Big Brown Trout in the sunshine

Big brown trout and glorious sunshine were the order of the day on Saturday’s Vale House Kitchen beginners fly fishing course, which I was hosting at the awesome Manningford Fishery.

If you have never fished at Manningford Fishery before, I urge you to take a trip, it’s a really well run fishery with good facilities and quality fish that are all grown at the onsite fish farm. Fishery manager Malcolm and his assistant Fen  will be on-hand  with a friendly welcome and up to date advice for the fishing.

Manningford trout fishery
The stunning Manningford Fishery

On this particular course, my wife Gilly decided to come  along and lend a hand with landing guests fish etc., although she is not a regular fly angler herself, she is always keen to wet a line herself and today was no different.

I had set her up first thing in the day with a Snowbee Classic 9′ #4/5 kit  , although this is an entry level kit from Snowbee, it’s a quality outfit, with the rod in particular a real little gem, it’s an easy to cast blank, a little forgiving with timing but powerful enough to tame decent fish.  With kit in hand, Gilly was soon wandering the banks in search of a fish or two.

I was giving a talk by the fishing lodge to the guests about flies and fly selection, when out of the corner of my eye I saw Gilly’s rod hooped over as another angler netted a fish for her.  To be honest, I thought she had a fish stuck in a snag and was struggling to land it until the fish was lifted clear of the water in the net. From a distance the fish looked to be a fair lump, and then up close it was obvious the fish was a new personal best brownie for her, it tipped the scales at 6lb 11oz and what a stunning fish it was!

brown trout
A stunning Manningford brown trout





Deer park Fishery Open Day

Deer Park Fishery Open Day

Deer Park Hotel, Weston, Honiton EX14 3PG

Sunday 29th April 2018 10.00am – 4.00pm

To celebrate the new season on the water, the Deer Park fishery on the river Otter is holding a FREE bankside open day which is open to all, whether you are a fly fisher or someone who is looking to get into the sport.

Join us on the hotels 3 miles of the river Otter to see what the fishery has to offer, walk the bank or bring your kit and have a complimentary fish.Deer Park Open Day

Our fishing school instructor Neil Keep will be on hand to talk all things fly fishing and show you around. Get a free casting tune up with Neil who will be happy to pass on any tips and techniques for fishing the river. There will also be some on the water demonstrations in modern nymph fishing techniques and river fly casting.

Along with all this there will be the latest range of Marryat river rods for you to try out and maybe even some bankside fly tying if the elements permit.

A short walk from the river bank will see you at the splendid Deer Park Hotel which will be open for lunch and refreshments throughout the day and if the weather permits there will be an afternoon barbeque on the bank.

On arrival please park in the hotel car park and walk down to the river where you will find us set up on the river bank, if you are unsure please pop into the hotel reception and they will point you in the right direction.

If you would like any more information about the day please get in touch with Neil Keep –

Telephone: 01225 313729

Mobile: 07821 647055



Deer Park Fishery Residential Fly Fishing Course

A great couple of days on the latest Deer Park Fishery residential fly fishing course.
Great company, plenty of laughs mixed in with some nice fish and of course the usual great hospitality and amazing food at the Deer Park Hotel.

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After breakfast on day one we made our way down to the river to be met with blazing sunshine so we got stuck in with tuning up the guests casting on the bank followed by looking at setting up for some different techniques. By lunch time the heavens opened and the fish disappeared to the river bed so we cracked on with some deep nymph fishing with various jig patterns and by the end of the day everyone had banked some fish up to a couple of pounds. There was a brief window in the weather and I managed to get one of the guests onto a sipper who eagerly snaffled a BWO pattern…twice….and the fish was missed both times! 

fly fishing events
We retired to the hotel for the evening for for a few beverages and an amazing meal. If you don’t fish, just visit the hotel for the food alone, it’s worth the trip!
Day two was the complete opposite, a big sun and soaring temperatures. We tried some lightly fished water, managed one fish but it was tough. After lunch we went in search of some shaded runs with some decent flow and managed a few more. Pleased to say that the guys all managed fish on both days in far from ideal conditions. The river is very low now so I’m off to do a rain dance but in reality I think we need a good weeks worth of the wet stuff to make much difference now. On a positive note we did spot a bright silver bar of about 5lb leap clear of the water on the second day which must of made it’s way up on a brief spate a couple of days earlier.