Julian Lewis Jones: My top five Welsh freshwater fishing spots

Actor Julian Lewis Jones, from Anglesey, is an accomplished angler. Alongside presenting S4C programme ‘Sgota’ (‘Fishing’), and appearing in the likes of Stella, Hinterland, Zero Dark Thirty, and Justice League, he has also followed his passion for fishing all over the world, but Wales will always have his heart. Here, he reveals his five favourite freshwater fishing destinations in Wales. 

Afon Teifi, Ceredigion

Person knee deep in the water fishing in a river.
Fishing in the Teifi by @cerivthomas
The Afon Teifi is one of Wales’ most beautiful and tranquil rivers. It flows through Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire, and forms a natural border between these two counties. The stretch of river close to the Carmarthenshire town of Llandysul is a particular favourite of mine, as it’s where I caught my first sewin (Welsh for sea trout). It’s a river famous for its sewin and salmon fishing, as well as having a very healthy stock of wild brown trout. You can fly fish, spin, worm and floatfish here, depending on the stretch and which permit you have. It’s a beautiful place to relax and hopefully catch your dinner! 

The Llandysul Angling Association is based in The Porth Hotel, where you can buy permits and get local advice on the best fishing.

Llyn Dywarchen, Snowdonia

Sunset over Llyn Y Dywarchen.

Llyn Y Dywarchen, Snowdonia by @max1018
Llyn Dywarchen has to be one of the most picturesque lakes in the UK. It also boasts the best view of Snowdon in the whole of Snowdonia. It’s a truly special place.

The lake is stocked with specimen rainbow and brown trout and the trout get large, with some fish nudging 9lb in weight! The lake is one of many fisheries managed and expertly run by Seiont, Gwyrfai and Llyfni Angling Association. They are a very friendly and hugely experienced bunch of passionate anglers and are extremely keen to get young anglers fishing and out in the stunning Snowdonia countryside. They are also the people to go to regarding daily and weekly fishing permits. 

The lake is very close to the town of Caernarfon, which has plenty of hotels and restaurants. I recommend heading to Ouzo and Olive for a taste of the Med – the meze is well-known for being delicious. 

If you have an interest in local history, you must stop at the picturesque village of Beddgelert - famous for the legend of Gelert, Llywelyn the Great’s beloved dog. But beware, you might get a bit weepy!

Llyn Y Gors, Anglesey 

Llyn y Gors lake.
Llyn y Gors, Anglesey by Llyn y Gors Fishery
Llyn Y Gors is situated close to the village of Llandegfan, with the nearest towns being Beaumaris and Menai Bridge. This is where I had my first taste of coarse fishing when I was 14, and I caught my first carp - a giant at 7lb! It’s an extremely popular destination, and a particularly good angling complex for junior anglers as out of the seven stunning lakes, there are three ‘beginner’ lakes where youngsters can catch tench, rudd, roach, carp, bream and perch. The other four are ideal for more experienced anglers, where there is a great variety of fish to be caught. 

If it’s your first time in the area, you’ll no doubt want to take a 15 minute detour to the famous village of Llanfair¬pwllgwyngyll¬gogery¬chwyrn¬drobwll¬llan¬tysilio¬gogo¬goch. A photo by the train station sign is a must. 

Afon Taf, Glamorgan

Cardiff & Cardiff Bay from above, featuring Principality Stadium, Cardiff Castle & the River Taff.
The River Taff, Cardiff
The River Taff is famous for the diversity of fish to be caught on this most iconic of Welsh rivers. The Taff begins its journey high up in the Brecon Beacons as two rivers, the Taff Fechan and the Taff Fawr, before it becomes the one river just above the town of Merthyr Tydfil. It then meanders its way through the town of Pontypridd, before coming to its mouth in Cardiff Bay. It offers a superb wild brown trout fishery, and has a very good late run of salmon. The sea trout fishing can be very good on certain beats, and recently the lower stretches of the Taff have been yielding specimen barbel and chubb.
 
There are many angling associations along the course of the Taff, and it’s best to contact them to get the best permit advice possible. What makes the Taff such an attractive river to fish is that you are so close to the Welsh capital. During the winter months I often like to fish for grayling in the early mornings, then afterwards go to watch Wales play rugby at the Principality Stadium. Where else in the world could I enjoy my two passions in the same day, and within a few miles of each other? It really is quite unique!

Cardiff is home to some of the best food and drink in Wales, and there’s an abundance to choose from. I like heading to the Riverside market on Sundays, where you can get anything from coffee to curry. Pull up a chair, sit alongside the river, and take in the hustle and bustle of the city. 

Celtic Lakes, Lampeter

Celtic Lakes.
Celtic Lakes, Lampeter, Ceredigion by New Celtic Lakes
Celtic Lakes is an outstanding fishing complex situated just four miles outside the beautiful market town of Lampeter. There are six well stocked lakes to choose from, and it is one of the very few fishing destinations to offer the chance of catching a Wells catfish. Catfish at the Celtic Lakes grow to over 80lb in weight, and represent quite a challenge to even the most experienced of anglers.
 
I’ve had the pleasure of catching one of these catfish, and they are an incredibly strong fish - I was pretty exhausted after a lengthy battle with one of these prehistoric looking monsters! As well as the catfish, there are specimen sized carp in the lakes, going up to over 40lb in weight. And quality tench, roach, rudd, perch and bream are also all available to keep the specimen hunter happy for days on end.
 
The huge number of quality fish that swim in the Celtic Lakes make it a must for passionate anglers. Head to Tafarn Jem for a pint afterwards for a relaxed atmosphere and gorgeous views.