Fly Fishing in Anglesey by Siôn Morgan Edwards.
March the 3rd and I can finally wet a line on the small rivers of Anglesey, It’s been a long mild winter and this date as always has been eagerly awaited. The late season floods which are usually wished for at the end of the season had arrived early! Heavy rainfall meant the river was high and coloured. Perfect for the spinner or worm I thought! Nowadays my river trouting is strictly by fly on a catch and release basis, so I armed my cast with some heavy tungsten nymphs.
My winter preparations had seen me acquire an updated version of my 3D printed fly reel. Such was the success of the original design from The Eclectic Angler, it prompted him to act on his feedback and create an upgraded design, which he sent to me free of charge. This was the perfect match for my 7ft 3weight rod. I fished the nymphs in a Czech style: allowing tension to build on the leader downstream, before launching the team of nymphs upstream for a drag free natural presentation. Watching my indicator like a starved heron, I worked my way upstream carefully. With high coloured water, I fished the margins anticipating the pull of an early season eager trout.
Above: The 3D printed reel and a fine Anglesey trout.
Fishing was difficult; at times fish were scarce, with a quick flash of a kingfisher keeping me entertained every now and then. But, many fish were caught. As the river dropped, flowing with a nice beer colour some better fish were landed, with the largest being 10”. The warm mid-afternoons brought sporadic hatches of march browns, and a number of trout succumbed to the dry fly. Not the success of seasons gone by, but well worth the effort.
Mid-March saw dryer warmer weather. Time to target lower reaches of Anglesey streams to see what was going on! Upon arrival to one of my favourite stretches, I was greeted by a large mullet cruising in the shallows. It’s fins protruded from the water before the usual swirl followed by a huge V as it shoots off at warp speed when I spooked it. An early but welcome sight, a possible sign that I should dust off the saltwater fly gear a month early!
Here the river meanders slowly, deep pools, sharp corners and slow straights. The fishing here is more akin to fishing a Stillwater than the tumbling free running waters further upstream. Here, wind and a good chop is key. I developed my tactic for these stretches when I moved to the coast a few years back. A 5 weight rod with a 10-15foot leader, fishing a single size 14 black magic spider. Long casts upstream at a 45degree angle. When the fly touches down on the far bank, strip in line as fast as you dare. Again fishing was slow, sport usually peaks here towards June/July.
Nothing stirred, no fish rose. I could see a friend of mine further down towards the beach casting away with about as much like as I. Then, for a whole 60 seconds sport was frantic! 4 missed takes on a cast and landing 2 fish on the next 2, fish were rising and jumping.
A sea trout smolt. Encouragingly plentiful. Photographed quickly before being released.
These are the migrating fish of early season, not the larger residents I was targeting. Silver fish of about 6-7 inches. Sea Trout smolts, taking their chance and heading out to sea where they will grow quickly before migrating back upstream later. It’s fantastic to see these make their way out into the unknown, taking a gamble against the tide, seals, dolphins and the unfortunate blight of commercial fishing. I’m always encouraged by the vast number of these seen at this time of year.
Cefni angling association hosted a fly tying session in the clubhouse on the 17th of March. This was a fantastic chance to swap ideas and tactics with seasoned rods who knew the reservoir well. The last time I was a member of the club was some 20 years ago as a primary school boy. Ger, a successful and accomplished angler on the lake assured me that I should bind fur and feather to create a Silver Invicta, a killer fly! I went a step further and replaced the wing with Elk hair; creating a muddled or caddis style pattern.
Silver Invicta. Top has and Elk Hair wing.
Cefni angling associations’ season opened on the 20th. I give it a few go’s after work without much success. The water was still very cold and I fished in my waders for as long as I could bear it. The regulars and newcomers alike were starting to be successful; with the catch book in the clubhouse showing an overwintered rainbow of nearing 4lbs! This was inspiration for sure when standing in waders with my teeth clacking in the cold. A 4lb rainbow is a great catch from this lake, but I’m more interested in the wild variety. I stuck at it, and as fish began to rise before nightfall my line was pulled tight and a fish leapt out of the water. I could see it wasn’t huge, but it fought hard, staying deep, running and leaping. I netted a healthy brownie of a pound and a quarter. A truly wild fish with a blue sheen on its flanks which had nailed my Silver Invicta concoction.
Llyn Cefni is a beautiful lake with a good population of wild brown trout. The association has dedicated a lot of voluntary hours in years gone past to improving habitat and spawning grounds. This has paid off, this is a cracking wild trout fishery and well worth a day ticket for the visiting angler. I love the clubhouse and the boats are great. Tickets can be bought at ABC tackle in Beaumaris or Peter Rowe in Llangefni.
A beautiful March Llyn Cefni sunset looking towards Bodffordd.
As I write, there is still a light dusting of snow on the peak of Yr Wyddfa and it won’t be long until I can venture up there armed with fishing gear. I’ve just left the beach after my earliest ever successful lobster outing. 6 lobsters caught with one good keeper, another was too close to call so I put it back. I always err on the side of caution in order to protect future stocks.
Looking towards April which is always an exciting time for fishing on Anglesey. The Bass start hitting lures and I visit deep water rock marks targeting Pollack on the fly. I may even get my new boat out if I finish overhauling the trailer!
Siôn Morgan Edwards