An introduction to fly fishing

This summer, six newcomers to fly fishing were welcomed to our 1st free fishing event on the Teign. Sponsored by the Angling Trust, organised by the River Teign Restoration Project in association with the Upper Teign Fishing Association. Kindly and generously hosted by Lewis Steer and Flora Searson of the Dartmoor Shepherd at their farm alongside the Teign near Chagford.

After introductions and registration, Project Officer Nick Baker started off with a fascinating introduction to life under the water. After taking samples of sub adult insects and other creatures from within the river Nick took us through the various species, their lifecycles and habits. Nick even found a parasitic wasp grub feeding on a caddis fly larvae. This was something that even Nick had not observed before! The importance of these little creatures who are the food for the fish and many other creatures was explained. Without the insects there wouldn’t be any fish, dippers, herons, kingfishers or otters. Nick went on to explain that it’s very often anglers who are the first to see problems in rivers that challenge the insect life and hence everything that follows on. Effectively anglers become the eyes and ears on the river.

Following Nicks fascinating presentation Geoff continued the session by explaining that fly fishers attempt to mimic the natural insects with imitations made from feathers and fur and bits of tinsel tied on a hook. The methods by which the rod and line is used to put the fly in front of feeding fish were explained. Geoff demonstrated some fly casting. Participants were then handed their own rod and practised casting on dry land all the while helped by an experienced angler.

Following the practice session and a lunch break each participant donned chest waders and accompanied by their experienced angler went fishing to put their new found skills into practice. Before fishing, the correct care of fish when caught was explained in detail – when fly fishing, over 95% of all fish are returned unharmed to the river.

One participant caught a trout and two others nearly did – a bit more practice is all that’s needed!

We will be holding more of these events next summer, so please do get in touch with one of our Project Officers if you would like to take part.

We would like to thank the volunteer anglers for their time and expertise, and thank our hosts Lewis and Flora for their hospitality and great coffee!

For an excellent blog from participant Jane Elliot click here