River Irfon Fishing Trip

Fishing on the Cefnllysgwynne Estate, on the River Irfon

10th August 2020

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.

Although I have fished many beats on the Irfon this one is a first for me.  You obtain day tickets from the Wye & Usk Foundation where they supply all directions, beat maps and pool descriptions, £20.00 per day, book on line or by phone.(01874 712074)

Fishing the Cefnllysgwynen Estate beats, which is nearer to where it joins the Wye offers good trout and excellent grayling fishing with the chance of a spring salmon and later in the season there are many pools ranging from deep, fast flowing, narrow deep gullies, rocks and gravel flats, in total 15 beats consisting of 1 mile of single bank, and 2 miles of double banks.

The Cefnllysgwynne Estate is located between Garth and Brecon. It’s off the Gareth/Brecon open moor road, B4519.  You can drive up to the river and park by the 12th century small church and access is across grass fields to the edge of the river.  This church has a lot of history attached to it. They say that “Llewelyn”, the last independent Prince of Wales was beheaded here in 1282 along the banks of the Irfon, after a skirmish with the English Red Coats. It’s also rumoured he hid and rested in this church before going a short distance to his death.

I was told by the Fishery Administrator when he welcomed me to this site it’s a very tricky water and be prepared to lose a few flies.

Well that was a understatement, I lost 8 flies and 2 length of tippet, but in saying all that it is a fabulous river to fish and the beats where I fished were around 30yds wide.  I waded out to the middle of the river and I started fishing at the Church beat the east end, then went on to the Church Catch beat, and the last was the Hendre beats.  I found a good path from the car, to walk round the field through the gates to access the river.  The gates were all easy to open, and to walk down to the river edge.  Once in the river, the river bed was shale, gravel, small stone, and rocks.  Also in this section that I fished there is a weir, drovers ford and plenty of trees with overhanging branches, in some places, the trees overhang almost like a canopy and give you a sensation they are higher than they actual are, hence the lost flies!  Also a few deep gullies and Salmon pools, some too deep to wade through.  I used a 7ft 6ins ¾ weight with mono line and a furled leader 3ft 3lb tippet.  For flies, I tried size14/16 gold head Nymph, Orange Nymphs, my special bright Spiders, Sedges of all types, and from 9.00 till 1.30 there were no flies coming of the surface but fish were jumping all around me, if I didn’t see them I could hear them.  The water had a steady flow and was slightly tinted brown but still very clear very easy to see fish swimming around in the shallows, and so easy to spook them.

I caught 1 Trout and 1 Grayling both unhooked and returned in the net while still submerged in the river. Both these fish were caught in the shallows on my size 14 bright coloured red/green spider pattern and both under a pound but strong fighters.

Unfortunately heavy rain and thunder and lightning stopped play and I was conscious I had to drive back across a grass field slightly up hill to get out with only 2 wheel drive.

But on reflection a great place to fish, another hidden Welsh Fishery tucked away in a valley, definitely worth another visit, because of the length of this beat and its twisted route you would need many visits to cover its length. Well I would.

On a river this wide I would have normally have used a 10ft rod but I see why the fishery administrator said if I use a 10ft rod I should be prepared to lose a lot of flies as it’s your first time here.  It turned out to be sound advice.

Wildlife many Buzzards and wild Duck.

Andrew Ayres

WFD, CFD Grayling Society member.

10th August 2020

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