Another superb week in the life of “Escape the Mainstream”….. Some serious leg work done, and many miles of exploring carried out, a lot of it of which has been on the secretive wild streams, which are my true love, followed very closely by the wild, heather clad waters of the Elenydd. It’s a close call mind….. there is nothing like a fun day on the dries on a lovely Sunday afternoon up at Claerwen reservoir. A walk up the Northerly shoreline dust track and there are some lovely areas that offer five or six hundred yards of blissful fishing, especially when the heather fly are partying !!!!

The bank holiday signifies to me that the wild streams should all be cranking up, and true to form, the magnificent Edw, Cammarch, Marteg and the little Clywedog brook, have all been fantastic fun over the last week or so, just the best dry fly sport that you could wish for…. There’s no four hundred quid fee here, tipping of guides, and anglers clad in all the latest fancy clobber. The neatly manicured, mown river banks are now strewn with alders, rock, heather and deep gorges, here in mid Wales. Wading is a tricky business at times, although on the gin clear chalk streams, no wading is quite the norm, sight fishing for huge stocked brown trout, moving lazily over the sedate ranunculus beds. Ooooooohhhhhhh no, this is roughing it, your best piece of kit is knowledge, a lot of kneeling in low water is the norm. Keyhole casts, bow and arrow casts, roll casts, and any others that put your dry fly exactly where you want it …. Casts, that quite frankly would make an AAPGAI instructor start beading profusely !!!!! Casting to ten inch, fast as grease lightening wild brownies is what I’m about, sometimes the fish are bigger, that’s a bonus, and fun on the gossamer rod, It’s terrain that’ll test your stamina, knees, waders and casting prowess !!! Small streams a lot of the time have technical water to deal with, lots of features and rising fish that will test your skill and patience, it’s why I love them so much ! A key hole cast tight under that alder… ohhh hang on, the water in front of me is ripping along just that bit faster than where I saw that rise….. I reposition myself, watercraft is key, I’m at a better angle, my dry fly will be in the zone, only for three seconds, I make the cast, it’s bang on the money, I’m ready, he smashes my dry Para Greenwells, and I’m bringing a tubby eleven inch perfectly formed wild trout to my net …… Just a stunning fish, that adipose fin, a deep red at the tip, and just a few “show off “ red spots near the tail, he’s admired quickly, then away he goes, shooting back over to his deep little pool …. Fantastic stuff !!!!!!

I can always tell when I’ve had a good week on the streams, and either taken a client or two out on them, my poor old knees feel it…. But, I must say, for legs that have endured some physical hardships over the years, from places like Norway with huge Bergen’s on skis, to Platoon competitions that involved carrying not only a Bergen and combat kit over fifty kilometres over three days, but also sharing cumbersome kit, like the Carl Gustav anti tank gun ….. ggrrrrrr A platoon asset !!!! really … lol !!! Anyway, these days it’s just running, mountain biking and a few sessions in the gym each week …. Far more civilised !!! And, dare I say it more user friendly on my knees too!!!! ….. Some of the beats do have that unpleasant bedrock, which always seems to sit at that nasty angle, just waiting to take you down !!!! Wade slowly folks, that’s my motto, in fact the slower the better in my book, I move at a snails pace in these wild streams…. After all, start crashing about, and you’ll catch absolutely nowt … stealth is everything, that, and presenting your dry fly, get those right, and the trout you’re stalking will nail the fly….. !!!!! Most, no I’ll rephrase that, all of the streams I fish, have a certain attitude and character that’s unique to that particular beat…. Variety is key, and in the next few weeks, I’ll fish maybe three or four different streams in a week. I have a client staying in Rhayader for a few days very shortly, and he’s in for some superb wild stream fishing, on two of my favourite beats…. It’s odd really, some of these waters are hardly fished at all, and some on my own private portfolio are only fished by me !!!! Perks of thinning out the local rabbit and fox population for the farmers….. Three of these beats are in the Wye catchment, and one is in the Severn catchment, all are fun and superb mid summer dry fly sport, with my small six foot, one weight rod, a single box of dries, line, snips, and that’s about it !!!! Travel light and enjoy the journey is my attitude to my adventure fly fishing ….. I fish where not many folks go, and actually it’s just how I like it in fairness !!!

The Edw really picked up and the fish have responded well with the recent warm weather, and actually temperatures got right up in the twenties, lovely to be honest. Fishing for the first time this season in a t shirt, superb !!! The insects also enjoy the party, and a myriad of upwings and sedge one morning we’re on the go, on a favourite beat of the River Edw. Needless to say, dry fly sport was superb. Not only the little Edw, but the upper Cammarch beat has been fun too, in fact one afternoon was particularly hectic…. This little beauty really comes into its own, on the warmer days, and the fish love smashing a dry of the surface too ….. such fun !!!! Very locally the little Marteg is just revving up, I had a couple of fun hours here, mainly small stuff, with two ten inch brownies in the mix, this little gem will be fabulous at the end of the month. She reminds me of the Hindwell brook over near Radnor, and Knill, running with that beautifully clear water, and resembling a mountain stream in the Pyrenees…… just fantastic. You have to move stealthy on both these streams in fairness, because, guess what, as clear as it is, the fish can see you clearly as well, so care is needed….. if you want rises to your dry. My favoured flies for these fast bubbling streams are always well ginked Para dries in their various guises. They’re perfect for such fast, technical water to be honest .

Nature at its best visits the wild streams too, this week I’ve had roe deer, mink, otter and kingfisher all within fifteen yards of me. It’s quite odd being in the stream, I’ve actually had mink and deer look at me and try and work out exactly what I am in the middle of the river, wading very slowly upstream. I can imagine it would look pretty strange to be honest, as they’re not used to seeing humans doing such an activity !!! A few summers ago, literally within yards I had a muntjac come down to the waters edge to drink, totally oblivious to me in the river. Mind you, I was stood stock still, and I had tried to merge in with the overhanging alder canopy ….. seemed to work… it would have made a cracking camera shot too !!!! Just a peaceful moment by a quiet little brook in summertime ….. awesome !!!!

Well, as I’m writing this, we’ve actually had a few hours of that persistent drizzle here in Rhaeadr Gwy, nothing too dramatic, and I’m sure it’ll raise the streams just a tad, but, nice to have a bit now and again. I’m hoping to venture up to Nantymoch reservoir tommorrow, and have a really good day up there. I do love the various features of that massive sheet of water, and I’m hoping some dry fly sport will be on the cards too …. I’ll take the two rods anyway !!!! I’ll leave it there for now folks, enjoy your week, and don’t do anything I’d do !!!!! Lastly, stay safe and if your out casting a line, let’s hope it’s going to be a tight one!