Blog, news and reviews from Snowdonia Fly Fishing Guides
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.
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.
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 fishing today was really tough. The river was high, but clear, and pushing hard. My buddy and I fished hard all morning to no avail. I had a few knocks but no firm hook ups.
Then for just a few minutes there was a hatch and a small rise of fish upstream and in a sheltered pool. In just a few minutes I'd netted 4 grayling, a spottie and a salmon parr, two small grayling were caught on the same cast, one took the point fly the other the top dropper.
After lunch, we fished a tributary of the main river and picked up several more. Sometimes determination and perseverance pays off.
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.
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.
It's not unusual to catch out of season wild spotties when fishing for grayling. This beautiful specimen of a river Dee wild brown trout was quickly released unharmed.
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
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.
Whilst I love fishing the rivers in the region I equally enjoy taking a walk up into the mountains in search of truly wild spotties (brown trout).
This stunning large upland lake is full of wild brown trout that only get to see an artificial fly on my rare visits. This isn't a long thin lake but the reflected hills give that impression.
I usually tie spiders on #12 or #14 hooks but occasionally tie up a few on size 18's. these are tied in a range of colours and all have a starling hackle.
Dead easy to tie, perfect for tempting wild brownies and very effective on heavily fished waters.
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.