Fishing In Wales - June Game Fishing Catch Report (30/06/21)
Looking back at June it has been an unusual and at times challenging month for game fishing in Wales. We have gone from one extreme to another – from non-stop rain and cold conditions to the dog days of summer in just a couple of weeks. Despite this, fishing has still been excellent for our game fish species providing you pick the best times to try for them, which is usually early or late in the day.
The rivers have been fishing well for trout, with a noted shift to evening fishing recently. The usual south-east Welsh rivers have been fishing well – the Ebbw, Usk, upper Taff, Tawe and the Rhymney have all been fishing productively, especially in the evening or early morning. The exception is the lower Taff from Pontypridd down to Cardiff, which hasn’t been great this season and some investigation needs to be done to find out why.
A cracking river Usk trout below, a fish of 22’’ for Pheon Radford which is a giant for the river.
Moving west the Ogmore fished well after the rain early in the month. It’s now a lot harder as the levels have dropped, but the trout fishing is still good with grayling also figuring in the catches.
We’ve heard reports of good trout being caught in the Gwendraeth fach and fawr rivers near Kidwelly, as well as some unusually large trout from the Towy, which rarely gets much trout fishing attention – check out the 3.5lb brown caught be Colton Brett Kelly on Crosshands AA water.
The Teifi has been fishing well for trout. On 12th & 13th June Llandysul AA hosted an invite only event for fly anglers from all over the UK. This involved two days of fishing on various beats of the river. It was well organised and full credit goes to the club for their hospitality and quality of their beats. Despite hot and sunny conditions, the river produced countless small to medium sized trout (a great sign for the future!) and several good grayling, which appear to be well distributed in the whole river now. Many larger trout (some 4lb plus!) were seen and lost. The weekend was filmed by Andy Ford of BT Sport for ‘On The Bank’ – this should be aired soon. Below: Fishing on the Teifi.
The upper Wye has been a bit hit and miss or trout, due to some colouration from algae, which has thankfully now cleared above Glasbury. It has produced some good ones though. There are several ‘wild streams’ in the upper Wye catchment that are worth fishing, even in warm weather, due to their shady, gorge like nature. These include the Duhonw, Edw and Clettwr all of which come into the Wye just below Builth Wells. Do not expect huge fish (a pound is good) but expect plenty of them – great sport on light tackle.
The upper Severn in Powys is always worth a go in the summer – it gets a lot of cold water from llyn Clywedog so it usually fishes well even in the dog days. It produced some nice fish in June.
In north Wales, the Conwy seems to be producing some really nice trout, as is the ever reliable Dee, where good grayling are also starting to show in the catches.
With July being probably the hardest month, the best advice is to fish in the evening or if we are lucky enough to have rain just as the rivers fine down.
Salmon and Sea trout
The Ogmore near Bridgend produced with some great sea trout and salmon after the rain in early June. This has slowed down now, but bodes well for the rest of the season. Nathan Richards below with a nice chunky Sewin.
The Neath, well known for its sea trout and salmon has had a slow start, but as soon as we have rain this is expected to pick up, with reports of fish in the estuary waiting to run the river.
The lower Wye still continues to fish OK for salmon, with 4 caught at Wyesham on 29th June at 20,16,15 and 12lbs – all on the fly. Salmon are there in most of the noted pools through the river, but sadly the annual algal bloom has tinted the water on the lower beats which makes fishing a little harder. Rain is seriously needed to flush it away.
Sewin are now being caught in our major rivers – the Towy has produced some cracking fish, although the numbers are not quite there yet. The Teifi is starting to produce with good number of smaller fish, and the Mawddach and tributaries have started to fish well. We’ve also heard reports of sewin out of the Rheidol and of course the Dovey. The Dee in north Wales is also starting to fish for sewin, with some schoolies reported. Rob Redman below, who is a guide on the Mawddach with a nice June sewin.
What we need now is a big summer spate to bring the main summer run into our rivers and we should have the best sewin fishing of the season as we go into July – fingers crossed!
Reservoirs, lakes and fisheries
The ever-reliable llyn Clywedog has been producing some great fish. Its depth and altitude mean it stays cool in the warm months and can fish well all summer. The Coch y bonddu beetle is now making an appearance (a bit late) and the dry fly fishing has been frantic.
