Sunday 12th July 2020
Wales officially reopened to those of us in England earlier this week, so we took the advantage of crossing the border for the first time since March. We were struggling to decide where to go. I fancied a day on the bank at Brenig or an evening on the Dee, but George wanted to go to Llandegla, so we booked a ticket and headed over.
There were about half a dozen other anglers fishing today but the conditions were challenging for trout. It was flat calm, hot, and sunny for much of the time, which put the trout down and made them very tricky to entice. I managed to fluke out a nice rainbow in the first ten minutes after it took a liking to the tiny damsel pattern I was fishing.
George followed it up an hour later with a nice rainbow taken on a blob fishing beneath a bung, but both of us struggled the rest of the morning. In the final half-hour of the session, I spotted a shoal of large rudd hanging around the side of the flowing water and scaled-down my line to 4lb and borrowed a size 18 "Stedge" pattern from George's box.
While the rudd went for it a couple of times, I failed to hook one, so tried covering the rest of the lake. Much to my surprise, a trout came and confidently smashed the fly off the top shortly after it landed. Like the others of the morning, it put up an incredible fight for its relatively small size.
To prove it wasn't a fluke, I followed it up shortly after with another one using the same technique. If only I'd thought of scaling down earlier, I might have caught consistently throughout the session! That said, we both had a great time and it was lovely to be back.
Sunday 19th July 2020
George and I had an early start this morning for a trip to the River Dee. When we last visited, the week before lockdown commenced, the water was high, it was freezing cold and the fields were full of newborn lambs. Those lambs are now adult-sized and the river was low and the weather warm and sunny.
Fishing our usual patch, we headed downstream today to try the deeper water as the level was quite low upstream. George was using a small dry sedge pattern while I'd got started with a few nymphs. The water was so clear that I quickly changed the ones I'd chosen at the car, switching to smaller, more subtle patterns instead. This seemed to work OK and I hit a pod of fish who were tapping at the flies on almost every cast.
George had a couple of fish rise to his sedge, but they definitely seemed to prefer the nymphs today. Within the first hour or so we'd had half a dozen nice grayling out, plus a baby salmon for George. After things went quiet, we wandered upstream to have lunch and see if we could catch on dries.
The water up there seemed too shallow and we couldn't tempt anything so moved back downstream. We took one more grayling from the middle section of the beat and had a few bites before eventually calling it a day. The weather was beautiful and it was so relaxing to be back on the tranquil banks of the Dee.
Sunday 26th July 2020
We planned to go to Llyn Brenig today but I managed to lose my credit card so didn't have any means of paying, so we headed to the River Dee instead. Rather than fishing our usual St. David's beat, we went a bit further upstream to Chain Pool.
There was a strong wind blowing across the river, which made casting a bit tricky today, especially with nymphs. A heavy point fly was needed to prevent them from just being blown back up to the surface. I started off walking down the beat fishing a team of nymphs on my Guideline LPS rod but was surprised to not get a single bite the whole way through.
After spotting a good-sized brown trout jump in front of me, both George and I decided to switch over to dries for a while. Again, we walked the whole length of the beat without so much as a refusal. It was seriously hard work.
After sitting down for a spot of lunch we decided to give it one more shot and both repeated our movements fishing a combination of spiders and nymphs. We saw a couple of fish splash further down the beat, but they just weren't interested in our flies today... Oh, well. At least it was good to get outdoors.