The Rivers Dee and Clwyd and their tributaries form a network of some of the finest fishing waters – both fresh and salt – in Wales. Every angling preference can be catered for
Fishing in Welsh waters from lake, river or sea, does away with the fallacy that you cannot have the best of both worlds. The coast is within easy reach of inland areas where rivers, lakes and reservoirs are teeming with fish. Both inland and coastal regions are noted for their specimen fish.
The course of the Dee
The River Dee rises on the slopes of Aran Mawddwy in Gwynedd and flows through Bala, Llandderfel, Corwen, Llangollen, Overton, Holt and Chester and thence to the sea. Famous for its salmon and trout, the Dee also has grilse entering from June, and downstream from Bangor has mainly coarse fish – bream, roach, dace, perch and pike. Sea trout are found during July and August, but are small, and brown trout are found in Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid) and the River Alyn. Below Llangollen, dace and roach inhabit the waters in large numbers.
In its upper reaches the Dee is joined by mountain rivulets and has many waterfalls and small pools in which fingerling trout are found. Bala Lake holds coarse and game fish and also the gwyniad, found only in this water. Bala and District Angling Association controls this lake (members only), but issues day tickets and week tickets for a stretch of approximately 600 yards near its outlet where trout, salmon and grayling are plentiful, from Rhiwlas Estate to Bala Junction Railway Station where the Dee is joined by the River Tryweryn, fishing is strictly preserved. The Bala and District AA also controls trout fishing (fly only) on Cwn Prysor Lake above Llyn Celyn on the river Tryweryn, and the River Llafar and River Craig-y-Tan.
Between Corwen and Llangollen, some water is controlled by Corwen and District Angling Club, but it is for members only. Glyndfrdwy Preserves controls nearly 2 miles of right bank fishing from Tyn Celyn to Glyndfrdwy Bridge with day tickets for trout, grayling and salmon available from W A Jones at the Berwyn Arms Hotel. The Midland Fly Fishers then have fishing rights beyond the bridge for 4 miles on the right bank as far as Groes Lwyd Gate, and on the left bank starting at Coedial just below Glyndfrdwy Bridge. Their day tickets are obtainable from the Berwyn Arms Hotel, the Royal Hotel in Llangollen, or Groes Lwyd Farm, Rhewl. This water, good for salmon, is strictly keepered.
Good salmon stretch
Llangollen Angling Association has 6 miles of water near Llangollen, all available on day, week and season tickets. These waters are on the left bank from Rhewl Mill to Horseshoe Falls and on the right bank from this point to ‘Pendre’ 1 1/2 miles beyond. Then from the pool opposite the Canal Recording Station to Chain Bridge on the right bank below the Horseshoe Falls to the old weir. Beyond this there is a left bank stretch as far as the field before Abbey Brook, and both banks on the meadows by the Jenny Jones Hotel. Also controlled are both banks by the Woodlands Hotel, including Tip, Dee Mount, Skinyard Pools, and the Lingo Pool. Tickets for these waters may be obtained from W N & H N Elbourn, 12 Chapel St, Llangollen and there is easy access from the A539 or the A5.
Near Chain Bridge, Liverpool and District Angling Association has a small left bank stretch which is good for salmon.
Downstream of Llangollen the water is controlled by hotels which only let tickets to their residents. The Hand Hotel has the right bank and the Ponsonby Hotel the left bank downstream of Llangollen Road Bridge, and the Golden Pheasant Hotel has a salmon beat near Pen-y-lan with day tickets available.
South to Wrexham In the Newbridge-Cefn Mawr area the Maelor Angling Assocation controls fishing on both banks between Pontcysyllte and the Cefn Viaduct Pool with day and week tickets available from The Royal Oak at Newbridge. Access to these waters is via the A483 south of Wrexham.
The Dee then loops south through Chirk and passes through Overton and Erbistock to Bangor. At this point the river is fast flowing between steep, wooded banks with a very stony bed, and salmon, sea trout, trout and coarse fish are found. Chirk Angling Association has a small stretch on the right bank downstream from Pen-y-Bont Pool to Sun Pool. The Boat Inn at Erbistock issues day tickets for 500 yards on the left bank :!/i mile above the inn, and for a stretch of the left bank by the inn.
Downstream of Overton, the Bryn-y-Pys Angling Association has a day ticket stretch from Clay’s Ford to Bangor Bridge on both banks except for the small stretch on the river bank from Turn of Dee to Bangor Bridge.