Llyn Brenig has been providing some excellent sport with catches of 20+ fish being reported to the boats. The banks are also fish well early and late in the day. Top of the water methods using intermediate tip and floaters are scoring well.
Llyn Trawsfynydd reservoir is going well, lots of rainbows and browns coming to dry fly, traditional wet fly or nymphing with midge tips. Cool water temperatures are helping due to its location in the rugged Snowdonia hills. Coch y bonddu has been reported there – good news for dry fly anglers for the next week or two.
We have heard that Llys-y-fran reservoir in Pembrokeshire is finally open to anglers again – tickets can be booked online via www.llys-y-fran.co.uk/fishing-llys-y-fran The lake has been re-stocked with rainbows and still has a good head of wild brown trout.
The natural hill lakes and wild trout reservoirs woke up at the start of June and now with Coch y bonddu reported it will be a great time to try them. Talybont AA, Aberystwyth AA, Elan Valley and Nant-y-Moch in particular. We’ve heard the Ffestiniog lakes are fishing well, as are the Dalgarrog AA llyns, where a few char have been reported as well as wild brownies. July is a good month if you are evening fishing or if you go on a rough, wet and windy day.
On the fisheries, things have slowed down due to the higher water temperatures. Even so, we have plenty of spring fed waters in Wales which fish well all summer due to their cold water. These include Garnffrwd, Graiglwyd Springs and Ravens Nest.
Another great Garnffrwd double below.
Fishing In Wales - May Game Fishing Catch Report (25/05/21)
Reservoirs, lakes and fisheries:
Despite the unusually cold and wet weather this month fisheries and reservoirs have been fishing well for those that have dared to venture out.
Garnffrwdd has fished well, with our very own Ceri Thomas capturing a 16lb rainbow whilst filming at the venue. The film will be released early next month. Numerous other doubles from 13lb to 17lb have been landed this month at the fishery, some images below. The fish are mostly being caught on imitative patterns such as small dries and buzzers, rather than on lures.
Papermill near Swansea has also been producing some whopping rainbows, Gareth Morgan caught this cracking 12lb 1oz rainbow on an olive snake, well done Gareth!
Graiglwyd springs fishery in Penmaenmawr has also been producing quality fish, with doubles amongst them, as has Crynant fishery near Neath, which is producing a good stamp of fish.
On the reservoirs Brenig, Traws and Clywedog all fished well this month. Clywedog recently hosted the Scierra pairs comp, where 406 fish were caught by 33 anglers, a rod average of 6.2 fish. The venue has produced several doubles to 14lb 3oz. Llandegfedd reservoir has opened again for trout anglers and here there are reports of good bags of quality fish to boat and bank anglers.
The water is still very cold on these larger venues, so lures fished on intermediates and Di lines are still catching lots of fish. That said on warmer days dry fly action to hawthorn fly and buzzer is possible and can only get better.
In the Brecon Beacons, the Usk reservoir has been re-stocked and is providing good fishing, whilst Llwyn-on near Merthyr is also producing some nice rainbows and wild brownies.
Onto the wild lakes and Talybont in the Brecon Beacons continues to produce quality wild trout from 1lb to 2lb 8oz. Buzzers and traditional wet fly scoring well. Club water such as Beacons reservoir and Ystradfellte near Penderyn are worth a try. In Mid Wales Claerwen and the Elan valley reservoirs are waking up after a slow start. Aberystwyth area Talybont angling club lakes are fishing well, these have been re-stocked with browns and rainbows to supplement the wild fish. Aberystwyth AA lakes have been slow to start, but quality fish are now coming out of them also. The Teifi pools have also produced some nice fish, despite it being very cold and exposed up there.
Further north the lakes of Ffestiniog Cambrian AA have just started to wake up, as have Sgotwrs Ogwen, with nice fish reported from llyn ogwen. Llyn Cwellyn has also been fished and has produced some good action. On all of these lakes traditional ‘walk and cast’ with wet fly patterns is the way to do it.
As we head into June look out for improved surface activity on the wild lakes. Many of them have the coch-y-bonddu beetle in June, which is an important food source. If you can catch this hatch expect fishing of a lifetime, you can sometimes find almost all of the fish in a lake rising to them – something special to behold! So always carry some imitations, wet and dry.
