Wye Tenkara

Upper Longtown Beat River Monnow

Upper Longtown beat of the river Monnow

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By richard adeney, Feb 12 2020 08:39PM

If you have ever sat through a fire safety lecture you will know about the fire triangle. The elements of which are; heat, fuel and oxygen. If any one of these elements are missing fire will not occur.

When thinking about why and when fish feed there is a similar triangle. The feeding triangle. The elements are; available food, which is accessible, proximity of a place to hide and an optimal water temperature. If the water temperature is too low then fish will not be active and not feed. If it is too high then they will be under metabolic stress so will not be inclined to feed. If any element is not optimal then fish may not feed with confidence if al all. This concept is particularly applicable to river trout.

The first element in the feeding triangle is the abundance of food and how accessible it is. There are times when there are lots of flies present but there does not seem to be any fish rising or showing interest in the flies. Unless the food source is easy to get fish will not expend excess energy to catch their prey. Temperature can also significantly influence feeding behaviour. This is because the fish’s metabolic rate is directly related to temperature and all types of fish have an optimal temperature range. The optimal temperature range of a trout is between 8 and 15 degrees centigrade. When the water temperature is outside its optimal range feeding activity will be reduced. Another important factor is how exposed is the fish to the potential of predation. Where a trout lies close to a safe hole it will feed with confidence but fish in the tail of a pool will often be sensitive to the slightest disturbance.

How does all this affect the way we approach fishing a river? Firstly we are the predator so fish will always treat our offerings and activities with suspicion. Secondly stealth is important. Think before you move and only move slowly. Thirdly don’t waste time fishing water which is likely to be unproductive and not hold fish. When approaching a pool think where the food is, where is the safe zone for the fish and how does the food get to the fish? Where these three things come together there the fish will be. Whether we can catch it is another matter.

By richard adeney, Feb 5 2020 09:35PM

When my children were young and we were on car journeys there was always great excitement when the road went through a tunnel of trees. There would be shouts of ‘tree tunnel’ from the back of the car. Tree tunnels are not only restricted to roads but also the streams and rivers in the Wye catchment.

The river Dore in Herefordshire is a case in point. The Chanstone Court beat (https://www.fishingpassport.co.uk/fishing/ws-monnow/chanstone-court) is hemmed in by trees and river bank vegetation. There are only a few access points and your whole fishing session is governed by the time it takes to fish between the access points.

So how do I tackle this stream? I fish with either a 2.4 meter Tenkara rod or a 1.8 meter 2 weight. Coupled with a 3 meter furled leader. As for flies a small selection of wet, dry and nymphs are all that is required. When fishing these streams it is important to keep as close to the bank as possible and also wade as carefully as you can.

Fishing in such close proximity to the stream can lead to close encounters with the local wildlife. One evening I was fishing a very secluded pool enclosed pool. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the silt on the bottom of the river disturbed only a few feet from me. Was it an otter entering the water or a large fish? I don’t know but it was a close encounter of the wild kind. Kingfishers are another inhabitant of these streams which you will encounter. You may even need to duck to avoid them as they streak up and down the stream.

Fishing can be challenging but it is well worth fishing these streams not only for the fish caught but also for the encounters with the local wildlife.

By richard adeney, Feb 4 2020 05:28PM

Another dry fly I use a lot is a pattern designed to represent a small cadis fly. This fly is simple to tie and is based on three of my favourite materials; which are, deer hair CDC and hare’s ear. These materials are very versatile and readily available.

The pattern of this fly is as follows:

1. Hook: size 16 to 22. I often use course fishing hooks for this fly as they are nearly always barbless and have a straight eye.

2. Thread: 8/0 to match body colour

3. Body: lighter hare’s ear dubbing

4. Thorax: darker hare’s ear dubbing. Picked out to form legs

5. Wing: under wing of deer hair. Over wing of CDC

The fly is designed to fish low in the water and imitates a range of small flies that the trout eats. Fish it in an evening in July and August it can be deadly.

By richard adeney, Feb 4 2020 05:15PM

The one that catches the fish!!

For me there are a number of criteria which go into making a favourite fly and they are:

1. I like simple flies which have a sleek profile. Particularly when trying to imitate hatching up-wing flies.

2. The fly must be easy to tie as I tie most of my own flies.

3. The materials must be readily available and also in expensive.

4. They must have good floating characteristics.

The fly illustrated at the end of this piece fits most of these criteria.


1. Hook: dry fly hook size 16 to 24

2. 8/0 uni thread or similar colour to match body

3. Tail: micro fibrils these can be obtained from a water colourist’s brush. A single brush will last a life time.

4. Body: stripped peacock herl dyed to suit the fly being imitated.

5. Thorax: small pinch of hare’s ear dubbing

6. Wing: one or two CDC plumes depending on the size of the fly.

This fly will catch fish when they are taking small up-wing duns. I feel that the CDC wing not only adds buoyance but also is a good imitation of the wings of the natural fly.

By richard adeney, Feb 2 2020 08:28PM

The East and West Dart rivers on Dartmoor have many happy fishing memories for me. The rivers run through Dartmoor in the county of Devon and are very accessible. Fishing permits can be obtained from many local outlets and the Westcountry Angling Passport (https://westcountryangling.com/ ). The permit gives access to many miles of upland streams which have a good head of wild brown trout and also seatrout or peel and salmon. All the streams are small so there is no need for heavy rods. A light six to eight foot rod matched with a 2 to 3 weight line will suffice. A Tenkara rod would also be suitable and this could be longer. I have not yet had an opportunity to fish these streams with a Tenkara rod. The fish are not too fussy as far as flies go, so a small box of generic wet and dry flies is all that is needed.

One particular cherished memory was a day I spent fishing the East Dart around Postbridge. I caught the bus from Plymouth to Postbridge and spent the day exploring the East Dart. Since I arrived by bus I did not have waders but only a pair of wellies which meant that I had to creep up the edge of the river. I caught a good number of trout on small dry flies. The most successful fly was a comparadun. This is a simple fly made of hare’s ear and deer hair. A size 14 is about the right size. When fishing these streams it is import to keep a low profile and keep to the edge of the river as far as possible. It is also most effective to work upstream and to cast the fly into all the most likely spots. Don’t stay in one spot too long.

Care must be taken when walking these streams. On one occasion when fishing the West Dart I was concentrating on some rising fish on the opposite side of the river. I failed to see a hole, into which I fell and broke my foot. This did not stop me fishing and the cool waters of the Dart helped to reduce the swelling on my foot. I did however take it to casualty the next day.

Fishing these streams is the essence of what trout fishing is all about. Being able to fish the stream and become one with the environment is what makes fishing these rivers so enjoyable. I well remember on one occasion fishing late in the evening hearing a crunching behind me. When I turned round there was a fox hunting for snails and slugs in a boggy patch behind where I was fishing.

In this short piece I have tried to sum up some of my experiences fishing the River Dart on Dartmoor. I hope you enjoy it too and will try and fish there.


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This blog will contain my thoughts on fishing the small streams in Herefordshire and beyond.

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