Fishing on the Towy

The Towy and its major tributary the Cothi has long been recognised as supporting the best seatrout fishery in Britain, and possibly Western Europe. Although runs have declined a little in recent years, the 10 year average declared rod catch is still 5000 fish. Salmon catches over the same period average some 800 fish, placing the Towy high in the listing of Welsh salmon rivers.

It is renowned for its big, fast growing seatrout (also known as sewin). Multi-spawners, they can reach well over 15 lbs in weight. The largest fish enter the river in March and April, with sizes gradually declining through the main runs of 3 - 6 pounders of May and June to the shoal fish of July and August. An instream cage trapping survey carried out by the Welsh Water Authority during the late Eighties suggested that some 20,000 seatrout of average weight exceeding 6 lbs had entered the river by the end of May.

Although fresh seatrout continue to enter the river during September and October, many of the earlier run fish, by mid September, are becoming gravid and preparing for spawning. By mid to late October, they will have travelled to the furthest, tiniest, tributaries. Each hen fish can be attended by several males, ranging in size from small precocious trout to large cock seatrout. The same group of males will await, and accompany a succession of hens to their spawning beds.

While salmon run throughout the fishing season, the main runs occur mostly during August, September and October, but are largely dependant on flows. Summer spates can produce good runs of grilse. Following seven years of liming in Llyn Brianne, the upper Towy is thought to be recovering sufficiently for a return to successful spawning in the 10 mile stretch above Llandovery. This should bolster the earlier runs of salmon and large seatrout.

There are some reasonably sized brown trout in the main river. These are generally regarded by local anglers as a bonus by-catch. Small trout are present throughout the catchment, but being indistinguishable from juvenile seatrout, they present a problem to responsible fishermen. The minimum size limit for trout (and seatrout) has recently been raised to 9 inches.

Take a tour of the Towy Valley at http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/southwest/nature/features/pages/tywi.shtml

For further general information on fishing in "Kite Country" visit this excellent website - http://www.fishing-in-kite-country.co.uk/index.html