Sunday January 23rd, 2022
We had a few other undocumented trips to Ellerdine Lakes and Llandegla earlier in the month but found the fishing slow going, with only small numbers of average trout. With the river levels back down to a fishable level, we, therefore, decided to head over to Carrog on the Welsh Dee to catch some winter grayling.
We were carrying three rods today: a Loop Evotec #4 with a Sunray Short Head fly line and a couple of spiders; a Guideline LPS Euro Nymphing rod with a range of jigs, and a Loop Evotec Cast #3 with George's French nymphing setup. We got started on the riffle at the top end of St. David's and waded down the river until we found the fish.
After 30 minutes of covering the water, we eventually found the grayling. They appeared to be occupying a seam of water just off the main current that was about waist deep. That meant we could wade into the slacks to just under waist depth, flick our flies upstream, and cast them back down the edge of the current.
The French nymphing outfits were defined the best today with nearly every fish I took falling to a little size 12 hothead jig pattern. After I gave George a couple of the lucky flies he too started catching. The grayling were ignoring all the other flies we used and were obsessed with these bright orange jigs. We had fish after fish.
The water was crystal clear today and the fish were barely biting at all. You really had to watch the indicator tippet closely. As soon as it paused or twitched you'd need to strike. Often you'd either feel the fish, hook it briefly or have a full-on scrap. By lunch we'd hit double figures.
Things got trickier in the afternoon but another wade through the pool did see us pull out a few more nice grayling, including a new personal best for George, and saw me lose a very big fish at the net. It was bigger than the entrance to the net, so was well over 40cm, we think.
We ended the session with about 15 fish between us. A few of them were around the 25cm mark, but most of them were bigger than we usually catch on this stretch, so we had an excellent time and learned a few things to try on subsequent sessions.
Sunday 30th January, 2022
We were back out on the Dee again today for a quick session before Storm Corrie was due to batter Wales. After a chilly start, the sun came out, the wind dropped away to nothing and the weather felt glorious and spring-like.
The fish, unfortunately, were just not on it like last week. We worked our way through several runs fishing both Euro nymphing techniques and spiders, but found the fish hard to come by.
Eventually, I managed a modest-sized grayling from a rocky session of deep water towards the bottom of the beat, but we barely had a noticeable bite all day. Thankfully, George managed to save himself from blanking with a minnow of all things. Maybe things will pick up if the water colours up after the incoming storm?