Trout & Grayling

River Trout

As with Grayling, the lower Dee, is not held in such high regard as the upper stretches. However, it does hold brown trout in reasonable numbers. To supplement the wild fish, BODSAA stock their waters with brown trout that are obtained locally.

Wild fish are not large, typically being between 6 ounces and a pound. Stocked fish are at the higher end of this weight being between three quarters of a pound and a pound and a quarter. In the faster water, the larger fish can prove to be quite a handful.

The odd fish is taken in excess of this weight, sometimes reaching 3 or 4 pounds. As with the large sea trout, these large trout are fortuitously taken by salmon anglers.

Most trout fishing is done on beats 1 & 2. Some wild fish are taken on beat 3 though little has been reported from beat 4. This may be through lack of effort rather than lack of fish.

Early season trout are taken from many lies, but especially some of the more sheltered water. This includes the tail of the Church Pool, Duke's, the tail of Pylons, Joby's, the tail of the mud flats, the tail of Plumly's, the bottom of the Graig Straight, the tail of Butresses, Johnny Morris' and George's.

Teams of dark flies tempt the early fish, with a weighted point fly to get the flies down useful. Nymphs such as Pheasant Tails and a Hare’s Ear are popular with spiders of various colours providing a supporting cast.

As the season progresses, fish move into the traditional summer lies, often in the runs between pools or in the heads and tails of the pools themselves. Indeed, fish can be found almost anywhere.  Much of the water described above provides fish together with the Bridge Pool and the fast water down to Duke's, the Monk's Drain, Pump House, Cadbury's, the broken water half way down Plumley's, either side of the Graig Island, Graig Straight, and Nunnely's. Wild fish are often encountered on beat 3, in the shallower runs above the ferry crossing and around the shingles.

At this time the lighter, more sparsely dressed flies come into their own. Spiders such as the Black Pennell, Greenwells, Pheasant Tail, etc. take fish, with small palmered flies succeeding when the sedges appear in June and July. At this time fish are also taken on dry flies. These include hackled dries such as Black Gnats, Olives, etc. and Emergers such as CDCs, Klinkhammers, etc.

A bonus arrives in early June with the appearance of a fair hatch of Mayfly. These are not seen as a major food source but provide an entertaining interlude with some fish hurling themselves at the large flies.

Hatches of flies are experienced throughout the year, even in the coldest months. As the weather warms, these hatches become prolific.

During the summer months, mixed bags of trout and grayling are common as the fish take up similar lies.

EQUIPMENT

For most fly requirements, a rod of 8' to 9'6 rated #4 to #6 is ideal. The Dee, even in its lower stretches is not a large river and most trout hold in water that can be easily waded.

Floating lines cover most days, but detachable sinking leaders can add to your options.

Flies in the main should be tied on 12’s and 14’s and fished on a floating line. Nymphs and Spiders are effective. A typical team could include a half stone, greenwell's and a black pennell.

Thigh waders are required to allow best access to many of the better stretches for trout. Chest waders offer additional benefits but are not essential.

NOTE : Extreme caution should be taken when wading stretches with which you are unfamiliar. If in doubt, keep out.

NOTE : A fly only rule applies when fishing for trout on BODSAA waters. A limit of 2 fish per visit is also imposed, with catch and release allowed and encouraged. Please return fish carefully, holding them in the current to recover.

Sea Trout

Whilst not recognised as a premier Welsh sea trout water in the mould of the Dovey, Towy, Teifi or  Rheidol, this is not due to the numbers of fish entering the system. Figures reported by the Environment Agency from the fish trap at Chester Weir indicate that number of sea trout entering the river are many times the number of salmon. Catch returns however do not reflect this. It appears that the fishers of the Dee largely ignore this species, maybe preferring the comfort of their beds than banks of the river at night, typically the most productive time. Indications are that where time is spent fishing for sea trout, returns can be rewarding. Indeed several club members have taken sea trout of up to 3 pounds during the past few seasons.

Sea trout run the river from late Winter through the summer. Coarse fishermen have taken fresh run sea-trout as early as January. However, late April is recognised as the start of the sea-trout fishing proper, with the best of the run over by the end of August. May, June and July sees the main run of fish from 2lb to double figures. July and August sees large numbers of 3/4 - 1 lb fish.  Most sea trout will have entered the catchment by the beginning of September, after which they quickly become stale and difficult to tempt. 

The 2000 and 2001 seasons saw fish of over 16 pounds caught, tagged and released at Chester Weir.

With a little application, the sea trout fishing on the Dee should prove very rewarding.

As stated elsewhere, few Dee anglers fish for sea-trout. Those anglers that do venture out at night take fish on large lures (the modern approach to sea-trout fishing) as well as oversize trout flies (the traditional approach). Teal Blue and Silver is the favorite fly. Many of the smaller fish have been taken by trout anglers fishing the late evening with typical trout flies on 12s and 14s.

Fish have been reported from all beats over the years. As for other species, good fly water abounds on beats 1 & 2. Duke's, Joby's, Graig straight and Georges Run all have a gravel bottom with easy access and egress. Being tree lined, Duke's and Joby's provide an opportunity for taking fish early in the evening. Many of the faster runs on the lower beats prove popular, though maybe more difficult to negotiate in the dark. In particular the run above the Ferry Crossing on beat 3 has been known to hold large shoals of sea trout.

