GUEST INFORMATION PORTAL
Hotel Fishing Information
River Taw and Torridge Fly Fishing
The Fox & Hounds offers fly fishing on the River Taw and River Torridge for wild brown trout, salmon and sea trout, between March and September.
The hotel has access to nearly 4 miles of fishing on the River Taw and a further two miles on the nearby River Torridge. Our lightly fished beats are maintained in their natural state offering anglers the opportunity for an increasingly rare experience fishing natural Devon waters. We work closely with local guides who can help you to get them most from your fishing experience.
No matter what you fish for, or the time of year, we’re certain you will enjoy getting back to nature, and the unique experience of fishing a beautiful Devon river. Below you’ll find information about the rivers, guides, costs, what equipment and flies to bring, as well as downloadable maps and information for each of our beats. For information about other nearby fishing opportunities, please see the Fishing page under Local Area > Outdoor Activities. All anglers wishing to fish the Taw or Torridge beats associated with the hotel agree to be bound by our Fishing Terms and Conditions.
River Taw Fishing
Our four fishing beats on the Taw are all within a few minutes of the hotel, including our own Home Beat, which runs along the bottom of the property. These lightly fished beats afford anglers the opportunity to fish for wild brown trout, as well as the chance for sea trout and salmon.
All fish on the Taw are wild and the beats are left in their natural state, except for some minimal grooming and ladders for access. While this makes access challenging in some places, it ensures an authentic wild fishing experience and ensures fish are undisturbed.
The Taw is a spate river, meaning it is subject to large and sometimes rapid changes in height based on rainfall. Throughout the year, the river is fed by a spring on Dartmoor, so we have resident brown trout all year round. During, or just after periods of rain, when the river is in spate, salmon will move through the system, when water levels are higher. The increased water and flow causes the water to become cloudy and fishing is generally poor immediately following a large downfall. Three or four days later, as the water clears again is the very best time to fish.
More than anything, the Taw is a brown trout fishery. We have regular guests who visit several times a year and have been coming to enjoy the experience for the past 10 or 15 years. It is not unusual at certain times of the year for anglers to catch more than 20 fish in a morning. Browns tend to be small as the acidity of the river limits the natural food supply, but we do see size fish in the 12-14″ range being caught and occasionally larger.
Salmon and Sea Trout are caught on the Taw, but it’s been some years since it’s had a reputation as a salmon fishery. About 150 salmon are caught each year on the whole of the Taw and there are some good salmon pools on our beats, so the chance is always there.
Church Beat on the River Taw
River Torridge Fishing
There are five beats on the River Torridge in a 2 mile stretch, about 30 minutes drive from the hotel. A day’s fishing on the Torridge often involves fishing two of these beats. Like the Taw, grooming is minimal, but the Torridge is a larger river and access along this stretch is mainly low bank. It has two main sources, Seckington Water and Clifford Water and generally holds more water throughout the year than the Taw.
Like the Taw, the Torridge is a spate river and is affected by heavy rainfalls. Being a larger river, the effects of small rainfalls is generally less pronounced but can lead to the water becoming coloured, which has an impact on fishing.
The Torridge holds more salmon and sea trout and brown trout are generally larger than in the Taw. In many years, the Torridge beats will produce two dozen salmon and even more sea trout.
The Torridge is a good choice if you want a chance at larger fish, but they are less abundant but you’re less likely to see a lot of the double digit fish days you can get on the Taw.
Other Nearby Fishing Opportunities
The hotel is centrally located to many rivers, reservoirs and fisheries in every direction. Arguably we’re closer to more fishing opportunities than almost anywhere in the country, with more than 20 reservoirs and fisheries within a one hour drive and many nearby rivers. The Fish Pass app allows you to book beats in the South West and our guides have access to other nearby waters if the local conditions aren’t ideal. The Fishing section under Local Area has links to popular fishing opportunities in the surrounding area.
Our Fishing Guides
Gerald was born in Plymouth and raised only a few miles from the river Tamar in North Cornwall. A keen angler for more than 40 years, Gerald caught his first salmon at age 7 on the River Torridge. He has fished all over the world including the US, Norway, BC, Canada and Scotland, but his heart belongs to our Southwest rivers. He is a fully qualified AAPGAI fly casting instructor with a particular interest in single and double handed Spey casting.
Contact Gerald for fishing on the River Taw and surrounding areas.
Anthony has been fishing for over 40 years, his first fly rod was a Christmas gift from his Grandmother which was used on many adventures on chalk streams in Dorset. A successful match sea angler for many years, an introduction to salmon fishing in Scotland won his heart and his obsession with salmon fishing started. Based on the River Torridge he has enjoyed much success netting and returning fish in excess of 20lb on his own stretch of river.
Contact Anthony for fishing on the River Torridge and surrounding areas.
Costs and Payments
A fishing ticket costs £30/day per person fishing, unless it is purchased as part of our Fishing Break Package (see our Special Offers page). When you book your stay, let us know that you want to fish and we will reserve a beat for you. You don’t have to choose the beat at the time of booking, but reservation of a specific beat is on a first come, first served basis, so it’s advisable to do so, especially if you have any special requests or requirements. Payment is due on checkout.
Guides charge a daily price and half days may be available. Please contact your guide for rates and payment should be arranged between you and the guide.
