Blog, news and reviews from Snowdonia Fly Fishing Guides
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.
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.
It was bitter cold yesterday and as we pulled up to river the snow flakes were the size of golf balls, I exaggerate not, and even the hot coffee, sausage rolls and cheese and potato pasties did nothing to warm us up.
We hit the river with little expectation, but lots of hope, that we'd find some fish. Lady luck was on our side and we managed to bring more than a few grayling to the net. As the sun fell behind the mountains and the temperatures dropped we called it a day with tales of fingers so cold you could snap 'em off and some lovely hard won fish.
Today I've forgotten about how cold it was but the memory of the fish caught will stay with me.
Pretty little river Dee winter grayling. Several were caught on an icy cold January morning on small beaded nymphs.
Even though there wasn't a hatch this beautiful 'lady of the stream' rose to take a Klinkhamer from the surface.
Although it's not quite winter it was a cold, clear day yesterday and the temperature barely got above freezing. The fishing, though not easy, did prove to be productive. Since the weather, and water temperatures have cooled the fish are a lot more feisty. These lively little grayling were just two of several caught on a variety of flies from beaded nymphs, through spiders to dries.
Another lump of a grayling caught by a satisfied client last week. This one rose to take an elk hair caddis.
Even when there is no hatch grayling are very willing to rise to a tasty morsel. This one took a size 16 Klinkhammer. My client's fin perfect and hard fighting first grayling brought a huge smile to his face.
The Grayling Society symposium and dinner is followed by an auction to raise money for the Grayling Research Trust. I had the privilege to successfully bid for a beautiful Rod Dibble split cane rod. It's a wonderful casting tool and plays a fish gently to the net. It's a pleasure to use and I'm confident I'll have many successful outings with it.
Grayling are a surprisingly delicate fish, they fight hard but it takes a lot out of them.
Please handle them with care, respect and minimise their time out of water, give them time to recover whilst supporting them and allow them to swim away under their own steam. Do not pull them backwards as this forces water through their gills the wrong way and can lead to foreign bodies entering their gill covers.
I now use a chest mounted GoPro that allows me to take pictures or videos without having to mess about with a hand held camera.
Well the weather up here is changing and getting a little cooler.
On Sunday I was fishing around Bangor on Dee with a mate, the sky was overcast and there was a definite nip in the air when we started fishing. We were quickly off to a good start with grayling and 'spotties' keen to take a fly. I was fishing a team of spiders and Craig fishing a single dry.
By lunchtime we'd both caught into double figures and after a well deserved break we were off for round two. Unfortunately during lunch the cloud burnt off, the sun came out, temperature soared and the fish quickly lost their appetite.
There are many arguments within the angling community about otters. Love them or hate them they are here to stay and we need to live with them.
Cards on table, I really like the little critters. and feel privileged when I see one and feel they have a greater right than I to catch fish, I do it for sport they do it to live.
On Saturday I had the pleasure to watch one feeding for several minutes unbothered by my presence. A few minutes later I entered the river and was rewarded with a large grayling. The Welsh Dee is a very productive river and there's room for anglers and the resident otters.
Please contact me if you want the whole video.
A well know 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 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 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.