Blog, news and reviews from Snowdonia Fly Fishing Guides
In line with Government guidelines, during the COVID-19 outbreak I am suspending all activities with clients. I apologise for any disappointment, and hope to see you when things settle down. In the meantime stay safe and keep well.
I attended a biosecurity training event yesterday. Whilst I was aware of a lot of the content I was able to pick up some new information too. It was also good to reinforce what I already knew.
One of the big messages of the day was 'Stop the Spread' and the image below sums up the message.
Lots more information is available at www.nonnativespecies.org
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.
I'm pleased to have been asked to provide a casting demonstration at the BFFI again. The topic of this year's demonstration will be 'fishing with fibreglass'.
I'll be in the casting arena at 11:30.
Today started damp and blustery but soon settled to a cool, sunny day. Perfect conditions for a couple to have a fly fishing 'tester' session for a few hours.
It's always a pleasure to be out on the water with people that want to try their hand at fly casting and fly fishing.
Well after several weeks of high water the river has started to drop back and on Saturday it was still high but fishable, just.
The river was clear, cold, deep and had a proper push on it, combined with a down stream wind the wading was challenging and down right exciting at times.
The first fish was caught after about an hour and a few missed takes. The second came soon after, surprisingly a cast to a rising fish, took a good sized grayling that sipped a small spider on my top dropper. There followed another hour or so of fruitless searching before another spider, cast to another rising fish, brought another healthy grayling to the net.
Even though the river was fast and high it was clear and the fish took flies higher in the water column in preference to heavy bugs.
The total for the day was five grayling, all returned very quickly, and considering the conditions it was a good few hours.
As I write this a couple of days later the levels continue to drop, but very slowly.
Sunday was a cold, frosty, dull, misty day with not a breath of wind. Still, at least it wasn't raining, and the river had dropped.
I didn't fish for long, just a few hours but had a pretty good outing, 11 grayling, of a variety of sizes and 5 rose to a dry, all took a small Griffith's gnat.
It's good to see these smaller grayling, they are fit, muscular and good sport. Juvenile fish is an indication of active recruitment and a positive sign, I worry when all I catch is large fish as it suggests there are no youngsters to replace them.
That said I did catch a couple of lumps too, I've heard it said that big grayling don't take a dry fly, I completely disagree.
Even though the water was high and fast, there were still a few fish rising and willing to take a dry fly.
The weather has been cold, wet and windy and the water is thick with leaf litter as trees shed their leaves in readiness for winter. It never ceases to amaze me how, in amongst the general autumnal detritus, the fish can spot a size 16 or 18 Griffiths gnat and pluck it from the surface. However, the success rate was low, the fish missed 3 or 4 to every one caught, not surprising really given the speed of the river.
It's good to see a good range of grayling sizes. Some years ago there were many big fish on this stretch of water but few smaller ones, that was followed by a few lean years with very few grayling caught. So it's good to see this year has a healthy population of grayling throughout the age ranges.
It's a dreary, wet day today, not the sort of weather to be working outside and with the dogs walked there's not much to do.
Even though we are getting heavy rain the river has dropped so with luck I'll get out this weekend. I've spent a couple hours tying a selection of small floss spiders to tempt a hungry grayling or two. These brightly coloured little flies stand out well in the dark water and have been successful for me previously.
Yesterday I finally finished my latest fibreglass rod, I don't build enough to justify having specialist equipment, so the process takes me quite a while. I really don't need another rod but like the challenge of building them.
This is an 8 ft (2.44 m), 4 piece, 5 weight. Built on a translucent silver grey blank with a 'cracked ice' acrylic reel seat and dark coffee agate stripping guide. I've used single leg guides on this build, as opposed to the double leg snakes I usually use, as I wanted to see the difference in performance.
This afternoon I gave it a test drive on grass and was pleased with the speed and action. River levels permitting I'm looking forward to giving it its first outing over the weekend and really putting a bend in it
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.
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.