Tag Archives: Fly Fishing

Big Fish at Cwm Hedd!

I can’t say that fishing has been easy as Cwm Hedd has never been an easy lake, except on those occasional days when the fish hurl themselves onto hooks in droves whatever fly your using. I can say with certainty though that the lake is full of rainbows 2.25-3lbs with a decent number of bigger fish including the browns that have been putting in an appearance over the last few weeks as can be seen below. The range of flies and methods are as eclectic as the anglers at Cwm Hedd, which makes for very lively discussion and good natured debate in the lodge and on the bank, and part of the challenge and satisfaction is finding what works best for you.

After some shocking weather this week the weekend was a belter at Cwm Hedd Lakes – with three brilliant fish coming out in one day, all Troutmasters entries: Callum Russell with a 5lb rainbow, caught on his new Airflo Super Stik fly fishing rod which he had for his 12th birthday on Saturday.

cwm hedd rainbow callum 525x376 Big Fish at Cwm Hedd!

Keith Higgins with a 6lb 10oz brown trout which put up an exceptional fight on just 6lb tippet, caught on a fast intermediate and a damsel pattern, a fly which has proved successful at Cwm Hedd for quite some time.

Cwm hedd brown trout 508x395 Big Fish at Cwm Hedd!

…And finally Kieron Jenkins with this great rainbow trout 1oz shy of 7lbs hooked at full range and taken on a hot head Sunburst blob fished 4 foot under an AirLock Strike Indicator on an Airflo Super Dri Lake Pro floating line. Kieron also took one and released five on Saturday as a warm up for Sunday.

cwm hedd rainbow kieron1 525x295 Big Fish at Cwm Hedd!

Luke Thomas and Mark Southward took one and released three, Mark on a goldhead montana, Luke on a green blob with an apple green head, fishing three feet down around the back of the island.

David Davies took one and released one on a black and white buzzer and a floating line; also on a buzzer and a floating line. Over two visits, consistent angler Ken Pascoe took two and returned five. Aside from the beautiful brown taken by Keith Higgins on Sunday, Keith also took one and released three rainbows earlier in the week, on a damsel and intermediate.

Paul Elsworthy also took one and returned three on a small black nymph and ghost-tip, Mike Mckeown took two on a black and green fritz and an intermediate. Mike Collis, Matthew Russell, Barry Curtis, Graham Davies and Paul Collet all took fish, with Barrie taking a cracking 3lb 6 oz rainbow to the delight of his 6yr old son Cole who was on his first fishing trip with dad. John Belcher’s pink spider and floating line brought him a rainbow, while Terry Bromwell and Sion Lewis each took one, both on damsels and floating lines, Sion releasing another two and Terry another one.

Terry very patiently helped me to practice my casting and I have decided that I must put in far more effort and learn more instead of faffing about and moaning that I am cold, as I am wont to do. It will be thermal knickers for me from now on, as being a fair weather angler just won’t do. I have also turned over a new leaf in respect of doing more things for myself, such as setting up my rod and tying my own fly on for a change instead of pretending I’m helpless and asking someone else to do it – what a wimp! I have made a start by cleaning my line and getting it all back onto my rod – a minor triumph.

Ken Bowring is making a very good recovery and I hope to see him and Roger Martyn at the lodge this week for a cuppa. I hope Bob Mayers is also making good progress, as well as anyone else who is poorly or just feeling that January is getting them down. My best wishes to Gary from Big Well fishery who is recovering from a recent illness. Spring is around the corner, so there will be some good times to come it just doesn’t always seem like it when things get rough.

January – cheer-up ticket offer
On the subject of January blues, if you have fished at Cwm Hedd since October 2014, bring a new angler along and get your ticket on the day for half price (either a 5 hour or day ticket). The angler you bring to experience the delights of Cwm Hedd must not have fished here before and must be paying at least a £15 concession or £17.50 five hour ticket.

Leek and Potato Soup Saga
Sally Ann Iles challenged me to a leek and potato soup competition last weekend, then promptly forgot to bring hers. Sal is adamant that she is going to bring hers next weekend: too late Sal – I won! Gotta be in it to win it!

Bridge update
Hubs Chris and son Tom have decided that the old bridge suffered too much buffeting from its unexpected cruise across the lake last week and have been busy working on the construction of a new bridge. Their design is interesting to say the least – Brunel might have been impressed even though he would have recommended iron. The new bridge is being constructed on land and they have yet to work out how they are going to get it into the water. I will have my camera to hand and will be selling tickets for the event.

