A Guide to Fishing Kennick Reservoir

Introduction

Kennick Reservoir is managed by South West Lakes Trust. Established in April 2000, The South West Lakes Trust is the South West’s largest conservation and recreation charity. It was created to encourage, promote and enhance sustainable recreation, with access, nature conservation and education on and around over 50 inland waters in the South West for the benefit of all.

There are 3 reservoirs in the complex with Kennick offering Trout Fishing, Tottiford has a Coarse fishing syndicate and Trenchford is a Pike Fishery. Whilst Kennick is restricted to anglers only, members of the public are welcome to walk around the two adjoining reservoirs of Tottiford and Trenchford where there are car parks and picnic areas, as well as the many woodland walks around the reservoirs.

Kennick offers superb trout fishing set on the edge of Dartmoor with some of the West Country’s finest scenery. Fish in early summer and you will see the Rhododendrons around the reservoir out in their splendour. Fish in the autumn as the trees are turning and the colours are fantastic.

Kennick was built in 1884 and was one of the first venues to be stocked with rainbow trout. At 50 acres in size it is stocked weekly with fish of 2lbs+ and specimen fish added from time to time. There is a good head of wild brown trout up to 8lbs (all brown trout must be released if caught) Access is restricted to Anglers only. Traditional Fly Fishing only and Catch and Release is available using barbless hooks only. There are 5 boats on the water including a Wheelyboat for disabled use (requires 48hrs notice) and these should be booked in advance to avoid disappointment, contact 01647 252898. Electric outboards are permitted.

The record Rainbow is 14lbs 11oz and the record Brown is 8lbs 2oz.

The Fishing

The SW Lakes Rangers will usually be able to tell you where anglers from bank or boat have been catching trout on previous days. If no one is available to give you advice, the best tip is not to stay in one spot if you are not getting any offers. Move on! You will see where the bank is clear for the popular places. One really important tip is to make a few casts before you wade into the water, no matter if you wade to ankle or thigh depth. Quite often fish can be caught right in the margins and making those few casts before disturbing it can be a real winner.

Boat anglers should try Home Bay, around Clampitts Bay, the Narrows or the Top End….or anywhere they see trout moving (but please stay clear of bank anglers!)

Methods: The popular way to fish Kennick is with a floating line and long leader (12 ft should suffice) with one, two or three flies. Some may prefer an intermediate line. Boat anglers have the advantage of being able to cover the deeper water between (20 and 30 feet) where a sinking line can be beneficial (early season or in hot weather, this is where trout can be taken when conditions may seem hopeless).

Flies: are always of personal choice, but Damsels can be successful throughout the season. Tadpoles work early in the year. Of course, other lures (such as Cats Whiskers) are also successful. As things warm up and trout move off the bottom, Diawl Bachs and Buzzer imitations are successful.

From the end of May to the end of the season, dry flies such as Hoppers, Daddies, Claret Snafflers, Hawthorn, Sedges and Shipman’s can give wonderful sport, particularly when coch-y-bondhu beetles are blown on to the water! The water is clear and trout at Kennick will take a dry fly even in bright sunshine, so it’s worth a try.

On a stillwater, unlike river fishing, casting to a rising trout is not necessarily where the feeding trout will be, because trout move about rapidly. Casting out a dry fly and simply ‘leaving it’ for a trout to find it, is often the way to succeed!

Where to fish:  

From leaving the Anglers Lodge car park, walk along Boat bank (which also gives easier access for disabled anglers) right up to the first orange buoy, this is all good fishing with a floating line with buzzers or nymphs, suggested flies are Diawl Bachs. Try a longer leader 15ft and a Damsel fly nymph, Kennick Killer, Woolly bugger and a slow figure of eight retrieve. There is a gradual drop off in this area of between 6 – 10ft. This is a great area to fish when the coch-y- bondhu beetles arrive in June for 2-3 weeks.

Kennick Fishing Lodge

Following the path past the first orange buoy, there is a bench to the left and start to go through the trees, once this opens out there is a 100m stretch under the trees which has room for 3-4 anglers. Floating line or intermediate lines work well here with nymphs. When you arrive at the second orange buoy this is slightly deeper and gives access to the edge of Poplar bay.

Continue around Poplar bay and this gives easy access, again great with a floating line. You are now in the Narrows area which offers deeper water, intermediate lines or floating with a longer leader.

Smithacott Bay is the next area with a fishing hut nearby to shelter in if the weather is wet. On first impressions this looks shallow but despite the depth 3-5ft it does hold fish. Diawl Bachs, buzzers , PTN’s and GRHE well worth a try.

Smithacott bank leads up to the causeway, slightly deeper, up to 10ft.

As you cross the causeway there is no fishing in the lagoon to the left as this is the nature reserve area. If you decide to drive to the causeway end there is a car park available, please don’t leave any valuables in the car or anything on show as this car park is more remote.

Once across the causeway turn right and you are on Laployd bank, all good fishing down to the start of the trees. Fish floating line and long leaders in this area.

Through the trees and you are on to Heather bank which goes all the way down to Oaktree point. There are a number of areas to fish down this bank, water is getting deeper all the way down to Oaktree point. Fish off the big stone, with the water so clear you will see fish close into the margins. Watch your back casts on this bank as the bank gets steeper, the gorse and bracken is cut back each year. Intermediates or floating lines with long leaders in this section.

