River Taff

National Resources Wales has introduced a new telephone number for any one to report incidents of pollution or poaching, the old 0800 number will continue to work for some time yet.   The new number is…………….. 03000653000

For some time now the Association has been looking at putting two new weirs in the river above Troedyrhiw.   It has taken a long time to get the nessessary permissions from National Resources Wales Flood Defence and Fisheries.  Then we had to source the blockstone, but last winter the blockstone was delivered to site and then all we had to do was wait until we could work in the river and get our contractor on site.   The weirs were built last week and here a 4 pictures of the top weir during a recent small flood.

A small gallery of trout caught by Ceri Thomas of Fishtec during a BWO fall on the River Taff, see the post for a full report.

 

On a very recent trip to fish the River Taff Ceri Thomas decided to fish at Troedyrhiw and amongst all of the fish he landed these 3 really stand out

Large trout caught by Ceri Thomas at Troedyrhiw using a yellow klinkhammer

Large trout caught by Ceri Thomas at Troedyrhiw using a yellow klinkhammer

Large trout caught by Ceri Thomas at Troedyrhiw using a yellow klinkhammer

Large trout caught by Ceri Thomas at Troedyrhiw using a yellow klinkhammer

Large trout caught by Ceri Thomas using a yellow klinkhammer

Large trout caught by Ceri Thomas using a yellow klinkhammer

River Taff Spring fly fishing tips

Ceri Thomas of Fishtec has written up some great tips for fishing the MTAA stretch of the river Taff this spring.

This spring has been pretty kind for river anglers so far and the rain has held off recently. As such the upper Taff has been fishable since day one, but with the extra challenge of being very low and gin clear. Here are some tips on getting the most out of the river Taff fishing at the moment:

Concentrate your efforts at the best times. Fishing from 12 noon to 2.30pm is my preferred slot for early season. Why? It’s the warmest time of day when flies start hatching and the fish become active. Early and late can be way too cold, and could result in a blank. So optimise your fishing times.

Search the water. Don’t spend too much time in one spot, make sure you keep moving, searching the water. Fish concentrations can be very localised at this time of year on the Taff, as the trout are often still in their overwintering haunts even in May. Some pools may be empty and others will have fish holed up in them. It pays to walk the banks looking for rising fish. Once you find one you will often find a few clustered together.

Be stealthy. This is the biggest mistake I see. In low water getting near enough to a trout to make a decent cast is half the battle.  When getting into the river be extra quiet. Don’t walk right up along the edging. Try not to dislodge rocks and gravel as you go in, and always fish upstream. It pays to put a bit of thought into where you will exit and enter the water too.

Fish off the beaten track. The areas right next to bridges and other access areas get a lot more fishing pressure, so have less fish or fish that are a lot wiser. It really pays to make the extra effort to walk a few hundred yards further on, so you are covering less fished territory. If you see another angler in front of you, it is pointless fishing water they have just fished. Instead get out of the river and move to a new area, being considerate and leaving lots of room between you.

Fish dry flies. Low water means the areas where trout can hide in deep water are limited at the moment. Fast deep water is great for nymph fishing, but on most of the river the pools are now low and quite still, so conditions are better suited for dry fly or fishing a ‘duo’ which is a large dry fly with a small nymph tied to the bend of the hook. On the Taff look out for hatches of Large dark olives, brook dun and March brown at lunch time. Basic dry flies such as parachute Adams, CDC olive, and the greenwells glory in sizes 14 – 12 will all work well. The exact pattern is not so important, just try to match the size and make sure the fish see the fly by making an accurate cast. I always use a very long tapered leader with an added tippet going down to 3lb, usually 18 foot long. This helps avoid drag and fool wary fish.  Another tip with the dry fly is to keep on de-greasing the leader every few casts; this can make a huge difference with a fussy fish.

Practice catch and release. The Taff at the moment has a great head of bigger than average wild fish, and these will only get bigger if they are returned. For some reason numbers of small fish are down on past seasons, which may be due to loss of spawning gravel in the recent winter floods and increased bird, otter and mink predation so they need a helping hand. To me Taff trout taste terrible anyway, compared to fish from the reservoirs or the Usk. This may be due to road run-off going into the river from the urban areas the Taff flows through.

The mid-day fly hatches don’t last forever, and by the end of the month the first evening fishing on the river should begin. So my advice is to get out there as much as you can this spring and enjoy the fly hatches before the rain returns with a vengeance!

