A Fisherman's View
Exploring the Fishing Passport's
Wild Streams with local
trout angler Joe Alexander
When I started using the Passport a few years back.....
......having spent a lot of time, effort, blood, sweat and tears, on projects around our new home, it was an open door to some fabulous wild streams, llyns and other waters around Wales and The Marches. With the house finally finished, it was time to get back to exploring new waters on a regular basis, albeit around a hectic work schedule.
Fortunately, with my work I'm able to explore these little gems, regularly fishing the Lugg, Arrow, Dore and Llynfi to name a few. All have their own secrets, and some are like being transported slap bang into the middle of Belize. You'll need some patience and climbing in and out of the river a good few times in order to get to that next sumptuous, trouty pool.
After a long night shift, it's sometimes tempting to lob the waders straight into the truck and get going. Generally though I'll sneak in a couple of hours kip before getting a good dose of tranquillity (and hopefully a few brownies as well!).
The Wild Streams are sometimes kind to you. Bags of twenty or so brownies are possible in the right conditions. But wild brownies can be fickle little fish and even a couple brought to a wet hand is still fun. Just being there, on your own, mooching about and trying to pit your wits against a wild fish is what it's all about!
These little brownies may only be eight to ten inches long but sometimes you'll be in for a real surprise and you never know when that'll be. You'll need to be lightening quick as well. Takes can be as quick as a puff adder and your little dry will be rejected long before you've struck - connecting with nothing except a good sized dose of fresh air and usually then with the overhanging alders. Get used to that in many of the Wild Streams.
Having been very familiar with the area up around Rhayader and mid Wales (I've fished them since I was knee high to a grasshopper), it was superb to have all these "new" waters to explore. Some of the small brooks look deceptively unkempt and although they are a little wild, do hold some superb trout. Winkle your way carefully in and present your fly, be it a small Parachute Adams or a tungsten nymph flicked tight under the shadowy alders, and be prepared for a tussle on a six foot rod!
The Passport allows those like me with a busy lifestyle of work and family commitments to look quickly at the beats online, see which one takes my fancy, check availability, book it and then get going - fantastic.
If you have a season permit for the Wild Streams, you can check the night before, see what's free, and go and explore a stream that you want to fish. One piece of advice to new permit holders - always have a backup stretch (perhaps in the vicinity of the one you’re heading to) in case someone is already there when you bowl up!
So there you go, that's my bit on the Fishing Passport. It's great fun, and we're truly spoilt by the fishing in this area. There’s nothing like heading to a new stretch of water, seeing it for the first time, maybe even spotting a rise to get that excited delirium setting in!
If you've got two, four or six hours spare my advice is: book a brook, take your six foot rod and a box of dries and nymphs, fill your flask, put a bit of scoff in the old day sack, and get out there and explore. Life's too short hey!