Events and competitions
Speaking of events, you can look forward to several events and competitions over the next year in addition to the British Legion Poppy fish and the Boxing Day comp. the line-up of events begins with the Welsh International Coaching Day, on Saturday 21st February. The fundraising event is being organised by Lisa Povey and Renee Carlsson, member of the Wales ladies fly fishing team and is for anglers of all abilities – from complete beginners through to experienced anglers. Book a session with one of Wales- international anglers: the cost will be £15 per hour for adults and £10 per hour for under 18s, with all proceeds going towards team funding.
There will also be fly tying in the lodge and instruction for beginners on how to set up a rod, tie a fly on, and advice on choosing rods and reels (no charge for activities in the lodge). Booking forms are available at the lodge and on the event facebook page www.facebook.com/groups/543578475778926/ , or contact Lisa Povey via e-mail: lisaangelahole@aol.com

Iain Barr Bank Masters – sponsored by Airflo I haven’t had the opportunity to confirm the details yet, but I’m very pleased that one of the heats for the above event is provisionally going to be held at Cwm Hedd on 22nd March 2015. In the meantime, for general information, visit http://www.iainbarrflyfishing.co.uk/.

WSTAA 2nd Bank trial
The 2015 draft calendar is available for the WSTAA bank trials and I am again very pleased that Cwm Hedd is part of this, with the second trial to be held at Cwm Hedd in January 2016 – date to be confirmed. http://www.wstaa.org/index.asp?content_id=1

Gwyn Williams Memorial competition
In memory of my lovely brother, the competition will be held in April or May this year, and I will confirm the date in the next week or two. As it will be a fundraiser I want to keep the entry cost down, so will probably go with the same format as the Boxing Day comp ie release up to ten fish and take one: the four anglers with the heaviest fish winning a day ticket each. If anyone would like to sponsor a further prize/prizes then please let me know, but the aim is for this to be an informal comp with the emphasis on having a good day with friends. Entry will be £20 plus sponsorship and I think the sponsorship will be donated to Help For Heroes as this is a charity that Gwyn supported and thought very highly of. I’ll sort the entry forms, details and date in the next week or two.

www.cwmhedd.co.uk | email: info@cwmhedd.co.uk | www.facebook.com/cwmheddlakes

Tel: 01633 896854 (lodge during opening hours); 07813 143 034 (any time/day before 6pm)

Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report Jan 2015

Happy New Year everyone!

Remember to visit our facebook page to see the latest photographs! www.facebook.com/cwmheddlakes

Opening hours: Monday and Tuesday: closed; Wednesday – Sunday 8am-4pm; last admission 2pm. Gates closed at 4.15.

cwm hedd big brown trout 525x350 Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report Jan 2015

Brown trout – biggest fish for January (and probably for some time) goes to Graham Davies who was ecstatic to hook a resident brown trout at around 10lbs in weight. The fish took a green and black fritz and an Airflo intermediate fly line, off the small island and in front of the lodge. Big congratulations to Graham, who of course returned the fabulous brown that had put up a very good fight. Graham also took a rainbow and released another two rainbows so had a great few hours out.

Please remember to use barbless hooks at all times and to return all brownies. They are few and far between, but aside from the 5 browns between 5 and 6lbs stocked recently, there is a smattering of resident browns and rainbows of various sizes. The newly stocked browns have already put in an appearance with Luke Taylor being one of the lucky anglers to hook one last week, as did Phil cotton in the boxing day comp.

With a fair bit of rain and cold weather over the last week we’ve seen the water temperature drop a couple of degrees, seemingly forcing the fish to become somewhat slower, and trying to provoke a take with a fly fished quickly doesn’t seem to be the way forward, as a number of anglers have discovered, leaving with empty nets. The bung or indicator method has produced the best bags over the past week and presenting your fly dead static at a constant depth is possibly the way forward. Using this method Kieron Jenkins brought eight fish to the bank over two days using a sunburst blob fished just 3ft under the bung and Sally Ann Iles took one and released 6, deciding to try something different on New Year’s Day.

cwm hedd kieron 525x350 Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report Jan 2015

Roy Western on his first visit of the week took one and released 5 on various blobs, a floating and sink-tip line. Lee Ashcroft also took one and released 5 on a black hopper and a ghost-tip. Mike James and Brian Haynes each took one and released 3, Mike on an emerger, a black blob and a humungous switching between a floating and an intermediate line.   Brian’s fish were taken on a diawl bach and small buzzers on a floating line. On his first of two visits this week, Ken Pascoe also took one and released 3 on an emerger and a floating line. Dave Marshall took one on an orange and white dancer, while Phil Harper had success with a buzzer, Tom Pitchford took one and John Viggers took one on a mini-cat.

Stock delivery – tag fish included

Although there is an excellent head of fish in the lake, a further top-up of rainbows and a tag fish are on order from Exmoor Fisheries for delivery this week. I am also planning to stock more brownies some time in the next month so watch this space!

