Fishing the River Irfon

30th August 2019

The River Irfon is in the Powys district of Wales, it starts its 30 mile twisting journey from the Cambrain Mountains and winds its way down through the Abergwesyn valley through the Irfon Nature Reserve, and on to Llangammarch Wells, passing through many drovers’ fords along its way, till it finally joins the River Wye at Builth Wells.

I have never fished this river before, although I have driven alongside it many times so it’s a first for me.  I got my day ticket from Kathryn at The Cammarch Hotel, telephone no. 01591 620545.  She offers 3 beats all within a mile of each other, a total of 3 miles of fishing for £15.00 a day.

I fished the upper beat which is 1mile of left bank fishing above Llangammarch Wells.  It’s situated amongst stunning scenery of the Irfon valley, and is a mixture of Slate, Bedrock, and long areas of gravel.  The books I have on fishing the Welsh rivers all explain to be very cautious when walking on bed rock, well there is bedrock and there is the Irfon bed rock!! It took me 2 hours to travel ¼ of a mile up this beat, in the wind and rain, and I started half way along it, by entering down one of the drovers fords.  Although the water was a slow current, it was gin clear.  I had my polarised glasses on with my faithful wadding stick but I still had a few hairy moments teetering on the edge of the gully.  These were so deep with the water fighting to get between the rocks into the gullies and looking as black as coal.  I put my wadding stick which is 6ft + into the gullies to feel the bottom of a few, but it never touched the bottom.

At the finish I only fished half of the upper beat, I caught fish, I did not get a soaking, did not lose any flies, it had taken a lot longer than I thought it would and it was also very tiring due to the concentration needed on the bed rock  whilst walking this beat. The side vegetation/undergrowth was such that you are unable to cast from the bank.  The other beats I shall try as they are set amongst pasture/grazing fields and are all on mainly gravel so they say.

I fished a 7ft 6in 4w rod, 3.5lb x 5ft leader 16 size spider on the dropper and small 14 size bed head nymph on the point .I travelled very light a few flies, tippet, net and a wadding staff.

My fish of the day was when I hooked and netted a 2lb, 18/19inch Grayling under one of the foot bridge supports.  It took a while to get it to the nett as it felt bigger than the norm especially when it took off.  I was fully aware I was on a very light tackle set up, but I managed to unhook it, take a quick photo all in the nett, held him in the current for a while to recover then he was away, beautiful marked fish with wonderful red tipped fins.

Next time I will know what to expect, but on the whole a good fishing trip on a new and very challenging river.

The only change to tackle would be to use a Jig hook on the point less chance of it catching on the stones/rocks.

Well worth another visit, or to one of the other beats.

Andrew Ayres, C&GFD, WFD and Grayling Society member.

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