Trout and Grayling Fishing Advice for Anglers visiting the Teifi Valley

Bernard Venables and Pat O'Reilly
Bernard Venables with Pat O'Reilly

The quality of the trout fishing on the River Teifi was a closely guarded secret until, in the early 1960s, TV presenter Oliver Kite visited our river during the March Brown hatch. He thern made the Teifi his first fishing trip each year until his untimely death from a heart attack (while fishing) in 1968. His series of programmes, Kite's Country, publicised trout fishing on the Teifi and attracted such famous figures as Bernard Venables (of Mr Crabtree fame), President Jimmy Carter, and more recently Brian Clarke, Charles Jardine and Jon Beer - to name but a few of the many well-known angling personalities who have fished on the Teifi for wild brown trout.

Tactics for the Teifi

Although nymph fishing is very effective, especially in faster stretches of the upper beats, the Teifi is a delightful dry fly river, and this is the method used by most anglers throughout the spring and summer months.

When there is a hatch - for example of March Browns in early spring, Grannom Sedge in late spring, or Blue-winged Olives in summer, best results come from matching the hatch. We have a page about Teifi fly life... and later on this page there is basic advice on fly selection; however, if you need more detailed help with selecting and using flies that match what the trout are (or are most likely to be) feeding on, then former club Chairman Pat O'Reilly's book Matching the Hatch is just what you need.

Fishing 'likely spots' or known trout lies is necessary during the dog days of late summer and early autumn, and if there is not much of a hatch then a large bushy fly, a 'hopper' imitation or a daddy long-legs pattern are most likely to tempt a large trout to rise.

Trout and Grayling Flies for the Teifi

Here is a selection of artificial flies for wet fly, dry fly and nymph fishing which will provide you with a reasonable chance of matching the hatch through the season. They are all patterns which have proven successful over many years.

Trout fishing 0on the upper Teifi
The late John Riegen fishing the Teifi at Bayliau

Dry flies

In spring the hawthorn fly hatches in the valley can reach swarm proportions. An artificial Hawthorn is then well worth a try, as is the Daddy Longlegs (small ones in summer, larger versions in autumn). Both are flies for windy days.

Upwinged flies

Copy the March brown with the artificial of that name, and treat the Iron Blue Dun (now sadly a scarce fly in most parts of England and Wales but still seen in reasonable numbers on some glides on the River Teifi) and the Mayfly similarly. (A Grey Wulff will also imitate the Mayfly at its dun stage more than adequately.)

The Blue-winged Olive dun can be copied with a Blue Dun, although a Greenwell's Glory or a Rough Olive can be equally effective. For the b-w o spinner, a most effective imitation is the Sherry Spinner.

Alders, sedges and stoneflies

The Alder is a useful pattern, although it may well be taken for a sedge because these are much more common than Alder Flies on most stretches of the upper and middle Teifi. Other good dry sedge patterns include the Grannom, and also the Borderer which can be fished from mid-April to the end of September. A good imitation of the Sandfly is the orange G & H Sedge.

Apart from the Needle Fly range, there are few specific imitations of the stoneflies, but a Grey Duster serves well as a general representation and is particularly good when grayling are taking egg-laying stoneflies from the surface.

Wet flies

Some beats of the Teifi offer excellent wet fly fishing all through the season. You can't go far wrong if you choose the old favourites, general representation and so-called fancy patterns. A good selection would be: March Brown, Greenwell's Glory, Coch-y-Bonddu, Blue Dun, Black Gnat, William's Favourite, Snipe & Purple, Waterhen Bloa, and Connemarra Black.

Nymphs

Nymphing is gaining popularity on Welsh rivers; and rightly so, for it can account for some really good trout. You don't need many patterns, but have a range of sizes available: nymphs are developing insects, and for any one species there may be a range of sizes in the water. An excellent all-rounder is the Pheasant Tail Nymph, in sizes 12 to 16.

A larger nymph does better when Mayfly are hatching. Try Walker's Mayfly Nymph tied on a size 8 or 10 hook. In slow water, where the trout get plenty of time to inspect your offering, a Greenwell's Nymph stands reasonably close scrutiny.

Be prepared to switch to imitations of the adult mayfly if the trout begin rising splashily, as this usually indicates that they are taking duns. A gentle sipping rise is more common once the spent spinners are available on the surface. Then, avoiding drag is the key to success.

Trout in the dark

Trout will also feed at night if there is plenty of moonlight. Try fishing a weighted nymph through slowly drifting pools. Good patterns for this are a sub-surface Gold-ribbed Hare's Ear or a heavily weighted Pheasant Tail. Sea trout will also take nymphs, of course, especially around dusk.

Safety

Night time trout fishing can present extra hazards over and above those of day time fishing; so you must be extra careful. If you intend to wade during the night, visit the spot you intend to fish during daylight hours and make sure you are familiar with that particular stretch of water. If you are going fishing alone then inform someone of where you intend to fish and what time you expect to be back. For more details, see our Safety Guide.