Blog, news and reviews from Snowdonia Fly Fishing Guides
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.
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.
It's always a pleasure to take our friends from America out. Reid and Dylan were great company and good anglers, successfully catching several spotties and grayling. I wish them well for the rest of their holiday and a safe journey back to the U.S.
This time last year we were in the middle of a heat wave with temperatures over 15 degrees Celsius warmer than today. Whilst we've not had much rain the last few weeks and the rivers has been at summer lows, storms over the weekend lifted them significantly.. They are still high but just fishable and with plenty of fresh water and food the fish have become decidedly lively.
Another satisfied customer
My client for the last couple of days had his first experience of fishing the Dee, something he's wanted to do for a long time, and it didn't disappoint.
The water levels are very low at the moment, lower even that during last years long hot summer and the river in places is on it's bones.. Finding the fish in this thin, poorly oxygenated water is challenging but thankfully I succeeded in getting him on to fish that were willing to take a well presented fly.
Thursday was a warm bright sunny day and the fishing was tough but there were a few willing to take a small nymph.
Friday was cooler and overcast and the fish were willingly taking subsurface flies and plenty rising to a dry.
Being prepared to keep moving to find the fish and recommending different tactics to catch them is all part of the job and it's very satisfying when it all comes together and clients go away happy.
The river Dee
Fishing in gin clear water to rising fish, it really doesn't get any better.
I've fished in many countries for grayling including Bosnia, Croatia and Slovenia but question why I went all that way and spent a bucket of money when some of the best grayling fishing in stunning countryside is on my doorstep.
Grayling Society skills day
A skills day I recently organised for Grayling Society members saw a pretty good turnout with almost 40 people attending. Members were able to learn a number of different casting skills and fishing techniques including tenkara, trotting, nymphing dry fly and wet fly fishing.
Images courtesy of Rob Hartley
I had the pleasure to guide Vince this morning, he's over from America visiting family and wanted a morning on the river.
It started off cold and windy and it didn't get any better, a bitter cold upstream wind kept the fish low, it was a slow start but as the sun made an appearance things improved.
Vince had never caught a grayling before so was pleased to add a couple to his catch catalogue, but his pièce de résistance was a G&T, a grayling and trout caught at the same time. The spotty took the spider on the dropper and a grayling grabbed the bead headed nymph on the point. Needless to say Vince was more than a little pleased with this result.
Well done Vince.
It's the grayling closed season at the moment and no responsible anglers will be targetting them deliberately. But the Dee is a river famed for its grayling and catching them whilst fishing for brown trout is almost inevitable as they share many of the same habitats and food sources.
Today the weather was even worse than yesterday with very heavy snow for a time that turned to sleet late morning and finally stopped by mid afternoon. The fishing was really tough and I only managed to catch a couple of grayling, and missed a couple of other fish. The guys I was with faired little better and between three of us we only caught 10 fish.
River Dee 'spottie'
On Monday I was walking the dogs up on the moors in a tee shirt. Two days later it was -3c and I was brushing an inch of snow from the car before setting off for a day on the river with my mate Karl. The weather added an hour to the journey and we tackled up in driving sleet and a biting cold north easterly. The first hour was pretty depressing, cold, wet and no fish! Towards lunchtime the temperature and my spirits lifted slightly as I started catching a few. I felt sure this lovely little wild brownie was a sewin when I hooked it as it spent more time in the air than in the water and putting a lovely bend in my fibreglass rod.
The day ended with very weak watery sun, but it was enough to see a hatch and catch a couple on a dry fly. So a very enjoyable, if cold day, with my final tally being 14 fish caught and safely released and of course a few that got away.
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.