Happy fishing, Ceri.

 

 

In case of pollution please call 0800 80 70 60 and state where you are, for Ordance Survey codes follow link http://www.mtaa.co.uk/river-taff/ordnance-survey-sites-for-river-taff/

This is an interesting article written by Theo Pike for the Wye and Usk Foundation about the River Taff and he has kindly given us permission to use it.  Please follow this link Theo Pike from Wye and Usk Passport 2016 low res

Spiders By Ron Jones

For generations fly fishing was usually undertaken using wet or dry flies fished near to or on the surface, fishing “nymphs” nearer the riverbed was seldom practised. In the last 20 years considerable innovations
have evolved allowing weighted patterns to be fished very successfully nearer the river bed. Many anglers now use these techniques as a first line of attack. However, there will be many occasions during an angling season when fish, both trout and grayling will seek food in the upper layers particularly when food is abundant here.

Emergers, drown duns, and spinners and terrestrial insects are often found in the top few inches of water and a fly fished to imitate these can be very effective. One style of fly particularly suitable on such occasions are wet spider patterns. Curiously, they seldom actually imitate terrestrial spiders. They are tied to imitate any food items found in the surface layers and by changing the size and colour almost any fly encountered in an angling season can be imitated. They are extremely simple designs often incorporating only 2 or 3 components in the tying. Some may only have a tying silk body and only 1 half – 2 turns of hackle. Many of the more successful patterns are well over a 100 years old and have stood the test of time, as effective now as when they were first tied. Patterns such as Waterhen Bloa, Partridge and orange, snipe and purple and black spider should be included in any river fisher’s fly box. The secret is to keep the tying simple, slim and mobile, try to avoid over dressing spider patterns. Soft hen hackles and feathers from game birds are essential in tying spider patterns.

On smaller overgrown rivers and streams, particularly in high summer when insects of a terrestrial origin feature highly in the diets of trout, patterns tied with fatter peacock herl bodies and with various colour hackles are very effective. Although not strictly classed as spiders they can be fished with confidence. The humble black and peacock, long associated with lake fishing, can be good fly tied on size 16 and 18 hooks. It is not only on rivers where these patterns are successful; spiders can be used on lakes and reservoirs particularly for wild Brown trout and even rainbows which have survived and reverted to natural feeding. Patterns tied to imitate the many different buzzers encountered on still waters can often be more effective than the more precise copies sometimes used. On either river or lake 1 or even 3 flies can be used on a leader but in calm conditions on a lake or on slow pools on a river, it may be better to fish a single fly on a longer, degreased leader to keep surface disturbance to a minimum. The success of spider patterns throughout the season should not be underestimated, possibly the movement of the sparse mobile hackle may suggest ‘life’, the most difficult of all aspects of a natural fly to imitate.

 

 

Below is a link to an article written by Ron Jones about the March Brown family of flies.

Ron Jones Article (1)

Day Tickets

Day tickets for the River Taff are only available to non-members living outside the Borough of Merthyr Tydfil.

  • Adults – £10.00 (only 2 fish to be taken – catch and release encouraged)
  • Juniors – £6.00 (only 2 fish to be taken – catch and release encouraged)

River Taff Levels

Follow this link to National Resources Wales Web site and current river levels for the River Taff at Merthyr Tydfil Town http://rloi.naturalresources.wales/ViewDetails?station=4072 at Troedyrhiw http://rloi.naturalresources.wales/ViewDetails?station=4064 at Fiddlers Elbow (bottom of our bead) http://rloi.naturalresources.wales/ViewDetails?station=4056

Fishing Season River Taff Waters

The fishing season on the River Taff for all species is the 3rd March – 30th September (inclusive).

When fishing for Salmon between these allowed dates you mushave a migratory fish licence

All samon caught Must be returned as Taff is Catch and Release Natural Resources Wales Bylaws.  they sould also be recorded immediately by email or phoning together with:- Date, where caught, Weight, Method.

It is Fly only when fishing for Salmon until 1st June all Rivers, please read the Bylaws on our the website.  You can  only fish for Rainbow trout in Rivers from 3rd March to the 30th September

Fishing Methods

  • Fly
  • Spinner
  • Worm
  • Maggots are not allowed for Trout Fishing at any time National Resources Wales Byelaw

Fish Limit – Members 

  • 4 trout per rod, per day (however, the Association encourages the practice of catch & release)
  • Size limit – 10″/25.4cms from tip of snout to tip of tail

Fishing Restrictions

Natural Resource Wales: bylaws: No fishing in Merthyr Town Weir Pool.  Aberfan Weir Pool. Quakers Yard Gorge.

