Latest news from Butterwell Fishery on the River Camel.

As featured in Trout and Salmon magazine Fishing Reports.

5th July 2024:

 

After an early sea-trout of 3lb on night fly at the season’s opening in early May, Butterwell wasn’t fished again until well into June. During this time, with no appreciable rain, the Camel dropped to quite low water, but still cool, clear and a decent flow. Sea-trout started to be seen in small numbers from mid-June, including some fish in the 8lb range. The fish were moving through quite quickly in small groups.

 

After a few near misses we finally started catching steadily in the last week of June. So far, we have 30 sea-trout in the book with the best 5lb and so far it’s shaping up to be a good year for Camel sea-trout. There were some schoolies in the catches along with roughly half over the 2lb mark.

 

As we move into mid-July it looks like the normal pattern of large runs of school fish with fewer larger fish is prevailing.

 

Successful anglers include Toby Humphreys who managed two sea-trout and several near misses on his first go at night fly, including a good fish of 3lb. Sam Hamilton has also had fish of 3lb and 2lb and Rick Garrard had several to 5lb. All caught on night fly using stoats tail variants and all fish returned. There have also been a number of salmon running through earlier in June, which were not fished at Butterwell, and reports of some catches further up the Camel.

 

As I write the first wet spell for over a month is upon us and the river is rising and colouring. It will be interesting to see how many salmon have been waiting patiently in the estuary and just how strong the sea-trout run is this year.

 

There are a lot of spare rods available for the rest of the sea-trout season, which finishes on 31 August, when our attention turns to salmon.

 

We continue to have monthly testing of the river water quality by the EA on the Camel at Butterwell and the results remain reasonably encouraging.

 

To book fishing and accommodation in 2024 call Sam on 07766224258 or email info@butterwellfarm.comwww.butterwellfarm.com | Instagram: @butterwellfarm & @butterwell_sam | Facebook: butterwellfarm

Silver sea-trout fish in a net in water in the dark

4th June 2024:

 

The season got underway at Butterwell Farm on 1 May being the voluntary delayed opening date from the official Camel opening date of 1 April. Usually we don’t see any fishermen or migratory fish until early June. However due to the lack of success on the River Fowey one visiting angler tried for an early sea trout at night and was rewarded with a fresh fish of 3lb on a stoats tail variant from Drogue. Under the current Camel Bylaw the fish was carefully returned. The water is now gradually falling to good fishing conditions as we enter the main sea trout night fly fishing period and the fishery is in good order. So fingers are crossed for a good season.

As anticipated in our last report, the EA have proposed an extension of the current River Camel Salmon and Sea trout Protection Bylaw for a further 5 years from 3 October 2024, with a formal review after 3 years. Objections are being requested by 24 June. The proposed Bylaw has identical restrictions to the existing Bylaw; full catch and release of salmon and large sea trout (50cm/3lb) and bag limits for smaller sea trout, bait restrictions, and maximum hook types and sizes. The EA’s proposals are supported by a detailed Technical Case which includes summaries of the results of recent and historic electro fishing juvenile surveys. In general these show healthy and stable trout numbers but the UK wide pattern of declining salmon numbers in many areas of the Camel, but particularly the Allen and Ruthern tributaries. The reduced but still substantial presence of juvenile salmon and sustained trout juvenile numbers has undoubtedly been assisted by the fishing restrictions and the considerable improvements in habitat and fish passage undertaken by the local fishing associations (BAA & WAA) and West Country Rivers Trust, together with the water quality and agricultural monitoring, in consultation with the EA and NE. The fact all these local measures have not reversed the plight of our salmon points strongly to the main problems for our returning migratory fish being at sea. A conclusion which is becoming almost universal in the UK and raises the question of what other steps should be considered to support the survival of the salmon?

To book fishing and accommodation in 2024 call Sam on 07766224258 or email info@butterwellfarm.comwww.butterwellfarm.com | Instagram: @butterwellfarm & @butterwell_sam | Facebook: butterwellfarm

dark at night with red light shining on open box of fishing flies and a rod

4th May 2024:

 

The Camel season has officially commenced this month, and with slightly more settled weather recently than the last 8 months and the river holding a lower level than it has for a substantial time we’re feeling hopeful that the dryer weather will continue and result in a fruitful sea-trout season for us here at Butterwell.

It’s still very early days as things don’t really get going until towards the end of May, having said that I optimistically will have a cast on the first day of the season every year, partly as a celebration of the start, but also hopeful of that early monster fish. I’ve had a few casts so far, but only managed to intecept a couple of very small brown trout. The river is looking fantastic at the time of writing (5th May), 1ft up from our summer low level and running clear, the leaves are nearly all out, and the greens are at their most vivid.

No sign of any sea-trout yet, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything, the multi sea run fish are masters of evasion and will slip through before the main runs.

To book fishing and accommodation in 2024 call Sam on 07766224258 or email info@butterwellfarm.comwww.butterwellfarm.com | Instagram: @butterwellfarm & @butterwell_sam | Facebook: butterwellfarm

man fishing on bank of river in the dark

4th April 2024:

 

