Sunday March 3rd 2019
We took a trip over to North Wales again this week, this time to visit Tree Tops Fishery near Llanfynedd. The conditions weren't looking good when we arrived - the lakes were all flat calm and it was raining. For some reason, these things typically put the fish off the feed and there was no sign of anything moving in any of the eight lakes.
As usual, we had the whole place to ourselves. We tried pretty much every method we could think of, worked through an array of fly patterns and colours, tried different depths and various retrieve speeds. However, whatever we tried, the fish just weren't interested. In four hours, we didn't get a single bite or see a single trout. Cold, wet and frustrated, we headed home to the warm to tie some flies instead...
Saturday March 16th 2019
Storm Gareth prevented us from fishing last weekend, but the weather this weekend was only slightly better, with 40-50 mph gusts forecast. At the last minute, we found out that it was the Troutmasters Fish Off at Ellerdine Lakes so hurriedly pack the car so George could compete. He's actually already through to the final, so was really only entering for the practice and he was therefore exempt from winning.
The bad weather must have kept people away as the turnout was fairly low for a Saturday. George was taking it fairly easily, catching two early on and then allowing me a half hour blast on Meadow Lake, before heading in for a cup of tea and a chat. I, therefore, spent most of the time supervising and not a lot of time fishing! Meanwhile, George was catching a reasonable number of fish, while being buffetted by gale force winds.
Today's winning method was to use a 12' sink tip line with a tan apache on the point, let it sink and then twiddle it back just above the bottom with a slow retrieve. Before long he'd caught half a dozen fish using the method. Keen to try and get the other junior competitor catching, George suggested giving him some of his secret flies, some helpful advice and even the loan of his rod and line to help him get in on the action.
He finished the day with nine fish, which wasn't too shabby given the atrocious weather. He managed to catch more than everyone else, including the senior competitors, though they thrashed him in the weight stakes with several good five-pound plus sparctic trout making an appearance, as well as a big rainbow.
Sunday 24th March 2019
With the weather finally looking a bit more like spring, we headed over to Carrog in North Wales to fish our favourite stretch of the River Dee. The river had burst its banks a couple of weeks before and there was debris all over the adjacent field.
The river had clearly been pushing through very hard, as it had taken great chunks of the bank with it, including one of our favourite perches. The river was still over 80cm on the Corwen gauge when we arrived, so was running pretty quick, forcing us to wade in the margins and fish the slower water.
With wading out of the question for George, he was fishing his nymph and squirmy wormy rig under an indicator in the deep slack water at the edge of the river. Methodically, George worked his way up and down the bank covering as much water as he could and striking at any sign of the indicator sinking or stopping. He managed to get a few little tugs, but nothing stuck, so he stopped to "cook" us one of his signature dishes on the Jetboil - the Bombay Bad Boy Pot Noodle.
After trying the faster water and sensibly chickening out due to the strength of the current, I too moved towards the bank and fished the slower water instead. I was using a three fly rig on the Loop Opti K2 Euro nymphing rod with an inline French nymphing indicator.
The bottom fly was a very heavy leaded bug, which was needed today to prevent the flies drifting straight along the top. The fish weren't really keen, but I did hook a couple, including a cracking out of season grayling which looked over a pound. Sadly, my netsman had been distracted by some tiny baby lambs that had come over to see a human and by the time he'd made it over with the net, the fish had wriggled free...