GUEST INFORMATION PORTAL

Hotel Fishing Information

Hotel Fly Fishing

The Fox & Hounds offers fly fishing on the River Taw and River Torridge for wild brown trout, salmon and sea trout between March and September. These lightly fished beats are maintained in their natural state offering anglers the opportunity for an increasingly rare experience fishing natural Devon waters. We can help arrange guides for those who want to get the most from their angling experience.

Introduction

The hotel has access to nearly 4 miles of fishing on the River Taw and a further two miles on the nearby River Torridge. The four beats on the Taw are all within a few minutes of the hotel, including our own Home Beat that runs along the bottom of the property. These lightly fished beats afford anglers the opportunity to fish for wild brown trout, as well as the chance for sea trout and salmon. Fishing season is from March to the end of September and day tickets can be purchased from reception, or pre-purchased with your reservation.

All fish on the Taw are wild and the beats are left in their natural state, except for some minimal grooming and some ladders for access. While this makes access challenging in some places, it ensures an authentic wild fishing experience and ensures fish are undisturbed.

The Taw is a spate river, meaning it is subject to large and sometimes rapid changes in height based on rainfall. Throughout the year, the river is fed by a spring on Dartmoor, so we have resident brown trout all year round. During, or just after periods of rain, when the river is in spate, salmon will move through the system, when water levels are higher. The increased water and flow causes the water to become cloudy and fishing is generally poor immediately following a large downfall. Three or four days later, as the water clears again is the very best time to fish.  

More than anything, the Taw is a brown trout fishery. We have regular guests who visit several times a year and have been coming to enjoy the experience for the past 10 or 15 years. It is not unusual at certain times of the year for anglers to catch more than 20 fish in a morning. Browns tend to be be small as the acidity of the river limits the natural food supply, but we do see size fish in the 12-14″ range being caught and occasionally larger. 

Sea trout are better known for being caught at night, but increasingly people are reporting hooking into them during the day, while targeting browns on larger nymphs. Night time fishing for sea trout is permitted, but please notify us if you plan to do so.

Salmon are often spotted moving up through the system, but it has been some years since the Taw had a reputation as a salmon fishery. Over the past few years about 150 salmon a year are reported across the whole system and in the past couple of years, only grilse have been caught on our beats. Still, we have a several good salmon pools and the chance is always there. The Torridge is better known for salmon and our beats on that river generally produce more than a dozen salmon each year. 

No matter what you fish for, or the time of year, we’re certain you will enjoy getting back to nature and the unique experience of fishing a beautiful Devon river. Below you’ll find information about what equipment and flies to bring as well as downloadable beat maps and detailed information for each of our beats. For information about other nearby fishing opportunities, please see the Fishing page under Local Area > Outdoor Activities.

What to Bring

Equipment

Everything you need for a great fishing break

The exact configuration of your gear will depend in large part on which species you are targeting and to a lesser extent, the time of year and state of the river. We’ve put together a list of recommended general equipment and then broken down the rod and line weights by species.

General

During the mid and late summer, when the river is low, the casual angler can reach a fair amount of water carrying just a rod and a small fly box.  More typically, we would suggest bringing the following for the best experience.

* Please note that if you plan to fish for sea trout and/or salmon, you will need a “Salmon and sea trout licence”. For brown trout only, a “Trout, coarse fish and eel licence” will suffice.

Brown Trout Gear

Resident brown trout are typically fairly small and a 3 or 4 weight rod with floating line is ideal.

  • Rod – 3 to 4 weight, 7-9 foot
  • Line – Floating
  • Leader – Tapered 4X – 6X
  • Tippet – 5X – 7X
Total leader length is typically between 9 and 12 feet. 

Sea Trout Gear

Sea trout are normally in the 1-2lb range but can reach 3 or 4 lbs.

  • Rod – 6 to 8 weight, 9-10 foot
  • Line – Floating, Sink Tip
  • Leader – Tapered 2X – 4X
  • Tippet – 3X – 5X
Total leader length is typically around 9 or 10 feet. 

Salmon Gear

Resident brown trout are typically fairly small and a 3 or 4 weight rod with floating line is ideal.

  • Rod – 7 to 8 weight, 9-10 foot
  • Line – Floating, Sink Tip, Intermediate
  • Leader – Tapered 0X – 3X
  • Tippet – 1X – 3X
Total leader length is typically around 9 or 10 feet. 

