Blog, news and reviews from Snowdonia Fly Fishing Guides
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.
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.
So just to be clear mono, copolymer and fluoro are all monofilament, in that it is all a single extrusion. However we anglers usually like to define them separately so for the purposes of this post that's what I'll do.
Mono & copolymer: Basically the same stuff. A relatively inexpensive nylon tippet material that has good stretching properties, now whilst this makes for good shock absorption and less risk of breaking it can reduce sensitivity and bite detection. It tends to be supple and not to have memory problems and lies straight. Diameter to strength can be excellent with better brands having surprisingly fine diameters for their breaking strain and good abrasion resistance. Mono and copolymer are not UV resistant and will eventually break down in sunlight.
Fluoro: I've got to say there are some claims made of fluoro that I don't believe and that do not stand up to scrutiny.
Take a length of each material of the same diameter and fluoro will be heavier than mono, however the claims that it sinks and so is better for sub surface fishing is a load of eyewash! If it doesn't break the surface tension of the water fluoro floats just like mono. If it breaks the surface tension fluoro and mono sinks, however fluoro does sink more quickly but if fishing a wet fly or nymph it doesn't help to sink the fly quicker.
I've read how fluoro is near invisible underwater due to its refractive index, mmmm, right!! Try this little experiment for yourself - Take a length of each material of the same diameter and place them in a glass of water, both are clearly visible. Now drop the same pieces on to the water, both will stick in the surface tension, finally poke them under the water and both will sink!
Fluoro is generally stiffer and less stretchy, this is good for bite detection but bad for snapping and memory retention. Some claim knot strength is not so good, but as long as appropriate knots are well tied I don't think there is a problem, but because it is stiffer and less flexible it may contribute to knot breaks.
Finally fluoro is UV resistant so does not break down in sunlight, this one fact is why I will not consider using it. If this stuff is left lying around it's there forever, it will not degrade!
Fluoro is a good deal more expensive than mono so you have to decide if it's worth the premium.
So to conclude: there are good and bad points with both materials, it's up to you to decide which is best for you. Personally I use and recommend good quality mono or copolymer.
I had the pleasure of fishing with the East Midlands Trout Fishing Association at Grafham Water last weekend.
Grafham is a huge reservoir (about 10 miles circumference) in Cambridgeshire that is renowned for it's rainbow trout fishing.
As the intrepid members of the EMTFA were getting suited and booted and taking to the boats the talk was around tactics and locations. Flies were exchanged, along with a few tales of the one that got away!
Now some may tell you that fishing a stillwater is easy, and it can be, but there are many occasions when it can be exceptionally tough and frustrating! Last Sunday was such a day, the weather was perfect, dry, overcast with a little sun and a pleasant breeze. There was plenty of insects hatching and fish were topping regularly, but could we catch 'em!!!!
Lunchtime saw us back on dry land for a BBQ and more talk and plenty of head scratching as we talked tactics for the afternoon session.
The day ended at 18:00 with all the club members gathered around the weighing room to talk about the catch.
My thanks to Bill Knight and all the members of the EMTFA for making me feel welcome. I look forward to meeting up with the very pleasant and hospitable members of this club again in the future.
Well that's it for a few month, the end of another grayling season. It actually ended at the end of October with the onset of some of the worse floods ever. The Dee, my home river for grayling, was in flood almost constantly for several months and when the floods receded many rivers had suffered substantial damage. However I'm confident the rivers will bounce back quite quickly. I was out a couple of times this week on different rivers and it was good to see a few fish rising and fry in the margins.
Looking to the rest of the year I'm hoping it will be a good brown trout and sea trout season and that the grayling are on form come the summer.
This beautifully coloured Snowdonia wild brown trout succumbed to a CDC emerger pattern.
These feisty hard fighting fish always put a smile on my face, their spirit is indomitable and on light tackle make excellent sport.
This cracking late winter wild brownie was caught on a clients first freestone river fishing trip. The fish took a spider pattern fished high in the gin clear water.
Fly tackle - the basics
When starting out the array of tackle available can be daunting, and the terminology used confusing. Below is a simple beginners guide to fly tackle.
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!
I've not posted for a while, I've been a little busy.
The fishing over the last few weeks has been good, very good in fact. Last week (Friday) one of the local rivers was teeming with fish, more rise forms than you could shake a wading staff at.
Today on the Dee it was windy and cool and the fishing stuttered before it got going. In the morning I had a few snatches at dries and nymphs but no solid takes.The afternoon was a very different story, the wind dropped, the temperature rose and the fish became more active. Even though there were lots of olives coming off the water there were few rising fish.
Nymphs definitely won out over dries and 4 grayling and a brownie was brought to the net in quick succession.
A good end to the day.
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.