Monnow Fishing Trip

Fishing on the River Monnow

My first outing since January due to lockdown was on the 10th of July, as I had received an invitation from Steve Negus to be his guest on the River Monnow from the Garway Fly Fishers Club in Kentchurch, Herefordshire, to fish late afternoon and early evening, which is a first for me, to go fishing at this time of day.

The Monnow starts its 43 mile journey from its source in the Black Mountains below Hay on Wye, down through Herefordshire, England and Monmouthshire to where South of Monmouth it feeds into the Wye.  Some of its tributaries are well known to us like the Dore, Olchon Brook, Escley Brook, Dulas Brook, and Honddu, all hold a good stock of fish.

The Garway Club has a stretch of the Monnow which is 8 miles long, approx. 4 miles west and 4 miles east of the Bridge Inn at Kentchurch.  I fished the Waterloo Beat to the west of the Inn, easy access with a modern foot bridge to reach the field side, and the banks were both easy but some steep sections, although on the whole good and with gates between the fields.

The river on this beat is wide like fishing the Wye, I waded out into the middle and cast any direction.  I fished about 1 mile of this beat, just a stony bed with a few rocks, natural weirs, and some deep holes with nice still water pools.  On the far bank quite a deep gully ran the length of the beat, with plenty of overhanging vegetation where I caught most of my fish.  My take for 3 hours fishing was 4 Trout, the best 1.5lb, the others under a lb. You could see some large Trout swimming by your feet while standing very still, the water was crystal clear.

There are many well-known Welsh fly dressers, Courtney-Williams, Harry Powell, John Henderson, Cannon Eagles, Barry Lloyd to name but a few.  All have dressed flies for certain stretches of the Monnow or its tributaries and we follow along in their footsteps, with our own creations which I expect started at the beginning as one of their originals.

My set up was a 7ft 6ins 3-4 weight rod, 4lb line furled ahich in these Welsh rivers that have a little colour, I feel it cannot be seen.  First, I tried my moth winged sedge, and I lost 2 fish (I put it down to being rusty after a long layoff or atoo keen!) then changed to a yellow/red spider on a 2in dropper and then a conventional sedge pattern which I stayed on to the finish.  Steve was on the same set up, but he started on sedges and switched to a yellow mayfly and was successful with 3 WBT.  When I left he was going back for a late evening fish as he is only a 12 min drive from his home, not like me with a 90 min drive home. Not having been out in the car since March, a 90 mins drive after a 3 hour wading secession, felt like a journey to Scotland.

The wild life was mainly Yellow Wagtails, Wild Duck and the odd kingfisher.

The afternoon and early evening fishing was very good, great to get back to the rivers after so long.  I can fully recommend fishing the Monnow River.  It also has Grayling and Chub in its waters.

Andrew Ayres

CFD, WFD, Grayling Society member.

13th July 2020

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