Welsh Stillwaters

Though Wales is rich in stillwaters, Welsh lakes and reservoirs are not rich in big fish, especially when compared with many parts of England. In Wales, there are nearly 150 reservoirs, most of them in high mountainous places like Snow-donia and the Brecon Beacons. There are also scores of lakes, big and small. A truism for the Welsh angling visitor would seem to be that the higher you travel for your fishing the smaller your fish can become, commensurate usually with the greater grandeur of scenery.

In the high country of Wales, where the majority of reservoirs are to be found, the main species sought is trout. They are generally small, mostly averaging around half a pound, and with good reason. The water here is acid with a low pH value compared with that found in the lowland waters of England where big trout are now thriving. Efforts to boost the stocks in many Welsh reservoirs are now being made by the WNWDA and others. It is almost certain that this will not mean bigger fish, simply more small ones. On the other hand, it is worth re-emphasising that the angler does have the very real compensation that he will almost invariably be fishing in some of the most beautiful country in the British Isles and, for most, this would seem to be satisfaction enough.

As always, there are exceptions. Some waters do produce bigger trout and these are noted on the s which follow. Still others produce big fish of several kinds, Bala Lake, Wales’ biggest Stillwater, being an example.

Opportunities for coarse fishing in stillwaters in Wales are few when compared, for instance, with the situation in many parts of England. Apart from Bala, the odd lakes containing tench in Pembrokeshire (now part of Dyfed) would seem among the best bets.

Access to stillwaters in Wales is excellent for the visitor, although some remain private. Others, usually remote, are often free and completely uncharted, a fact which means that all that is needed is a friendly request to the owner.


The majority of the still water fishing in this, Wales’ most northerly county is in reservoirs mostly controlled by the WNWDA’s Dee and Clwyd River Division. Invariably, the quarry is trout. There are, however, some opportunities for the coarse fishermen, some of them mentioned below.


Cambrian Fishery This 17 acre lake, stocked with browns and rain-bows, was excavated at the turn of the century. The fishing lodge was designed and built by the then Earl of Denbigh and today is a lakeside restaurant. The water is stocked to maintain a density of 100 fish to the acre. Browns average 1} lb, rainbows 2 lb. The biggest fish caught here was a rainbow of 8 lb 8 ozT DT: ARO (Cambrian Fisheries, Af onwen. Tel: Caerwys 589) =Mar 14-Nov


In this county, too, the main accent is on trout fishing, mostly in reservoirs with fish averaging less than 1 lb. In the southern part of the county, in what used to be Pembrokeshire, there are some opportunities for coarse fishing, odd waters being really excellent for tench.


There are two groups of lakes here offering trout fishing. Most contain native browns and some are stocked with browns and rainbows. Fish average around 12 oz, the biggest reported being a brown of 5 lb 2 oz (from Llyn Glandwgan). The first group of lakes is known as Penrhyncoch Lakes. This includes Llyn Blaenmelindwr, Llyn Craig y Pistyll, Llyn Pendam, Llyn Rhos-goch, and Llyn Syfydrin. The second group, the Ponterwyd Lakes, includes Brays Pool, Llyn Llygad Rheidol, and Llyn yr Oerfa. One of the latter group, Eisteddfa Gurig Pool is no longer fishable because of a dam breach and visitors to the area should ignore this water. We are told there is no chance of this situation being rectified in the foreseeable future. Special mention is made of this because this pool – and, indeed, many of the others – is difficult of access and involves a long walk.


Uantlawddog Lake A privately-operated put-and-take trout fishery stocked with rainbows only from its own hatchery, this water offers fish averaging 1} lb with anything over 3 lb rated excelIentTf DT:(L7)AK(HomeFarm, Llanllawdog)Mar10-Sept30e