Opening hours: Monday and Tuesday: closed; Wednesday – Sunday 8am-4pm; last admission 2pm. Gates closed at 4.15.

www.cwmhedd.co.uk | email: info@cwmhedd.co.uk

Tel: 01633 896854 (lodge during opening hours); 07813 143 034 (any time/day before 6pm) Happy New Year and tight lines everyone.


Cwm Hedd Lakes New Years Fly Fishing Report


cwm hedd winners 525x350 Cwm Hedd Lakes New Years Fly Fishing Report

Fishing report December 30th 2014

Good morning everyone – I hope it is as lovely where you are as it is in sunny Cwm Hedd this morning, where the lake looks very beautiful in the hard frost that descended last night. My walk this morning blew away a few cobwebs, and the frozen ground brought a welcome change from sloshing about in mud.

Opening hours:

Monday and Tuesday: closed; Wednesday – Sunday 8am-4pm; last admission 2pm. Gates closed at 4.15. There will be many cups of tea/coffee available on New Year’s Day for those who are feeling fragile. Please ensure that all mince pies are also consumed as I don’t want to see any more before next December!

Boxing Day competition results: Sixteen anglers turned out for the Boxing Day comp despite it being a freezing cold and wet day that tested the waterproof qualities of various items of fly fishing clothing. Four anglers won a day ticket each in a very tight competition where 6 and a quarter ounces was all that separated the first from the fourth fish.

Kieron Jenkins took the heaviest fish weighing 3lbs 3 and a half ounces fishing an orange blob under a bung. He used the Airflo 40+ super dri floating line and a 5ft floating trout polyleader to turn over the indicator and weighted blob at distance, killing his last fish and releasing another 9. In second place Gareth Neale’s fish taken on an orange blob weighed in at 3lbs one and a quarter ounces; Kristian Davies, showed us how to use the bung method, coming in third place with a fish weighing a fraction over 3lbs, releasing another 9 also on the blob and bung, with a couple on dries. In fourth place Mike James took a fish weighing 2lbs 13 and a quarter ounces, releasing another five on an emerging buzzer.

Inevitably, being able to take any one of 10 fish rather than the usual first fish tempted some anglers to wait for a bigger fish to come along, resulting in some running out of time and not taking a fish, such as Phil Cotton, who released 9, again on the blob under a bung. Phil was compensated by hooking one of the big brownies though, so every cloud has a silver lining. Luke Thomas took one and released 9 using the same method; Clive Murray took one on a black and green lure and Ken Pascoe took one on an emerging buzzer

The rest of the week was quiet in terms of anglers, but the majority of those who were released from Christmas festivities took and released fish. Bill Williams, Luke Taylor and Keith Higgins each took one and released three; Gareth West took one and released five; Adam Taylor, Mike Mckeown, Barry Powell and Paul Elsworthy each took one and released two; Callum Russell, Christian Jones, Ron Thomas each took one and released one; Luke Thomas and Matthew Russell each took one and released seven; Colin Cox took one and over two visits Roy Western took three fish and released seven.

www.cwmhedd.co.uk | email: info@cwmhedd.co.uk | www.facebook.com/cwmheddlakes

Tel: 01633 896854 (lodge during opening hours); 07813 143 034 (any time/day before 6pm)

Croesheolydd Farm, Bassaleg, Newport, NP10 8RW. 5 mins J 28 M4

Wishing you all a great New Year.


Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report Decemeber

10675653 322653784593820 6141126700221038763 n Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report Decemeber

Opening hours:
Monday and Tuesday: closed
Christmas Eve 8am-2pm
Christmas Day: closed;
Boxing Day (comp), plus Saturday and Sunday 8am-4pm. Gates closed at 4.15

Merry Christmas everyone

Brown trout in the Christmas stocking!

Five beautiful brown trout 5-6lbs each were included with the quality rainbows delivered by Exmoor Fisheries on Friday. All brown trout must be returned so it is essential that anglers use only barbless hooks at all times.

Boxing Day comp: just a few places left for those who want to enter on the day, but it will be first come-first served. The Christmas raffle will also be drawn on Boxing Day at 2pm (£1 per ticket). Prizes include a fishing bag kindly donated by Mike James, a bottle of Vodka donated by Terry Griffiths, a Greys GX500 reel, flies, fly box, priest etc supplied by Garry Evans Tackle

Arrive for the comp any time between 8am and 11am. £20 entry includes bacon sandwich, tea/coffee/cake.   Release up to ten fish and take one out of the ten. The four anglers with the heaviest fish will each win a Cwm Hedd day ticket (one prize per entry).

