Blog, news and reviews from Snowdonia Fly Fishing Guides
Well we had some pretty wild weather in North Wales over the weekend as storm Ciara struck. The river levels rose rapidly and is 4 or 5 times higher than its normal height. This isn't helped by bunded banks to keep the river off of the flood plains. But I'm not getting into that old chestnut again, it just raises my blood pressure and nobody in the Welsh Government cares.
Today the temperature has dropped about 10 degrees and for a short time there was an impressive blizzard.
This isn't uncommon weather at this time of year but the outcome is that I can't go fishing as the rivers are too high and it's closed season on lakes. Still, there's always the barbel fishing in Spain later this year to look forward to.
The day started out pretty bleak, but undaunted by the conditions, my clients from America wanted to fish a wild trout upland lake. Fortunately the day improved, apart from a pretty brisk wind. Both were successful in catching on wet flies, and as the afternoon sun put in a brief appearance, dry flies accounted for a few more.
Fishing in Snowdonia on a windy, wet autumnal day. But as the saying goes 'there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing'. Fortunately there's some excellent kit available to keep anglers warm and dry no matter the conditions.
30 September is the last day to fish for brown trout in the rivers of this region, but many of the upland lakes can be fished until mid October. The season reopens on 3 March.
At this time of year my thoughts turn to the winter grayling season and the fly patterns I tie are geared towards what will tempt them.
The rivers are even higher than last week and rising fast, as I write this the level is 25% higher than this time yesterday. I was fortunate to know a small tributary that was just about fishable but the wading was hard going and the rain was biblical, I fully expected to see animals walking along the bank two by two.
Nonetheless, there were a few fish willing to have a go at a fly. This one took a brass beaded nymph tied on a size 14 hook. This is a good size for a wild brown trout in this region, so I was really pleased I persevered, but as soon as one this was safely returned I called it a day.
The weather is unseasonably warm, the ponds are alive with spawning frogs and the air is thick with insects. Snowdrops, daffodils and crocus are in bloom and the birds are collecting nest material. It's easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. Last March we saw the 'Beast from the East', dropping temperatures up here to -14 for a couple of weeks, undoing all the early preparations made by birds and amphibians.
When I'm not fishing I love walking the mountains and moors with a couple of the dogs. I'm looking forward to getting out on some of the upland lakes when the trout season starts next month. Some of these lakes are crammed with beautiful coloured truly wild brownies and are rarely visited by anglers. The one pictured below is teaming with natural invertebrates and it can be challenging to get a fish to take an artificial fly. Conversely some other lakes have less aquatic invertebrates and the fish rely on wind blown terrestrials for food - now these are the lakes where the resident spotties will happily rise for a well placed dry fly.
Whilst I love fishing the rivers in the region I equally enjoy taking a walk up into the mountains in search of truly wild spotties (brown trout).
This stunning large upland lake is full of wild brown trout that only get to see an artificial fly on my rare visits. This isn't a long thin lake but the reflected hills give that impression.
Looking back to this time last year the weather was very different. Not the dank, dreary, mild, wet stuff we've had recently, but dry, bright and cold, with low, gin clear rivers.
As we approach the winter solstice I'm beginning to look forward to early March, with longer days and the start of the trout season. I always enjoy getting back onto the upland lakes to chase a few wild brownies.
Snowdonia, a great place to fish for grayling. No special tackle is needed, if you fly fish for trout you probably have all you need to fish for grayling. If you've never done it give it a try, it's addictive!
I was fishing the middle section of the Dee yesterday near Bangor on Dee. It was raining heavily and the normally crystal clear water was well coloured.
I really didn't hold out much hope of catching and the first hour yielded no results. However as the morning progressed a few flies started coming off and there were sporadic rises to them. This provided a real confidence boost and shortly thereafter I'm netting my first fish. The weather improved a little after lunch and I continued to pick up the occasional fish. Then late afternoon the sun came out and the river came alive for about an hour with small hatches of mayfly and olives and a big hatch of caddis.
I ended the day having caught at least a dozen fish, I lose count quickly, mostly on a dry fly. The perfect end to a hard days fishing.
As the river Dee meanders it's 70 miles from Bala Lake (llyn Tegid in Welsh), in Snowdonia National Park, it changes its character several times. In places it's a raging boulder strewn freestone river, in others it has the appearance of a chalk stream with dense ranunculus beds and and yet other areas where the riverbed is silted offering habitat for the enigmatic mayfly (Ephemeroptera). The one constant on this ever changing river is the fly fishing opportunities for grayling, brown trout, sea trout (sewin) and salmon.
What a stonking days fishing today! There is evidence that fishing during new moon and full moon cycles (even during the day) can be more productive than other times. Well I've got to tell you I believe it!
There was a full moon last night and the fishing today was amazing. Granted it was a slow start but at lunch time the fish started a feeding frenzy.
as usual I had the river to myself and In less than 3 hours I caught at least 15 grayling, I lost count after that. Most of these were smaller fish around 250mm, one measured over 300mm and the biggest was a monster (I couldn't get the whole fish in the photo)!
A fantastic day's sport and one I'll remember for a long time.
The grayling fishing in Snowdonia is stunning and as good as you'll find anywhere. The smile on this clients face says it all! (sorry video failed to load)
A well known fly fishing guide and instructor John can often be found fishing or guiding on the Welsh Dee or passing his knowledge to others at game fairs and country shows.
guided fly fishing in North Wales
Guided fly fishing trips on rivers, streams and upland lakes in Snowdonia. and surrounding areas of North Wales.
Fishing for summer & winter grayling and wild brown trout.in the spectacular, tranquil countryside that is Snowdonia National Park.
Fly fishing lessons in North Wales
Fly fishing and casting lessons for beginners. Casting fault analysis, single handed spey, slack line and presentation casting tuition for more experienced fly fishers.
Develop your watercraft skills on freestone rivers and upland lakes.