Roadford Reservoir is no ordinary trout fishery as it stocked with fingerling brown trout and naturals from the feeder streams. This is as close to a natural brown trout water as is practically possible. As such, the venue has an almost cult following and produces some of the best looking brownies in the country.

Directions: Follow the A30 from Exeter passing Oakhampton. Roadford Reservoir is clearly signposted from the A30.

Fishery Description: This is a reservoir of approximately 800 acres formed by damming the River Wolf. Other than the dam, the banks are naturally grassed with some trees. The water is clear and exceptionally deep in the middle.

Species stocked: brown trout only stocked in March.

Season: 24th March to 12th October

Tickets: range from 9.50 for a two fish limit from the bank upwards. Boats are also available for hire.

Facilities: Lodge with fishery reception, some tackle and flies for sale, car park, tea rooms on far bank and W.C..

A days fishing

I knew that I had to forget normal rainbow tactics and lures to return to more traditional brown trout flies to stand any chance of success. I had also been warned to forget waders, as to enter the water was the kiss of death. The approach was to travel light and cover a large area. The fish would often be very close in.

Armed with this knowledge I arrived in the evening to take an evening ticket. Just as I was setting up my 8ft A.F.T.M. number 5 rod with a weight forward number 5 floating line, it started to rain and it never stopped raining for all the time I was fishing, so I apologise for the poor quality of the images.

I walked down from the lodge and moved off to my right. Fishing various spots with a long leader to a size 16 pheasant tail, I quickly covered the first 100 yards. Then I started to notice a few fish rising fairly close in and covered them. I then had the lightest take that I ever saw and knew it was not going to be easy. Several casts later I hooked and dropped an 8 inch brown before moving on another 20 yards. The conditions got worse with even heavier rain, then another fish took. This time it was more solid feeling, much heavier, giving that typical bottom hugging fight of a brown trout. After a nice fight the fish was netted, carefully weighed at 1lb 4oz, quickly photographed and returned.

I do not like killing wild fish, preferring to return them when possible. Feeling very pleased with myself, I fished on but had no more takes in the next hour. Then I had a smash hit and line flew out as I was into a much bigger fish that again gave a bottom hugging fight that lacked the spectacular jumps normally associated with rainbows. The leader was only 2.5lb Maxima ultra green so I took my time before netting a magnificent brownie of 21b 9oz. A great trophy but one that I again returned,

I caught no more fish that night and happily returned to my base at Clawford Vineyard where I was staying. The Vineyard is only about 5 miles from the reservoir so I was soon back, changed and in the bar to tell the story of my trip to Roadford. Unfortunately that was my last night at Clawford and I returned home the following day but this is one venue that I will definitely be revisiting.