Welsh record fish

Record Freshwater Fish of Wales

Wales has thrown up many record size fish species over the years! Although by no means comprehensive, this article brings together mostly unofficial Welsh records for freshwater fish in Wales, plus a few official records.

Pike (Esox Lucius)

Weight: 46lb 13oz
Captor: Roy Lewis
Location & Date: Llandegfedd reservoir, 1992

Notes: Llandegfedd reservoir was famed for producing huge pike in the 1990’s, several giants over the magical 40lb mark were captured, including a 45 lb 6oz by Gareth Edwards and numerous 30’s.

Roy Lewis 46lb 13oz remains the official Welsh record and was only beaten as the UK record in February 2024 by a fish from Chew Valley Lake of 47lb 5oz.

Today the enormous pike are no longer caught at Llandegfedd, but low 30’s and high 20’s can still be caught at the venue.

It is possible the record might be broken again in Wales, Trawsfynydd Reservoir could well be a contender, with pike recorded to over 35lb and ‘unofficial’ rumours of several 40lb plus fish. Image credit: Ceri Jones

Barbel (Barbus Barbus)

Weight: 18lb 1oz
Captor: Nathan Bairds
Location & Date: River Taff, 2014

Notes: The often hushed-up River Taff is renowned for producing surprisingly large barbel. Each year fish well into double figures are banked, and there have been several record claims, the latest being 18lb 1oz in 2014, which broke the former 17lb 2oz record specimen caught in 2007.

The fishing is anything but easy on the Taff for barbel, with many stretches banning night fishing, limited swims and some rather precarious areas that the fish inhabit. Double figure fish in the higher teens are still being caught in the river, so it is possible the record could be broken one day.

Brown Trout (Salmo Trutta) – Stocked

Weight: 24lbs 2oz
Captor: Shaun Brown
Location & Date: Llyn Trawsfyndd reservoir, April 2021

Notes: This monster brown trout smashes the previous ‘official’ record of 18lb 13oz from the now dry Wentwood reservoir in Gwent.

The huge expanse of Trawsfyndd reservoir in North Wales is renowned for large brown trout, several have been caught in recent years. This one is most likely of hatchery origin, although the fishery does not stock them at this size, so it has grown on. A testament to the water quality and food source in the lake.

The fish was returned, so could still be at large.

record welsh brown trout wales

Atlantic Salmon (Salmo Salar)

Weight: 38lb
Captor: Marco Orsi
Location & Date: River Usk, 2018

Notes: Pontypridd based angler Marco landed this 38lb salmon in the river Usk whilst spinning. It is the largest salmon we know of in recent years from a Welsh river. The fish was returned.

Bigger salmon have been recorded from from the Wye in the 1920’s and 30’s, ranging from 50lb to 59lb. While in 1962 a 51lb 5oz salmon was recorded at Bigsweir fishery Monmouthshire.

Sewin – Sea Trout (Salmo Trutta Trutta)

Weight: 21lb 12oz
Captor: Matthew Evans
Location & Date: River Cynin, St Clears 1990’s

Notes: Wales is famous for its big sewin, with many double figure fish recorded over the years. Several 20lb plus fish have been caught, especially on the Tywi and Dyfi, but the largest officially documented comes from the Afon Cynin, West Wales, a mammoth 21lb 12oz specimen by St Clears angler Matthew Evans.

Vic Roberts also came close in the 1990’s, with a 21lb 8oz specimen from River Mawddach, North Wales. Both of these huge sewin were taken on a worm.

Brown Trout (Salmo Trutta) – Wild

Weight: 15lb
Captor: Sam Sheaf
Location & Date: Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake), 2012

Notes: Captured whilst pike fishing, from a boat. Bala has produced ‘ferox’ trout to 12.5lb in recent years, but this 15lb specimen is considered an unofficial record for the lake, which is not stocked. It is the largest wild brown trout known from Wales in recent years.

Llyn Tegid still continues to produce large wild brown trout, which are usually caught unintentionally by predator anglers whilst trolling.

Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus Mykiss)

Weight: 27lb 12oz
Captor: Roger Clibery
Location & Date: Graiglwyd Springs Trout fishery, Penmaenmawr, Conwy. Feb 2015

Notes: The largest rainbow trout caught in Wales in recent times, Roger Clibery’s 27lb 12oz Graiglwyd Springs fish is the biggest from a fishery still operating in Wales. The fish was caught on a bloodworm fly on a floating line.

Graiglwyd has produced a string of huge rainbow trout, although a 29lb rainbow was caught in the 1990’s at the now defunct Shimano Felindre Fishery.

Carp (Cyprinus Carpio)

Weight: 49lb
Captor: Various anglers
Location & Date: Wharf fishery (Bute East Dock) Cardiff 2022.

Notes: The Wharf is known as a big carp venue, located near Cardiff City centre. It is home to the biggest known carp in Wales, a mirror called Ebenezer, which has been recorded up to a staggering weight of 49lb. The Wharf also has a lot of carp over the 30lb mark.

Below – Ebenezer captured by Brian Warrick at 44lb 9oz.

Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon Idella)

Weight: 40lb 2oz
Captor: Tudor Prosser
Location & Date: Wharf fishery (Bute East Dock) Cardif, 2014.

