Blog, news and reviews from Snowdonia Fly Fishing Guides
I've recently returned from a short fishing trip to Slovenia on the rivers Lipnica and Sava Bohinjka. The scenery was amazing, the weather was good, our accommodation comfortable and the food very good. Most things are reasonably priced, including the rates for a guide, but the fishing permits were quite expensive at €40 - €60 per day and double that for the 'Trophy Waters'.
All in all I thoroughly enjoyed myself with a few days of excellent fishing. However the vast majority of fish caught were naturalised rainbow trout (introduced several years ago and allowed to breed) and these were caught by the barrel load! The rainbows were perfectly, and beautifully, coloured to blend in with the bleached white riverbed and gin clear waters. They were fighting fit and excellent sport. The disappointment was the almost complete lack of grayling and brown trout. I caught just 2 fingerling grayling and one small brownie.
Our guide said that a severe flood a few years ago washed most of the grayling out of the system and are struggling to re-establish themselves. I suspect the large numbers of predatory rainbows are a more significant factor.
There are also large rainbows stocked in the Sava Bohinjka , 600mm and over, and these seemed to be the fish that several anglers wanted to target. I was happy to let them get on with it preferring the smaller wild fish.
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.
A few members of the Grayling Society, myself included, leapt at the opportunity to attend a Riverfly Partnership invertebrate monitoring course. The course was run by the Severn Rivers Trust however the Society members that attended will be conducting monitoring in the river Dee catchment. It's my hope that we'll be able to get other Grayling Society members to attend similar courses in the future.
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.
After a very cold winter we are now having an exceptionally hot, dry summer. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, I like hard winters and warm summers, proper seasons, but we've had no rain since early May and the rivers really could do with some water in them. Low, slow, poorly oxygenated, tepid water isn't the best for good fishing.
I was out with clients and guests on Wednesday and Thursday. With low rivers and the temperatures up here in excess of 30ᵒ C the fishing wasn't easy. Knowing the area well helped me get them onto some productive water and a respectable catch rate was achieved on both days with a mixed catch of grayling, several brownies, one topping 1.5 lbs, and one client bringing a very pretty little (sewin) sea trout.to the net.
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.
This is a simple, effective dry fly pattern that imitates many flies. I tie in a range of sizes from hook size 20 up to 14.
Black thread, black sheet foam, small stiff cock hackle.
Cut a strip of foam 2-3mm wide, depending on hook size. quickly flame the end and squeeze to flatten. Tie in tail (optional) Tie foam onto top of hook with pointed end over the eye. Tie in hackle. Fold foam over the hackle and tie in.
That's all there is to it.
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.
Well the new rod is nearly ready, just a couple of finishing touches before it gets an outing.
I've made no secret of the fact that I love fishing with fibreglass rods. They are tough, light, responsive and feel great when bending into a fish. What's not to like? If you think they are too soft to cast effectively you'd be wrong. Modern 'S' glass rods are powerful and can, if handled right cast a good long line. Glass rods are warm, tactile and wondrously translucent.
Martin, a good friend, fished with glass for the first time yesterday, using an 8' 4 wt rod I built last year and was an immediate convert after his catch rate out performed his favourite carbon rod.
For me fibreglass rods have more 'feel', I can detect takes more easily and when hooked the rod's softer action makes playing a fish a more pleasurable experience.
Using a glass rod isn't something that can be rushed, to get the best out of one needs a slow, gentle casting stroke that encourages the caster to relax. Using glass is a transcendental experience.
This amazing hatch of midges was trapped in a thin film of ice. The trail of them was several metres long and there must have been hundreds of thousands of them.
I dare say the local wild brown trout population ate their fill.
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.