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.
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.
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.
Had a few hours on the river Dee yesterday, for most of the time it was lashing down with rain and a biting cold wind was blowing but the colder weather encouraged the fish to feed. Most were smaller grayling and 'spotties' but all were lively and good sport
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.
Well the 2018 - 19 season got off to a great start. Whilst it was a wet day it was most definitely not a damp squib. The river levels are still low but the water temperature has dropped bringing the fish out of their stupor. In amongst the profusion of salmon parr and small brownies were some large 'ladies of the stream' with a hunger that needed to be satisfied.
The weather here is amazing. After a long, very cold winter and cool wet spring we've had weeks of unbroken hot, sunny weather. The rivers and lakes are low but surprisingly productive with brown trout, sea trout, grayling regularly being caught along with the occasional smolt.
I love summer fishing, there's not a lot better than standing waist deep in a river, fishing a dry fly, with the sun beating down.
The last few weeks have seen spectacular hatches of aquatic and terrestrial flies and the sport has been excellent. Long may it continue.
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.