Elan Valley Lakes

Recently took a visit to the Elan Valley lakes, part of the Royal Dams Complex just outside Rhayader There are four dams on the river Elan; Craig Goch, Pen y Garreg, Garreg Ddu, and Caban Coch. The river Claerwen has the newest, and largest Claerwen dam followed by the unfinished Dol y Mynach dam.

I wanted to fish the Teifi Pools but as my mate was driving, he got the call. We arrived at the Visitor Centre at 9.am. We bought our day tickets and by a unanimous decision breakfast was served. The complex has a fully functioning restaurant, shop and museum and is an ideal set up for walkers, birders and fisherfolk. With an abundance of Red Kites, Ravens and Buzzards, family days here will provide everlasting memories.

Over breakfast we had decided to fish Craig Coch (Red Rock.) the highest and smallest of the complex. We made our way to the carpark at the far end of Craig Coch and set up our rods. After a brief discussion we decided to fish the opposite bank and set off over the bridge and then followed the track round to the bothie. We arrived there at about 11.am and commenced fishing. To cover all angles, I was fishing wets and my mate was fishing dries, this is something we always do and indicates the preference of what our intended quarry is dining on – if at all. The lake holds a good head of natural and stocked brown trout, up to about two pounds, but the average is around the ½ lb to ¾lb


After about two hours with just a couple of rises to the dries and one pull on the wet we held our first board meeting of the day. As we sat on the bank pondering whether to move to another lake a breeze suddenly got up and must have driven loads of natural fly into the lake. At first a fish rose in front of us, then another, then several at the same time. After five minutes the lake was boiling with fish. We were both now fishing dries and with each cast fish rose and we began to take natural browns. At one time we both had two fish on at the same time. After a while the fish settled down and became a bit more selective. I caught on a black Klinkhammer and my mate took his fish on a bibi hopper. I tried the hopper but without the merest sniff of a take. The rise lasted for about two hours the as quickly as it started was no more. My mate had the best fish of the day of about a pound and a half. We have fished this lake on several occasions and had never seen a rise like this, ever.

One thing I would like to say is that the line I had purchased from Target Fly in Redditch (Ice Blue #8 F) had performed excellently. I had been asked by Neil to report on the new line – warts and all. The ‘hi float’ line picked up easily, shot smoothly through the rings and laid perfectly on the water with not a sign of kink or memory. If you are thinking of buying a new line, try one from their selection of four dry lines all designed by Rob Doyle. No fancy packaging and a donation to the Stroke Association with every purchase.

Mark Francis
26th April 2009.

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