Surprisingly, as we approach the end of autumn many of the trees are just still in leaf, adding beautiful splash of colour to the landscape on sunny days. After wet start, Thursday turned out to be a beautiful sunny day on the Welsh Dee at Llangollen, which was lucky because this was the only day I would be able to go fishing this week. The overnight rain had kept the air temperature (ca. 10°C) above average for this time of year and this should help with fly activity.
The relatively dry weather all week had allowed the river level to drop back to 0.7m (Corwen), making it possible to fish the Top Pool which I had not fished since October. I arrived at the top car park for the upper beat late morning, where it was just possible to park my car in front of the cut logs that were occupying most of the parking space. After setting up a couple of rods so I could switch between Czech nymphing and wets/spiders I headed off on the long walk up river to the Top Pool.
By the time I had got to Dee Farm, the sun had started to break through the clouds and I noticed a few small flies hatching in the fast run at the head of the pool. Tempted by this I stopped and fished through the fast run into Dee Farm with the team of wet flies (point: size 14, Black Hopper; middle dropper: size 14, dark peacock spider; top dropper: size 14, Partridge & ,Orange).
Surprisingly, I only had one take half way down the run, in the slack water between the two submerged boulders, which I failed to connect with. I thought that working through the run again with the Czech nymphs felt like it would yield better results but this distraction would have limited by time at the Top Pool. So I pushed on up river passed Fridge Pool, which also nearly distracted me, through the wood to my target destination.
On walking down from the wood to the Top Pool there was no evidence that anyone had fished it for a while, probably since the end of the salmon season. I walked up to the head of the pool and entered the river by the large rock close to the bank. The water was moving quite fast, so it was only possible to wade out about one rod length but this was sufficient for casting the wet flies and fishing them across and down. Staying in that position I covered a section of water with the wets, which I would to fish with the Czech nymphs later. On the second cast as the flies came round to the dangle and my first fish of the day took off down river, using the current to its advantage. Once I got things under control and made my way to the bank, I guided a good grayling to the net, which had fallen for the black hopper.
After a couple of more cast I had another slightly smaller grayling that had taken the Partridge & Orange spider. Once I had covered as much water as possible without moving with the wet flies I switched to fishing a team of Czech nymphs (point: size 12, PTN with a pink collar and 3.5mm TB; middle dropper: size 16, red nymph with a 1.5mm TB; top dropper: size 16, PTN).
Almost immediately after working through the run the Czech nymphs shot sideways and I was into another nice grayling, which had taken the small red nymph.
A few casts later the line stopped again and I bend into what felt like a bigger fish, which was hugging the river bed. As I lifted the fish off the bottom to net, it turned out to be two grayling, one on the point PTN and the other on the red nymph.
After I had put the Czech nymphs through the first section water that I had previously covered with the wet flies, I repeated this process through each section of water until I the pool became too deep to wade. This took a good hour and produced several more fish, bring my total to 10 grayling and one small brown trout.
Next, I walked down to fish through the tail with the wets but missed the one take I had in the V of the tail. A cold wind had now developed and the sun was getting low on the horizon, so I decided to call it a day and headed back to the car for a hot drink, before the drive home.
Overall, I was very pleased with how the day had turned out; beautiful photogenic scenery and more importantly good fishing with a total of 10 grayling and a small brown trout. All the grayling were in good condition and this is a good sign as we approach the end of autumn and the start of winter.
If anyone else would like to contribute to future weekly reviews on how the Welsh Dee is fishing, please send me a quick note to email@example.com with any photos by Sunday of each week and if appropriate I will add it to the weekly review. In addition, if you are planning to fish the Llangollen-Maelor Angling beats and you would like any help just drop me email and I will assist if I can.
Tight line until next time, Andrew (19/11/17)