How’s it fishing this week?

Some horrible weather kept all but the most determined away on a few days, with Thursday and Sunday being particularly unpleasant days. Over the week, on a variety of flies such as a black spider, muddler, damsel, white zonker, cats whisker, diawl bach, black and green, black and silver lure, Ron Shottle, Kevin Probert, Huw John, Justin Williams Gareth Neale, Graham Davies, Paul Elsworthy, Wayne Evans and John Russell all took a fish each.

Over two visits Mike James took two and returned five on a cruncher and a floating line; also over two visits Roger Martyn took two and returned 11 on a black hopper, a damsel and a white zonker; Gareth West took one and returned two on a damsel and a white zonker, Ken Bowring took one and returned eight on a black pennal and a damsel using an intermediate and a sink-tip line; Keith Higgins took one and returned two on a cats whisker and an intermediate. Christian Jones was one of the few who braved the weather on Sunday, taking one and releasing one on a white minky using an intermediate and a floating line.

On a midge tip line and a black nymph, Alan Powell took one and returned four, which he thought were all between 3 and four pounds; Matthew Russell took one and returned eight on a damsel and a blob using an Airflo Forty Plus Fly Line, while son Callum, also on an Airflo 40+ took one and returned one on a damsel and a sunburst blob. Lee Ashcroft and Steve Mogg each took one and returned seven. Luke Thomas took one and returned four. Tony Horrocks took a lovely brace on a cats whisker and an intermediate line.

Biggest fish of the week

Using a floating line, Ken Pascoe took a cracking fish weighing 5lbs 8 and half ounces, releasing another two on a grey hopper and an emerging buzzer.

www.cwmhedd.co.uk       email: info@cwmhedd.co.uk       www.facebook.com/cwmheddlakes

Tel: 01633 896854 (lodge during opening hours); 07813 143 034 (any time/day before 6pm)

Thank you for your support and good humour which are always appreciated. Have a great Christmas and New Year!

Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report – How’s it fishing?

cwmhedd2 Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report   Hows it fishing?

How’s it fishing?

Cwm Hedd continues to fish extremely well indeed, with 55 anglers taking advantage of the good weather conditions this week in between the not so fine days and the Wales v Australia rugby international (but we won’t say any more about the latter other than you should have come fishing instead!)

Stock Management

More Exmoor fisheries stock are being delivered this week, so there will be many many extra fish for the competition as well as for day anglers.

Ten out of ten!

There were very few blanks over the week, with a number of regular anglers as well as those new to Cwm Hedd reaching their limit on catch and release, such as Ken Bowring and Roger Martyn, Kieron Jenkins, Rob Collier, Tom Collier, Jason Williams, Adam Taylor, Andrew Lewis (see videos of Andrew on our Facebook page), Bill Williams and Matthew Russell. Matthew’s son Callum is a very good young angler: on his second visit Callum again took one rainbow, this time returning four on an orange blob.

Hot spots

The far side of the main island, the bay and of course the far bank opposite the lodge have fished very well and are the most popular fishing spots, with the wading area also holding plenty of fish. Anglers have also had success on the tip of the main island and the platforms along the island bank. It seems at the moment that anywhere is worth a shot, so make hay while the sun shines!

Flies and Fly Lines

A variety of flies have been working very well such as damsel, cats whisker, black and green tadpole, black and green fritz, white fritz, orange blob, bloodworm, fluff cat, black and white nomad, nymphs, brown/orange/red /black daddy – all the fun of the fair in fact. Mainly intermediate fly lines have been used this week because of the cooler weather although plenty of success on floating lines in varying weather conditions.

cwmhedd11 Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report   Hows it fishing?

The latest installment in Linda’s fly fishing adventures I happily confess to be a fair weather angler (and very much a novice). Late on Wednesday afternoon when the sun was shining and barely a breath of wind on the lake I decided it would be a good time to practise my casting, so armed with my lovely Airflo Delta Classic rod given to me by Ken Bowring I decided to join Roger Martyn and Terry Griffiths over on the other side of the main island (I’m definitely not at the stage where I can be let loose on my own).

The fly I had on was red with lots of legs “I think an apps bloodworm). We will never know unless someone catches the rainbow that quickly took it and hared off across the water. I shrieked of course, but I did remember to get the rod tip up and let the line out (intermediate). Roger probably being kind, but assures me that I was doing a half tidy job of playing the fish, which was extremely strong and looked to be quite big. It obviously knew that a bungling amateur was in control though, as it turned over and snapped my line, waving bye bye with a sarcastic flip of it’s tail.

