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Top 5 Flies for Early Summer Fishing on Devon Rivers

Local guides and anglers reveal their top flies for early summer fishing on Devon rivers

Early summer fly fishing on Devon rivers like the River Taw and River Torridge can be some of the most productive and exciting fishing all year round. With plenty of hatches and insect life both below the water and on the surface, we asked local guides and anglers to pick their top flies for this time of year.

Between them, the anglers we spoke to have nearly 500 years combined experience and we found a good deal of commonality in their recommendations. Of course, everyone has their own go-to flies and there are a fair few flies we left out, but the flies here represent a good starting point for anyone new to fishing Devon rivers in the early summer months. There’s a good mix of fly types, including dries, emergers and nymphs and a mix of profiles to offer up for the often-fussy Devon wild brown trout.

Gold Ribbed Hares Ear

The ever-popular GRHE was a staple in everyone’s fly box. Normally tied in sizes 10-14, we saw a good number of variants including gold and tungsten head, unweighted, pearl and hot spot. This versatile fly can be bounced along the bottom or suspended under a dry or indicator fly.

Pheasant Tail Nymphs, May Fly Nymphs and a wide variety of black, olive, grey and tan nymphs were to be found in size 10-16.

CDC Emergers

CDC Emergers were in abundance in local boxes. Tied in a variety of sizes and colours, with some anglers swearing by the Pearl Butt variant for that little bit of extra flash. Normally fished on the point and often in conjunction with another dry fly, these flies can produce some phenomenal action, especially in the late afternoon and early evening.


One of the more modern flies in our list, Marjan Fratnic’s simple F-Fly developed in the 80’s can be deadly during both midge and sedge hatches. It is also generic enough to be a good search pattern when you start to see a few fish rising but haven’t yet identified the hatch.

The addition of elk hair over the CDC can help to create more movement in the surface. Elk hair patterns with a similar V-shape profile, such as the Elk Hair Caddis flies, are also popular.

Loop wing Emergers

CDC loop wing emerger patterns have a unique profile and tend to sit low in the surface and produce fish even when ‘drowned’. They are a fairly robust pattern that can stand up to multiple takes. Loop wing pheasant tail and loop wing mayfly are popular variations in the early summer months.

Parachute Adams

Rounding out the list, we have the Parachute Adams and Klinkhammer style flies and their variants. Mentioned by every angler we spoke to, it is yet another fly that imitates the ubiquitous Mayfly found so often on our rivers in early summer. This fly imitates the Mayfly dun or subimago and performs particularly well when tied in in lighter colours like tan, yellow and grey.

This buoyant fly makes a good indicator and is often tied with a tippet ring or fished on the dropper, but can also be fished on the point in a washing line configuration.  

The Fox and Hounds Country Hotel offers nearly 4 miles of fly fishing on the River Taw and a further 2 miles on the River Torridge for brown trout as well as salmon and sea trout.

Our guides can help you to get the most out of your fishing experience, but you are welcome to fish alone if you prefer. We offer a special Fly Fishing Break package, but you can add fishing to any stay. If the river levels aren’t perfect, we’re located within an hours drive of nearly 20 reservoirs and fisheries, so there are always plenty of opportunities for the keen angler. 


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