First Trip after Lockdown to Wal Goch Trout FisheryWayne Jones
First Trip after Lockdown to Wal Goch Trout Fishery
After a long lock down, it was great to finally get out fishing again. I received a call from good friend Mike Williams and asked if I fancied a short evening session at Wal Goch Trout Fishery. The fishery is only a short distance from my office so what better than after a long day, a few hours fishing.
I have not fished here for a very long time but I did fish here a lot in the 90s so I was really looking forward it. Finishing work later than planned it was nice to be finally in the car heading to the fishery on a beautiful sunny evening. As I was nearing the fishery, I manged to take a wrong turn and ended up on the wrong side of the valley. After a slight embarrassing phone call to Mike, the Fishery owner Phil appeared on his Quad and guided me in. I always find it exciting visiting a fishery I have not been to for a long time. As I drove in the memories of fishing here with my mum as a youngster came flooding back. This was the first lake I ever caught a double figure fish from and I remember it like yesterday.
The lake is set in rolling countryside and is very picturesque to look at with an island in the middle. The depth it typically around 6 feet. The lake was just how I remembered and was very well maintained. Fishing numbers have been restricted to ensure social distancing is followed and everybody was doing their bit. After talking with Mike, he recommended a dry fly set up and a washing line set up.
I set a Loop SX 10 Foot 6 weight up with a Hoover line which is great for fishing just sub surface. I picked a two-tone fab for the point, a size 12 Jungle Cock Brown Diawl Bach for the middle dropper and a size 12 Black Skinny Jungle Cock Flashback Diawl Bach for the top dropper. Mike also uses the same rod and he set up with a fab on the point and 2 cormorants. These rods are great for fishing this kind of setup, not only good for casting a long line but a great fish playing action.
As the sun was still high, we headed over to the far side of the lake where there is slightly deeper water. The water was gin clear and you could see the odd fish cruising. I decided to take some pictures before starting and it was just fantastic to be back out on the bank. Mike could not wait and was into a fish first cast on the fab although this was short lived as it fell off. The very next cast he was into another, this time 2 fish at the same time which snapped him. I had not even caught a fish yet but was already enjoying myself and having a laugh. I enjoy the banter just as much as fishing (getting lost on the way here now seemed forgotten). After taking a few pictures it was time to start fishing casting a long line and ensuring the leader all turned over, I was finally fishing for the first time in what felt like a very long time. After a few missed takes I was into my first fish on the two tone fab, what a great feeling and one I will never get tired of, from the take to the first head shake this is what I love. After a great fight from a super charged fish I netted a fin perfect rainbow trout around the 2lb mark, the quality of the fish was just perfect. The fishing was good, Mike was catching well mainly on corms. The fish seemed to be taking best about 2 foot under the surface.
I noticed to my left some calm water between the bank and island and lots of fish moving, just their backs and tails breaking the surface. I could not wait to target these fish and decided to wonder over with just my rod net and a small fly box. Once there I was spoilt for choice. I found the best method was to cover the fish and keep the flies completely static. Then each time after what would feel like for ever the line would rip away. Most of the fish where falling for the top dropper Black Skinny Jungle Cock Flashback Diawl Bach or the fab. The fishing was very good in this spot and it was great to be covering fish. Again, the lay off from fishing has allowed these fish to feed freely with no pressure and every one was in perfect condition with big tails. Mike was still catching well on his set up, I decided it was time for the dry fly. I set up a Loop 7X 9 ft 5 wt which is just an amazing rod to fish with and very enjoyable. I picked a single Black Quill Shuttle Cock in size 14 to start which is one of my favourites for fuzzy fish. Well I would love to say I lost count of how many I caught but I just could not catch the fish on dry flies. I tried everything and the only fly that got a response was a size 12 Detached Daddy but the fish only swirled at this. The fish where completely preoccupied with the emerges and just did not want to take the dry. So back on the washing line and straight back into fish. The key was quick accurate casting and to fish static. Mike decided to try these tricky fish on dries and was determined to catch them. He found the same as me, only the odd swirl but no fish taking. It’s a long time since I have failed on the dries with fish like this but it was good for getting the brain thinking on how I could catch them on dries next time.
It was now approaching 9 pm and time to head home for some food. The walk back to the car got me thinking about how much I had enjoyed my first evening back and I was feeling very appreciative of my surrounding. Once at the car park Phil the owner popped down for a chat and to see how we had got on. It was great to have chat and good to see the fishery still going strong after all these years. Everything was very well organised and everybody was respecting the social distance rules and acting responsible which is great to see.
It is Worth another mention just how good the fish were, not only supper charged but fin perfect and in great condition I would highly recommend a visit if you are local and when things left it’s well worth a trip. With more lakes now opening remember to stay safe and responsible and let’s enjoy what we have missed. As much as I enjoy traveling further afield for competitions, I am going to make sure I support the local fisheries more going forward as I know a lot of small still waters have had a hard time over the last few years with many closings and I want to make sure the local ones are still around for when my children are older.