Fishing in NW Wales

North West Wales is mainly a game-fishing preserve inland, with salmon, sea trout, brown trout and, unusually, char—a relic of the Ice Age. Sea fishing is exceptionally good, too.

Gwynedd, the most scenic corner of North-West Wales, is mainly the preserve of game fishermen, while for coarse fishing,Anglesey is practically the only area. Compensation for the loss of coarse fishing is in the superb countryside, however—in the stern grandeur of solid rock and tumbling, rushing streams gurgling through short lives on a fast journey to Cardigan Bay or the Irish Sea.

Two of the best-known rivers in the area are the Conwy and the Dyfi (Dovey). The former is famous for its spring run of salmon, the latter for a remarkable influx of sea trout. Gwynedd salmon are not generally very big by Wye standards —around the 8lb mark in the average run—and they often seem puny in contrast to the sea trout caught. The brown trout are usually brook-sized, but they are endowed with excellent fighting qualities for the game fisherman who tackles up appropriately.

This is also the part of Wales where char can be fished for. These colourful relics of our Ice Age are found in Llyn Padarn and Llyn Cwellyn. Day tickets for the former are available from D Jones, Shop, Goed, Llanberis, and for the latter from Castell Cidwm Hotel in Betws, Garmon.

The sea fishing in the area—which ranges from estuary-caught flounders to battling tope and shark—is excellent. The area caters for beach and rock fishing, inshore and deep sea boat angling.


Starting in the south, there is good fishing around Aberystwyth. Shore anglers can fish Ynyslas beach just along the coast towards Borth, and along the Constitution Hill and Castle rocks in the town. There is reasonable pier fishing too, and Aberystwyth has a number of charter boats to reach the superb tope, conger, black bream and skate that congregate offshore.

Aberystwyth Angling Association controls game fish waters along both the Rheidol and Ystwyth rivers, and issues day, weekly and season tickets, with fly, worm and spinning tactics allowed. Along the Ystwyth the Llanilar Angling Association has rights from Llan-farian Bridge upstream to Pon-trhydygroes, and weekly tickets are obtainable from Llanilar Post Office.

New Dyfi Fishery Association

The run of sea trout into the Dyfi often includes specimens in double figures as well as salmon to 25lb. The New Dyfi Fishery Association issues day tickets for sections of their upper waters which run for 15 miles on both banks from Afon Llyf-nant to the Abergwybedyn Brook. Sunday fishing is not allowed and all forms of bait fishing are prohibited. The Macclesfield-based Prince Albert Angling Association controls about five miles for members only, but guests of the Brigands Inn, Mallwyd, Machynlleth, are allowed eight rods for a good nearby stretch.

The A493 crosses Dysynni river which has good trout, sea trout and spring salmon fishing. Day tickets are available at Pen-o-Wern Farm, Bryncrug, Tywyn and from Tywyn tackle dealer F Porter for two miles of double bank at Peniarth and for seven miles of the Estimaner Angling Association water from Cedris Bridge to below Garth Bridge.

At Barmouth the Mawddach estuary is good for bass, mullet, eels and most flatfish. The harbour often yields quality mullet and fair rock fishing is available. Some fly fishing is allowed on weekend permits for salmon and sea trout, and above Dolgellau the Ty’n-y-Groes Hotel has three miles of free fishing for guests and day tickets for visitors.

Near Llanbedr, the estuary of the Artro holds good mullet and often a fair run of sizeable bass which, anglers have found, show a liking for red and yellow spoons. The Artro Angling Association has four miles of game fishing upstream to Llyn Cwm Bychan with day tickets available at Freemans Stores in Llanbedr. Nearby is Trawsfynydd Lake where 3lb perch can be caught.

Glaslyn river gives excellent sport, with large sea trout and improving salmon fishing, and is best fished when falling from spate condition. The Glaslyn Angling Association controls long lengths covering most of the bank from Beddgelert to Porthmadog and day tickets are ob-tainable from the Prenteg post office or from Pugh’s in Porthmadog. At Beddgelert on the A498, the Saracens Hotel controls about eight miles with free fishing for residents.

From Porthmadog and round the Lleyn Peninsula through Criccieth, Pwllheli, Llanbedrog and Abersoch, there is good estuary, beach and rock fishing for pollack, pouting, wrasse, cod and most other species. Bass fishing is excellent out of the high holiday season at spots like Porth Neigwl west of Abersoch. This area tends to be shallowish with a two-fathom shelf extending well offshore.

