After last week’s poor performance on the Welsh Dee I was keen to get back on the river to try and make amends. Heavy rain at the start of the week pushed the river up from its summer level, peaking at 0.73m (Manley Hall gauge) on Tuesday, which during the week dropped off steadily to 0.57m. Also the make-up water from Llyn Celyn was stopped and as a result the river water temperature was near normal for the time of year. Both of the aforementioned should have freshened up the river and with a bit of luck brought a few salmon up.
I left Bolton early on Saturday morning and pulled into the car park by Llantysilio Church at 8am. I walked up to Duncans Pool where the river looked in good condition for fly fishing; with a reasonable flow and just a slight tinge of colour. My plan for the day was to first fish the pools for salmon and then work through again for trout and grayling.
I set up my salmon rod with a floating line tipped with a 10ft sinking polyleader, 14lb fluorocarbon and a Stoats Tail (size 10 double). Starting at the head of the pool I worked my way slowly to the tail but didn’t excite any interest at all.
It had started raining heavily on my run through the pool so at the end I returned to the shelter of the tree. Where I set up a rod for a spot of Czech nymphing to try and get tally off the starting block with some trout (point: size 12, Pheasant Tail nymph with 3.5mm black tungsten bead; middle dropper: size 14, Hare’s Ear nymph with 2.5mm tungsten bead; top dropper: size 16, red nymph with a 1.5mm gold tungsten bead).
I started just above the big submerged rock close to the near bank and worked my way progressively up river. After a few cast a fish took the fly but came off the hook after 30 seconds. As I worked my way up river the run deepened and I needed to add an AAA shot to the line to get the flies to the bottom. Fishing deeper produced the desired result and I caught my first grayling (ca. 25cm) of the day on the Hare’s Ear nymph.
I continued working my way up river where I caught two more similar sized grayling in quick succession on the red nymph. Working my way back down to the submerged rock I caught further 2 grayling, one of which was as at least 30cm, again on the red nymph.
As I worked my way round the large submerged rock, by casting the flies into the fast water above the far side and letting them drift round into the slack water, I had a solid take and the rod bent double into a large fish, which took off down river. Eventually, I got the fish under control and guided the best grayling (1.5 to 2lbs) of the day safely into the net, which had fallen for the red nymph.
Working my way further down the far crease I caught two more good grayling (ca 1lb mark) on the same fly. Towards the tail of this slacker water the line shot of out into the main current and I was into what turned out to be my first brown trout of the day, which fell for the Hare’s Ear. I continued down through the body of the pool to the tail but surprisingly get any other takes.
By lunch time the weather had started to brighten up so I had a break for lunch and then headed up river to fish the Pipe Pool. I worked through the fast run into the pool with the salmon fly and the Czech nymphs but this didn’t yield anything.
Continuing down through the channel with the salmon fly, the line was pulled out of my hand just above the fence. When I lifted the rod a small, gready brown trout came to the surface mid-river. Moving down to fish the body and tail of the pool with the salmon fly and Czech nymphs surprisingly didn’t produce anything else. On reflection I should have tried the wet flies in the tail before moving back to Duncans to meet Gareth; who had just phoned to say he had just turned up to fish for a couple of hours.
After a few minutes of anglers banter, I let Gareth work through the pool before following him through through the pool again with the salmon fly but again this didn’t produce anything. It was now 3pm and time for me to head off home to cook a fish curry. Gareth went off to Ddol-isaf for the remaining part of the evening.
In spite of the lack of salmon I had a great day fishing which definitely made up for last week’s poor performance on the river. The red nymph turned out to be the “STAR” of the day. I tied these last year but can’t remember if it’s my own design or a modification of someone else’s fly pattern. Anyway the pattern is as follows if anyone would like to try it out.
Hook: Kamasan B170 – size 16
Bead: 1.5mm gold tungsten
Thread: Uni Red 8/0
Tail: Ginger cock fibres
Body: Red 8/0 thread
Thorax: Peacock eye herl fibre
Thorax case: Uni Pearl Mylar – fine
If you try this fly out it would be great if you let me know how you get on with it. I definitely will be giving a few more dips to see if it continues to work.
Tight lines till next time. Andrew Overend (20/5/17)