What to bring

Flies

Productive flies for trout and salmon

Whether you’re tying your own, or buying them, we’ve put together a list of productive flies for all species of fish on the River Taw.

Brown Trout Flies

The Taw beats offer anglers the ample opportunities to catch on both wet and dry flies. These are wild trout and matching the prevailing food source is the key to success. Size more than anything is often the most important characteristic, so ensure you have a good selection of sizes.

Dry flies in emerger, sedge and at times mayfly patterns will fish well. It is also worth having several indicator patterns as fishing a nymph under a dry indicator can be one of the most successful combinations. It’s a good idea to keep dry flies small, from size 14 down to 20, although you’ll still catch on size 12. Good patterns to have in your box include:

  • Large Dark Olive
  • Parachute Adams
  • Klinkhammer Special
  • Black Gnat
  • Griffiths Gnat
  • Sparkle Dun
  • Balloon Caddis
  • Elk Hair Caddis
  • Beetle
  • Compara Dun

Take a look in a local’s fly box and you’ll see a good selection of Klinkhammer and elk hair patterns as well as CDC emergers. Olive, black, grey and dun are the predominant colours.

Nymphs make up the majority of the subsurface patterns although the river does hold small leeches and sculpin. These can be tied from size 12, but again smaller does tend to be more productive. Popular patterns include:

  • Flashback Pheasant Tailed Nymph
  • Pheasant Tailed Nymph
  • Gold Ribbed Hares Ear
  • Copper John
  • Free Swimming Caddis
 Small bead head generic nymphs in black olive and grey perform well when fished under a dry indicator fly.

Sea Trout Flies

Unlike salmon, sea trout continue to feed as they move through the system and many anglers have been shocked to suddenly find a hard fighting sea trout spooling the reel while fishing for brownies. Sea trout will even take a dry fly on occasion, but if you’re targeting them, it is more usual to use a classic wet fly pattern, often imitating fry. Surface lures that create a wake as they’re retrieved can also be successful. Sea trout flies are most often tied on hooks from size 8 to 12 but can go a size larger and smaller.

  • Silver Stoats Tail
  • Squirrel Blue and Silver
  • Hugh Falkus Medicine and Sunk Lure
  • Teal Blue and Silver
  • Black Pennell
  • Gurgler

Salmon flies, including tube flies will also attract sea trout.

Salmon Flies

Once salmon enter the fresh water, they are no longer actively feeding. Salmon flies are therefore intended to trigger a response. Classic patterns tied as singles or doubles as well as tube flies have proved productive on our beats as well as other parts of the Taw. Salmon flies are tied from size 6 down to 12 with larger sizes being fished in the early season and getting smaller as the season progresses.

  • Cascade
  • Allys Shrimp
  • Stoats Tail
  • Flamethrower
  • Executioner
  • Willie Gunn
  • Sunray Shadow
  • Pot Bellied Pig
River Taw

Hotel Fishing Beats

The hotel’s fishing beats feature nearly 4 miles of lightly fished waters

EGGESFORD

Home Beat

Running along the bottom of the hotel property, Home Beat is the easiest to access beat and offers a good variety of water types from slow deep pools to faster running shallows.

Home Beat is a great place to start your fishing adventure, especially if this is your first time fishing small Devon rivers.

EGGESFORD

Church Beat

Adjacent to Home Beat, starting just above the bridge at Eggesford station, the lower section of Church Beat features deep slow moving water caused by the weir under the bridge – ideal for salmon and sea trout. There are several faster moving runs near the top of the beat near the church. 

Much of Church Beat is high bank so access is by ladder or scrambling, then wading. The more difficult access means that it is less fished than other beats and the potential to yield some great fishing.

BRIDGE REEVE

Bridge Reeve Beat

A five minute drive from the hotel, Bridge Reeve is a smaller C-shaped beat featuring a lot of fishable water, with some easy access points. 

A favourite with many returning guests, the top of this beat includes the confluence of the Little Dart with the River Taw at Junction Pool, where salmon often hold when the water is high.

CHENSON

Chenson Beat

About 3 minutes from the hotel by car, Chenson Beat starts with high bank and deeper water near the bridge, where salmon and sea trout can hold.

Giving way to faster, shallower runs as you move down steam, the low banks make for access easier to the haunts of the resident brownies.