The landscape of Wales is punctuated with hundreds of beautiful glacial lakes, dozens of crystal clear reservoirs and countless tumbling rivers and streams, not to mention our spectacular rugged coastlines and miles of unspoiled beaches. All of these make Wales an angler’s paradise, a perfect retreat from the stresses and troubles of modern life. But with so much choice, where do you start your fishing adventure? Here are a few suggestions.
Llynnau Gamallt, Eryri (Snowdonia)
Wales is home to many spectacular mountain lakes, and those of Eryri (Snowdonia) provide fishing in jaw-dropping scenery for the adventurous angler.
The two Gamallt Lakes (24 and 5 acres) are situated in the western part of the Migneint Mountains, and are a fairly easy 25-minute walk over level moorland from the car park. They are considered one of the finest wild brown fisheries in Wales, with free rising wild trout over 1lb in weight regularly caught using floating lines and traditional wet flies.
The fishing is controlled by the Cambrian Angling Association. Tickets can be purchased online through the Fishing Passport. The season runs 20 March to 17 October.
Elan Valley, Mid Wales
Situated in steep sided valleys that are clothed in green and brown hues, the vast Elan Valley reservoirs offer a truly scenic angling experience. The elegant and baroque Victorian dams, with their fine stonework and ornate valve towers enhance the already spectacular surroundings, whilst red kites wheel overhead, making Elan Valley a delightful place to cast a line.
All of the reservoirs hold abundant wild brown trout, that can be fished for using fly fishing methods. The access is easy, with roads and parking spots alongside large areas of bank.
Day tickets are needed to fish the reservoirs, these can be purchased in the nearby town of Rhayader from Daisy Powell Newsagents or Hafod Hardware. The fishing season runs from 20 March to 17 October.
St Davids Head, Pembrokeshire
The rugged shores of Pembrokeshire offer some of the best sea fishing in the UK. St Davids Head is a great rock fishing mark to try your luck whilst enjoying the scenery and fresh sea air. It’s mostly rough ground with kelp, so expect to lose some tackle when ledgering. However, it is well worth the effort - monster congers lurk in the depths and take squid baits, as will big bull huss and pollack.
Ballan and small cuckoo wrasse often take crab or limpet baits close to shore. Plentiful summer mackerel can be caught on float fishing tackle; when they move close to shore, sharks sometimes follow! Expect plenty of dogfish in late summer and autumn.
From St Davids take the B4583 to Whitesands Bay (Traeth Mawr), where there is a car park. Walk northwards along the coastal path. Summer months are best for fishing.
Ffynnon Lloer, Eryri (Snowdonia)
How’s’ about a hike to the highest fishable lake in Wales? Ffynnon Lloer (the 'well of the moon') is a six acre llyn in the Carneddau mountain range of North Wales. Situated 673 metres above sea level, this fly fishing lake is accessed via the A5 at Llyn Ogwen. It is a steep hour’s climb to the llyn, but your reward will be free rising wild brown trout and views you will never forget.
Fishing tickets can be purchased from Ogwen Valley Angling Association. Season runs 20 March to 17 October.
River Usk, Monmouthshire
An iconic Welsh river, the Usk must be the best trout river in Wales, if not the UK. It's capable of producing fish up to five pounds in weight - with the average being around a pound.
The river rises on the northern slopes of Y Mynydd Du (The Black Mountain), high above the Usk reservoir, from which it flows unimpeded in bucolic scenery through the heart of Wales for 80 miles to the sea.
The Usk is a Site of Special Scientific interest and is home to truly wild fish. Each pool and run holds a head of fish to be envied, the trout population is prolific, with a count of fish per mile to rival some of the best rivers in the world.
The Usk has many beats that can be fished on a day ticket, details of which can be found on the Fishing In Wales website. The season run from 3 March to 30 September.
Pontsticill and Dolygaer reservoirs, Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons)
Dolygaer and Pontsticill reservoirs are situated in the dramatic Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) of Mid Wales. The two reservoirs have great coarse fishing, especially for huge bags of bream and specimen sized pike. Perch, carp and silver fish species are also present in the reservoirs in good numbers.
The reservoirs are close to the town of Merthyr Tydfil and access is easy, with roads alongside most of the water. Tickets can be obtained from the Merthyr Tydfil Angling Alliance. The lakes can be fished for coarse fish all year round.