Fishing in North Devon
Fishing holidays in Devon can be a fisherman’s dream come true.
Waters ripe with schools of fresh fish and rolling streams, as well as productive lakes and rivers, are a wonder to behold when you visit the Devon countryside. We’ve gathered together some of the most lucrative spots for anglers when fishing in Devon, including the wealth of fishing opportunities in Ilfracombe.
What Time of Year Is Best for Fishing?
The United Kingdom’s relatively mild climate makes fishing in North Devon possible any time of year, and a variety of species can be found inland or just off the coast. Anglers can enjoy fly fishing, saltwater fishing, boat fishing, shore fishing, and sea fishing. Game fishing in some areas can be limited to certain times a year, but there’s always somewhere that’s open for business. That’s a lot of opportunities to catch fish!
Where to Fish in Devon
North and South Devon each have their own appeal. If you’re looking to catch a particular kind of fish, South Devon has a wealth of rays and smoothhounds, whereas North Devon provides a wider variety such as eels and Bull Huss (also known as the Large-Spotted Dogfish or Nursehound Shark). Those taking a trip to North Devon will probably find the fishing opportunities a lot more varied and successful.
Your first stop for fishing in Devon must be Ilfracombe. Conveniently located on the northern tip of the county, close to the point at which the Bristol Channel meets the Atlantic. The town has a natural harbour which has been extended over the centuries and lends itself to different fishing trips.
For example, you can simply line fish off of the pier or the walls at Capstone and the harbour. There are also a number of professional businesses that can host a boat charter.
Bristol Channel Charters takes anglers out for daily fishing trips that are anywhere from 1.5 hours to all-day trips. Deep sea fishing is available with the 4-hour and All-Day packages, and all bait, tackle and rods are provided. Expect to catch species like conger eel, pollock, Bull Huss, bass, and much more.
Osprey Charters is much the same as Bristol Channel Charters, providing both reef and deep sea fishing, but sea fishing trips can last up to 12 hours (Bristol Channel Charters only offers up to 8 hours). Bluefin Charters boasts of its boat’s fast speeds and offers deep sea fishing, as well as cruises and diving trips. Those on a budget can enjoy less expensive fishing trips that are equally enjoyable from Kingfisher Charters.
For those taking a spectator’s view of fishing, Obsession Charters may be just the ticket. Along with offering the usual charter trips for reef and deep sea fishing, Obsession Charters also offers a trip called The Lobster Hunt. Children will enjoy seeing how commercial fisherman catch the tasty crustacean, and they may just get to take home one of their own if they ask nicely.
And from the town you can take advantage of the many other options to fish.
Located in Muddiford, between Ilfracombe and Barnstaple, Blakewell gives anglers a relaxed fishing experience that’s suitable for both beginners and experienced anglers. Blakewell Fisheries is a fish farm in a beautiful lake and is a premier source of both rainbow trout and brown trout. It’s fed by a stream all the way from Exmoor, and the property is host to lovely water gardens and a charming café too. Visitors are welcome to explore the different ponds with literally thousands of baby, small and juvenile trout, watch as the fish are “piped” to larger ponds and then take time to picnic on the lake bank. And unique to Blakewell is the fact that it sells its graded fish to commercial merchants and in turn to local restaurants.
Bellbrook Valley Trout Fishery
This fishing spot may as well be a woodland retreat. Tucked away in a valley teeming with wildlife, many of which can be spotted even on short trips, Bellbrook Valley Trout Fishery is a haven for anglers looking for a calm and easy fishing trip. This fishery specialises in fly fishing and, as the name implies, trout fishing. Accommodations on the site make it easy to take fishing trips that last longer than a day, and visitors can choose between staying at the self-catering house or self-catering caravan.
Fox & Hounds Country Hotel
This cosy, coveted getaway in Chulmleigh offers fishing along a five-mile stretch of the River Taw frontage. The course starts with a smaller pond called the ‘kiddy pond’ where beginners can get a taste for fly fishing. There’s even a fishing school for those who want to pay extra. More experienced anglers can choose from any point on the five miles of river to throw a line in.
At first glance, Lynmouth appears to be nothing more than choppy waters and huge boulders along its shores. However, calm waters give way to some of the best Grey Mullet and bass fishing around. Slippery rocks should be trekked with great caution, but careful anglers can enjoy fishing here anytime of the year. Codling and dogfish can be caught in abundance during the wintertime. For a chance at catching bigger bass, venture to the mouth of the river and enjoy large catches.
If you’re lucky, winter fishing can bring in cod to shallower waters in the Combe Martin Bay. Summertime is especially busy, so expect to fight for a spot along the shore in Broadsands. Species found at Broadsands include bass, pollock, mackerel, garfish, Huss, rockling and the occasional ray.
For the very best in winter fishing in North Devon, Capstone Point has become a popular spot and has a wide variety of species to keep anglers happy. Catches have an average weight of 10-20 pounds and include pollock, bass and blonde rays. Be forewarned: caution is needed when fishing in Capstone. The rocks are very slippery, and many a fisherman has cracked a tooth (or worse) on the harsh rocks, so be careful when moving about on boulders and steep cliffs.
Here at the Ilfracombe Carlton – we’ll be happy to prepare your catch for you – it’s all part of the service!