owned by the Bristol Waterworks Company is Cheddar reservoir (234 acres) at Ax-bridge, Somerset, reached via the B3151 from Cheddar. An almost circular basin, it offers coarse fishing only and is noted for its big stock of pike, with roach and perch. Spinning and float-fishing methods are allowed, but the use of groundbait is restricted. It has bank fishing only.
The season is from June 16 to March 14. The fishing is controlled by the Cheddar AC who issue day tickets at £1.50, season £16. The concessionary rates for juniors, OAPs and disabled are 75p a day and £8 for the season.
Permits must be obtained in advance from local tackle shops or
from the nearby ‘Crossroads’ petrol filling station. A Wessex rod licence is essential.
Wessex WA Waters
Wessex Water Authority has five reservoirs in Somerset – Durleigh, Sutton Bingham, Clatworthy, Hawkridge and Otterhead.
Sutton Bingham reservoir, a land-scaped reservoir of 142 acres, is the largest and is easily reached by the A37 from Yeovil. It is stocked regularly with brown and rainbow trout. Day tickets cost £4.50 and season tickets £100. Boats, at £8 per angler, can be booked through the reservoir ranger. Durleigh reservoir (80 acres) is situated near Bridgwater, and reached via the M5 and A38. The water is stocked monthly with quality trout. Day tickets cost £4.50, season tickets £90, and boats £8.
Clatworthy reservoir is an attractive water of 130 acres situated near Wivelscombe and reached via the A361 from Taunton. It is regularly stocked and offers fishing from bank and boat. In 1976 the total catch was 2,336 trout. Day tickets cost £4.50 and season tickets £90, while boats, at £8 per angler, are booked through the reservoir warden.
Hawkridge reservoir (32 acres), is situated near Bridgwater, and reached via the M5 and A38. This landscaped reservoir holds brown and rainbow trout, and the biggest fish in the 1981 season was a brown trout of 3 lb 4oz. Fishing is from the bank only. Day tickets cost £4.50, and season tickets £70. The Ot-terhead Lakes are two small, man-made reservoirs at Churchingford, reached from the B3170 Taunton to Honiton road. Day tickets on these lakes cost £4.50, and season tickets £60.
The Wessex reservoirs are stocked with brown and rainbow trout, and on each reservoir there is a catch limit of six fish and fishing is restricted to fly only.
Wessex WA season tickets The season opens on Sutton Bingham and Durleigh in late March. Other reservoirs open in early April, and all the reservoirs are closed from October 15. A combined ‘rover’ season permit to cover all reservoirs costs £130, and a combined season ticket for Durleigh and Hawkridge costs £110.
Evening bank tickets costing £3.50 are available on all waters after 4pm. There are reduced rates for juniors and old-age-pensioners in all categories except evening bank tickets. Day tickets are purchased at self-service units at each reservoir, but season tickets have to be obtained direct from the Wessex Water Authority in Bridgwater, Somerset.
South West WA reservoirs
The South West Water Authority controls the fishing on reservoirs in Devon and Cornwall – well over 1,000 acres of water holding brown and rainbow trout, plus some coarse fish. The largest of the reservoirs is Stithians Reservoir (274 acres), holding naturalized trout, stocked as fry, while the smallest water is Darracott, only 2.6 acres, holding trout and coarse fish.
Avon Dam reservoir (50 acres), at South Brent, near Totnes, is reached via the A38. It has bank fishing only for a natural brown trout stock, and the fishing is fly only. No catch limit operates, but a 7in size limit exists. The season is from March 24 to October 12 and the fishing is free to holders of a licence.
Burrator reservoir (150 acres), is near Yelverton, Devon, about 11 miles north of Plymouth and reach ed via the A386. It is situated within the Dartmoor National Park and of fers bank and boat fishing for brown and rainbow trout by fly and spinn ing. The season is from March 15 to September 30. Day tickets from the J self-service unit cost £1.50 and season tickets £20.
Fernworthy reservoir (76 acres), near Chagford, Devon, is reached via the A382. Situated on Dartmoor, this reservoir is stocked with brown and rainbow trout and has also had an experimental stocking with American brook trout.
Fishing is by fly only, from bank and boats, during the season from May 1 to October 12. Day tickets at £4.50, and boats at £4.50 per day may be obtained from the Warden, Fernworthy House, Chagford.
Kennick, Tottiford, and Trench-ford are attractive reservoirs situated near Bovey Tracey, South Devon, and reached via the A382 from Newton Abbot. Kennick (45 acres) is regularly stocked with rainbow trout, Tottiford (35 acres) with brown trout, and Trenchford (33 acres) with brook trout.
These reservoirs offer fly fishing only from the bank with a six-fish catch limit. The season is from April 1 to October 12. Day tickets at £4.50 may be obtained from the self-service unit.
Meldon reservoir (54 acres), near Okehampton, Devon, is reached via the A30 Launceston to Oakhampton road. It holds naturalized brown and rainbow trout which have been stocked as fry and offers fishing by fly only, with no catch limit. The season is from March 15 to September 30 and day tickets at £1.50 are obtainable from a self-service unit. Season tickets cost £20.
Just outside Ilfracombe, North
Devon, are the Slade reservoirs (4 and 6 acres) which hold brown and rainbow trout. From April 1 to Oc- a tober 12, week and day tickets are J issued on the site.
