Guest Speaker: Roger Smith – October 2017

Roger is a secretary of the Grayling Society, a life member of Wild Trout Trust, an active member of the Worcester Branch of the Fly Dressers’ Guild and author of ‘Flyfishing the Welsh Borderlands’ (Coch-Y-Bonddu Books, 2011).

Roger gave a 40-minute presentation followed by a fly tying demonstration of five dry flies suitable
for Welsh Borderland rivers and their tributaries.

Trout and Grayling fishing on the Rivers and Streams of the Welsh Borderlands through the Seasons

Roger introduced the presentation by describing which rivers and streams he fished in the Welsh borderland. These comprised; the Dee, Severn, Wye and Usk, and he made specific reference to the
Lugg and Arrow tributaries of the Wye. He recommended the use of the environment agency flood information service to monitor the levels of these and other rivers to prepare for fishing expeditions
so that they could be timed to coincide with stable or falling river levels. Describing the entomology of the rivers, Roger initially discussed the use of marker insects to monitor river health – Caddis,
Gammarus shrimp, Stonefly nymphs, Mayfly nymphs (including Baetis and heptagenid), and then the seasonal variability of these and other insects.
Then Roger turned to a discussion of fishing tactics including use of; upstream nymphing, Czech nymphing, dry fly and trotting. He described the use of a team of flies (up to 4) and ‘duo’ teams – dry
fly dropper with a weighted nymph or vice-versa (washing-line presentation), and stressed the importance of the ‘induced take’ to capitalise on the, sometimes, impetuous feeding habit of game
fish in fast flowing water. To help identify takes he advocated the use of indicators and specifically recommended the use of a sliding ‘sight’ made from coloured strands of Aero Dry Wing tied to the line
with a short length of fluorocarbon using a half blood-knot tied back on itself.

The final section of the presentation brought together the tactics and fly selection approaches that Roger had found most successful in the different seasons on these waters. Of particular note, he described the use of March brown, Gold Ribbed Hares Ear, Dark Olive nymph and Orange Tagged Hares Ear for early season nymphing and Hawthorne and Grannom as early season dries. The recommended summer patterns were the Black Gnat and May Fly. Autumn patterns comprised; Crane fly, Red Tag, Treacle Parkin and Coch-Y-Bonddu and in winter he advocated Czech nymphing with Pink Shrimp and Cased Caddis patterns. Roger found by experience that reverse hackled flies (See reverse hackled Barrett’s Bain fly below) improved the presentation when fishing a downriver wind. Finally, Roger referred to use of Trotting and Tankara as additional approaches that he had found to be successful in Welsh Borderland rivers and streams.

The DogsBody

Hook: size 12 medium wire
Thread: Dark brown
Tail: 10 -12 natural pheasant tail fibres
Body: yellow Labrador fur
Rib: fine gold wire
Hackles: grizzle and red game cock feathers (5 – 6 turns each)

Orange Otter

Hook: size 14 Fulling Mill all-purpose light wire
Thread: Dark brown
Tail: bunch red game feather fibres
Body and thorax/head: Orange baby seals fur dubbing
Central hackle: Red game (approx. 10 turns)

Baby Sun Fly

Hook: size 14 Fulling Mill all-purpose light wire
Thread: Dark brown
Tail: Black cock hackle fibres
Body: grey rabbit underfur dubbing
Hackle: Coch-Y-Bonddu feather (3-4 turns)

Barrett’s Bain (Reverse Hackle)

Hook: size 14 up-eye dry fly
Thread: Dark brown
Body: 4-5 natural pheasant tail fibres
Hackle: Blue dun cock feather (5 – 6 turns)

Baby Sun Fly (Jig Hook Variant)

Hook: size 16 Jig-eye
Thread: Dark brown
Wing: Aero Dry wing (Pink or suitable colour for visibility)
Body: grey rabbit underfur dubbing
Hackle: Coch-Y-Bonddu feather (4 -5 turns)