Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bank Holiday Bliss

I sure was looking forward to this weekend. The rain had freshened the rivers up, the weather forecast was looking good and it was Mayfly season!

I came armed with a booklet of vouchers from 'The Wye & Usk Foundation' and promised myself a couple of trips to some small stream fishing beats, reports as follows:

Llynfi Dulas - 23rd May (Middle Beat)

A return to this venue a few weeks after my first visit saw the river with slightly more water and colour than before.

I arrived early (7.00am) and planned to fish till early afternoon to try and avoid the bright, sunny conditions forecast for that part of the day.

This river is certainly one of the smallest I've ever fished and stealth is an absolute must to get the best out of it. My approach was to search out all likely gullies coming off some faster water and any other likely depths using a small weighted PT nymph.

The first fish came after about 40 Min's from tight against the bank close to some tree roots, always a possible hideout for a wary trout and a guaranteed place to loose a nymph or two on a sub-surface snag up.

As typical with this sort of stream the most likely looking spots tend to hold quite a few trout and so it was with the next gully I came to, taking 6 other fish without moving a step.

The fly hatches on the day weren't spectacular...with only a modest hatch of Mayfly and only a few fish taking advantage.

This stream really thins out above where the Triffrwd Brook joins but still holds some surprisingly sizable fish.

The session ended about 1.30pm with a total of 14 fish, the largest around 12". I came away feeling reasonably happy with my results compared to my initial visit here, although I'm still convinced that on a day with even more water and colour and with lower light levels this river could produce a 'glory day'.

River Edw - 25th May (Cregrina - Beat R14)
This was the one I was itching to have a go at after my visit on the river last weekend. I'd originally planned to have a go on the lowest beat (Aberedw) but there was all ready someone parked up when I arrived at 2.30pm so I decided to head up to the Cregrina beat and fortunately it was empty.

A glance over the bridge before fishing I noted that the downstream section looked very 'mountain stream like' with fast flowing water, boulders and quickly dropping runs, where the river above the bridge was slow and almost canal like. I posted my vouchers and headed to the beat start.

It was immediately apparent this lower section was going to require some delicate footwork to avoid a slip or two but really once you've acclimatised yourself to the terrain you can soon make headway and there are no hidden potholes to catch you out.

10 metres up and I was soon holding my first of the day, a fish of about 7", again the small Tungsten head PT nymph I'd tied the previous week done the job. Just as before on the Edw every likely looking swim had obliging fish in it and some of the larger pools were crawling with them...this one below in particular...where I either caught or lost at least a dozen fish!

I got up to the bridge and made my way through the upstream section. As I said, this bit is of total contrast to the lower section and to be honest somehow loses the 'magic' of what the Edw is about for me.

I trawled my way forward looking for something that looked 'fishy' but never really found it, other than the odd small fish rising (2 taken on a Klinkhammer). This was not the water I'd come to fish so I headed back down while there was still a little light in the day to take a couple more and leave still full of that 'Edw Magic'.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

River Edw Magic

I wasn't really sure how the rain that fell in the Wye catchment late last week would affect the rivers in that area, but after an inspection of the rivers on Friday evening I decided I wasn't going to be fishing the Irfon or the Wye this weekend.

There was a dirty spate on the Irfon which was colouring up the Wye below the confluence so I grabbed the Wye & Usk Foundation booklet and looked for a possible alternative for my fishing on Saturday.

A small stream was likely to be less affected by the rain so I decided to try a beat on the River Edw which is a tributary to the Wye about 5 mile below Builth Wells. I'd not fished here before so I was eager to check it out.

Setting out at 6.30am I thought I would have a better chance to avoid the heavier rain which had been forecast for later that day, the 8 mile drive from my base in Builth took me through some beautiful scenery along the Wye & Edw valleys and when I arrived at the beat I glanced over the bridge to see what awaited me.

The river had certainly been affected by the rain and was carrying more water than I would imagine it had seen in a long while, there was also quite a bit of colour to it, but there was no doubt it was fishable. I duly put on my gear, posted my vouchers and headed down to the beat start.
It was quite hard to see the bottom in parts so I took it very careful wading, although I later found out this beat is relatively easy wading all the way through. I set up my little 7' for an upstream nymphing approach and headed off.

To be honest possible fish lies are quite easy to read in streams like this and any deep channel running off some fast riffles are always likely to hold fish and the first one I came to yielded a couple of small brownies.