From Bangor to Holt, the river loops and twists, passing the Wrexham Industrial Estate. The principal coarse fish species here are dace and roach with some perch, bream, gudgeon and chub. Bangor Angling Association controls both banks from Bangor Bridge downstream to Craig Lane, with day tickets available for coarse fish as well as for trout and salmon.
At Holt and Farndon, the river widens and flows to Chester where the Dee Anglers’ Association has approximately 6 miles of bank starting at Farndon Bridge. Further details and season tickets are available from H. Wickham, 16 Lache Lane, Chester.
Chester Association of Anglers has water rented by the Dee Anglers’ Association on 12 beats covering approximately 14 miles of the Dee at Farndon, Churton, Shocklach and Sutton Green. A map of the waters can be obtained from the secretary. These stretches are – the Holt water, 1 mile of left banks upstream of Farndon Bridge, the right bank of the landing stages upstream and downstream of Chester Groves and Richmond Park Gardens, the left bank from the meadow’s boundary upstream of the first intake to Bottom’s Lane, both banks from Queensferry Old Road Bridge to the weir (except a stretch from the Old Dee Bridge to the weir), and both banks from Bottom’s Lane downstream to the weir. They have only two day ticket waters, on the lower Dee from the weir to opposite the White House, and below the weir from Sealand Road to Queensferry Bridge.
At Chester there is free fishing from the Suspension Bridge upstream to the Kissing Gates, on the south bank between Greenway Street and River Lane, and from one meadow below Grosvenor Road Bridge to the Railway Bridge. Below the town, the river flows past Shot-ton, and enters the sea at Flint. No rod licences are needed in the tidal waters, and in addition close seasons and size limits are not applicable in these waters.
The Clwyd is purely a game fishery. There are some salmon from March to May, and some sea trout, but the major run is of grilse and small summer salmon in July and August. Migratory fish up to 12 lb run into the estuary in June and are followed in August and September by smaller fish, generally whiting (average 9in) are numerous, but are better in the tributary rivers Elwy and Wheeler. Very little water is available on the River Clwyd. The only clay ticket water, controlled by the St Asaph Angling Association, is between the two bridges at St Asaph, where day and week tickets are available from the Post Office or Bevins Newsagents. In the Trefnant area, the Denbigh and District Angling Club controls 2 ½ miles of bank and waters on the River Ystrad and the
River Elwy, as well as a reservoir at Pentre Saron. At Rhyl there is free fishing for approximately 3 miles from Rhuddlan to the sea. Salmon and sea trout are found but there are no holding pools.
The tributary rivers of the Dee and Clwyd also offer good fishing. The tributaries of the Dee are the Alyn, Sarn, Ceiriog, Alwen and Tryweryn. The River Alyn, good for trout, has some waters controlled by the Llay Hall Angling Association on both banks from Abermoddue to Bradley with some exceptions; and from Hope to Abermoddue, for a mile, the Caergwrle Angling Club issues season tickets for both banks.
The River Ceiriog is good for trout and has sea trout from August onwards. Chirk AA has several waters through the Chirk Castle Estate, the Trevor Estate, and both banks downstream from Ladies Bridge to the boundary fence above Pont-y-Blew Bridge and below Forge Farm to Mouses Bridge. Water is also controlled by the Golden Pheasant Hotel, which has water near Pont-faen Bridge and the West Arms Hotel, which has nearly 2 miles on both banks at Llanarmon.
The Golden Pheasant Hotel has nearly 2 miles of trout and salmon water near Druid on the River Alwen with a limited number of day tickets available. Upstream, the Crown Hotel owns reaches of the river near Llanfihangel.
The tributaries of the Clwyd are the Elwy, the Aled, and the Little Dee. St Asaph Angling Association has several waters on the Elwy near St Asaph Bridge and from Pont-yr-allt Goch Bridge downstream. Maps are available from the Association, and day and week tickets available from the Post Office or from Bevins Newsagents. Other waters are available on the Aled and Little Dee.
Sea angling festivals
The Welsh coast from Colwyn Bay to Flint is noted for producing bass up to double figures during the summer months and the annual Welsh Bass Championships held in Colwyn Bay are regarded as one of Europe’s top sea angling festivals. Shore fishing produces bass, flounder, plaice, dab, dogfish, small rays and gurnard, while boat fishing gives excellent sport with tope and thorn-back ray, with ling and conger in the deep channels. The area is plentiful in bait and is particularly noted for its lugworm, with soft and peeler crab found in abundance among the kelp at low water.