Rivers and streams
May really has been appalling with river levels just too high for the most part. At the start of the month the Usk, Ebbw, Dee, Severn, Teifi etc. were all fishing well. The upper Taff on Merthyr AA also. As soon as levels drop expect super sport at the best time of the year.
In the mean-time, smaller streams and rivers are well worth fishing as they drop back. For example the Taff Fechan, Sirhowy, Llynfi (Bridgend), Clydach (Pontypridd) and the numerous wild streams on the ‘Fishing Passport’ many of which are upper Usk or upper Wye tribs and can potentially hold surprisingly big fish: see 2.5lb brown below, captured from a stream near Brecon.
Tactics wise its all been heavy nymphs in the high water, or even streamers when there is colour on. If it settles down expect the insect life including mayfly, olive uprights, brook dun and yellow may duns to appear in huge numbers, bringing dry flies to the fore.
Salmon and sea trout
The Wye has been producing some nice salmon this spring, the upper reaches around Erwood to Builth Wells on various Fishing Passport beats produced quite a few in May before the last deluge blew the river out. There have not been much other reports, aside from few on the Usk, Towy and Cothi that we’ve heard of, but conditions have hardly been ideal. No reports of any significant sewin activity yet. All will be revealed when the waters recede – hopefully salmon and sea trout will have populated our major rivers in good numbers.
Fishing In Wales - March/April Game Fishing Catch Report (20/04/21)
Reservoirs, lakes and fisheries:
Reservoir fisheries were finally allowed to open at the end of March. Predictably, Llyn Clywedog led the way with some massive double figure fish coming out to bank and boat anglers – to 16lb 12oz. Some examples below. Lures such as humongous fished on Di lines are working well, but on calm days fish are taking spring buzzer off the top and dry fly is the order of the day.
Trawsfynydd has also kicked off with a bang – plenty of rainbows are gracing the net and some gigantic brown trout. There is some debate on whether the 24lb and 25lb fish reported this spring are indeed the same fish re-captured, or different fish that have grown on in the water. Either way long may the venue continue to throw up these huge browns.
Unfortunately Llyn Brenig and Llangdegfedd have not re-opened for fishing yet, but both will be opening on 26th April. Apparently Llys y fran reservoir will be opening for fishing again, sometime this spring.
At Port Talbot the Tata Game Angling Eglwys Nunydd reservoir is off to a great start, with some really good fishing on offer. With so many fisheries and reservoirs (for example Ynys y Fro) closed in south Wales then this well managed venue is a great option just off the M4.
The Brecon Beacons lakes have been good – the Usk reservoir has been stocked with decent rainbows reported to any method and fly anglers, the same goes for Llwyn Onn. Both of these can be booked with the Fishing Passport. Talybont reservoir has produced lost of wild brown 1lb to 2lb, tough on the calm and bright days but buzzer patterns are working well. Swiss Valley reservoir above Llanelli has fantastic fishing for rainbows, this is a well-stocked club water and it’s a great venue for those looking for something a bit off the radar. Pics below of Lewis Rumble at the reservoir.
Natural lakes have been slow, due to the very cold spring. Lakes in Snowdonia need a good month yet to get going The lakes of mid Wales have been a bit better – Teifi Pools and llyn Berwyn have produced some nice early season wild browns.
On the small Stillwater front Garnffrwdd is leading the way with some cracking fish, with rainbows stocked in excess of 20lb – including a new fishery record of 21lb 8oz! Plenty of doubles are also coming out. We plan to do a film there shortly, watch this space! Some of the recent lumps are pictured below.
Prospects: As we enter May we can expect the cream of the crop for lake fishing! With water temps still cool for time of year, the fish should be fighting fit and still willing to chase lures or wet flies. We can expect big buzzer hatches and falls of terrestrial insects such as Hawthorne flies to begin if the weather (as forecast) continues to be settled and increasingly warm.
Rivers and streams:
River fishing finally kicked off in Wales in time for the end of March, traditionally a great time with hungry trout willing to take nymphs fished deep or rise to dry flies during hatches of large Dark Olives and March browns.
