Heavy rain at the start of the week produced a good spate with the river level peaking at 0.8 metre on Tuesday (Manley Hall). This coincided with a week of high tides, with the largest of 4.2 metres, which should encourage an influx of fresh salmon that should be pushing up river to Llangollen on the spate. A few salmon have been caught down at Bangor-on-Dee, so I was hopeful that the salmon fishing at Llangollen would improve this week.
Thursday was my first opportunity to go fishing and with the river level dropping off steadily after the spate I decided to fish the Dee above Horseshoe Falls. When I arrived at Duncans Pool the river condition was ideal for the fly. Fishing through the pool twice with a floating line tipped with an intermediate polyleader and a copper Samurai (1” plastic tube) only produced a couple of plucks from trout.
After a short rest I changed to fishing a 15ft sink-tip line sporting a size 12, copper bodied stoats tail on my 7wt ORVIS CLEARWATER switch-rod.
When I reached the 2nd rock outcrop the line was ripped out of my hand and a salmon took off down river. This put the switch rod through its paces and after a 10 minute fight I guided the 14lb coloured hen fish into the net; helped by Gary who had just turned up to fish. After a quick photo session the salmon was returned to continue the journey to its spawning grounds.
I continued fishing to the tail of Duncans Pool but this didn’t produce any more interest. So I moved up river and fished through the Pipe and Hollybush pools for the next couple of hours. This didn’t produce any further luck on the salmon front, just a few small, greedy brown trout. At 5pm I went into Llangollen for a fish & chip dinner and then drove down river to fish through the golf course beat until nightfall.
While getting ready in the car park I met another club member who had just finished fishing through the Meadows and Abergregan with both the fly and spinner without any luck. He had also not seen any fish moving, which was not a good sign. Therefore, I walked all the way to the Sun Pool at the top of the beat, which he had not fished. I fished through the pool with the rods loaded with floating line and sink-tip line but neither produced any interest.
For the last hour it was time for a change of tactics, so I walked down river to fish the Meadows with a team of wet flies (point: size 12, March Brown Spider; middle dropper: size 14, black hopper; top dropper: size 12, silver sedge). Opposite the gap between the two large Willow trees on the far bank a fish smashed the wets. After a short struggle I guided an angry sea trout safely into the net, which had fallen for the black hopper.
Continuing down through the pool produce one grayling, which fell for the silver sedge. It was now nearly dark so pleased with my day I headed back to the car and went home to recharge my batteries for tomorrow’s fishing trip with my son, George.
There had been heavy overnight showers in the Dee catchment area but according to the river gauge it had not yet produced a spate. Therefore, we agreed to stick with our original plan of fishing the right bank from Duncans Pool up to the Top Pool. The river was still running clear and rising slowly while we worked our way methodically up to the Fridge Pool. George fished both the fly and spinner, with the spinner producing a couple of small trout. I just caught one small trout on a silver Stoats Tail above the Glide Pool.
By the time we had walked up through the wood to the Top Pool the river had risen further and started to colour up, making it difficult to wade. It was just possible to fish down through the pool with the fly (size 10, Curry’s Red Shrimp) by wading down through the margin. As I approached the rock outcrop on the far bank I said to George “where are these fish”; this was followed almost immediately with a real screaming take, which I thought was going to be another salmon. However, when I lifted into the take it was clearly not a salmon but a sea trout of about 3lbs.
We continued fishing through to the tail of the pool and then fished back to the car but didn’t get anything else. George saw a salmon jump in the tail of Dee Farm but it wasn’t interested in his offerings. The river was now running quite coloured, so we decided to call it a day and head off home exhausted.
Overall, I was very pleased to get off the starting block especially since it seems there only a trickle of salmon making their way up river at the moment. I have not heard of any other salmon being caught on the Llangollen beats but a couple of fish have been lost. Further up river on Midlands Flyfishers beat there were reports of a clean grilse being caught.
Heavy weekend showers have kept the river hovering between 0.75 and 0.8 metre (Manley Hall). There is more rain in the forecast for next week therefore I would expect a few salmon to continue to move through; so now is the time to put bank-side hours in and hopefully you will be rewarded.
If anyone else would like to contribute to this review then please send me a quick note to firstname.lastname@example.org with any photos by Sunday of each week and if appropriate I will add it to the weekly review.
Tight line until next week, Andrew (10/9/17)