Fridge Pool

Introduction

Walking up river from Dee Farm on the right bank, the next pool you come to is the Fridge Pool which is minor pool that I find fishes well for grayling and trout. Occasionally, salmon can be caught there but I have had no luck on this front to-date but I have seen one fish come out of this pool.   Below is a sketch of the topography of the pool showing its key features and where I fish typically catch fish at river height of 0.5m (Corwen gauge).

Typically, I have most success in the head of the pool, fishing the run below the large rock and the deep back eddy on the far bank, especially when the river level is less than 0.55m (Corwen gauge).  If you decide on Czech nymphing then you can take fish from just behind the rock to the shallow tail of this short run where the weed begins. The flow is quite fast and you need heavy flies to get down to the fish which are lying close on the bottom.

Trout and Grayling

The pool can be fished its full length from the riffle at its head to the tail and is a lovely piece of fly water for trout and grayling.  I usually fish it from water levels of 0.7m and lower (Corwen gauge); having most success from 0.45m (summer level) to 0.6m. Over the years I have found the fishing in this pool is very variable but when the grayling are there and the conditions are right it is not uncommon to pull 10 to 20 fish out of this pool.

Generally, during the day the trout and grayling lie in the deeper runs closer to the right bank in the shade of the overhanging trees when the river is running clear.  I have split the pool into three sections and the majority of fish I catch are from the head and tail of this pool; with the odd fish on the edge of the weedy, middle section.

“If you’re not dragging the bottom with you’re flies then you are only going to get the odd fish at best.”

If Czech nymphing doesn’t work or you spot fish taking flies close to the surface, then wet flies cast into the back eddy and allowed to swing round as slow as possible, by several upstream mends, can work well.  Fishing this way usually catches a mix of grayling and brownies.

The middle and tail sections of the pool are best tackled with the dry fly, especially if fish are rising.  I find the double dry technique works well here.  If you don’t see any fish rising then quickly working down through the river with a team of spiders or wet flies can pay dividends, especially in the area where the stream flows in just above the tail on the far bank.  If it is a bright sunny day then these areas are best left alone until the light starts to fail.

1.5lb Grayling from the Fridge Pool – Sept 2015

Fish can be caught using one or more of the three key fishing techniques (Czech nymphing, wet flies and dry fly) depending on the time of the year, river and weather conditions.

Oct to April

Largely my approach depends on water/air temperature.

On cold days Czech nymphs work well, particularly when there is little or no fly activity on the surface.

When flies are observed coming off the water dry fishing can yield good results.

However, I find wet flies, spiders and nymphs fished close to the usually out fish dries.

May to Sept

My approach is governed by the time of day and cloud cover.

Early morning wet flies, spiders & nymphing techniques work well followed by dry flies.

On bright sunny days, by mid-day onwards focus on searching the bottom of well oxygenated, shady runs with Czech nymphs.

In the evening dry flies and wet flies fished close to the surface usually pay dividends.

To help the visitors the following selection of flies should enable you to catch some good fish in this pool and on other parts of the river.  If choosing to start with a spot of Czech nymphing then I use a heavy point caddis fly pattern of size 12 to 10 usually sporting a tungsten bead (3mm+) to get the other two flies to the bottom quickly.  For the middle dropper in clear water I pick a small nymph (size 16 to 18), best colours are drab greys or browns.  For the top dropper I usually start with a spider pattern of a different colour to the middle dropper.  Then depending on what seems to be working I will change the middle or top dropper to the same fly – this tends to increase the catch rate.  Note – even when the flies are very scruffy they still catch fish and I quite often fish with them until they look like a ball of fluff!

Czech Nymphs

Left to Right: size 12, 4mm TB caddis; size 14, olive tungsten jig-back; size 14 PTN
Left to Right: size 14 olive tungsten jib-back (gold); 3mm TB dark red tag; size 14, March Brown nymph

For the team of wet flies I normally start with size 14 most of the time and nearly always have a March Brown spider and Black Hopper with the third fly being a weight pheasant tail nymph on the point or another wet fly of a different colour.  When I work out which is taking the fish then I will replace the closest fly so that it is the same – this again help increase the number of fish caught.  Early season I might increase the point fly to a size 12 to drag the others down a little.  Whereas, in the summer months I will use size 16 or smaller for the top and middle droppers.

My approach with the dry flies is to try and match the colour of the hatch and fish the large fly (size 12 or 10) on the surface and fish the smaller fly (14 to 20) above or in the surface film.  It is a simple approach which seems to work most of the time for me but I’m sure other approaches will work even better.

Wet Flies & Spiders

Left to Right: - size 14 brown nymph; size 14, olive nymph; size 14, light olive
Left to Right: size 14 brown nymph; size 14, claret spider; size 14, March Brown spider

Salmon

I would classify The Fridge pool as a “minor” salmon pool; one where it is possible to catch a running fish that is resting before it tackles the long fast section to the Top Pool.  It is always worth a quick try but I can’t offer any advice on what works because to-date I have had no luck there.  The only fish I have seen caught here was by my friend Gareth who caught one from just below the rock at the head of the pool, on caddis gold head while fishing for grayling.

Gareth with a 7lb salmon caught on a gold head nymph from the Fridge Pool – 2011

Sea Trout

This is not a pool I fish for sea trout so can’t offer any advice.  I have never heard of anyone catching sea trout in the Fridge Pool.

Directions and Parking

From Llangollen take the A5 to Crown then just after the junction with the B5103 by Berwyn Station take the next right and follow the lane for about 1mile. At the end you will see the top car park on your left.

Walk up the lane from the car park to the style that takes you into the field on your right. Follow the fence down the hill to the river and then walk up river when you reach the gate to the wood. Just before the gate there is dry stone wall goes down to the river and opposite is the Fridge Pool.

[Disclaimer – like most outdoor sports, fishing is not without its hazards. Therefore, you MUST do your own RISK ASSESSMENT before starting to fish; especially if you decide to wade and/or fish at night. In addition, you must follow the club rules when fishing this water.]

Welsh Dee Fishing Information Source & Blog for the Welsh Dee

This website is primarily dedicated to fly fishing for grayling, trout & salmon. It provides helpful & interesting information on fishing the Welsh Dee, augmented with photographs and videos.  In addition, I will be writing about the techniques, tactics, and flies that prove successful on the various beats & pools throughout the year.