Regrettably, dogs are not permitted to accompany you on any of our fishing beats. This regulation is explicitly stated in the Land Registry documents that govern the riparian rights for each of the beats and we regret we are unable to make exceptions to this provision. Dogs may not be left in rooms for prolonged periods or while you are away from the hotel. If you are planning to bring a dog with you, please ensure that you have planned for suitable care of your pet while you are fishing, or plan to leave your dog at home.
What to Bring
Everything you need for a great fishing break
During the mid and late summer, when the river is low, the casual angler can reach a fair amount of water carrying just a rod and a small fly box. More typically, we would suggest bringing the following for the best experience.
- Wading boots
- Waterproof jacket
- Wading stick
- Polarised sunglasses
- Landing net
- Rod license* – available online from the Environment Agency or from a Post Office
Brown Trout Gear
Resident brown trout are typically fairly small and a 3 or 4 weight rod with floating line is ideal.
- Rod – 3 to 4 weight, 7-9 foot
- Line – Floating
- Leader – Tapered 4X – 6X
- Tippet – 5X – 7X
Sea Trout Gear
Sea trout are normally in the 1-2lb range but can reach 3 or 4 lbs.
- Rod – 6 to 8 weight, 9-10 foot
- Line – Floating, Sink Tip
- Leader – Tapered 2X – 4X
- Tippet – 3X – 5X
Resident brown trout are typically fairly small and a 3 or 4 weight rod with floating line is ideal.
- Rod – 7 to 8 weight, 9-10 foot
- Line – Floating, Sink Tip, Intermediate
- Leader – Tapered 0X – 3X
- Tippet – 1X – 3X
What to bring
Productive flies for trout and salmon
Brown Trout Flies
The Taw beats offer anglers the ample opportunities to catch on both wet and dry flies. These are wild trout and matching the prevailing food source is the key to success. Size more than anything is often the most important characteristic, so ensure you have a good selection of sizes.
Dry flies in emerger, sedge and at times mayfly patterns will fish well. It is also worth having several indicator patterns as fishing a nymph under a dry indicator can be one of the most successful combinations. It’s a good idea to keep dry flies small, from size 14 down to 20, although you’ll still catch on size 12. Good patterns to have in your box include:
- Large Dark Olive
- Parachute Adams
- Klinkhammer Special
- Black Gnat
- Griffiths Gnat
- Sparkle Dun
- Balloon Caddis
- Elk Hair Caddis
- Compara Dun
Take a look in a local’s fly box and you’ll see a good selection of Klinkhammer and elk hair patterns as well as CDC emergers. Olive, black, grey and dun are the predominant colours.
Nymphs make up the majority of the subsurface patterns although the river does hold small leeches and sculpin. These can be tied from size 12, but again smaller does tend to be more productive. Popular patterns include:
- Flashback Pheasant Tailed Nymph
- Pheasant Tailed Nymph
- Gold Ribbed Hares Ear
- Copper John
- Free Swimming Caddis
Sea Trout Flies
Unlike salmon, sea trout continue to feed as they move through the system and many anglers have been shocked to suddenly find a hard fighting sea trout spooling the reel while fishing for brownies. Sea trout will even take a dry fly on occasion, but if you’re targeting them, it is more usual to use a classic wet fly pattern, often imitating fry. Surface lures that create a wake as they’re retrieved can also be successful. Sea trout flies are most often tied on hooks from size 8 to 12 but can go a size larger and smaller.
- Silver Stoats Tail
- Squirrel Blue and Silver
- Hugh Falkus Medicine and Sunk Lure
- Teal Blue and Silver
- Black Pennell
Salmon flies, including tube flies will also attract sea trout.
Once salmon enter the fresh water, they are no longer actively feeding. Salmon flies are therefore intended to trigger a response. Classic patterns tied as singles or doubles as well as tube flies have proved productive on our beats as well as other parts of the Taw. Salmon flies are tied from size 6 down to 12 with larger sizes being fished in the early season and getting smaller as the season progresses.
- Allys Shrimp
- Stoats Tail
- Willie Gunn
- Sunray Shadow
- Pot Bellied Pig
Hotel Fishing Beats
The hotel’s fishing beats feature nearly 4 miles of lightly fished waters
Running along the bottom of the hotel property, Home Beat is the easiest to access beat and offers a good variety of water types from slow deep pools to faster running shallows.
Home Beat is a great place to start your fishing adventure, especially if this is your first time fishing small Devon rivers.
Adjacent to Home Beat, starting just above the bridge at Eggesford station, the lower section of Church Beat features deep slow moving water caused by the weir under the bridge – ideal for salmon and sea trout. There are several faster moving runs near the top of the beat near the church.
Much of Church Beat is high bank so access is by ladder or scrambling, then wading. The more difficult access means that it is less fished than other beats and the potential to yield some great fishing.
Bridge Reeve Beat
A five minute drive from the hotel, Bridge Reeve is a smaller C-shaped beat featuring a lot of fishable water, with some easy access points.
A favourite with many returning guests, the top of this beat includes the confluence of the Little Dart with the River Taw at Junction Pool, where salmon often hold when the water is high.
About 3 minutes from the hotel by car, Chenson Beat starts with high bank and deeper water near the bridge, where salmon and sea trout can hold.
Giving way to faster, shallower runs as you move down steam, the low banks make for access easier to the haunts of the resident brownies.