Fishing in Devon: The Insiders Guide

Fishing in Devon: The Insiders Guide
  • PublishedApril 10, 2023

With so many waterways, coast and rivers, fishing in Devon is a pleasure. Whether you’re looking for sea fishing trips to catch bass or mackerel, or you want to sit by a river with a flask of tea and a great view. Yup, Devon fishing has it all.

In this guide to Devon fishing, we’ll take a look at the best fishing venues, and help you plan your south west fishing trip by making sure you have the right licence.

Let’s lick off with the best places to go fishing in Devon.


This famous fishing town a short hop from Torquay is the UK’s fishing capital. And of course this means Brixham is home to some excellent fishing, either in town or a short walk from the town centre.

It’s known for its mackerel, pollock and bass fishing. Brixham also has a large conger eel population which makes it a great place to go sea fishing if you’re looking for some variety in your catch.

Bream are another popular catch here as well as wrasse. If you’ve got kids in tow, they’ll also love to do a spot of crabbing in the town centre, and there is also an accessible beach just near the breakwater where you cast your line.


Exmouth and this stretch of the Jurassic Coast is one of the best places to go fishing in Devon. Not only does it have some of the most beautiful scenery, but it also has some great sea fishing opportunities. You can catch mackerel, bass, pollock and conger eel here.

While the beach in town is often very busy with tourists, especially in summer, taking a walk further East, in the direction of Budleigh Salterton, will net better results. Consider walking around the headland to Sandy Bay and Littleham Cove. If you manage to get offshore here you can catch some lovely big sea bass.


Appledore is a fishing village and civil parish in the Torridge district of Devon, England. It lies on the estuary of the River Torridge, about 5 miles (8 km) north-east of Bideford. The village has been designated as a conservation area since 1975 as it retains much of its original character with cobbled streets and many listed buildings including St Bartholomew’s Church which dates back to Norman times.

The sea fishing here includes mackerel, pollock and conger eel while there is also good bass angling from May until October when they migrate southwards into deeper water off Bideford Bay. Wrasse are caught by rod and line all year round but can be fished for best during summer months when they tend to stay closer inshore than during winter when they move out into deeper water where larger fish such as cod may also be caught

Exe River

The Exe is a river that flows through Devon, through Exeter and down to Exmouth (of course). It’s known for its fly fishing, with brown trout and sea trout being the most common species found here.

The Exe also has some salmon, but they aren’t as plentiful as they used to be due to overfishing in previous years.

For those looking for some fishing lakes, you’ll also find the Home Farm fishing lakes just south of Exeter, which can be a good alternative.

Tamar River

The Tamar River is the river which separates Devon from Cornwall. It rises at Dartmoor in the heart of the granite upland and flows southwards through East Devon to its estuary at Plymouth Sound. The catchment area of the Tamar is approximately 1,150 square miles (2,980 km2).

The river’s name is derived from an ancient Celtic word meaning “dark” or “black”, referring to its colour as it flows through boggy land. The Tamar is fed by the Tavy at the Bere peninsular, just north of Plymouth.

If you’re looking for a spot of fishing, you’ll find great on the southern stretches of the river. You might even hook some bream, perch or roach.

Avon Dam Reservoir

Avon Dam Reservoir is a great place to go fishing in Devon, situated in southern Dartmoor. It’s a coarse fishing lake and is mostly home to brown trout. However there may also be some tench or the odd pike or carp.

The water is very clear so you’ll be able to see your catch when it’s on the end of your line

Burrator Reservoir

Burrator Reservoir is a popular fishing spot. You can fish here, at certain spots, and you’ll likely catch brown trout (catch and release) or rainbow trout.

Roadford Lake

Roadford Lake is a great place to go if you’re looking for some coarse fishing. The lake is stocked with a good head of both brown trout and perch. The lake is also lovely and secluded, even in the summer months.

Wimbleball Lake

Wimbleball Lake is a freshwater lake, deep in the wilds of Exmoor. It’s a lovely spot and easily a contender for best fishing lakes in Devon – with some gorgeous scenery.