The Usk fished well from the off, with trout caught all over the river from Sennybridge down to Chainbridge. Fish to 3lb have been reported. Cold, dry and settled conditions have helped, with few days lost to high water levels. The strong northerly or easterly winds have been a nuisance at times, but thankfully things are calming down. The fish seem to have overwintered well and are in great condition. As I write this report the grannom hatch is in full swing, with some anglers reporting 20 fish in a session on grannom emerger patterns. A few images from the spring Usk fishing below.
The Teifi is fishing really well – this river is going from strength to strength with improving fly life and larger fish from 17 to 20 inches now figuring in the catches. Look out for a Fishing In Wales video on spring fly fishing on the Teifi soon!
The Wye has started to fish in the upper reaches, Craig Llyn beat as usual producing some cracking early season fish. The upper Severn around Caersws is fishing well also, plenty of good sized trout coming to nymph and dry fly. Further north the Dee has had a slow start but is now starting to pick up, with trout and grannom hatches reported in the Llangollen area and CADAC stretches.
Other rivers that have been worth fishing include the Ebbw and Sirhowy, both post-industrial rivers with a big head of wild fish and some surprisingly big fish, especially the Ebbw in the Risca area. There have been good fly hatches on these rivers including olives and brook duns. Despite low water, the upper Taff from Abercyon to Merthyr has been fishing well, some nice fish being caught on dries. However lower river Taff has been very slow, with not much happening on the trout fishing front – yet.
Some of the Fishing Passport wild streams fished well early, surprising given how cold it has been. At the moment however these will be very low as we haven’t had rain for weeks.
River Prospects: Fly hatches will continue, bringing trout to the surface. Expect grannon, various olive species, brook duns and yellow may duns to make an appearance soon. Fishing should be excellent on the middle and lower reaches of all of our significant trout rivers. We do need rain though – a lot of the smaller streams and upper reaches are very low indeed, so fishing will be very hard if things continue as they are. No rain forecast for the foreseeable future!!
Salmon have started to show in the lower river Wye over the past few weeks, with some massive fish caught, seen and lost!! It seems a promising start, given how bad the past few years have been. These springers are truly magnificent, recent examples below both weighed in at 22lb.
Prospects: The Wye should continue to fish well, especially if we get some much needed rain. We have also heard of salmon starting to run the Towy, along with a few large early season sewin. So migratory sport should continue to pick up into May.
Fishing In Wales - November/December Game Fishing Catch Report (16/12/2020)
STILLWATER TROUT FISHING
Most of the major reservoirs closed at the end of November, prior to this some great fishing was enjoyed on venues such as llyn Clywedog and Brenig, where thanks to the mild weather fish were caught near the surface and on dry flies right through to the seasons end.
Below is a stunning fish from Clywedog captured near the end of the season.
A reservoir that remains open until the 20th December is llyn Trawsfynydd, which continues to fish well at this time of year. The fishery continues to produce large brown trout – check out the enormous fish which was weighed at 23lb and is potentially a new Welsh record (The current record is 18lb 13oz from the now drained Wentwood reservoir). The fish was captured by a pike angler on a dead bait and was safely returned to the water so it is unlikely a record claim will be submitted.
There was some debate on social media as to whether this was a wild or stocked fish. Judging by appearance and condition It did appear to be a stocked triploid, which the fishery eventually confirmed. Although they do not stock them at this size. Wild or not it is a fantastic capture and one of the biggest grown-on reservoir brown trout ever captured in the UK. Who knows what else might be in there?
The small Stillwater fisheries continue to fish well, especially the ever-reliable Garnffrwdd fishery which has recently been stocked with spartic trout, a cross between a char and a brook trout. In addition, expect quality blues, browns and rainbows here often on dry flies even in winter. For more on spartic trout read our feature by Ceri Jones here.
The nearby Pant y bedw fishery has just been re-stocked with hard fighting rainbows and blues from Exmoor fishery. It is fishing well. Blue flash damsel, nymphs, buzzers and damsel nymphs were flies most commonly used.
Abernant farm lake near Neath has opened its doors for trout fishing, with catch and release allowed over the winter and is fishing really well. Papermill fishery near Swansea is fishing well with fish up to 8lb being caught on lures (see image below) Humongous being the best fly to try.
