Hand holding a fishing rod and reel

As we open our stretch of the River Camel to day time salmon fishing in Cornwall we reflect on the last four month of predominantly night time fly fishing for sea trout at Butterwell Farm fishery

The Butterwell sea trout fishermen have been plagued by the exceptionally dry and hot weather in Cornwall this year which has reduced the fishing effort during the Summer. The rather odd thing is that, despite the record low water levels and very high temperatures, the run of sea trout has been very strong. Reports have come from the whole catchment of large shoals of sea trout, including some very good fish, which have just kept moving upstream. Numerous theories have been voiced for this unusual behaviour but I can’t help thinking the fish were seeking cooler shaded water of the upper valley. Due to the conditions even fresh fish were more reluctant to take but the persistent anglers caught and returned a total of 44 sea trout on night fly, largest 5lb.

In comparison to most rivers throughout the UK and further afield, fishing was never impossible and with more people fishing we have no doubt many more fish would have been caught due to the number of fresh fish running. In conditions where even the mighty River Gaula in Norway was closed for fishing in late July, Butterwell hasn’t performed that badly. The number of large multi sea winter salmon seen running in such low water has also been surprising. We don’t really fish for salmon unless we have spate conditions until September and this year there has really been no opportunity at all. There have been salmon caught in the Butterwell area and a number of salmon encounters by sea trout fishermen at dusk and even at night. Johnathan Meredith from London managed to land a 17lb bar of silver at Butterwell on a tiny Alexander during a lightning storm at night in late June. Well done Johnathan!


As we enter September the Salmon fishing on the River Camel is underway and at Butterwell we’ve already had an 8lb cock fish. Without wishing to state the obvious, a bit of rain would really help freshen up the water and clear some of the gravels. But, as we have witnessed, Salmon will still run into Butterwell in low water and with the number of fish seen we are hopeful there are many more fish waiting for the right conditions to make their way up from the tide. We have not received the electro fishing survey results for 2018 yet but indications are they are better than 2017, suggesting that all the recent work on spawning gravels, weirs and obstructions is having a positive impact.


Tight Lines

For more on fishing at Butterwell visit our fishing pages.

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