Fishing in the Black Mountains

There is an absolute plethora of coarse and game fishing in Wales. Fishing in the Brecon Beacons has to be some of the best in the country with mighty rivers and their tributaries both flowing through its borders including of course the mighty River Usk, the Taff and the Towy, as well as some of the finest reservoirs around; for the game and the coarse angler a like. With premier waters like Llangorse Lake for big pike or the 240 acre Usk ressie for big wild brownies to the tiny secret streams tickling down through the peaks it can truly be regarded as one of the top areas of the country for fishing.

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I’ve had one of these beautiful wild reservoirs set firmly in my sights for a few months now. Its the beautiful Grwyne Fawr Reservoir set in the harsh landscapes of the Black Mountains. Click below for a brief history of the dam itself and some beautiful vintage photos for sale from Andrew Dally.

Gwryne Fawr Dam History

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The reservoir itself is extremely secluded, with more than an hours walk from the nearest road, the visiting fly fisherman will have little more than his thoughts and the odd fish for company (or in my case a pregnant girlfriend). As you would expect this is a wild brown trout water untouched, certainly not supplemented with immigrant rainbow trout. Unlike a few high altitude reservoirs I’ve frequented this water looks as though it really lends itself to supporting a healthy population of fish, with vegetation lined banks full of trout goodies. Surprisingly for a high lake wind exposed lake there was plenty of fly life around with clouds of little black midges coming off the water.

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I didn’t really fancy my chances on the typical lures and boobies that I chuck around so I decided to stick to the subtle side of the fly box. I had a few casts about with the pheasant tail nymph job above but I didn’t really feel confident in the fly selection because of the clarity of the water I really wanted to go for something subtle that would imitate a terrestrial blown into the water. I selected a green spider kindly tied and sent in to me by Stephen Blood. Infinitely better presented and successful fly fisherman’s blog here.

Stephen Bloods Spider

As the first fly touched down on the surface I reached into my pocket to have a little toot on my e cigarette and I felt a not so gentle tug on my arm. Lifting into the fish, I felt the always reassuring pull back. I was employing my trusty ol’ Airflo 10 foot #7/#8 weight rod this dulled the fishes ferocious fight; a #4 weight would have been a far finer battle. After a gallant fight against such stout tackle, the fish succumbed. My far more attractive than usual ghillie (sorry Jamjam) slipped the net purposefully under, perhaps, the prettiest trout I have ever seen. My first wild brown trout caught on the fly. A fish I had pursued for months was finally enveloped within the folds of my net.

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As the day turned to night us weary travellers made way to the nights humble accommodation, Gwryne Fawr Bothy, maintained by the Mountain bothy Association. Whilst certainly not the most luxurious accommodation I have ever stayed in certainly the most welcome after hiking up into the mountains. Best of all trout was on the menu.

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2 Responses to Fishing in the Black Mountains

  1. metiefly says:

    Congratulations on your first fly caught trout – may it be the first of many! Also ten out of ten to your girlfriend for accompanying you on your adventures. Kind regards – metiefly

    • It was my first fly caught brown trout, I’ve had a few rainbows on the fly but these were all stocked fish. Thanks for your comment though, it was a real treat catching that little beauty. Yeah the old ball and chain usually comes along on my fishing trips, she’s really good like that, I still cant tell whether she genuinely enjoys these trips or not. Haha

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