Maps & Other Information

The maps of the Taff Catchment have been broken into three sections: Pontsticill to Junction Pool, Junction Pool to Troedyrhiw, and Troedyrhiw to the Quakers Yard Bridge.

The Association controls all water edged in red. Trelewis AA controls the water below Pontygwaith Bridge on the right hand bank facing downstream for approx 800 meters.

Signs are present to assist anglers, and indicate the direction in which they should proceed.

   Upper Taff  River Taff Town AreaRiver Taff Lower Valley (1)

River Taff Map with post codes


River History

The river Taff is actually two rivers: the Taf Fechan that rises in the Beacons and is controlled by Pontsticill Reservoir, and the Taf Fawr which also rises in the Beacons and is controlled by Llwyn Onn Reservoir. Both rivers converge at Cefn Coed, Merthyr Tydfil to form the river Taff.

The Early Years

Before the Industrial Revolution, the River Taff sustained abundant trout and salmon. Once the Iron and Coal industries were established and the population of Merthyr Tydfil increased so the River Taff became one of the most polluted habitats in the area, with very little life surviving in its waters. When the large iron works were situated near the river they took the water from the river to use in the furnaces before returning this extremely polluted hot water back to the river. In 1872 a report on the river stated that it was uninhabitable to fish, the main cause being the tipping of hot cinders into the river and scouring the river bed by the washing down of cinder dumps.

The iron industry declined during the late 19th century, but the coal industry expanded bringing with it its own pollution problems. The worst pollution occurred below the collieries, such as Merthyr Vale, Trelewis Drift, Taf Bargoed and Trelewis. In 1970 there were 97ppm of suspended solids recorded in the Taff near Mount Pleasant and 99ppm near Quakers Yard. Since the decline and the closure of the pits so the water quality of the river has improved.

Once, raw sewage was discharged directly into the river, along with toxic chemicals that used to be discharged via Morlais brook into the river. The closing of the chemical factories and the extensive cleaning of the Morlais Brook have remedied this. The sewage treatment works at Cilfynydd have alleviated the problem of the majority of sewage discharges into the River Taff.

The Later Years

The upper reaches of the Taff has been living up to its reputation as one of the premier trout rivers in the principality. It provides fly fishing of a very high quality right through the season, starting in early March and ending at the end of September.

Fly populations are holding up well despite the serious declines experienced in other parts of the UK. The large dark olive still hatches in good numbers in the early season up until the middle of April, and the angler lucky enough to be on the water between 11am and 3pm on a suitable day can expect some exciting sport to wet and dry flies, although as usual at this time, the hatches can be brief perhaps only lasting a half hour or so.

There is a slight lull in olive activity from late April until the middle of May when the first of the pale wateries start to hatch but terrestrial insects such as black gnats can continue to provide good fishing and always be prepared to fish very small flies on fine leaders as midges will be present now as they are all through the season.

The two most common summer flies on the river are the pale watery, hatching from mid May, and the blue winged olive usually putting in an appearance about a month later. The B.W.O. dun hatches and evening spinner falls can be spectacular with large numbers of fish appearing to feast on the huge numbers of flies available.

In hot weather and low river conditions the rises of fish can be very late indeed so don’t leave the river too early. Sedges also increase in number from mid summer and again, activity can occur very late in the evening and into darkness.

Otters are becoming an increasingly common sight for those anglers who are prepared to stay on into the dusk and, although it may temporarily put a halt to the fishing, it is without doubt one of the highlights of the season to see one of these wonderful creatures at such close quarters. One angler last season had a very close encounter indeed when an otter almost snatched a fish when he was bringing it to hand. It was debatable who had the biggest shock, the fish, the otter, or the angler!

As the season draws to a close and the evenings become cooler daytime fishing can again become very productive, the summer flies are still present but now Autumn duns and spinners can be seen in large numbers alongside increasing numbers of stoneflies and the ever present midges. Fish often feed well right up to the season end on 30th September.

The Taff is a spate river and can depend on rain, particularly in the summer months, to generate the best of its fishing but even in very low water a stealthy approach and fine presentation can produce some very rewarding if difficult sport.

The average size of the Taff’s trout is ½ to ¾lb but much bigger fish are present, as trout of 3lb and 4lb are caught from time to time.