Guided trips on river and lake

Wild llyn Expedition – Fishing on the edge in Snowdonia

I was standing on top of a wind blasted mountain, barely able to keep my footing. The wind howled, and with it came the rain and thick fog. Somewhere far below us was a llyn which we had passed without even seeing. The steep path (if you can call it that) led ever upwards. My companion, Alan, was nothing more than a lurching hooded figure fading in and out of sight.

Somewhere up there……

How we had progressed this far without getting lost was remarkable, yet we were not even half way. We were trekking to one of the most remote llyns in Wales, whose name loosely translates as ‘the lake of the winged creature’. Somewhere up ahead, through the murk lay the lakes of the dogs, another ominously named place which brought to mind Arthur Conan Doyle’s ferocious hound of the baskervilles. The weather certainly suited the tale, and at 2000 feet it was relentless.

After a good hours walk we were completely drenched. We found ourselves taking a break at the outlet of the lower dogs lake, only halfway to our ultimate destination.

The eerie lake of the hounds

Little of this llyn could be seen, other than a reed bed and strange white quartzite boulders. We took a side each and proceeded to fish. Within a short while, several mountain trout came to hand, each one 8 or 9 inches long and dark, typical trout from a high llyn. A few more were bumped and missed.

A pretty llyn trout

I waded through the reedbed and conveniently found it floated, like a mattress, allowing me to cover fresh water with the ferocious wind at my back. On the way back to shore I found myself sinking helplessly into a bottomless ooze of peat, I was really lucky to get out of it without getting stuck. Lesson learnt – don’t wade in a reed bed miles from nowhere!

There were another two llyns here, each higher again. However we decided to press on, hoping the fog would lift.

The next part of the trekk found us shambling over trackless moors where heather and bilberry grew amongst treacherous green bog. We had to check our bearings a few times on my phone (remarkably I had occasional signal!) It took some time, but eventually we came to a rain swollen rivulet that took us to the remote llyn.

Shambling through trackless moors
Alan at the Lake of the winged creature

There are tales of big fish from this place. It is said the fish average over a pound, with monsters present that would grace a glass case. Its also said to be a dour, deep llyn which most of the time keeps its secrets.

A dour and rocky place (Image Alan Parfitt)

From what we could see of the lake it was indeed deep and dour, with rocky banks that sheered steeply into dark boulder strewn depths. Wading was difficult, so for the most part we had to scramble about above the water.

Fishing on the edge! (Image Alan Parfitt)

Today we had our work truly cut out – the wind must have been 40mph or more – with visibility at nearly zero! We could barely throw a line – the wind would gust and squall violently, and the banks were slippery and treacherous. This limited where we could fish to just a few places. I managed to find a good spot on a rocky islet that allowed me to get a line out a fair way.

Persistence paid off – I managed to capture two perfectly formed trout, each one hardly longer than my hand. Granted, they were not the giant creatures of myth, but we both had a few savage pulls which in my mind could have been good sized fish.

A wild llyn trout – small but perfect

We left the llyn after a few hours, sodden and freezing cold. Our final stop was the llyn we had passed on the way up, hidden in the murk. Thankfully the weather had lifted a little, allowing us to enjoy a view of this spectacular corrie lake.

The murk lifts revealing a corrie llyn

This llyn has a macabre tale – an angler, said to be a carpenter, drowned while fishing the lake, having climbed the sheer cliffs seeking to catch the larger fish that are said to sit beneath them.

Fishing below sheer cliffs (Image Alan Parfitt)

Indeed, half of the llyn was very shallow and not so good for fishing. In the gin clear water I actually spotted a few fish swimming about over pale patches of algae on the bottom. A few of these took my fly, smallish fish of from 6 to 10 inches.

A typical Snowdonia llyn trout

The best area proved to be in the deeper water under the slopes. The water appeared black as night, almost fathomless. Here I saw a trout move vertically from the deeps and nail my fly almost under my feet – this one was the best yet, just over a foot long.  Several other better fish also came to hand here. I didn’t risk the very steepest part, it looked dangerous, although I did see some temping rises just below them, they weren’t enough to lure me to a potential watery death!

Best of the day – a buttercup yellow brownie

We’d had a full day out, having walked a total of 12km accross some extremely challenging terrain. Sore footed we headed back to civilisation to dry off, content that we had caught fish from all three llyns. Another great adventure completed.

The way back to civilisation


  1. Mark Roberts

    Great article Ceri. Fishing with Parf is always an adventure

  2. Alan jones

    Dear Ceri,
    A very well written article. Dylan Thomas-esque in parts. Very enjoyable reading, almost felt I was there.
    Have known Parf for almost 60 years and one thing i have learned is never go in the woods or a short jaunt (that’s his words) with him. It never turns out the way it should.

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