Small Stream Wild Fishing

2nd April 2019

I have been fishing the Afon Dulas stream which starts in the Crychan Forest and flows down a narrow twisting route for 5 miles along the Mynydd Epynt valley, to where it joins the River Irfon, just west of Buith-Wells.

I fish a section just outside the village of Cefn Gorwydd which is 2 miles from Tribad in the Mynydd Epynt valley and its source in the forest.

I approached some local land owners 3 years ago to see if I could use their stretch of the river to do some fly life monitoring and some fishing. Fortunately for me they all agreed for the small sum of 4 bottles of Scotch at Christmas which I hand out to the local tenant farmers.

I am entitled to fish both banks for 1 mile, the stream bed is formed from slate, bed-rock, shale, large stones and clay, very slippery with deep gullies and some 6ft deep pools (as I found out twice in a soaking) it is a very challenging stretch of water and the results are not fantastic – small grayling and trout, but the company is, as always, in these hidden valleys, breath taking as Kingfisher, Dippers, Wagtails, Wild duck, Heron, Red Kike and Buzzards are watching your every move from the water edge or the sky.

When I first set foot on this wild stream, one of the fathers of one of the farmers, was saying it had not been fished for at least 45 years and then only by poachers, so when I say it’s wild and overgrown it’s an understatement.

Small Stream fishing in its nature, is challenging.  It’s very easy to spook the fish especially when the sunlight sends your shadow through the undergrowth onto the water which is Gin clear.  I have lost many, many flies in the bushes, overhung branches, so now I carry a folding saw in my kit to trim and retrieve my hooks.

I fish a 5ft 6in 3 to 4 weight rod, dry line, 2lb leader 18in long with size 16 to 22 flies for the narrow sections so as to try and side cast when wading.  For the wider sections where there is a deep pool, I use a 9ft rod with the same set up, with a longer leader 36ins, flies go from early season PT Nymph, small gold head Nymph, Red Caddis, and as the season warms up I find F fly and small winged flies on 22 to 16 probably the best.

Best Trout to date, 12oz to 1LB, and for Grayling 15oz so far.  I have fished this water for about 2/3 years and only now am getting to grips with it, as now I have retired with more time to go to this hidden valley I will explore the rest of this water through the season and report my findings at the end of the year.

For those of you who are interested in the river fly life (Entomology to give its correct name) I monitor a small section of the stream where I fish.  I send all my monthly findings to the River Fly Partnership (riverfly.org) who then collect all the data from approx 300 people like me, who are doing the sampling, throughout the UK, from which they can see how the rivers are performing. They can monitor any reduction in fly life and investigate, as this is possibly from pollution, or field drainage run off, as we only record 8 species, from the 100s there are.  My samples for March were:

Cased caddis          8

Caseless caddis      12

Mayfly                      6

BW Olive                 24

Heptageniidae        14

Olives                       14

Stonefly                     9

Gammarus Shrimp   2

This may not seem a lot but for a 3 minute kick sample this is good for this section of water, certainly the best this year to date.

Tightlines,

Andrew Ayres CFD, WFD, Grayling Society member.

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