Given the nature of the banks and river bottom, pools such as Pylon's, Mud Flats, Plumley's and the Garden Pool should be avoided during darkness. For the visiting angler, all water to be fished at night should be explored during daylight to help prevent the possibility of accidents.

The few fish that are taken during the day tend to fall to anglers fishing for salmon. These tend to be large fish, often into double figures.

The club encourages members to fish for sea-trout as this is seen as an under-utilised resource which provides an early season bonus whilst awaiting the main run of salmon.

Bait fishing for sea-trout is not a tactic currently used by club members. However, as on other rivers, worm fishing during a summer spate should prove successful, as should a well placed Mepps.

EQUIPMENT

For sea trout, equipment should be stouter than for trout. A rod of 9'6 to 11' capable of casting a #6 to #8 line fits the bill. Lines should include a full floating line, sink tips and a sinking line. Flies such as Teal, Blue and Silver, Butcher, Silver Invicta, Zulu, Black Pennell, etc. tied on sizes 10 - 6 and fished in teams or single hook and tandem lures or tubes (up to 4 inches) fished alone account for fish reported.

For spinning and worm fishing, a spinning reel holding 8 - 12 pound nylon is adequate. This should be coupled with a rod of 9' to 11'. Spinners should be in sizes 2 and 3.

A few of the best sea trout waters described above, such as Joby's and the head of George's, can be fished in Wellingtons. However, to ensure dry feet, thigh waders are a better option, especially in higher water, with chest waders allowing the best access.

NOTE : Extreme caution should be taken when wading stretches with which you are unfamiliar, especially at night, as many stretches have a clay bottom and deep drop offs. If in doubt, keep out.

Grayling

As with brown trout, the lower Dee is held in lower regard for grayling than the upper stretches. However, good bags of grayling can be taken on all our waters, but predominantly from beats 1 & 2. Since the big floods of 2000 and 2001, grayling have been wider distributed with better returns from beat 3. These are often at the larger end of the weight range.

Typical grayling taken from the club waters vary in size from 6 ounces to a pound and a half and sometimes bigger. Large shoals of smaller fish are found in the fast, shallow water in summer months with larger fish found in more favorable lies and in the body of pools. During the winter, shoals of mixed size are more common.

Fishing pressure for grayling tends to be light on BODSAA waters, but those who do fish for the lady of the stream are often rewarded handsomely. Bags of fish numbering into double figures are often taken on the fly, with fish being very free rising to the large hatches of fly.

During the winter, grayling are taken from many lies, but especially some of the more sheltered water. This includes the tail of the Church Pool, Duke's, the tail of Pylons, Joby's, the tail of Tolch, the tail of Plumly's, the bottom of the Graig Straight, the tail of Butresses, Johnny Morris' and George's. On beat 3, the runs above the ferry crossing, the tail of the ferry crossing and the water above and below the shingle's usually hold good grayling.

At this time, leaded nymphs come into their own. These are fished upstream (Czech style) or down and across. The Czech style has become more popular since proving to be the winning tactics at the Grayling World Championships when held on the Dee. Popular Winter grayling flies also include the Red Tag and Treakle Parkin. During calmer periods, small imitative patterns will also take fish.

In the coldest weather, the grayling retreat to deeper water. At this time, a trotted worm or maggot proves productive. The above water being excellent for this method. Many fish can be taken from the same shoal once the fish have been located.

Summer tactics are very similar to those for trout with fish rising freely to surface flies and emerging nymphs. Indeed, it is common to take both species from the same lies. Anglers have been known to take one species on one cast and the other species on the next cast and on the very odd occasion, one of each on the same cast when fishing a team of flies.

The traditional summer lies include the runs between pools or in the heads and tails of the pools themselves. Indeed, fish can be found almost anywhere.  Much of the water described above provides fish together with the Bridge Pool and the fast water down to Duke's, the Monks Drain, Pump House, the broken water half way down Plumley's, either side of the Graig Island, Graig Straight, and Nunnely's.

At this time the lighter, more sparsely dressed flies come into their own. Spiders such as the Black Pennell, Greenwells, Pheasant Tail, etc. take fish, with small palmered flies succeeding when the sedges appear in June and July. At this time fish are also taken on dry flies. These include hackled dries such as Black Gnats, Olives, etc. and Emergers such as CDCs, Klinkhammers, etc.

Large bags of grayling (often numbering into double figures) are taken throughout the season.

During the past few seasons, 2 - 4 inch grayling have been taken during the summer months (along with fingerling trout and salmon parr). This is excellent news for the future of fishing on our waters.

EQUIPMENT

For most fly requirements, a rod of 8' to 9'6 rated #4 to #6 is ideal. The Dee, even in its lower stretches is not a large river and most grayling hold in water that can be easily waded.

Floating lines cover most days, but detachable sinking leaders can add to you options.

For worm and maggot fishing, a spinning reel holding 6-8 pound nylon, with a 4 pound bottom is adequate. Couple this with a light rod of 8' to 10' and you will cater for most eventualities.

For those wishing to travel light and cater for both types of fishing, why not simply use a spinning reel on the fly rod?

Thigh waders are required to allow best access to many of the better stretches for grayling. Chest waders offer additional benefits but are not essential.

NOTE : Extreme caution should be taken when wading stretches with which you are unfamiliar. If in doubt, keep out.