How and where to fish in Wales

We have 750 miles of coast. Our interior is riddled with pristine rivers and lakes. No wonder everyone from Chris Tarrant and singer Cerys Matthews to fishing legends like Matt Hayes cast a line in Wales. Come to be coarse. Come to play game. Come to sea.

Coarse fishing in Wales

Llyn y Gors Course Fishing Lake, Anglesey

Llyn y Gors Course Fishing Lake, Anglesey by Robert D Thomas

Come to Wales to go wild. Though we’re not short of quality commercial fisheries between the carp-rich lakes of Llyn y Gors on Anglesey and White Springs near Swansea, our wild coarse fishing attracts most anglers. Expanses of water like Llyn Maelog on Anglesey, Llyn Tegid and Llyn Trawsfynydd in Snowdonia or Llangorse Lake in the Brecon Beacons are geared towards the visiting angler. 

So legendary is our pike fishing that a 46lb 30z brute landed at Llandegfedd reservoir in 1992 has never been bettered in the United Kingdom. For gentler casting join fishing celebrities like Matt Hayes and Martin Bowler on the Wye, the nation’s favourite river. Barbel, river pike, chub and grayling are fished using a passport scheme on a catch-and-release basis. The memories are yours to keep.

Game fishing in Wales

Game fishing

Rhys Llewellyn, Game fishing

 by Rhys Llewellyn

Catching a fish is the easy bit. The problem of game fishing in Wales is where to go: intimate brook, bucolic river or mountain lake? The Wye and Usk trickle from the Black Mountain down through forests and over bedrock to the freestone runs where wild brown trout run and salmon leap. From June to October it’s the loveliest game river in Wales; as beautiful as it is bountiful. But sea trout – sewin we call them in Wales – are the real prize of Welsh game fishing. 

Ask any angler on the River Teifi in Carmarthen or the Tywi in West Wales, or on the rivers Dyfi and Conwy in North Wales and you’ll learn they run like salmon from the sea to spawn and that Welsh rivers account for half the sea trout caught in England and Wales. You’ll hear talk of 20lb fish the size of salmon. Just get up early – like the fish, sewin anglers come out at night.

Sea fishing in Wales

Cerys Matthews with Blue shark

Sea fishing, Cerys Matthews with Blue shark, Pembrokeshire coast by Rhys Llewellyn

No surprise that Welsh sea fishing is the best in Britain. We have over 750 miles of beach, estuary and rocky foreshore. Hire a local guide (the key to a successful trip) and you’ll discover kelp-strewn gullies where monster pollack and wrasse lurk in Pembrokeshire, on the Gower Peninsular and on the Llŷn Peninsula, or will learn where and when to cast for bass or try for flatfish and tope on the sandy estuaries of the Dyfi and Tywi. 

For adventure join a boat charter. Huge conger eels and thornback rays lurk near Cardiff. The cod are back in the Bristol Channel. And in Pembrokeshire there are shark. Skipper Andrew Alsop set a British record when he landed a 222lb blue shark off Milford Haven. Two anglers reeled in a record 88 sharks on one trip. Better still it’s an adventure that’s open to first-timers. 

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