Blog, news and reviews from Snowdonia Fly Fishing Guides
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.
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.
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.
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.
Whilst the Dee is justifiably renowned for its grayling fishing, every now and again a beautiful wild spottie rears up to take a fly. This one took a small white spider as soon as it touched the water.
Not a great picture but I'm more interested in getting the fish back in the water as quickly as possible, so I don't do posed shots of the fish I catch.
The last few years there was a profusion of dragon flies in and around my pond, but this summer not so many. There were plenty of nymphs and empty shucks in the pond so why no adults?
Then one afternoon I saw a sparrow successfully plucking a beautiful, iridescent blue, broad-bodied chaser from the air, a feat of considerable acrobatics that provided a significant feast for one of the bird's young brood. So the mystery was solved.
Having finished breeding the sparrow colony has dispersed, giving the late hatching invertebrates a chance. Yesterday I watched as a common hawker emerged from her nymphal case (shuck) to dry herself before flight. I wish her well in finding a mate to complete the cycle of life.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pretty little river Dee winter grayling. Several were caught on an icy cold January morning on small beaded nymphs.
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.