Not to be defeated, Roger and Terry sorted out another fly for me, this time a black rubber-legged daddy, and sorted out my leader too, which had snapped at a knot (school girl error). By now plenty of fish were rising for some front row entertainment. I was so excited as there were lots of knocks and taps, so any attempt at style had gone out of the window. I lost one fish, but then another finally took pity on me, taking the fly and allowing me to bring it to the bank (with instruction from Roger and Terry of course). Hurrah! The rainbow looked to be about two and a half pounds, but the photo of it in the net and under the water made it look more the size of a minnow! Anyway, I am very grateful to it, and to Roger and Terry, it made my day!

Boxing Day

I have decided to open on Boxing Day for you to try out all those lovely fly fishing presents you will no doubt be receiving! Details in next week’s newsletter.

New faces

Nice to see Josh Williams back at Cwm Hedd with his six friends from Quakers yard. Josh fished Cwm Hedd as a young angler, returning yesterday to take one and release two on a white montana and a white cat on a floating line. Friends Daniel Andrews, Gavin Gwynne, James Hawley, Chris Thomas, Ashley Richards and Adam Taylor had a great day, taking 5 fish and returning 23 between them.

It was also a pleasure to meet Jason Williams and Ken Roberts who ventured up to Cwm Hedd on one of the quietest days of the week when the weather turned out to be far better than the forecast. I hadn’t heard of a fluff cat before, but it definitely worked for Jason and Ken, each taking two and returning 14 rainbows between them, both on intermediate lines. Regular Ken Pascoe had a good day too taking one and returning 8, as did Roy Western the day before and Lee Ashcroft the day before that!

poppyfish Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report   Hows it fishing?

Poppy fish: British Legion Competition 16th November 2014.

Less than a week to go – a few places left so call at the lodge from Wednesday this week to enter: there may be a couple of places left on the day but I can’t guarantee it.

Aside from the cash prizes the winner will have a glass trophy to keep, plus a fabulous leaping trout sculpture crafted by John Belcher (Earthbound Ceramics) to be returned next year (so one taken one returned!). The life-size ceramic sculpture, which has been very generously donated by John, is of a two and a half pound rainbow caught by him at Cwm Hedd, so is very special indeed. I’ve seen a photograph of work in progress and it is absolutely stunning – keep an eye on our facebook page this week for a photo of the finished work.

Thank you also to those who have generously donated towards the raffle so far, including anglers Mike James, Jim Mckay, Kieron Jenkins and Roger Martyn. All prizes gratefully received!

The lodge will be open to all from 10am, where tea/coffee and cakes will be available for purchase via donation, with profit going to the British Legion. Any contribution to the raffle or cake table will be gratefully received.

Comp entry: £30 in advance (three fish ticket), plus sponsorship: sponsor money to be brought on the day. Free bacon roll, tea/coffee on arrival for competitors. Cash prizes totalling £215.00. Entry forms at the lodge or on www.cwmhedd.co.uk or download at   http://counties.britishlegion.org.uk/counties/wales/events

Fishtec/Celtic League Match 2014 Results

celtic league match winners 525x277 Fishtec/Celtic League Match 2014 Results

Nymphomaniacs – League winners 2014

For the past 8 years, many Welsh anglers have been competing in what’s called the Celtic League match, a competition devised by competition anglers to get us out on the water more often, different times of the year, and fishing with anglers of all abilities. One of the best ways of anglers learning to ropes of competitive angling.

The competition is based on a catch and release basis, with your fourth fish being timed and your total catch verified by your boat partner. In previous years some competitions were being won with over 30 fish a day!

Chew Valley has been a great venue for the past two years with many quality trout being taken all throughout the year on a range of methods, fly lines and flies – A great top of the water venue if you’re looking for some nymph or dry fly fishing.

The last comp of the year was held last Sunday with favorable conditions for most of the day. A misty start saw many anglers head to Villace Bay and Woodford bank, a popular area for both boat and bank anglers and some five boats headed north towards the Dam. By 11am the mist had lifted and a slightly chilly northerly breeze had arrived, the fishing was good for the first two hours until the chill put a dampener on fly hatches, towards the end of the day there was a slight rise in temperature and the fish switched on somewhat, giving anglers a chance to get a last fish or two!

The results were as tight as always and many were keen to know the outcome. In such a competition where your final scores are dependent on each angler of the teams performance, positions can change drastically. A blank will give an angler maximum points, a disaster if the team is just a few points ahead or behind another.

As main sponsors, Airflo, gave an impressive goody bag to each angler who fished the league throughout the year, fishing reels as prizes for the first three teams, a fly rod for individual and a free fly line for each heat winner and runner up.


1st – Nymphomanicas
2nd – Team Cwmbran
3rd – Harvey Angling Margam


1st – Mark Thomas, Harvey Angling Margam

Full results aren’t available as yet, but will be uploaded when posted.


Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report 13/07/14

Untitled 11 Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report 13/07/14

What a difficult week! Anglers have found it nigh on impossible to even tempt the rainbows in the increased water temperature, with Sally-Ann Iles being one of the few to find modest success. Sal took one on a midge tip line and a size 14 mini cat off the main island, with a very slow retrieve and lost another that snapped her line. Dean Griffiths took one on a black buzzer and a floating line, Ken Bowring took two and Mike James took one on a daddy long legs.

I am mildly cheered by reports that conditions are equally difficult in most other fisheries. Those who go fishing just to get away from it all will have a good time. Tea, bonhomie and ice cream available at the lodge. If your day will be ruined if you don’t even get a knock, then stay home and do the garden or all the other DIY jobs you’ve been promising to do on your days off!

TAPP Open day free fly fishing coaching

There has been considerable interest in the open day being organised by Torfaen Angling Participation Project at Cwm Hedd on August 2nd. Free fly fishing coaching for anglers of all ages and abilities will be available on an informal basis. To register your interest please contact Bob Mayers on bmayers@grouse.plus.com so that he can ensure that a sufficient number of coaches are available.

Poppy fish: British Legion Competition 16th November 2014. We can all look forward to good fishing weather for the November competition: £30 entry fee plus sponsorship.   Over a third of the places have already been taken, so early entry is advised. Cash prizes totalling £215.00. Entry forms available at Cwm Hedd lodge or download at   http://counties.britishlegion.org.uk/counties/wales/events

www.cwmhedd.co.uk | https://www.facebook.com/cwmheddlakes

Open Wed/Thurs 7am-5pm last admission 3pm; Fri/Sat/Sun 7 am -9.45 pm: last admission 6pm (ring if you definitely want to come but can’t make it by 6). Tel 07813 143 034 anytime, or lodge: 01633 896854 during fly fishing opening hours.

Rene Harrop – Drake Dry Fly Fishing

IMG 1828 525x350 Rene Harrop   Drake Dry Fly Fishing

Those practitioners who follow the traditional description of fly fishing understand that insects lie at the core of their sport.

While mayflies are not necessarily the most dominant attractors of trout in terms of numbers, they are easily the most recognizable. With their tall wings and almost magical tendency to appear suddenly on the water, these tall winged insects have come to symbolize what hatches are largely about both on the Henry’s Fork and worldwide.

Although mayflies occur in a variety of sizes, the average would probably not exceed size 16, and many are considerably smaller. There are times, however, when those on the upper end of the scale cause us to temporarily forget 6X leaders and tippets and squinting to follow a tiny imitation as it drifts on the surface at distances of 30 feet and beyond.

Drake is a term of European origin generally applied to a mayfly larger than size 14, and they are considered royalty by fly fishers wherever they exist.

On the Henry’s Fork, the early summer emergence of Green Drakes is an event targeted by many who will only visit the river at this time of year. Known primarily for something less than hospitable treatment of intruders, Henry’s Fork trout display uncharacteristic charity when Green Drakes begin to dominate their menu beginning in mid-June and usually lasting through early July.

At a solid size 10, Green Drakes can have the ability to sometimes erase the futility of an imperfect cast, minor drag, or an imitation that might otherwise be subject to ridicule.

The perfect habitat for Green Drakes is clean gravel, which often features rippled water that can help to mask a flawed presentation. It can be a different story on slow, shallow currents where insect numbers may be lower but trout resistance can be more typical of what anglers have come to expect on the Henry’s Fork. With this in mind, it is a good policy to carry an assortment of emerger, dun, and spinner patterns at Green Drake time. A dark nymph in the appropriate size is also effective for those who don’t mind fishing a subsurface imitation.

As the name implies, Green Drakes are a deep, almost jade green with bright yellow bands along the abdomen and legs. Wings on the spinner are transparent with distinct, dark veins while the dun and emerger wings are a dark smokey gray.

Be on the water early for a chance at a spinner fall, and expect emergence from late morning until mid-afternoon. Cool, overcast weather can delay the hatch into late afternoon or early evening.

Less known but even slightly larger than their green cousins, are Brown Drakes. With an emergence period that often begins slightly later but occasionally extending deeper into July, Brown Drakes exhibit distinct differences with respect to their appearance and behavior.

Unlike the compact, rather burly profile of Green Drakes, Brown Drakes show a more slender abdomen, and the mottled wings appear more upright. The best imitations emphasize the tannish yellow underbody of the natural, although the duns and spinners look darker when viewed from above.

