Clatworthy Fly Fishing Methods
Clatworthy fly fishing methods, as in most fisheries, will differ throughout the season. With cold water and air temperatures the fish might be less reluctant to chase a fast pulled lure. A little warmer and buzzers / nymphs / Diawl Bachs will account for a lot of fish caught. With hot and bright days a dry fly might tempt a fish or when nothing else seems to work.
About the reservoir
Clatworthy Reservoir offers the angler one of the most idyllic and peaceful settings in which to pursue both rainbows & brownies. Bordering the nearby Exmoor National Park, this upland reservoir is set among the gently rolling Brendon Hills in West Somerset. Enclosed by native woodland and rich meadow pastures, the 5-mile perimeter walk provides access to many fishing spots.
As in most fishing lakes and waters, there are the more popular spots that seem to hold the fish. For anglers who don’t want to walk too far these are Wescott Bay & Rowes End. For those who do enjoy a walk the rewards are well worth it. There’s the chance of hooking into a wild brownie or two (as well as rainbows). You will also experience peace and tranquility accompanied by a beautiful birdsong soundtrack.
All around the lake there are headlands, bays and wooded banks and as the water level drops throughout the season you can access some of these points, many of which won’t have been fished for months. In some places you might find there is little room for your back cast. Don’t be put off as fish cruising the margins for terrestrial insects can be caught just a few rod lengths out from the bank.
For the boat angler there is deep water in front of the dam where you can try to coax out one of the resident big fish. When the aerators are are on it’s always worth trying a cast or two into the bubbles. Keep in touch with your leader! Just out of the ‘turbulence’ is where flies often get hammered by hungry fish lying in ambush. When the reservoir is full the water in front of the dam is roughly 29 metres deep. A long way down but who knows what lies in the depths between you and the bottom…
Talking of boats, there are 10 available from the fishing lodge, you can hire them on an all day or half day ticket (from 3pm). You have a choice of rowing or hiring electric and petrol motors (or you can bring your own electric motor). The reservoir isn’t too long or wide so rowing isn’t too arduous. If for example you want to go up past the dam to the north end of the water try drifting along the banks with a singly dry fly or damsel nymph. If it’s blowing a gale consider fishing one of the bays. Westcott Bay & Rowes End are close to the lodge, Dudderidge is a little further in the other direction. For anglers with disabilities (and their companions) there is a wheelie boat with petrol motor also available to hire.
Clatworthy Fly Fishing Methods to try
As mentioned previously being an upland reservoir things like the water temperature and insect life can take a little longer to get going compared to other lower lying fisheries.
Here’s a typical bag limit of 5 hard-fighting, early-season fish. Caught using typical clatworthy fly fishing methods, a midge tip line with a pheasant tail on the point and a black buzzer on a single dropper.
Free rising fish provide good targets to cast to! Lightning takes followed by long runs are not uncommon on this upland water.
Lure fishing at Clatworthy; Damsels, Cats Whiskers, Boobies, Tadpoles, and the ubiquitous Blob all seem to be popular.
If that’s not your style then a team of nymphs or small buzzers will often catch.
Other successful Clatworthy fly fishing methods include a combination of Diawl Bach, Pheasant tail, Black Buzzer or small Crunchers. This can often prove deadly! Hook sizes ranging from 12 – 16 seem to work better for the PT’s and Buzzer than 10’s or larger.
Dry fly fishing at Clatworthy
These clatworthy fly fishing methods are well worth trying too. Many anglers choose to fish dries throughout the season and for good reason. May will see the Hawthorn arrive. Trout rise readily to these as well as to the smaller midge that are in abundance.
Towards the end of May and for a good few weeks onward the Coch-y-bondu will prove to be an excellent choice when the trout are feeding on Phyllopertha horticola, or what is commonly known as the Garden Chafer. This terrestrial is easy to recognise, about 10mm long, with a black head (or upper part of the body) and a shiny dark chestnut / brown wing shell covering. The trout just love em!
A foam beetle is a fly well worth using and can entice fish to rise not just when this particular beetle is about but throughout the year too.
(image credit Charles Sharp)
See our page on the most popular fishing flies to use at Clatworthy.
Clatworthy’s fish farm is used for ‘growing on’ both rainbows and brownies. In addition to regular stocking, ‘trickle feeding’ these larger than average fish into the reservoir can provide a nice surprise for the lucky fly fisher! 4lb plus to double figure fish are not uncommon.
The average weight of rainbows is 2lb. There’s a good head of smaller wild brown trout in the reservoir and those under 12″ are to be carefully released. Any over that size count as part of your bag limit and should be taken. Stocked brownies of 2lb+ are often caught throughout the season.
Are you new to the area or a visitor and would like have a chat with a member of Clatworthy Fly Fishing Club to find out more about the fly fishing opportunities? We might even be able to accompany you for a boat or bank session. If so please use the contact page to get in touch.
The 2018 Clatworthy fishing season runs from Wednesday 13 March to Thursday 31 October 2019.
Clatworthy Fishing Costs 2019
Day permit £23 (5 fish)
Day concession £20.00 (5 fish)
Evening ticket (start at 3pm), no concessions £14.00 (2 fish)
Season ticket £370 4 days per week. Total 100 fish limit, max 4 fish a day (one venue only)
Book of 6 day tickets, any venue £120 – Concessions £105 (5 fish per day)
Boat (rowing) per day/evening £15.00
Boat (rowing) per evening £10.00
Wheelchair accessible boat £11.00 per day
Electric boat motor hire per day £10.00
In addition to the fishery permit anglers must have an up-to-date
Environment Agency rod licence
For more information about the fishery or to book a boat contact the rangers Les or Danny. You can leave a message if the rangers are not available when you call.
Tel: 01984 624658