Trout Fishing

We extend a warm welcome to all trout anglers. The range of fishing we offer ensures excellent sport for all abilities. Our still water fisheries are among the best in the west and vary in size from around 50 to over 900 acres!

Our fisheries are picturesque and atmospheric lakes, including countless secluded bays, weedy shores and tree line margins to explore. We boast rainbows, browns and a large number of blues of the highest quality. Traditional fly fishing is the rule at our stocked fisheries, although other methods can be used at our free wilderness trout waters. 

Young People and Newcomers

We are working hard to encourage young people and newcomers to take up the sport. Under 12s may fish for free when sharing their parents’ bag limit. For under 18s, there is a two fish child permit available. Throughout the season, we host open days and events where we offer free fly fishing tuition for all.

Boat Fishing

Boats are available at most of our waters which provide an alternative to bank angling. These must be pre-booked, either by calling 01566 771930 (8.30am - 5.00pm 7 days a week) or online by scrolling to the bottom of your chosen lake page.

Access for All

Most of the waters benefit from facilities designed for disabled or wheelchair anglers, either by platforms or Wheelyboats. These boats must be booked at least 48 hours in advance.


A number of the fisheries have associated local clubs. These are a great way to meet fellow anglers, as well as participating in competitions and social events. We run several competitions during the season - more details of each of these are available on our competitions page.

Environment Agency Rod Licence

Anglers on all our waters must have a valid Environment Agency rod licence which are available from post offices or via the Environment Agency. The only exception may be when attending a bona fide course or a coaching session with a qualified coach – please check beforehand.

South West Lakes

South West Lakes is the managing charity of SW Lakes Fishing. The charity is a member of The Angling Trust. In 2014, the South West Lakes fisheries hosted the Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships; Scotland took gold and England won silver. 

Reporting an Incident:

South West Lakes manages a portfolio of nearly 50 lakes and other natural resources so it is not always possible for our wardens to be on the scene when issues occur. The very remote and rural nature of our estate, the thing that makes them so special, also means that modern mobile communications don’t always cover the areas we would like them to. This makes getting an immediate response to ongoing incidents very challenging.

Please use this form to report any incidents of poaching, illegal fishing or any other form of antisocial behaviour to the management team so that we are able to take appropriate action.

Complete Form

April proved to be an unseasonably dry month, with reservoir levels already down to about 80% capacity at some waters, and while water and air temperatures are still fairly low, there have been some good buzzer hatches on warmer days. At this stage in the season anglers need to be particularly adaptable in their approach, and prepared to change tactics, line types, and fly patterns according to the conditions.


Anglers have enjoyed some great sport, averaging 5.9 fish per rod, with fish well spread out around the lake, and both bank and boat anglers catching well. Successful depths fished varied from day to day, on warmer days there would be a good rise, mainly to hatching buzzers (with fish taking dry patterns including Elk Hair Caddis) – otherwise a variety of methods and tactics all produced good results. Some excellent bags of fish were caught, including sixteen rainbows to 3lb 8oz caught by Eddy Carter (from Starcross) using a Montana Nymph, while Peter Gilpin and Phillip Rumsey (from Newton Abbot) caught nineteen fish to 3lb 8oz between them using a drifting slow retrieve. The best fish of the month was a 5lb rainbow caught by Val Froggat, one of ten fish caught while fishing with Graham Roberts (from Totnes). Young Daniel (aged 10), accompanied by his mother Emma and Andy McGahan (from Exeter) caught four rainbows on his first ever fishing trip (altogether catching eight fish between them).