Brown Drake Hackled Spinner 525x304 Rene Harrop   Drake Dry Fly Fishing

Normal time for Brown Drake emergence is at dusk and can extend into darkness on a warm evening. Cooler weather can push the hatch time to mid-morning and sometimes early afternoon.

A Brown Drake spinner fall will often overlap with emergence, which dictates close observation to determine which stage is being targeted by individual trout. Emergers and nymphs can also be the target, and the situation can be quite complex when all stages become simultaneously available.

Brown Drakes thrive in slower currents flowing over a silted or fine gravel bottom. Their distribution on the Henry’s Fork is limited mainly to the upper reaches with Harriman East generally considered the lower boundary. The strongest hatches seem to appear in areas of heavy aquatic vegetation, which makes the stretch from Bonefish Flat through Millionaire’s especially productive.

Gray Drakes are slightly smaller than the green or brown varieties but at size 12 are still capable of attracting the largest trout to the surface. Like Green Drakes, they are distributed through the first 50 miles of the Henry’s Fork, which includes the area near St. Anthony.

Gray Drakes find comfort in slower currents where they emerge at the edge of the river. Because emergence can be sporadic and spread over several hours, Gray Drake duns seldom appear in concentrated numbers, which differs from the other two drakes of the Henry’s Fork. A Gray Drake spinner fall can be a different story, however, with periodic mating flights that can put numbers of naturals on the water that are close to overwhelming.

CDC Green Drake Biot Emerger 525x304 Rene Harrop   Drake Dry Fly Fishing

On the lower Henry’s Fork where the population seems strongest, Gray Drake spinners can blanket the water in numbers that cause an imitation to be lost amid a horde of naturals. Fortunately, a Gray Drake spinner fall is typically a more restrained affair with the number of naturals at a level that can be managed with determination and sound fishing techniques.

Morning and late afternoon are good times to fish a gray body dun along the bank while either wading or floating.

A big Rusty Spinner is a reliable choice during a Gray Drake spinner fall that can arrive at dusk or earlier on a cool day.

Rusty CDC Biot Paraspinner 525x304 Rene Harrop   Drake Dry Fly Fishing

Gray Drakes are primarily a June and early July hatch at lower elevation but I have fished them into early September above 6,000 feet.

Although drakes provide a relatively small window of opportunity to fish big flies on a stout tippet, some of the largest trout of the year are landed during their respective visits. Large mayflies attract large trout wherever they exist worldwide and as kings of the order, drakes are special.



2014 Rivers International Report

Welsh Team with Trophy 525x341 2014 Rivers International ReportVenue: River Ure North Yorkshire – 27th June

With 2 gold medals from the last 2 Rivers Internationals, the Welsh Team was really hoping their winning run would continue there on the wild upland River Ure. In reality though this was never going to be an easy job! The English Team were on a real high after a Bronze World position, and a Silver in the Commonwealth. “Facebook” talk was all about England claiming the one colour missing! Making the task even more difficult was the fact that most of the English Team were local to the River Ure, with one Team member being a past Season ticket holder on the actual Competition beats! Did I have any doubts? Yes I did, I’ll be honest! This would be no walk in the park, this was going to be tough – Super tough.

We knew we would have to prepare like never before for this contest, and preparations began around Christmas Time, with Terry Bromwell (the Captain) calling the lads together for a number of training days on the Rivers Taff & later the Ebbw. The ultimate preparation we felt we needed was a visit to the actual Match venue. And so it was that over the late May Bank Holiday weekend all 6 of us travelled  North, to check out the River Ure. Dean Kibble, and I had both fished the River 12 years previously as our very first Rivers International, so we had some idea of what to expect. The commitment shown by all Team members, including the Reserve (Robert Bending) was magnificent to behold. This was the BIG one, the one we REALLY wanted to win, and even though I could see that the financial costs were soaring, no-one complained – we wanted it that bad!

Actual Match week started for us on Saturday June 21st, when we left Wales in the early hours, arriving around breakfast time ready for a full days practice. What we found when we arrived was that the River had shrunk ! it was now a fraction of the size it had been back in late May. Being low and clear, the fishing was now much more difficult, but throughout the next few days, we managed to find a few methods that would catch fish fairly consistently. We covered the entire Competition beats (more than once) and we often bumped into old friends from the other 3 Nations during our days on the River.

Eventually, Match day (Fri 27th) arrived. – We had fished, thought, fished some more, drunk a few beers, tied flies, and mulled things over among ourselves. But now this was the real thing, now was the time to finally put all our plans together. I could sense the optimism amongst the guys, they (and I) really believed we could pull this off!

And so it was that at 09:45 the first session started. The sweaty palms disappeared as soon as the first casts were made, and the guys settled into doing what they do best.