Oaktree point offers up deeper water and on a sunny day will hold fish as also shady.

Clampitts bay is next and you can fish both sides of the fishing hut, also worth a go in outer Clampitts which anglers sometime ignore and walk right past. Floating lines and long leaders are fine here.

Hawthorn point offers a decent depth, 10-12ft, always good for a decent brownie in this area.

Go past a few Rhododendrons and the bank opens up on to the East Wall bank all the way down to Forest bay. You can get a nice drift in a boat on this bank with a NW wind, fish right into Forest bay and on to the Lawn wall bank.

Water getting deeper as you fish around more Rhododendron bushes going down towards the dam area, 20-30ft casting towards the tower.  Intermediate or Floating lines with long leaders with weighted nymphs, gold heads or Nomads.

Copse bay, try the little spot just before you go through the gate casting close to the spillway, deep water and worth fishing.

There is a No fishing area from the Dam wall right round to the Lodge entrance which has No fishing signs on display.

Kennick rhododendron in full bloom

Fishery Info

Species: Rainbow Trout (fly fishing only)
Season: Usually mid-February to end of November
Day Permits: Available online at onsite at the Lodge or self service from the permit room
Evening Permits: Available from 3pm in April, September and October, 4pm in May, August and 5pm in June and July.
Season Permits: Available onsite from the Fishing Lodge, online or SW Lakes Trust 01566 771930

Anglers must have a current EA Rod Licence

Facilities: car park, lodge and toilet
Day Permits: £25 full (6 fish), £21.50 concession (6 fish). Other permits are available and for full listings check here.
Boat Bookings and wardens: 01647 252898

CLICK HERE TO VIEW KENNICK’S LOCATION 

Competitions

We have a series of annual competitions at Kennick which are not only well contested but very good social events.

The bank pairs competition takes place in May and the Peninsula classic singles in June each year.

Anyone who wants to fish for their county has the opportunity as we have a Devon V Cornwall match each year which alternates between Kennick and Siblyback.

The annual Best of the Best competition finishes the season off at Kennick with anglers qualifying through a series of heats across our lakes culminating in the final at Kennick in October. The £2000 prize money and huge selection of prizes from our sponsor Snowbee www.snowbee.co.uk make it the highlight of every anglers competition calendar.

Andy Gooding winning the Best of the Best in 2019

Safety

Boat anglers must wear approved buoyancy aids (available on site) and follow the boat angling code of conduct.

Wading requires care in some areas and it is not recommended that you wade deeper than thigh depth. Make sure you wear a wading belt (if in chest waders), always tell someone where you are going, as you would in any fishing situation. Take sufficient waterproof and warm kit in order to be prepared for a sudden change in conditions.

Please familiarise yourself with the fishery rules which are displayed in the permit room and in the Lodge.

Tuition

Dave Hoskin Tel: 01647 52244 dave@dsoff.com www.dartmoorschoolofflyfishing.com
John Hern Tel: 07770 651520 johnhern@virginmedia.com
Richard Jackson Tel: 01647 24665 info@devonflyfisher.com; www.devonflyfisher.com
Andy Watson Tel: 07587 219213 andy.watson15@btinternet.com
Geoff Stephens Tel: 07749867393 geoff@flyfishingdevon.co.uk, www.flyfishingdevon.co.uk

Fishing Map

Our fishing map for Kennick is located on our website, it has all the named fishing spots to help you when you visit.

Weekly catch reports

During the season weekly catch reports are produced for Kennick by the wardens so you can see how its fishing, what flies are working and which locations have produced fish. The locations on the weekly catch report also correspond to the fishery map (link above) and this guide. The weekly catch report is posted in the permit room, on the Kennick page of the website and on our Facebook page ‘Trout Fishing South West Lakes Trust’.

Fishing Club

KFFA was founded in 1975 by a group of local anglers with a common interest in and a love of Fly Fishing. It is a fully constituted amateur organisation run for the benefit of its members who share a passion for Fly Fishing and enjoyment of the countryside.

KFFA have a membership of 100-120, have an active Fishing calendar of events which can be viewed on www.kennickflyfishers.co.uk or Facebook, search for Kennick Fly Fishers Association. We have beginner days, social events, away trips and have an extensive range of 2nd hand tackle for sale.

KFFA fish all around the South West locations offering different venues for the members to fish and take part in the Snowbee Top Rod event.

By being a member of KFFA gives great value in Membership benefits with a range of discounts across fisheries and at retailers.

Membership – Seniors – £10, Seniors over 65 – £6, Under 18 – free
All memberships plus £2.50 admin fee

Why Not Join Today, please contact: Chairman John Hern – johnhern@virginmedia.com Treasurer Tom Hendy  – thendy@btinternet.com

Catch returns

We hope this information will prove useful to you. Please remember to fill in a catch return every time you fish. There are catch return boxes at various locations around the lake, or you may find it more convenient to use our online return service which can be found at here. It’s really important to let us know if you have caught or not as this can influence our decisions on future stocking and development for the fishery.

Summary

Each year a pre-season newsletter is produced highlighting all the changes for the season ahead including stocking, season dates and prices, events and stocking changes. The newsletter is located here.

If great scenery and great fishing is what you’re looking for then look no further. Kennick is a spectacular place to be – we hope you enjoy your visit.