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.