Wimbleball Lake is known for its coarse fishing, so if you’re looking for something different from your usual sea or river fishing experience then this could be an option. The lake is home to a large head of both brown trout and rainbow trout.

Kennick Reservoir

Kennick Reservoir is one of the best places to go fishing in Devon. It’s a great location for coarse anglers, as well as carp and tench fishermen. The reservoir has a variety of species that can be caught, including roach, bream and pike.

Fernworthy Reservoir

Fernworthy Reservoir is a great place to go fishing in Devon, especially if you’re looking for a spot that has plenty of coarse fish. The reservoir holds carp, tench and roach as well as bream and pike. The best time to visit Fernworthy Reservoir is between March and October when the water is warmer than at other times of year.

There are two car parks on site: one at the top end of the reservoir near Fernworthy village; another at its lower end by Tuckenhay Farmhouse where there’s also access onto footpaths into surrounding woodland areas which lead up towards Dartmoor National Park itself!

Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor National Park is a great place to go fly fishing. There are many rivers and streams that you can fish in, including the River Dart and its tributaries such as the East Dart, West Dart and Bovey Tracey Brook.

The best time to fish these waters is between November and March when there are plenty of brown trout available for anglers to catch.

Rainbow Trout are also found in these rivers; they tend to run from April until October so if you’re looking for something different then this might be it. Grayling can sometimes be found here too but they aren’t as common as other species so if you want one then make sure you know what you’re doing before heading out onto Dartmoor’s open moorland terrain.

Plymouth Sound

There are several great fishing spots along the Plymouth foreshore, and in the beaches around Mountbatten and, on the Cornwall side, Mount Edgumbe. Some of the most popular spots are the Elphinstone Car Park, near the Barbican, Mount Wise and around the corner from Firestone Bay.

The Sound is home to a good head of mullet, wrasse, gurnard, conger eels, pollack, bass and even cod. If you can get out into the sound with a boat or kayak, you can also pick up mackerel and sardines or pilchards.


The Salcombe estuary is both a beautiful location and an excellent fishing spot. In the town itself you’ll often spot locals casting their line, and if you can get onto the water your chances of netting a good catch increase, of course.

Due to the estuary and the sandy location, there are lots of flat fish such as plaice, flounder and Dover sole. You may also get some black bream, mackerel and dogfish.

Fishing Regulations

When it comes to fishing in Devon, be sure to stick to the regulations and rules.

  • Fishing licenses:
    You’ll need to purchase a fishing license before you can go out and catch some fish. These are available from most tackle shops and can be purchased online as well. If you’re under 16 years old, however, there’s no need for one; children under this age are allowed to fish without a license or permit as long as they’re accompanied by someone over 18 years old who has the appropriate paperwork.
  • Catch limits:
    In order to protect vulnerable species of fish in Devon (such as wild salmon), there are strict regulations regarding how much you can catch during your time on the water. In general, these limits are set at two per person per day with certain exceptions made for certain types of bait such as mackerel or squid which have higher levels of mercury content than others so would be more dangerous if consumed regularly by humans

It is important to keep in mind that fishing regulations in Devon can vary depending on the location, type of fishing, and time of year. Some common regulations that you might need to check include fishing licenses, catch limits, fishing methods, and protected species.

Before heading out for a fishing trip, make sure to check local fishing guidelines to ensure that you are in compliance with the regulations. You can visit the Environment Agency website or the website of the local angling club for the area that you plan to fish in. You can also contact the local fishing authority or tourist information centre for more information.

In addition to fishing, Devon offers many other outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, and bird watching. So, even if you don’t catch any fish, you can still enjoy the beautiful scenery and wildlife that the area has to offer.

Devon is a great place to go fishing with many different locations and types of fishing available. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting out, there’s something for everyone in Devon’s waters. Just make sure to check the regulations before heading out to ensure a fun and legal trip.

Written By
DH Writers

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