It was a grey, drizzly start when I left south Devon at 6am, but by the time I reached Simpson Valley Fishery the skies were beginning to clear. Simpson Valley is situated on the left-hand side of the A3072, approaching Holsworthy from the east – the large TroutMasters sign is a dead giveaway!
100 yards down the track, next to the farmhouse, is a large shed full of landscaping machinery and tackle with a kettle in one corner – a temporary office for the new Simpson Valley fishery and this is where I met up with Paul Cozens. For the past 20 years, Paul worked as estate manager for one of the UK’s leading fishing holiday complexes. In partnership with Devon lakes, he has just reopened Simpson Valley fishery in North Devon, after five years of closure. Simpson Valley Fishery is situated on the Ruby cycle way, in over 140 acres of beautiful Devon farmland.
In total, there are eight lakes at Simpson Valley, six of which have been netted, cleared, re stocked and are ready to fish - two specimen carp lakes, a match lake, a general coarse lake and two trout lakes.
The Skylark Lake is stocked to the brim with table-size Rainbow Trout. This is an “any method” trout lake, perfect for a little family fun.
Martins Lake is the complexes match lake, stocked with a good head of Roach, Rudd, Bream, Barbel, Chub, Carp and Tench.
The Mallard lake, which is the largest lake on the Simpson Valley site, is the latest lake to reopen and holds original pike up to high double figures and has been recently stocked with a fast growing strain of carp.
The oldest lake on the complex is Upper Fuzzy, which is around 30 years old. Initially the complex's original carp, a lot of which are high doubles up to 20lb, were spread out across the fishery's six lakes, but after netting all were recorded and moved to the Upper Fuzzy, which is now the complex's specimen carp lake.
As you would expect, next to the Upper Fuzzy is the Lower Fuzzy. The Lower Fuzzy is Simpson Valley's specimen coarse lake and contains Gudgeon close to record sizes, Roach and Rudd to 1.5lb, Perch to 3.5lb, Crucian Carp to 2lb, Chub to 5.5lb and Bream and Tench to 7lb.
The last of the six lakes currently open at Simpson Valley is the Jenny Wren, which is the complex's specimen trout lake, recognised as a “TroutMaster” water. The Jenny Wren is regularly stocked with Rainbows to 15lb, Browns to 8lb and Blue Trout to 10lb.
After a complementary guided tour, I fished on the Jenny Wren Lake for the rest of the morning for a spot of fly fishing and ended up taking home three nice trout for the table and lost another three. However, the next time I visit will be for a spot of summer carping. The chance to catch a few pristine, old estate carp up to 20lb (that haven’t seen a hook in years), off the top, is too good to turn down!
Simpson Valley Fishery, Holsworthy, Devon
Contact Paul Cozens on 07855 413672