Fishing at the Arundell started off rather tentatively this year, with nobody quite sure where we were going with the lockdown. A few local and non-resident rods fished at first, then during April we were allowed open for self-catering, and a few more folk managed to get out on the rivers. At that time we endured the driest and coldest April ever recorded, with frost almost every night, so the early trout fishing was pretty tough. The rivers were running very low and clear, and due to the cold, not a lot of flies were hatching. With the trees bare of leaves, approaching wild trout was tricky, and to catch a few fish a certain level of stealth and skill was needed.
The easing of the lockdown on May 17 meant that we could function very nearly as a hotel once again, and from then on guests have flooded in. However, the weather, as always on rain fed rivers, dealt us another difficult hand. Rain, which had been desperately needed during late April to help the salmon and sea trout smolts to pass down the river safely, began to fall at last, but then barely stopped for most of May. Our first beginners’ fishing course held right after the lockdown easing was hit by high and dirty water on the rivers, but was enjoyed by all, and we did catch some nice rainbows at Tinhay lake.
The rain eased off towards the end of May, leaving the rivers carrying an excellent volume of water, then the sun decided to shine once more, and June flamed as she should. Some seriously good fishing was recorded as the rivers settled, with rewarding catches of wild trout from all our rivers. Notably the little river Ottery, our only water in Cornwall, fished extremely well, and gave some fantastic sport to the Mayfly. Nick Anthony had a magical afternoon on Beat 13, catching and releasing 21 wild brownies up to 12 inches, and a grayling, all on dry mayfly.
The good water levels persisted, quite unusual for the time of year, and we confidently expected some early sea trout to run on this water. Alan Madsen had the very first of the season, a very fresh fish of 19 inches, and the biggest so far. Alan’s fish was taken while he was hoping for a salmon (having recently caught his first ever salmon at Endsleigh only a couple of weeks into the season).