Notes: Another incredible capture from Wharf fishery Cardiff, this fish is believed to still be at large in the venue.

Another notable Welsh grass carp was a 42lb specimen grass carp from Llyn Trawsfynydd reservoir, which was never caught by an angler. This fish was found dead, after it was struck by a boat propeller in 1992.

Gwyniad (Coregonus Pennantii)

Weight: 1 lb 4oz
Captor: J Williams
Location & Date: Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake) 1965

Notes: The gwyniad is a freshwater whitefish native only to Bala Lake. These deep-water fish are rarely caught by anglers. This unique fish is endangered due to deteriorating water quality and by the ruffe, which eats eggs and fry.

As a conservation measure, eggs of gwyniad were transferred to Llyn Arenig Fawr, here a population has been established.

Image below is of a Gwyniad, sample picture taken by NRW North Wales Fisheries Technical Team.

Perch (Perca Fluviatilis)

Weight: 5lb 3oz
Captor: David Roberts
Location & Date: White Springs, Swansea. 2017

Notes: White Springs is a venue famous throughout the UK for perch over 4lb. It could one day produce a UK record. Most of the bigger fish are caught using prawns or small dead and live baits.

Common Bream (Abramis brama)

Weight: 14lb 2oz
Captor: Andrew Riste
Location & Date: Roath Park Lake, Cardiff, May 2021.

Notes: While not famous for big bream, Wales has produced double figure fish from several South Wales venues, usually as a by-catch from carp anglers, such as the 14lb 2oz specimen displayed by Andrew Riste below. As you can see, he was happy with this one!

roath park lake fishing

Tench (Tinca tinca)

Weight: 17lb 8oz
Captor: Neil Bradley
Location & Date: Llangorse lake, Spring 2016.

Notes: Llangorse is known to produce big tench, but never at this size. It is speculated the fish was spawn bound, or suffering from deformity which increased its mass significantly.

The fish was not caught on rod and line, it was found floating on the lake, was netted, weighed and revived before being released. It was not put forward as an official record. Image credit Angling Times.

Grayling (Thymallus Thymallus)

Weight: 53.5cm long
Captor: Rob Redman
Location & Date: River Dee, Corwen

Notes: Wales is well known for large grayling, with the Dee and Severn producing notable big fish.

Tim Hughes caught a river Severn specimen in 2000, of 52cm and 3lb 3oz, this fish was registered officially with the Welsh record committee, and was weighed with a McLeans weigh net.

Undoubtedly larger grayling have been caught, Rob Redman captured a 53.5cm grayling from the Dee in December 2022 (below) which was witnessed by Dylan Roberts, secretary of Corwen & District angling club. This must be the largest grayling caught in recent times with photographic evidence.

There have been rumours of 55cm grayling caught in the river Dee, which may touch 4lb in weight.

Torgoch – Arctic Charr (Salvelinus Alpinus)

Weight: 1lb 10oz
Captor: Huw Hughes
Location & Date: Llyn Padarn 1998

Notes: Torgoch (red belly) is found in seven lakes in North Wales, which includes populations that have been relocated for conservation reasons.

Llyn Padarn has native Torgoch, that are traditionally fished for from a boat with jigged maggots. The old saying here is that you need three and a penny (old penny) to make a pound.

However the pollution problems from 1992 on Padarn saw a dramatic increase in size. The heaviest caught weighed 1lb 10oz. It was not accepted as an official record, perhaps due to the lake enrichment issues. It is still the largest Torgoch documented in Wales.

Image below: A 1lb 8oz torgoch from Llyn Padarn 1997 taken by Huw Hughes.

Rudd (Rutils Rutils)

Weight: 2lb 12oz
Captor: Nicky Bray
Location & Date: Abercwmboi lake, Aberdare

Notes: The Welsh record rudd was captured in 2016, from the ‘phurnie’, a former industrial site near Aberdare.

European Sturgeon (Acipenser Sturio)

Weight: 388lb
Captor: Alec Allen
Location & Date: River Towy, July 1933

Notes: An incredible capture from the river Towy, this species is now considered extinct in the UK. The full story of this remarkable fish can be found here.

Bleak (Alburnus Alburnus)

Weight: 4oz
Captor: B Derrington
Location & Date: River Monnow, Oct 1982

Chub (Squalius Cephalus)

Weight: 8lb 3oz
Captor: Gavin Dunell
Location & Date: River Taff 2015

Notes: The lower river Taff has a track record of producing large chub, several in the 6lb to 8lb range have been recorded in recent years. We have not been able to source a good quality image for this fish

Gudgeon (Gobio Gobio)

Weight: 4 oz 4 dr
Captor: M Bowen
Location & Date: Ebbw Vale Pond, Ebbw Vale. 1977

Orfe / Ide (Leuciscus Idus)

Weight: 4 lb 12 oz
Captor: J Moran
Location & Date: Burton Towers, Rossett, Wrexham 1986

We hope you enjoyed reading this list of Welsh record freshwater fish! If you have caught a potential Welsh record, or would like to report any inaccuracies or supply better quality images for the article then please get in touch.



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