Blog, news and reviews from Snowdonia Fly Fishing Guides
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.
This is a simple, effective dry fly pattern that imitates many flies. I tie in a range of sizes from hook size 20 up to 14.
Black thread, black sheet foam, small stiff cock hackle.
Cut a strip of foam 2-3mm wide, depending on hook size. quickly flame the end and squeeze to flatten. Tie in tail (optional) Tie foam onto top of hook with pointed end over the eye. Tie in hackle. Fold foam over the hackle and tie in.
That's all there is to it.
After guiding a client in the morning I had a cracking few hours on Monday afternoon. Three fish in my first ten minutes fell for the charms of a pink and red spider. I was so impressed with it's catching abilities I tied a load more this morning. I've also tied a few as a dry fly variant and will give that a go over the next few days.
A stunning river Dee brown trout caught on a size 20 Pale Watery pattern and returned to fight another day.
I've been tying a few dry flies that I've found to be exceptionally good for grayling, but also wild brown trout. I don't know if this fly has a name, I call it the NG (Nifty Gnat), apologies if anyone out there has already put a name to this pattern. If you have let me know and I'll credit you.
It's dead easy to tie and and very effective, it's a variant of a Shipman's buzzer and Griffith's gnat all rolled into one:
Hook size: I tie them on sizes 16 down to 20
Thread: Claret with diameter to suit hook size
Breathers: Poly yarn (I've also used foam)
Hackle: Purple (or grizzle) cape top
I love fishing the Dee, I use the river a lot when guiding with clients, but always enjoy it when I'm on the business end of the rod!
I was out yesterday with a friend; the weather was perfect, cool, sunny and very little wind. There were some serious hatches of very small flies but few fish were rising. Fishing with spider patterns returned poor results so I switched to a small dry fly.
The pattern is one of my own making and is proving to be highly effective. I'm not aware of this fly having a name so I call it the Nifty Gnat (see post above for details).
Well I exaggerate not, the fly was awesome, having tried a couple of others that proved lacklustre I tied on a single 'Nifty Gnat' and the takes came fast and furious. My friend, fishing a black parachute pattern with little success, was looking decidedly sick at my change of future. When we moved to a different beat I handed him my rod (I built this on an Epic fibreglass blank and fish with little else on the river) complete with fly and low and behold he too started catching on it.
There are times when larger flies just don't work. I rarely use anything bigger that a size 14 and even these are occasionally to big. Over the last couple of weeks there have been a few times when smaller dries are needed.
This is when gnat patterns come in to their own.
These griffiths gnats are tied on size 20 & 22 Daiichi 1110. I like these hooks as they have a straight eye, that is big enough the see even on smaller sizes.
The hackle is Natures Spirit cape tops, different colours are available but I've use grizzle (and purple for the variant) on the ones below. These are perfect for hackles on small flies
The body is peacock herl.
These are great little flies on river and lake for wild brownies and graying and are quick and easy to tie.
Great! The weather has been brilliant for months and is again today but yesterday, the day I go fishing it's really grim, wet, misty, cold and windy. I wrap up warm and head off to the river figuring it would be a good day for some nymph fishing. How wrong was I. There was little or no surface activity so I tackle up with a French nymphing setup. After about an hour without a nibble I decided to change tactics and switched to a floating line and try spiders or dries.
The one thing that frustrates me at this time of year is the amount of dead leaves in and on the the water that get snagged on my flies (Does anyone have a suggestion as to how to stop catching them?). It doesn't matter if I fish nymphs, spiders or dries I still catch a load of leaves :0|
Anyway in spite of being inundated with dead foliage I finished the day with several grayling all caught on small dry flies.
The weather is still stunning up here, warm, dry and sunny and the sunsets are spectacular, I never tire of watching them. It's been the best summer I can remember. The downside is we've had no sustained rain since April and the rivers with small catchments have been struggling for months. However the bigger catchment rivers are still fishing well.
The swallows and swifts have gone and today I saw my first snipe of the season. This seems early and I hope it's not an omen for a bad winter! There are some very large hatches of black gnat at the moment and as I walked one of the dogs passed a couple of upland lakes the rise forms were prolific.
Back home I busied myself at the vice tying black gnat patterns ready for a fishing trip on Wednesday!
Fishing for me has never been about catching the biggest fish or the most fish, though I accept it feels good to catch a big one occasionally. Because I'm not under any self imposed pressure to catch I often set myself challenges when I go fishing, only use dries, or spiders, or nymphs etc. Today's challenge was to only carry with me 12 flies I'd tied myself. Well 12 was plenty, I caught all the fish mentioned in a previous post on just 5 - 1 dry, 1 spider and 3 nymphs.
My tying isn't particularly pretty but the fish don't seem to mind!
Below are the flies I used. I'm not aware that these patterns have names (please tell me if you know otherwise) so the names are my own.
The weather today started warm, sunny and calm and visibility through the water was perfect with polarised glasses on. I started off on the afon (river) Tryweryn watching a small shoal of grayling ignore every fly I put across, over, under and in front of them. Dries, wets and nymphs in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours were either ignored or followed and rejected. Finally the wind picked up and the ensuing ripple prevented me from seeing my prey. In the ripple a solitary sedge was taken from the surface, a chance! After tying on a G&H sedge a cracking grayling took it on my second cast, success I'd got my first fish of the day.
In the afternoon I decided to try the Dee. There were occasional rise forms indicating that fish were feeding in spite of the low water (we really do need some rain). I decided on a two fly cast with a tungsten nymph on the point and a waterhen bloa on a short dropper. Within a few minutes a sea trout took off from the water vertically having taken the dropper and was not happy about it! I on the other hand I went home happy after a challenging but enjoyable day.
Not only has the weather been amazing, hot and dry with a pleasant breezy but it's been really busy.
Sunday at the Bala country fair was crazy. I was giving casting lessons all day and there was no let up. People were queuing up! It was brilliant. I went home totally dehydrated and exhausted, but I love doing game fairs
Monday, another scorching day and back to Bala for the day giving fishing and casting lessons on the afon Tryweryn. Fortunately water had been released into the river raising the levels. It was a real treat to be stood waist deep in cold water, bliss!
Tuesday, a little cooler and overcast today.The local rivers are struggling at the moment and in need of some serious rain to get the fish moving again. I was out guiding in the morning for a couple of guys. Having shown Steve and Bill a few likely hot spots I left them having brought three fish to the net successfully. I had a call later that evening from Steve who wanted to know where he could get some more of the flies I'd suggested as they'd had such a good day that the fish had hammered their stocks (13 or 14 fish between them)
I arranged to meet them this morning to replenish their supplies and give them a few of my hand tied 'Oshboshinator' flies. These are tied to my own recipe and work really well on the Dee but I've not used them anywhere else yet. I'll be keen to get some feedback.
The rest of the week is equally as busy with casting lessons.
I must make time to go fishing next week!
Here is a selection of early season dries and emergers that have been working well on rivers and mountain lakes of Snowdonia
A lovely sunny, warm day today and after a good walk up on the moors with a couple of the dogs I treated myself to a few hours of fishing on an upland lake as the rivers are still a little slow. Anything to put off getting up on the roof to repair a chimney ;0)
Without doubt the sedge patterns stole the show for me this year catching consistently well up to the last day of the brown trout season. The daddy hatches this year were astonishingly good after the terrible weather at the start of the season and are always a good pattern in all its guises.
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.