Today’s Flyfisher: Taming the Taff

There must be something in the air and the water at the moment… because for the second time this autumn, there’s a new quarterly print magazine for fly-fishers in the UK and further afield.

Better still, the first issue of Today’s Flyfisher (just like the launch edition of Fly Culture) pays its respects to the urban fishing movement – with a full-on, 6-page portrait of the River Taff from our good friend Ceri Thomas.

Ceri focuses on the huge amount of work that Merthyr Tydfil AA has put into improving the upper river, and he pulls no punches on the benefits of the club’s decision to stop stocking the river with farmed trout (sidebar: it’s interesting that we only found wild trout when photographing the river at Merthyr Vale for Trout in Dirty Places, but maybe we just got lucky!)

Ten years ago I lived half a mile from the MTAA water, but I had to drive down river to find good fishing. The wild fish were small and stunted, seldom getting above 10 inches, and the stockies were not much of a challenge or nice to look at. It was disappointing, because the upper Taff had so much potential as a trout fishery.

Eventually, things changed. The stocking programme was wound down for various reasons, firstly financial, then due to stock supply issues and then forced implementation of triploid stocking. After 2013’s 1,600 fish, only a few hundred fish went in each year, and the programme was finally discontinued in 2017. A radical change in the native trout population had been happening in the meantime. Wild trout began to flourish and grow large, filling the void left by the stockies. Specimen wild trout started appearing in the catches a few years ago, and it has been improving steadily year on year. In fact the upper Taff has now become a ‘trophy fishery’ with some of the best fishing in the region.

Very much like Fly Culture, Today’s Flyfisher is a slightly pricier than the average monthly fishing magazine, but the production values are outstanding, with lots of focus on macro photography and glossy paper, and huge, high-resolution photos alongside well-considered text.

Originally available only by post, Today’s Flyfisher has now hit the news-stands too. So keep an eye out, and grab yourself a copy when you see one!

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