I knew I had had a fairly good morning, with a 1st and a 2nd  but how had the others done?

We met back at the 3 Horseshoes pub for lunch, and it became clear that we were right “up there”with the English. Scotland and Ireland had a few poor results and we felt must have been some way behind. We started the afternoon final 2 sessions with renewed energy, knowing that this was there for the taking! The Match ended at 17:45, and arriving back at the car, I was informed that after the morning sessions, Wales were 2 points ahead of England. This was great news indeed, but had we kept it going?

Normally, asking around, you would get a feel for how the Teams were doing before the results were calculated. This was different; this really appeared to be too close to call!

On arrival back at the teams Hotel, I was invited (with the other Managers) into the room where the final results were being computed. The Team (totally fished out) were at the bar biting their nails! The 3 rd session results were announced! Wales had slipped from being 2 points in front, to being 2 points behind! The doubts were back, had we blown it? We were so close! Then the last session results were announced ! After a good last session, we had come back and we had actually tied on points with England. This meant that now, to separate the 2 Teams, the total fish points would have to be added up. This took a little time, adding to the agony but finally we were announced the winners having beaten the “old enemy” by the smallest of margins (8 fish points) or 8 cms in other words!

In fairness the other 3 Nations warmly congratulated the Welsh Team on a fantastic performance, and we celebrated well into the early hours.

I would like to thank the Captain, Terry Bromwell, for the sterling work he did from late last year all the way through to the after dinner speech! Dean Kibble, Simon Barton, Kieron Jenkins and Robert Bending – Thanks Guys you were magnificent!

I would also like to thank the members and Committee of Islwyn & District A.C. for allowing the Welsh Team use of the River Ebbw for practice sessions – This has proved to be invaluable!

Written by Paul Jenkins – Welsh Team Manager.

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report 18/06/14

10402564 246039588921907 1347979740758432661 n 525x393 Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report 18/06/14

Weed cutting at Cwm Hedd

With the weather still against the angler throughout the height of the day, it seems the fish have dropped deeper and a full sinking line is proving most useful. Getting your flies down and below the direct sunlight is key when fishing through the day and the fish are probably holding three or four feet down in the sunlight. The best fishing time has been in the early morning and late evening, so for this week Cwm Hedd will be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6am – 9.45+pm.  You might find me asleep in the lodge, especially by Sunday.

Fishing until dark is still the ideal time to get the best sport, the last hour of the day is proving fruitful as caenis and buzzers start to return to the water, bringing the fish to the surface once the sun drops below the trees. Try a shipman’s buzzer tweaked across the surface to get most takes.

Top anglers this week were regulars Roger Michael and Keith Cox, who each took one; Roger released a further 6 on a black shipman’s buzzer, while Keith released another four on a cat and a black and green tadpole.  It was great to see Vern Thomas, Matthew Passmore and Clive Sedgebeer from the Fly Fishing in Wales group, who took five fish between them, with Vern taking two and releasing another 3. Clive used a buzzer and a floating line; Matthew found success with an orange blob and an Airflo Sixth Sense Di 3, landing two of his three fish haul within just a few casts once he’d dropped deeper. Vern took his first fish on a cat then 2 on an orange blob, again on a sinking line,  as well as taking a detour up a tree to retrieve a fly he was rewarded by finding someone else’s fly too, abandoned by someone less intrepid!

Regular John Belcher continues his run of success, taking 3 again this week on a light brown buzzer, a blue shrimp and a stonefly on a floating line, demonstrating the necessity to persevere and try out various flies and tactics.

A big thanks to those who have helped to pull out weed lately (see picture above) and keep the majority of the lake fishable, although work on the shallow side of the lake (wading area side) is ongoing.   Blue dye (Dyofix) is being added to the water on Wednesday evening to interrupt photosynthesis and suppress the weed without causing any harm at all.  For more information on this see http://www.dyofix.co.uk/dyofix-how-does-it-work.html  By Friday when the lake has acquired a blue tint we can all pretend we’re on holiday in the Med instead of a few miles from Newport.  Plenty of room for sun loungers.

Tag fish

The £200 tag fish prize is still evading anglers – £1 entry.  The rainbow has a distinctive blue dye mark on its underside, so don’t forget to check!

Fishery Information

Cwm Hedd fly fishing lakes

Bassaleg Newport NP10 8RW; 5 minutes from J 28 M4

www.cwmhedd.co.uk  https://www.facebook.com/cwmheddlakes

Open Wed/Thurs 7am-5pm last admission 3pm; Fri/Sat/Sun 6am -9.45 pm:  last admission 6pm. Tel 07813 143 034 anytime, or lodge:  01633 896854 during fly fishing opening hours.