In North Wales the ever popular Graiglwyd springs has just been re-stocked for Christmas with tigers, rainbows and browns – expect quality fish here with the real chance of a Welsh double. Other lakes in the area such as Tan-y-Mynydd Trout Fishery are also fishing well. Wal Goch fishery near Mold is producing some nice browns and rainbows to nymphs especially Diawl Bach.
Fishery prospects: Winter can be the best time of year visiting a Welsh fishery, trout thrive in cold water so expect good fishing especially to lures as it gets colder. Even if you only fish for wild trout on the rivers and natural lakes we’d urge you to give a stocked fishery a go over the winter – not only for an enjoyable day out, but to help support them after what has been a very tough year.
The winter so far has been fairly tough for grayling anglers, with rain causing levels to rise unpredictably. However if you choose a window in the weather carefully, the results can be fantastic. A tip is to monitor the river levels before fishing, this new online river gauge tool from NRW is really handy for picking the best day.
During the drier spells we’ve heard of some cracking grayling being caught on the upper river Severn, the Dee, Irfon, upper Wye (craig llyn beat in particular) the Rhymney and the Taff in and around Cardiff on the Glamorgan AA stretches.
Nymphing with heavy jig flies (4mm and 3mm tungsten beads) with pink or red tags in the dressings will work well. Fish under a strike indicator or use on a French leader.
Recent grayling catches (L to R): Kyle Cheshire, river Wye. Simon Barton river Rhymney, Kieron Jenkins river Severn.
Prospects for January: provided we don’t have too much rain (and a full Covid lock-down!) things look excellent on the grayling front. All of the usual grayling rivers will continue to fish well. It does get harder to find the fish in January since they tend to shoal up. But when you find a shoal expect some great sport. The image below illustrates this – a three fly team of czech nymphs resulted in three fish in just one cast from the prolific river Rhymney.
Fishing In Wales - October Game Fishing Catch Report (20/10/2020)
October has been one of the best months we’ve seen for salmon fishing for a long time in Wales, with almost all of the major rivers producing well up until the season closed on the 17th October.
The Towy and the Ogmore were rivers that produced especially well, and also the Neath, Teifi, Usk, Mawddach and even the Taff in Cardiff saw a few caught. The Wye had a late run with reports of good numbers of fish being captured, one rod (Ed Brown) reported 21 salmon on the fly in 3 days at the Spreadeagle beat near llyswen.
The good news is thanks to the NRW catch and release regulations all of these great fish will have been returned to spawn, so the future is looking brighter than it has for some time.
Below is a gallery featuring some of the salmon catches from October.
The wild brown trout season ended on the lakes on 17th October. October was a great month for wild trout fishing and some stunning fish were caught, especially from the lakes of mid-Wales and Cambrian Angling Association, where we recently filmed a mountain trek llyn fishing film that will be out next month. Check out the wild fish below, from left to right: Talybont reservoir, llyn Rhosrydd, llyn dubach. Season starts again for most of the natural waters on 20th March.
Trout fishing action continues on our many fisheries and reservoirs that are stocked with rainbows and other trout varieties. The trout fisheries are all fishing well – October and November being some of the best months on waters such as Wal-goch, Graiglwyd springs, Pant-y-Bedw, Garnffrwdd and reservoirs including Brenig, Traws Clywedog and Ynys-y-fro, Lures will be most effective on the fisheries when water temperatures drop. Below is a nice Spartic trout from Garnffrwdd captured recently by Ceri Jones.
Grayling will of course now be on anglers minds, with all of the Welsh grayling rivers coming into their own including the Taff, Rhymney, Wye, Irfon, Ithon and Dee. Euro/Czech nymphing with heavy flies will be the best method, although dry flies will score on milder days if there is a hatch of fly. The image below is of a nice grayling, typical of the river Rhymney, captured by Kyle Cheshire who is a member of the senior Welsh World team.
Please consider that a national ‘Fire break’ lock down is being imposed in Wales from 6pm 23rd October to 9th November. This is going to affect angling, since you will not be allowed to drive to fish, only walk from home if you are fortunate to be near a suitable venue. Day ticket fisheries will be closed during this time, and unfortunately anglers from outside Wales will not be allowed to visit. More details can be found here.