Longstone, Sheepstor, and the East Bank proved to be the best locations to fish, with a variety of tactics and methods all working well, depending on the weather conditions, with some fish showing on the surface to feed on buzzers when the temperatures rose. Damsels, Buzzers, Montanas, and Diawl Bachs on floating lines all caught well, while earlier in the month Boobies and Blobs on sinking lines caught the fish lying in the deeper water. Tom Bellingham (from Plymouth) caught ten rainbows to 3lb 12oz using a Montana Nymph. Mark Sinclair (from Horrabridge) landed six rainbows to 3lb, using a buzzer, as well as his first fish taken on the surface using a Hopper. Denis Bolton (from Plymouth) caught three rainbows to 3lb using Damsels on a floating line, varying the retrieve from figure-of-eight to fast retrieve to static.



Some excellent fishing was enjoyed here over the month, with anglers averaging 5.8 fish per rod, with the fishing improving as the month progressed. Two Meadows, Stocky Bay, Crylla Bay, and the North Bank all produced some great sport. Again, a variety of methods and depths fished all worked well, with swarms of Hawthorns and hatching buzzers bring fish to the surface during warmer spells. Leighton Carhart (from Bodmin) caught the best fish of the month – a 5lb rainbow (as part of a bag of seven fish) on a floating line. Marcus Shelton (from Newquay) caught twenty rainbows to 3lb 10oz from a boat, while George Hext (from Liskeard) caught twelve fish to 3lb, using either static flies on the hang (2-3ft down), or washing line method with a static on the drop. The Snowbee ‘team of 4’ bank competition was held on 10 April, and was won by The Kennick ‘A’ team, with a combined bag of 39lb 3oz.



The fishing improved as the month progressed, with most fish being caught within 4ft of the surface, either on floating or sink-tip lines, and plenty of activity during buzzer hatches and hawthorn swarms. Fish were well spread out, and caught in most locations (with Hollis Bank, Mossopps, and Sluice Bank featuring strongly). Successful patterns included Damsel Nymphs, Montanas, Cormorants, Tadpoles, Black and Peacock Spider, as well as Parachute Adams and foam beetles fished on the surface. Good bags included one of seven rainbows to 2lb 8oz caught by Simon Peters (from Frogpool) using a floating line, droppers, and a slow retrieve, as well as another ten fish caught in an earlier session using a floating line and washing-line tactics. John Henderson (from Falmouth) caught five rainbows to 2lb 8oz using a Black Cormorant and a Black and Green Lure.



Temperatures have remained fairly low on this high Dartmoor Lake, but in spite of this fish have been feeding at the surface, often early in the mornings, with most anglers using a variety of patterns on floating or intermediate lines. Christopher Ackland (from Exeter) caught three fish on dry Hawthorns, but most fish have been caught either just under the surface on emerger patterns, or on a selection of nymphs and wet patterns (particularly Peasant Tails, Diawl Bachs, Buzzers, Montanas, and Tadpoles). Again fish are well spread out around the lake (with the permit hut bank proving popular).



No fish of any significant size were caught, but a number of anglers caught good bags of fish (averaging 4.3 browns per rod), with short spells of surface activity during buzzer hatches. Fish are well distributed around the lake. A good number of fish have been taken on dry patterns (foam beetles, Black Hoppers, and Hawthorns) as well as a variety of sub-surface patterns (including Tadpoles, Zulus, Soldier Palmers, and Hoglouse). Mick Dodkins (from St Germans) landed eight brownies pulling a team of traditional wets on a floating line, Dean Boucher (from Gunnislake) landed six browns using a white-tailed zulu, while Nick Odle (from Looe) caught eight.



Fish are now starting to feed nearer the surface, although there have not yet been many significant rises in spite of some buzzer hatches. Floating lines with long leaders and slow retrieves have been responsible for most catches, with fish taking Damsels, Tadpoles, Zulus, Black Pennels, Muddlers, and Scruffy Tigers. Anglers have averaged 3.1 browns per rod, with most fish being caught at Grinnacombe and South Wortha. None of the larger browns have yet been caught, with most averaging around the 1lb mark – Bruce Elston (from Beaworthy) caught the best bag (of ten fish) fishing from a boat.

Chris Hall (May 2022)