I was accompanied by dippers all the way along the stretch who were busy scouting for food to feed their young. I doubt whether they had to work that hard though, this river is abundant with invertebrate life and every stone I turned over was crawling with nymphs.

The strange thing was I didn't see a single fly come of the water till 12.45pm when it seemed like someone had flipped the switch on and instantly the air was filled with masses of upwing flies with a good number of Large Brook Duns but no Mayflies as of yet. This did nothing to deter the fish from feeding on nymphs and the couple of fish I saw rise didn't warrant a change to the dry fly from me.

Towards the top end of stretch I hooked my largest fish of the day, a nice brownie of 11" not massive but what this river lacks in quality it sure makes up for in quantity. By the time I had reach the magnificent Hergest Falls (the beat end) I'd caught 27 fish and possibly lost more. Most were of the 5"-8" size with a couple of larger ones which fight like hell looking for a bolt hole to try and escape to.

There was no doubt the colour in the water gave these fish the confidence to feed but this stretch 'screamed' fish with lots of really good fishable runs and a rich supply of nymphs for the fish to feed on.

As I drove away I felt as though I'd experienced something 'magical' not just because of the fishing, the beauty of this place can leave you feeling like you have had a spell cast on you, beckoning you to return again...I know I will have to oblige.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dry Fly Headaches

Approaching the river Sunday afternoon for a couple of hours fluff chuckin' I was greeted by a river that had plenty of fish rising, so there was great anticipation to get into the water.
My mind was made the minute I saw the rising fish that today was going to be a dry fly day!!

Settling into the river everything seemed perfect...fish still rising, upstream breeze, warm air temperature, yes this was all lined up for a memorable day.

When I was all set to go a reasonable fish rose about 15 yards in front of me, a couple of false casts later and my olive klinkhamer was on its nose. I tensed, ready for the instant take that normally follows...nothing!

After 4 or 5 attempts I'd put the fish down without him even acknowledging there was anything worth bothering with.

After many fly changes this outcome kept repeating itself with frustrating regularity and no matter what fly I tried (and I was well into double figures) they just weren't interested in anything I had to offer.

At the end I'd managed to take a few on dries but with no consistency...all fish taking different flies. A change to the nymph at the very end saw 2 fish come to hand very quickly.

At the beginning everything was screaming dry flies at me but in hindsight my day would surely have produced more fish on the nymph, I suppose on reflection it was a lesson learned. The flies coming of the water during the afternoon didn't really amount to much... a few Olives and Yellow Mays but no real hatch of upwing flies. There was however billions of midges skimming the surface and this left me with the conclusion that these were the prime reason for the fish activity and they were so preoccupied that nothing else would really do.

My next task is to try and come up with the imitation that will do the job when I encounter this again, Unfortunately I feel this may be a life long quest.

Monday, May 4, 2009

River Wye - 2/5/09

Had a session fishing the 'Groe Park & Irfon' club waters on the Wye around Builth this weekend, the club holds a few miles of water on the river Wye & lower Irfon.
Grayling populations are high in both these rivers but the Wye seems to have the greater density and certainly holds more brownies than the Irfon.

I've only had membership of the club for about 12 months so I'm still finding my feet as to what swims are the best to target. This of course will change throughout the year as the fish migrate in and out of the deeper water but at the moment there are areas that I am definitely favouring ahead of others.

One such place was my destination for Saturday afternoon, as you so often find here the wind was blowing down stream so my initial upstream approach was proving to be hard work, but I was soon rewarded with a nice Grayling around the 11" mark soon followed by a smaller one around 6".

Then came a couple of brownies the biggest measuring a fine 13 1/2". All fish taking a small Tungsten Head Pheasant Tail.

After a couple of hours of hard work the wind picked up quite a bit so I decided to try fishing a faster swim downstream using a team of spiders. It wasn't too long before I hit a pocket of fish resulting in a fast and furious hour or so of takes and fish.
As usual with this method it seems to attract the smaller stamp of fish but a couple of the 'moms & dads' also put in a brief appearance.

End result was 20+ fish.....50/50 Grayling & Trout with some good rod benders in amongst them,
with a few of these......
......a few of these......
......And a lot of these!
A re-visit to the same area for a couple of hours on Bank Holiday Monday saw me come away with just a couple of small fish using similar tactics.
A cold, stiff wind put paid to any noticable hatches and a stretch that just a couple of days earlier looked full of life now looked devoid of any life, funny ol' game innit!!!