Good boat marks are on the Gimblet off Aberdaron, Bardsey Sound and the Tripods. Tides tend to run fast, but are easily fishable.

Near Criccieth and Llanystumdwy are the Dwyfawr and Dwyfach rivers. Criccieth Angling Association controls most of the rivers and permits for some very good late-season fishing can be obtained from C Morgan, Criccieth. Spinning and bait fishing is usually allowed.

Caernarfon coastline

Caernarfon caters for most boat fishing south of the Menai Strait entrance. This coastline is again a mixture of broad beaches alternating with rock cliffs. Good beach fishing abounds at marks from Dinas Dinlle through Aberdesach to near Nefyn. Long casting ability is needed, and is rewarded with the possibility of double-figure bass, dogfish, most flatties and conger.

Caernarfon is also the headquarters of the Seiont, Gwyrfai and Llynfi Anglers Society which issues permits for salmon and trout fishing. They are obtainable from most post offices in the area, and cover fishing in all three rivers. The waters include four miles of right bank Llynfi from Caerengan Bridge near Tal y Sarn, three miles of the left bank Gwyrfai, and about five miles of the Seiont from Crawiau Bridge to Coed Helen and downstream from Pont Rhythallt.

A mile or so east is the River Ogwen which has reasonable runs of smallish salmon and sewin (small sea trout). The Penrhyn Fishing Club issues season tickets for stretches from Talybont Bridge to Halfway Bridge, and Pont Twr day tickets are issued by the Ogwen Valley Angling Club.

This is the coast of the famous Menai Strait, 12 miles long, about 1/2 mile wide and with a 5 knot tide surge. The eastern end is renowned for bass, the western bar for tope, and the respected, though treacherous, mid-Strait ‘Swellies’ for bass, tope, big conger, pollack and cod.

There are many good shore marks along both sides—Caernarfon golf course, Ysgubor Isaf, Port Dinorwic and Bangor on the south; and the Mermaid Inn, Brynsiencyn, Moely Don and Beaumaris on Anglesey.

Pier fishing

Pier anglers also have a fair choice at Bangor, Menai Bridge and Caernarfon Dock. Heavy tackle is necessary and the best baits are often peeler and soft-backed crab.

Anglesey abounds with beach, rock and shore marks. Local favourites are at Aberffraw Bay, Cymyrau Bay, north of Rhosneigr, North and South Stack, Church Bay, Cemlyn Bay, Dulas and Red Wharf. Good boat marks are at Car-reg Goch, Bell Rock, The Skerries and Ethel Rock, Victoria Bank, Point Lynas, and Puffin Island.

Anglesey also offers fine trout fishing. The Wygyr Fishing Association issue tickets for about two miles back from Cemaes Bay, while on the Cefni free fishing is available from the lake to the Malltraeth road bridge. There is also limited coarse fishing. Rudd can be caught from Llyn Bodafon, roach, rudd and perch at Llyn Twr, and at Llyn Dinam. Llyn Cerig Bach also has good tench fishing.

The River Conwy has sewin to 20 lb, salmon and brown trout. The Dolgarrog Angling Association control five double-bank sections of the tidal river, and tickets are available from Mrs N Corrie in Dolgarrog. The Llanrwst Angling Club waters extend along both banks for 1 1/2 miles upstream of Gower Bridge to Wall Pool with weekly permits, up to September 19, available from The Library Shop, in Llanrwst.

Weekly permits can be obtained from E W Jones in Betws-y-Coed for a stretch from, and along the Llugwy confluence to Waterloo Bridge where the Waterloo Hotel also issues permits. Permits are also issued for the lengthy Gwydr Hotel water along the left bank from the Lledr to Waterloo Bridge, the Llugwy to Wall Pool, both banks downstream of Gowers Bridge, and the famous Belmont Pool left bank.

National Trust waters

Above Betws, the National Trust controls rights along from Conwy Falls upstream, and the Ysbyty Ifan water. Day tickets at £1 are obtainable from the National Trust Office in Dinas, as are permits for fishing the nearby Machno and Glasgwm rivers, which offer good small trout fishing.

The Welsh Water Authority’s Guide to Freshwater Fishing in Wales is indispensable and may be obtained, price £1.25 plus 40p postage, from the WAA, Cambrian Way, Brecon, Powys.