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I am drawn to Devon by its beauty, its peace, its pace and way of life, its people who have ‘time’, and its pure variety of fishing…the steeply sided valley through which flows the pacy river Lyn in the north; the bigger, more adventurous Torridge and Taw rivers in the north east of the county; the delightful little streams of the Duchy waters flowing into, and including the Dart; and of course, the picturesque Teign.

Devon offers plentiful fishing through a number of hotels, and all of them are my 2nd favourites. (see: ‘Musings 1’)…and also through a Passport system, initiated by the Wye Usk Foundation, and now making waters in more parts of the country more accessible.

Part of the joy of a week in Devon is to drive from venue to venue and to be enthralled.

Did you ever see wild horses frolicking on Exmoor, careering over grass and tarmac, oblivious to people and cars?

You have seen the sheep sheltering roadside on Dartmoor from the winds, haven’t you?  They own the moors, and it is their space, not yours or mine!

And how can you not just adore the narrow lanes overgrown with colourful wild flowers, and to hell with the scratches, and let’s hope there’s nothing coming in the opposite direction, because I don’t think I could reverse this thing back up that incline!

It is impossible not to love this dreamy county.

I ‘conquered’ Devon during many visits in the nineties and the early ‘nought-ies’, but this year I fished a new river for the first time –

May 2010 – the Otter

The River Otter takes its name from the creatures which once thrived on its banks.

It originates from the little Otterhead Lakes close to the Somerset border and flows for 34 miles to enter the English Channel at Budleigh Salterton. The Deer Park Country House Hotel outside Honiton has five miles of deliciously fishy water, and non-residents are welcome to fish it for the modest fee of £20!

Tonka Too bumped its (wrong) way around a big hay field to the parking space between 2 and 3. Excited to see a fish rising just in front of me, it took two casts to net him on a small Grey Wulff,

then and I walked downstream to the wooden bridge at the bottom of 4, and worked my way up.

I found one deep pool at the bottom of 3, where a good fish was making ploppy rises, and whilst both Olive CdC and a pale Elk Hair caddis, failed to excite him, when a CdC May did, I had a ferocious fight on my hands and netted this beauty of 1 1/2lbs.

I fished beats 4 & 3, and enjoyed a great variety of water. Interesting pools and glides, shallow riffles, stony bottomed and easily waded, and streaming weeds produced good fly life on the sunny day, it was for me. I noted caddis galore, a few mays, and some caenis. Enticing runs are formed by a number of man-made weirs, of which there are four, on beat 2, alone.

After a short snack, it was to beat 1, for half an hour, before having to head west to meet Sue at Exeter, then on to Chagford for a fun filled weekend with Jan & Peter, and a house full (and a morning on the Teign at Fingle Bridge, introducing Peter to river fishing for the first time (and he did very well, too)

My day at the Deer Park water yielded 8 fish, all of which, apart from the specimen, were in the 6 – 8 “ size, indicating a nice healthy stream.