By the time you read this report the 2024 fishing season will be upon us at Butterwell Farm. The Camel opens on the 1 May but we don’t expect much fishing activity until early June. By then the first runs of larger sea trout will be heading in and usually make their presence felt in the second half of the month, followed by the smaller fish in July and August. As usual in a wet spring, we can expect a few salmon to be in the Butterwell pools from late May and are worth a shot by day before we go into full night fly fishing mode. I don’t have to tell anyone it’s been the wettest six month period we have experienced in our time at Butterwell, starting in mid-September and there hasn’t been low water since! As I write the river is high and rain still comes down with Storm Kathleen threatening the UK this weekend. The good news is there doesn’t seem to be any serious damage to the fishery and we are hoping the river might settle down enough for someone to have an early cast in May. Although the weather is always impossible to predict we can hope this season will be less wet as the impact of El Nino comes to an end. The 2023 electro fishing surveys were a little down on recent years but overall the juvenile numbers are holding up well given the problems we now know their parents face a sea. Considerable efforts have been made by the Angling Associations, West Country Rivers Trust and EA to improve the habitat for migratory fish on the Camel. Regular independent monitoring of water quality is also now being undertaken. This indicates the authorities were wise to stop all phosphate enriching agricultural and construction activity in the Camel catchment, before the Camel faced the industrial scale problems of many other UK rivers. The Camel Bylaw is due to expire later this year but we expect similar levels of restrictions to continue. These measures, while sufficient to ensure anglers do not exacerbate the plight of our migratory fish, do not address the critical issue of sea mortality, which indisputably needs to be tackled by either direct measures internationally or compensatory intervention measures at local level, to secure the survival of our migratory fish species. We look forward to seeing all our visiting guests this season and wish you all good fishing in 2024. To book fishing and accommodation call Sam on 07766224258 or email info@butterwellfarm.com. Instagram: @butterwellfarm & @butterwell_sam

sea trout being released by angler in net into river

15th December 2023:

 

Well that’s the end of another season at Butterwell and probably our most challenging to date! The night fly sea-trout fishing started slowly with very low water and was then almost wiped out from mid-July with persistent coloured water until the end of August. So a total of 24 sea-trout was very disappointing. Equally disappointing was the lack of large specimens. The largest sea-trout at 2lb 8oz caught by Sam. Obviously we can speculate that the conditions and lack of rods played a big part and hopefully 2024 will be more normal. Just when rain was needed, as we switch to salmon fishing on September 1, we were hit by a drought and very low water. When the weather broke in mid-September conditions were favourable until mid-October. Anglers managed six salmon with the largest being a brace of 10lb fish caught by Chris Jefford and Peter Ayton. There is little doubt from the observations of our guests that the Camel had a better head of salmon than in recent years. As I write the river is charging through bank high, as it has been since storm Babet in mid-October, effectively bringing to an end the salmon fishing somewhat prematurely. Butterwell has fared much better than many rivers, with Kiran at the beginning of November, causing little damage to the watercourse and surrounding habitat. We just have to hope the persistent high water will not wash out too many redds in the upper river, tributaries and leats.

We were very pleased to complete the renovation of Cobnuts Stable in August. With two separate double/twin bedrooms, in addition to the original bedroom/lounge, the property is ideal for small groups of anglers who don’t want to take one of our larger properties.

Looking ahead to 2024, we can expect the first runs of sea-trout to start in June with the larger fish making an early appearance followed by smaller fish throughout the summer. We are hoping conditions will be better for our night fly anglers in 2024.  With reasonable flows we can also expect salmon to occupy the Butterwell pools from June to add to the sport by day in high water and then build up for the commencement of daytime salmon fishing from 1 September.

By the time the Camel season starts on 1 May we will hopefully have news of the 2023 juvenile surveys and the EA’s plans for safeguarding the future of Camel salmon and sea-trout going forward, including an update on water quality measures for the Camel catchment.

We would like to thank all the anglers who visited Butterwell in 2023, and wish you all a very merry Christmas and tight lines for 2024!

To book fishing and/or accommodation in 2024 please call Sam on 07766 224 258 or email info@butterwellfarm.com

2.5lb sea trout being returned to the River Camel

18th November 2023:

 

After relatively good conditions to mid-October and some reasonable results at Butterwell the deluge predicted in the last report materialised in the form of Storm Kiran at the beginning of November and has been followed by several other deep depressions bringing rain and floods to Cornwall. The conditions have been far from ideal for most of the Butterwell fishing but this did provide the opportunity to fish areas which are more fishable in high water.  Peter Ayton managed to land a nice 10lb hen fish from his persistence in the wooded area. Several other bright looking salmon and lots of sea trout have been seen running late but have been on the move due to conditions. As I write the river is nearly bank high and coloured but there is some hope in the forecast for the final month of the season to 15 December that the South may get dryer conditions which will enable the river to settle to a good fishable height and provide a good opportunity in what undoubtedly has been a year with better numbers of salmon in the Camel. Rods are still available all the way to 15th December. To book fishing and/or accommodation this year or in 2024 please call Sam on 07766 224 258 or email info@butterwellfarm.com

man fishing on the banks of the river camel

19th October 2023:

 

After the slow start to salmon fishing at Butterwell Farm in September the dry conditions were replaced by good water heights for the latter half of September and the first half of October. Visiting anglers were a little thin on the ground but had success. Mike Laughlin managed another salmon of 8lb, the second of his visit. Chris Jefford also had a brace for his visit, the largest a fresh hen fish of 10lb. Finally Jake Dodge had a hen of 5lb. As I write in mid-October the river is about to get another dousing from Storm Babet so we can expect conditions to remain favourable. Rods are still available all the way to 15th December. To book fishing and/or accommodation call Sam on 07766 224 258 or email info@butterwellfarm.com

angler holding fishing net in river with salmon inside

22nd September 2023:

 

Butterwell Salmon fishing got off to a slow start with the start of September coinciding with the driest two week spell of the entire summer. So a very difficult time for Sea Trout in high water and then finally settled conditions when we switched to Salmon fishing by day on the 1st September. When the weather broke in mid-September Salmon began to run and a fresh cock fish of 5lb was taken in the Denbys by Mike Laughlin and others were seen. As I write the Camel is now in good order and we are hopeful for some more action. Rods are still available all the way to 15th December.

Hand holding a fishing rod and reel