In the valleys. 

5th September 2015, Elan Vally, Rhayader, Wales.
For a fisherman there is nothing more beautiful than a sunrise over a potential hunting ground, especially one as astounding as Craig Goch reservoir part of the 70 square mile Elan Vally, known as the Welsh Lake District. A site of international importance with regards to its wildlife the Elan Vally is made up of four reservoirs all joined by the river Claerwen, it’s a trout anglers paradise. The fish don’t tip the scales massively but are always in pristine condition and great fun on light tackle. Once you have found them that is which usually prove to be quite difficult.

My father and I make this trip every year it has become a bit of a ritual, a nice little B&B in the middle of nowhere with good food and cold beer and we are happy, sometimes looking forward to this more than the fishing.

We rise early and start the day right with a hearty full English breakfast. Now with our bellies full we are set for the long day fishing ahead.  Collecting our fishing permits from the local newsagent we are ready to go. 20 minutes later we arrive at the reservoirs and what a sight the sun reflecting off the clear calm water hungry trout making rings and swirls on the surface as they enjoy their breakfast an image that would make any angler excited.

Craig Goch


Waders on and rods in hand we make out way down the bank to the waters edge. There is a slight breeze but it’s warm and fish and be seen clearly through our Polaroids basking in the sunshine. We both opt for a dry fly to start with, I choose a grey duster with a red tag while dad went for a Mayfly. After half an hour casting to all the visible trout our nets are still dry… Not as easy as it looks this trout fishing lark.

Moving along the bank we come across a gravel bar at an easy casting distance with a lot of movement from feeding fish. I decide to change tactics and try a wet fly just below the surface. Perhaps this will do the trick. I try a Zulu


We have had a lot of succes with his fly befor the red tag is very attractive to the hunting trout.

I cast to a pair of shadows just below the surface and …. It’s a bite, first cast with the new technique the fly was in the water less that two second and with a flash of gold along with a tug on my line we are in. A short scrap and a flurry or air acrobatics and she’s on the bank. Not a monster but enough to put a bend in my rod. Released safely to fight another day

A perfect little Brownie

Two minutes later and dad tempts one to the surface with the dry fly. Tail walking somersaulting and diving this little beauty practically leapt onto the bank.

Just look how happy he is!!

One fish each and the swims spooked. Not a fish in sight so it’s time to move on to the next spot.

My favourite spot. A nice deep peg with a gentle flow due to the river inlet to the left. There are no fish visible but in between the boulders there are usually one or two hiding.

I switch to a green Montana nymph with a long leader probably 10ft.

Green Montana

casting between Rocks and channels no action for 20 minutes or so.  I take some time to admire my surroundings.

When your surrounded be views such as this. catching is just a bonus.

I suddenly get yanked back into reality with a huge take while creeping my fly between two large pieces of slate submerged about a rod length out. This wild brownie dives for the bottom then turns and swims right at me. Unable to gain tension quick enough the fish spits the hook and disappeared back into the depths…..”bugger”

A quick recast under the bridge and out of nowhere a take as soon as the fly hits the surface. Unbelievable, 20 minutes of nothing then two come along at once.

snother stunning little brownie. you can see my Montana hooked perfectly in the scissors

A perfect day. Just time to watch the sun go down befor it’s back to the pub to discuss our plan of action for tomorrow.

Here are some pictures from out river session the day after. Sadly I was so occupied with taking photos I didn’t realise my phone battery had gone by the time we had fish to photograph. If I remember correctly we had around 5 fish each including grayling.


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