When I first started fishing, to me, the River Irfon was just a tributary to the Wye. I never realised that it is one of the prettiest rivers you could hope to fish and full of good size fish including Grayling, Brown Trout and Chub and also sees Salmon during their spawning runs.
During my earlier days I spoke with many anglers in my local club and also when fishing still waters down south Wales I was initially surprised to hear so many anglers stating it was their favorite river to fish. Only when I really began to explore this great river I could see what all the fuss was about.
From its source at 540m on the upper slopes of Bryn Garw in the Cambrian Mountains, the Afon Irfon (Afon – Welsh for river) flows southwards past the foot of the Devil’s Staircase, along the Abergwesyn Valley through the scenic Camddwr Bleiddiad (Wolves’ Gorge) and into the Wolves Pool. It then flows past the forest of Sessile Oaks to join the Afon Gwesyn at Abergwyesn where it passes beneath the Irfon Forest and the Nant Irfon National Nature Reserve towards Llanwrtyd Wells. Then it flows eastward through Llangammarch Wells, and Garth to join the River Wye at Builth Wells. An overall length of approximately 28 miles. The source of the river is also known as the Desert of Wales and the upper reaches of the river is listed as a SSSI.
During prolonged hot weather, the Irfon does suffer and run very low in places. With the summer being as it was, the bottom reaches of the river hasn’t seen a great deal of fish but following a day or two heavy rains I decided to pay a visit to a stretch of the river my club (GPIAC) controls. This section of river is above the Caer Beris Hotel estate.
I arrived at the Anglers car park around 9:30 and tackled up. Having seen a couple of fish rise, I made the decision to start with a dry fly. Given the width of the river in places and the dense vegetation surrounding, I opted for a relatively short set up. My 4wt Streamtec, with a wf4 Super-Dri Elite, roughly 5ft of 6lb G3 to 4 ft 3lb G3 to a single Olive Klinkhammer.
Working my way up to the bend on the river, I took a couple of smaller browns however fully aware there are bigger fish lurking. With the wind biting cold and this section of the river under a lot of shade I made my way around the bend in the river where it was baked in sunshine and out of the winds path.
Without seeing anymore fish on the top, I tied on around 1ft of 3lb G3 to the bend of my hooked where I attached a size 16 PTN and fished the Duo up to the small rapids. I had another 3 fish to the net on both Klink and PTN before reaching the glide above the rapids. With my time running out, I was keen to fish a little further upstream where some overhanging trees coupled with some deep underwater channels was usually a good place to take a fish.
I stood watching as a fish was taking on the surface under trees. Not an easy cast but got it right first time, my Klink shot under the water and after a short battle, a lovely grayling rose to the surface and was quickly released. Several casts later and a couple of lost fish, my Klink shot under again, this time I was into a good fish. Having seen a glimpse it was a Grayling and with its big dorsal fin extended it took some shifting in the current and on light tackle, finally coming to the net was a ‘lady of the stream’ of over 2lb.
Heading back to car I reflected on what was a brilliant mornings fishing. Easy to see why this is such a popular river and one which is top of my list too.
With a day ticket from my local club only £10 and various beats available through W&U Foundation it is also a very easy to access water that I advise you all to come and fish.