Fishing Association: Brown Trout "Voices from the past"
In recent years virtually all brown trout caught on the Avon have been released. But anglers often remark on the relatively high number of undersized (less than eight inches) fish they catch. This page presents some information on the size of fish in the Avon.
It begins with extracts from letters written by experienced Avon anglers. Jack Notley and Cedric Potter provide historical perspective and practical advice; John Eve gives details of his catches between 1975 and 1990. I have inserted photos of some flies tied by Cedric to celebrate his skill as an innovative fly tyer.
The page also reproduces a report of a detailed survey of brown trout catches carried out in 1990-91. This gives a 'feel' for what to expect in terms of the proportion of takeable fish in an average bag (about 20%-25%).
The page concludes with a comparison of trout catches on the Avon with another local river.
Here are some further, personal, thoughts on the size of trout in Dartmoor rivers "Trout size: Let's keep a sense of proportion"
|In 1981 Cedric
Potter wrote some notes on his 1980 season:
John Eve kept detailed records of the brown trout he caught on the Avon between 1975 and 1990. During that period he fished the river 106 times. He caught 191 trout over 8 inches long. He returned 310 fish of less than eight inches. On average John caught just under five fish on each visit: about two fish over 8 inches and three fish below takeable length. About 38% of John's catch was of takeable size. John was a skilled angler. He only had eight blank days in 15 years fishing the Avon. Here is a table showing his catches between 1975 and 1990.
In the late 1980s some members expressed concern about poor brown trout catches. In 1989 the committee asked anglers to record how many takeable fish (8 inches and over) they caught, as well as where and when they were caught. Twenty five anglers returned the survey form. Nine anglers had not fished during the year so the results are based on 133 visits to the river by 16 members.
The main findings were:
Summary table of 1989 and 1990 surveys. Late returns - amounting to 50 extra visits - seem to have been added to the 1989 dataset.
A selection of Cedric Potter's flies
Candy - a Tups variation for sea trout
Alexandra - sea trout fly - fished greased
Comparison of trout fishing on the Avon with another local river
The EA does not collect information on trout catches from licence holders.
And it is difficult to find quantitative data to compare trout fishing between Devon rivers.
I found one river - the Yeo near Crediton - that does publish useful information, and is similar to the Avon in angling effort: 37 anglers caught 530 trout in 2009.
This diagram shows the average annual catch of wild brown trout in the period 2000-2006.
About 70% of fish caught were below 8 inches.
Mike Weaver described the fishing on the Yeo as follows:
"The trout rarely exceed 14 inches but the average size is good with lots of 10 to 12 inch browns and on the right day you can expect to take over 20 fish. "
Crediton Fly Fishing Club http://www.fly-fishing-club.co.uk/