Monday, May 28, 2012

Getting Wild In North Wales

This trip had been booked for a few weeks and one I was eager to experience, myself and a couple of mates had planned a weekend fishing some of the lakes in the wilds of North Wales.

Erw Fawr cottage...base for the weekend.
Arriving at our base situated in Garreg...a small village close to the foothills of Mount Snowdon on Friday we unpacked and headed straight out to inspect a couple of nearby lakes as possible venues for Sunday as we had set aside Saturday to travel a little further south to spend a day at Tall-y-llyn.

Talyllyn is a natural 220-acre, shallow, Brown Trout Lake nestling in the southwest corner of the Snowdonia National Park and below the peak of Cader Idris. It has a most spectacular setting and is very well equip to accommodate the many visiting anglers it receives each year with boats and tackle available to hire.

Steve and Martin assessing the conditions on our arrival at Tal-y-llyn
Conditions on this weekend would have been a holidaymakers dream with wall to wall sunshine and temperatures well into the high twenties but for fishing it was not what was wanted at all, we also had to content with some very high winds.

This  'loch' style of fishing is not something I have had a go at before and although getting used to the pace of the boat drifts with the strong winds took some getting used to I soon felt comfortable with the techniques but there was no doubt today was going to be tough and so it proved with me ending the day with a blank and my boat partners catching half a dozen between them (their loch style experience showing through).

'Whitewater' showing as the wind sweeps westward down the valley

View from the Pe-y-bont Hotel where we retreated for lunchtime refreshments!
A rapid retreat to a local pub followed where we deliberating the day and what might be the venue for the following day, Steve had come armed with a portfolio of local waters so we had plenty to choose from. In light of the kind of day we had and the weather forecast for Sunday we thought best not to hire boats and opted to try out a remote lake which is also the source of the Afon Artro.

Turning off the main road we winded our way five miles up to Llyn Cwm Bychan which could not have been more appealing to the eye with its crystal clear blue water and its mountain surrounds.

First sight of Llyn Cwm Bychan

There is no supplementary stocking carried out here and the trout are all totally wild, fishing charge is three pounds which is worth paying just to admire the scenery!

View looking from the eastside car park

We fished from the banks on the north shore and had to contend with similar conditions as experienced on Tal-y-llyn. The day proved to run a similar course with very little fish action due mostly to the extremely bright conditions, Steve and Martin again proved to be one step ahead of me and both caught a couple of these wild beauties but I was left licking my wounds again and had nothing to show for the weekends fishing other than a few lost fish and a good sun tan...but more importantly I had visited what must be some of the most prettiest lakes in one of the wildest parts of the UK and now have the taste for this unique style of fly fishing.

Stephanie Fenrich of Sacramento caught this 20 pound salmon while fishing with John Pile yesterday. Altogether five fish were landed here yesterday and four of them were in John's boat. The action (for some) was off of Tomales Point in 120 feet of water. Further out the water got colder and the krill disappeared. There were a few fish caught off of Point Reyes by boats from other ports but the best numbers of fish were coming from nice and close. There were some decent numbers of Dungeness caught in the bay this weekend, both from the pier and from boats. Fish and Game paid a visit on Saturday with six wardens in boats and trucks and they ended up giving one guy a ride. Apparently they take it personally if you break the law twice in two weeks. It looks like the wind comes back tonight. Perhaps a kite report will follow.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Aside from a slow but steady trickle of Dungeness crab from the pier and a couple of muckets (small but legal salmon) caught on Monday I have nothing to report but wind. We have had plenty of that, though. If the wind drives the upwelling and the upwelling feeds the plankton and powers the whole oceanic food chain, then we should have plenty of seafood this summer.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Rock And Rea

I must confess to being a bit of a rock music fan and couldn't resist the opportunity to see Black Sabbath make a long awaited return to their hometown to play a warm up gig at the Birmingham O2 Academy on Saturday night in preparation for their slot at the Download Festival, a real treat for any Sabbath fan and for me a night of pure rock indulgence.

The planned fishing the following day ended up starting a little later than usual due mainly to my body requiring a little longer to recover from such events than it used to (and a few too many celebratory drinks!) but fish I did!...and when I arrived at the River Rea in Shropshire the river looked quite high and coloured but with about 12" of visibility in the water and fish rising I was soon tackling up and casting towards the rises.

Quite high murky water to greet my arrival

It was soon apparent that the fish in this small river had lost some of the normal inhibitions they display when the water is lower and clearer and it was just a matter of working out the right dry pattern that would get the better results.

The Griffith's Gnat - a deadly pattern when there are small midges buzzing over the surface

Distinct white leading edge to anal fin

With masses of black gnats buzzing over the water the Griffith's Gnat proved very successful and as I slowly made my way upstream picking off rising fish and throwing prospective casts at likely looking spots I couldn't have wished for a more pleasant and relaxing way to spend an afternoon...and such a contrast to the previous nights events...they do say variety is the spice of life!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

There was another 20 pound salmon landed on Sunday, but since then, nothing brought in here. The fish that are being caught are big and are coming deep (100' to 150' down) and north (Salmon Creek). I guess you just put your downrigger out until it runs out of cable. The bait that was in the bay has headed elsewhere. Good water temp by Marshall but no halibut. There's still some keeper Dungeness in the bay. There were a few Dungeness caught on the pier today, as well as an angel shark. The shark got tangled in the harness of a square crab trap. It was released angry but unharmed.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ron Johnson got his name on the big fish board first this year with this 24# salmon. Terry Fogal caught the 20# salmon ( modelled by Nathan Porter ).

Flat water and biting salmon today. Herb Hansen had a limit of 13 pound fish by 8AM. He wouldn't say exactly where, but the word is that the 50 fathom line (300 feet) has a lot of bait around.

Friday, May 11, 2012

There was a limit of Dungeness crab caught off the pier yesterday. No salmon landed here but some of the boats out of Bodega reported some nice fish caught out in about 300 feet of water. There's been a few guys trying for halibut back by Marshall. There's warm water back there and quite a few baitfish around, just no halibut. Yet. Yesterday the ospreys were flying back and forth packing surfperch back to their roosts but the fishermen couldn't get the perch to bite. I guess it helps when you don't have to wait for the fish to get hungry. The super low tides are over for a few weeks so the crabbing should pick up even more. Still no leopard shark reports.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The currents are strong with the low tides this weekend, so the crabbing has been a little slower. The wind last week broke loose lots of seaweed to funk up the crab gear, which complicates things. I didn't see any fish come in, but one clammer reported seeing a 20-pound-sized silver fish jump out of the water across from Tom's Point.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Finally some flat ocean today but no takers from the Landing. It sounds as though a few salmon made it onto some of the Bodega boats. The fish were a bit scattered (not surprising after all the wind) bout could be found from 200 to 270 feet out in spots of bait and krill. Wind tomorrow, maybe fishable on Saturday, Sunday looks promising if the weathermen don't change their minds about it. Some decent crab off the dock in the last two days, not a bunch but enough to make it interesting. There's bait in the back bay, mostly small herring. By small I mean smaller than red label herring, 2"-3". That's smaller than most of us like, but if that's what the fish are eating I can learn to like it. The bait is scattered about but seems to hang around Marshall. Maybe halibut soon?