Wistlandpound reservoir (41 acres) is about seven miles from Barnstaple and is reached via the B3226 from the A39. Stocked with brown and rainbow trout, it has bankfishing by fly only, with a five-fish catch limit. The season is from March 24 to October 12. Day tickets cost £4.50 from the self-service unit.
Squab Moor reservoir (4.3 acres), is near Knowle, Budleigh Salterton, and reached via the B3179. It is a small reservoir holding roach, rudd, tench, brown and rainbow trout. Fishing by both fly and bait is permitted. The catch limit is four trout, and all coarse fish must be returned.
The season at Squab Moor reservoir is from March 15 to October 12, and the coarse season from June 16 to March 14. Day tickets at £1.50 are obtainable from the Post Office in Knowle.
Crowdy reservoir (115 acres) is near Camelford, with access from the A39. It is stocked with brown and rainbow trout, and has fly-only fishing from the bank, with a five-fish catch limit. The season is from March 15 to October 12. Day tickets’ at £1.50 are obtainable from the self-service unit, while season tickets at £20 are obtained from the Information Office.
Darracott reservoir (2.6 acres), near Torrington, is reached from the B3232. It is stocked with brown trout, rainbow trout, carp and tench, and has fly-fishing only from March 15 to June 15, with a catch limit of four trout, and a ruling that all coarse fish are to be returned.
The season for brown trout is from March 15 to October 12; for rainbow trout all the year round, and for coarse fish from June 16 to March 14. Day tickets at £1.50 are obtainable from the self-service unit, while season permits costing £20 may be obtained from the Information Office in Exeter.
Argal and College reservoirs
Argal reservoir (65 acres), and the adjacent College reservoir (38 acres) are near Penryn and Falmouth and are reached via the B3291.
Argal reservoir is stocked with brown and rainbow trout, and its record brown trout is 6 lb 6oz, while
College reservoir is stocked with rainbow trout. Fishing on both reservoirs is from bank and boats by fly only, with a catch limit of five fish. The season is from March 24 to October 12. Day tickets at £4.50 are obtained from the self-service unit, while boat bookings are made by contacting the Warden, Little Argal Farm, Budock, Penryn.
Porth Reservoir (40 acres) is near Newquay, with access via the A3059. It is stocked with brown and rainbow trout, with fly fishing only and a five-fish catch limit. The season is from March 24 to October 12 and there is both bank and boat fishing. Day tickets cost £4.50 from the self-service unit or the bailiff on the site. Boat hire is extra.
Siblyback reservoir (140 acres) is situated about four miles north of Liskeard, Cornwall. It is periodically stocked with brown and rainbow trout and has fly fishing only from bank and boat, with a catch limit of five fish. The season is from March 24 to October 12. Day tickets cost £4.50, from the self-service unit. To hire a boat contact the Warden, Tregarrick Lodge, Common Moor, St Cleer, Liskeard (Tel 42410).
Stithians reservoir (274 acres) near Redruth, is reached via the A394. A moorland reservoir, the largest in the county, it holds mainly brown trout, with some rainbows. Fishing is by fly only, with no catch limit.
The season is from March 15 to October 12 and there is bank fishing only. Day tickets at £1.50 and season tickets at £20 are obtainable from the tackle shop in Tresevern, Stithians; The Golden Lion, Menherion, Stithians; or the Post Office in Carnmenellis, Redruth.
The Upper Tamar Lake (81 acres) near Bude, Cornwall, is reached via the A39. It is a comparatively new reservoir, and is stocked with brown and rainbow trout offering fly fishing only from bank and boat.
Lower Tamar Lake (51 acres), an old established reservoir, is a mixed fishery holding tench, bream, carp, rudd, plus brown and rainbow trout. Fishing is by fly and bait, with a catch limit of four trout. No cereal groundbait is allowed.
The season is all-year round for coarse fish and from March 24 to September 30 for trout. Day tickets at £1.50 are available from the self-service unit at Upper Tamar, or from the cottage by the dam. Season permits costing £10 are obtainable from the Information Office or direct from the reservoir Warden.
Drift reservoir (64 acres) is about two miles from Penzance. It is stocked with brown and rainbow trout and has fly fishing only from the bank with a catch limit of four rainbows and six brown trout. Day tickets at £2, or season tickets y costing £24, can be obtained from I the Warden, Driftways, Drift, Pen-x zance, from the Agent, Chyandour w Estate Office, Penzance, during office hours, or from the Angler’s Shop (F Westren), The Bridge, Newlyn, Penzance.
The Wimbleball reservoir (374 acres), at Brompton Regis, Somerset, opens on May 1 and closes October 31. Day tickets cost £4.50 and allow a catch limit of five trout. For juniors under 16, OAPs and the disabled, day tickets cost £3.50; evening permits (after 4pm) £2.50. Boathire costs £4.50 per day; £3 after 4pm. Wimbleball is regularly stocked with rainbow and brown trout. Permits are issued on the site. For further information, telephone Brompton Regis (03987) 372. books of 20 prepaid permits are available for Argal, Perth, Siblyback, Upper Tamar, Wistland-pound, Fernworthy, Kennick and Tottiford, and Wimbleball reservoirs at the following rates: day £76.50; day (concession) £59.50; day (child under 14) £17; evening (after 4pm) £42.50; boat day £76.50; boat half-day £51.
For further information on South West reservoirs and licence applica-tions, write to Fisheries and Recreation Office, South West Water, 3-5 Barnfield Road, Exeter.