Fishing In Wales - September Game Fishing Catch Report (22/09/2020)
September has been a great month for Salmon fishing in Wales, one of the best seasons for a good few years especially on the Usk, Teifi, Neath, Ogmore, Conwy and the Towy. Some say this is due to reduced trawler activity out to sea due to COVID, but we have also been fortunate enough to have had heavy rain at the right time to bring good numbers of fish up, unlike the past two years.
The images below show the stamp of Welsh salmon being caught, the fish on the left captured by 11 year old Steff Miles, his first ever salmon, from the River Usk.
Trout fishing on the reservoirs has been excellent in September and will carry on into October. With abundant hatches of buzzer, plus terrestrial insects such as daddy long legs being blown onto the water, the fish are really looking up at the moment – so remember to bring a box of dry flies!
On the Welsh rivers, the trout fishing has been superb, with the smaller streams coming into their own as the better fish push upriver. Many of these are tributaries of the Usk, Monnow and Wye, and can be fished on the Fishing Passport Wild Streams pass. With just a week left of the season, make sure you get out there to enjoy the rest of the season! Beyond 30th September the grayling fishing will really come into its own, especially on the upper Wye, Taff, Rhymney, Dee and Irfon.
For those wanting to fish for wild brownies a bit longer, remember a lot of the natural lakes stay open until 17th October, which is a great time for fishing them with traditional wet flies or dry flies. Places to try included the Ffestiniog lakes and those around Aberystwyth (Talybont & Aber AA) and the Elan Valley, also reservoirs in the Brecon Beacons.
Fishing In Wales Catch Report - July/August Game Fishing Report (19/08/2020)
Whilst August isn’t usually the best month for trout fishing, some of our rivers have fished well, particularly earlier in the month after a bit of water. Flying ants can be found on the rivers at this time of year, when it happens the fish can go into a frenzy – so always carry some imitations! Image below is from the river Usk, which was fishing well a few weeks ago after a drop of rain. One thing to remember is not to bother if the water temperature is over 20 degrees, its not good for the fish and they are unlikely to feed anyway.
The sea trout (sewin) rivers of West Wales have been fishing well this season. The Teifi and Towy particularly, with night fishing now well underway. There are plenty of fish about and the angler pressure is low. There are reports of salmon in good numbers in the lower reaches of some of our rivers, so it could be a bumper autumn (remember all salmon must now be released – regulations here). Night fishing for sewin should be good again when the weather settles down. Salmon below from the Towy, captured by Barry Hale in July on the fly, estimated at 16lb to 18lb.
The large upland lakes and reservoirs have continued to fish well – thanks to their elevation and exposed locations, oxygen levels remain good and temperatures lower. Llyn Clywedog fishery, Brenig and Trawsfynydd are all fishing well, with heather fly on Brenig which provided fantastic dry fly fishing. Traws has thrown up some real monster brown trout recently – check out the 15lb fish below!!
Some of the smaller fisheries are also fishing well, especially those that are spring fed such as Garnffrwd. This cracking double figure rainbow from the fishery was captured by Brian George on a size 14 blue buzzer.
The smaller natural lakes are also well worth a go – venues such as the Aberystwyth AA waters, Cambrian Angling lakes at Festiniog, llyn Fawr in the Rhondda and the Talybont AA lakes. These are producing a mixture of great quality wild and stocked fish. Look out for the great red sedge and daddy long legs later in the month – these can provide superb surface sport.
As we write this it is raining heavily and the rivers are on the rise – most welcome after the recent hot weather. As soon as the rivers fall expect brilliant fishing for trout, sea trout and salmon right through till the end of the season.
If you cannot wait for the main rivers to fall, then try a small tributary, these can produce surprisingly big trout at this time of year, the Usk and Monnow catchments especially. Fish below was caught yesterday from a ‘wild stream’ on the WUF Fishing Passport while the river was in flood. For more on fishing the wild streams pick up a copy of this months Fly Fishing & Fly Tying magazine which features 7 different beats to try.
The recent rain (week of 24th August) has indeed brought salmon into our rivers in good numbers. These great fish were caught by Barry Hale (River Towy) and Morgan Jones (River. Conwy). Remember to use barbeless hooks and return all salmon to the water.