Jenny Jones

Introduction

Jenny Jones is the upper section of Llangollen-Maelor’s town beat, which can be fished from both banks. However, I prefer to fish it from the left bank, which is accessed from the A542 via the Jenny Jones tunnel (see following map). Normally, I fish Jenny Jones early morning to about 10am and in the evening from 6pm onwards; primarily to avoid the many canonists who use this section of the river during the day.

Over the years I have caught plenty of trout, grayling and a few sea trout from this part of the beat; but to-date I haven’t yet caught any salmon here.  I have marked on the following map the two areas I have most success: A) the pool just below Jenny Jones Island and B) the pool opposite tunnel under the railway used to access the river.

Trout and Grayling

I normally fish Jenny Jones throughout the year from water levels of 0.6m and lower (Corwen gauge); generally, having the best success at summer levels of 0.5m or less. My approach to both pools of this beat is strongly dependent on the time of year, which is typical of the approach I use on most of Llangollen-Maelor water. Fish can be caught using any 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.

Everyone has their preferred fly patterns, the following are a selection of my work-horse flies which work more often than not (arranged left to right: point, middle dropper, top dropper).

A section of Czech nymphs that work well when the river is coloured are shown below:

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

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

A – Jenny Jones Island

After accessing the river via the tunnel under the railway turn right and walk upstream though the wooded area until you reach the bottom part of Jenny Jones Island where two sections of the river join. More often than not, I start fishing in the fast riffle opposite the island with a team of wet flies; progressively, searching all the slacker pockets of water while working my way slowly down stream. It is best to take your time in this fast section because it usually holds several fish; particularly, in the crease where the flow from both sides of the island join. As you work your way downstream there are a couple of large submerged obstacles in the drop-off zone, where you often find some bigger grayling. Make a note if you don’t get any good fish here because after you have fished through the pool with the wets it definitely worth revisiting this area and working through it with a team of Czech nymphs.

Looking up into the head of the pool

In the main part of the pool the fish tend to be in the slacker water close to the far bank by the bushes; more often this is where the trout are.  Most fish tend to be taken close to the far bank until you approach the tail where it is worth making sure you search the full width of the river.  In the evening, you can often catch some good grayling even in the shallow water of the tail.

On warm evenings, the tail is a good place to target with the dry fly because this is where you find fish actively taking flies from the surface.

Looking up into the tail of the pool
2lb Grayling caught in the tail on a Black Hopper (size 14)

B – Pool by the Tunnel

The pool by the entrance from the tunnel is an interesting piece of fly water, which can produce some good grayling and brown trout when fished at levels of 0.55m (Corwen gauge) or lower. I have found it is best to start fishing this pool from the riffle, just upstream of the tunnel. As with most of the River Dee, this pool is a very difficult wade so you need to be very careful because the bottom is slippy and very uneven.

Looking down the into the pool

Over the years, I have had most success in the morning using either wet flies or Czech nymphs. Generally, I will start by working through the pool with a team of wet flies or spiders fished across and down; mending the line regularly to slow the movement of the flies because the main flow is close to this bank. In the head of the pool, grayling are often found in the zone from mid-stream to the right bank, where the flow is slower. As you move down through the pool it becomes much deeper and from there to the tail is where I normally catch the bigger trout; once you have managed to get through all the parr. The tail is also a good place to find the larger grayling.

When the wet flies fail to produce fish, I normally return to the riffle at the head of the pool and slowly work my way down river again, searching the bottom, with a team of Czech nymphs. This often works when there is little surface fly activity because the grayling focused searching the on the river bed for food.

Dry fly fishing from the left bank is not easy because of river bank trees, over grown vegetation and that the fish tend to lie on the far side of the main flow.  The latter making it a challenge to drag free presentation.  However, on summer evenings, when fish are rising freely to hatching sedges, perseverance can yield good results.

Salmon

Both pools at Jenny Jones should hold salmon during the year and I understand that over the years many fish have been caught there.  Unfortunately, I never seen or caught any salmon in either of the pools, so I’m not qualified to offer any useful advice on what works here – maybe in the future this will change. In the meantime I will keep trying.

Sea Trout

Jenny Jones is not an area that I fish for sea trout after dark because there are just too many obstacles to contend with.  However, in the evening when the light is starting to fail I have managed to catch fish to 1.5lbs on small wet flies (size 14 to 12) on 3lb line.  The technique that works is to cast them into the shady sections of the river and then retrieve them with a quick figure-of-eight to stimulate a take.  Flies that work well include: March Brown Spider, Black Pennell, brown sedge patterns, Black Cormorant etc.

The flies that I have found successful tend to be the traditional sea trout patterns in sizes 14 to 8, for example: Black Pennell, Teal Blue & Silver, Silver Stoats, Mallard & Claret, Peter Ross, Silver Stoats, and Alexandra.

Left to right: Black Pennell, Teal Blue & Silver, and Mallard & Claret
Left to right; Peter Ross, Silver Stoats Tail, and Alexandra

I hope you find the above information useful and it helps you improve your success.  Even after many years of fishing I’m still learning; therefore if you have any advice or different experiences then it would be helpful if you would share the with me.

Directions and Parking

From Llangollen take the A542 to the International Musical Eisreddfod and park in the pay and display car park. Then walk back down the road towards Llangollen.  At the bend cost the road and walk down the path that takes you through Jenny Jones tunnel, which takes you down to the river.

[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.