By Chris Hall

South West Lakes Trust trout fisheries report – March 2024

THE new season is now firmly under way at all of the South West Lakes Trust trout fisheries; where available, boats are now on the water, and should be pre-booked (online or via the telephone). 

Generally the weather for the opening month has been both mixed and challenging to anglers, with strong winds, rain, snow and hail, and cold temperatures. 

Fish have been feeding throughout the water column, with some already starting to feed near the surface, and many have been caught using floating line tactics. The very wet winter means that the water levels are full.

Fishing: Kennick – Rods averaged just over five fish per angler over the month, with fish generally well spread out around the lake and eager to feed. Both boat and bank anglers caught fish in most locations (particularly the Top End, Clampitts Bay, the Dam and Hawthorn Point), using a variety of tactics from floating lines fishing nymphs just under the surface, to Blobs and Boobies fished on fast-sinking lines, all with a variety of retrieves. Andy Western caught a four pound rainbow, the best fish of the month.

Siblyback – The fishery continued to produce some fine fishing, with anglers averaging 3.9 fish per rod. 

Two Meadows, Stocky Bay, Crylla and North Bank produced the best sport, with bank anglers getting marginally better results than the boats. 

Dark fly patterns seemed to be preferred by the fish, with Montanas, Vivas, and Black and Gold Fritz patterns fishing well over a range of depths and with various retrieves; a few fish were even tempted to the surface to take Black Hoppers. 

Small hatches of buzzers produced rising fish on occasions. 

Benjamin Lang (from Launceston) caught one brownie and seven rainbows – the best of which was 3lb 8oz, caught on a size 14 buzzer cast to rising fish feeding off hatching buzzers off Meadows Bank. 

Simon Peters (from Truro) caught a bag of seven rainbows to 2lb 8oz, fishing from the East Bank, using a Black and Green Snake and a Black and Green Bunny Cat on an intermediate line.

Burrator – Again, the great start to the season continued at Burrator, with anglers averaging five fish per rod, with fish well spread out around the lake, particularly at Longstone, Sheepstor, Lowery, Pig Trough and Bennett’s. 

Floating and intermediate lines with a variety of retrieval methods (fast, slow figure of eight, washing line) all produced good sport. 

Hatches of buzzers and black gnats meant that fish were frequently found feeding near the surface (and occasionally caught on a Klinkhammer); however, the majority of fish were taken sub-surface on a variety on nymph (Damsels, Pheasant Tails, Buzzers and Montanas) and lure (Orange Blobs, Black Fritz, Humungous and Cats Whisker) patterns. 

Kevin Sellar (from Plymouth) caught 12 rainbows and a brown from the boat, fishing off Discovery Bank, then Lowery Point, Pines, Bennett’s and Narrator, using a slow intermediate line. 

Al Lawson (from Plymouth) caught a bag of five rainbows fishing between Lowery Point and the field, and then on to Bennett’s; Dom and Ben Garnett (from Exeter) caught four rainbows and three browns, using a Damsel Nymph at first, and then a Black spider when fish started to rise to hatching buzzers, at Narrator Bank.

Stithians – The fishing improved as the month progressed, with anglers averaging 3.3 fish per rod. 

The best sport was to be had at North Bank, Yellowort, Goonlaze, Chapel Bay and Mossopps, with surface activity during the occasional buzzer hatch. 

Fish were caught at all depths on a wide selection of nymphs (mainly Damsel variants) and lure patterns (Orange Blobs, Cats Whiskers, Cormorants and Muddlers), with some fish rising to both Claret and Green Hoppers, as well as small parachute dry patterns and Coch-y-Bondhu. 

Simon Peters (from Cusgarne) caught a bag of eight rainbows in the space of an hour, pulling an Apache Lure on an intermediate line and slow retrieve, with aggressive takes; on another visit he caught five rainbows to 2lb 8oz from Deep Bank. 

Phillip Lockley (from Constantine) caught four rainbows using a home-tied Damsel nymph fished near the bottom.

Fernworthy – The fishing improved as the month progressed. The middle week resulted in eight anglers out of 13 catching full bags, and an overall rod average of 2.23 fish per angler; the average then rose to 2.7 fish per rod in the final week of the month.

The most successful method was a medium or slow retrieve on either a floating or intermediate line, with most fish feeding in the top six feet of water, mainly on a variety of sub-surface nymph patterns (including Diawl Bachs, Pheasant Tails, Montanas, Buzzers and Bibios), while a few fish rose to take a Daddy Longlegs from the surface.

Prime locations included Permit Hut, Boat Bay, Lowton Bay and South Bank.

Rodney Wevill (from Lifton) caught five browns to 1lb 4oz using a Soldier Palmer and Blue Zulu on a floating line with a medium retrieve.

Colliford – Again, the fishing improved toward the end of the month, with rod averages rising to 3.5 fish per visit, with the best fishing to be had by the dam, Lords Waste and along the West bank. 

Generally floating lines with a medium or slow-jerked retrieve produced the best results, using Soldier Palmers, Muddler Minnows, Zulus and Hare’s Ear patterns. 

When there was a rise to hatching buzzers, small Black Gnats and Bob’s Bits both caught fish, as did Deer Hair Sedges and Daddy Longlegs patterns. 

Dean Boucher (from Gunnislake) opened his season with four (three overwintered) browns to 12 inches using a Black Tadpole and Zonker.

Chris Tilyard (from Fraddon) caught four browns, casting a Black Gnat to fish rising to a Black Buzzer hatch, while Roger Truscott (from Liskeard) caught 18 browns in one session.

Richard Ticehurst (from Kelly Bray) caught six browns to 14” in an afternoon session, noting plenty of insect activity (tiny black terrestrials, longhorn sedges, small brown beetles, and craneflies) – he found short casts and static presentation of dry patterns for the fish to find the most successful method.

Colliford is the only reservoir not yet at full capacity, being 95% full at the time of writing.

Roadford – Rods averaged three fish per rod, with most fish caught either in the deeper water by the dam or at Grinnacombe. 

Generally a slowly retrieved floating line, fishing Beetles, Tadpoles or a mini Scruffy Tiger produced the best results. 

Jamie Gillman (from Plympton) caught ten browns up to 1lb, all using a Beetle pattern.

Please visit for more information on buying tickets, boat availability and booking, and forthcoming events. 

The Trust, in conjunction with Fluff Chuckers, will be running a Brown Trout Masters competition this season, to be held over three dates at Colliford, Fernworthy, and Roadford – please see the website for more information.