I’d wanted to fish this lake for some time. It’s remoteness as much of the attraction as the high catch returns; just getting there would be an adventure. I planned a trip with my father for Father’s Day.

Llyn Bugeilyn is a stream-fed upland lake, sitting in boggy moorland at about 1,700 feet above sea level. It is thought by some that the lake may contain its own indigenous species of fish, Black-finned Trout, but I feel the dark colouration is more likely an adaptation to the peaty waters. Some literature suggests the lake was stocked in Victorian times, which goes against the theory of a separate species.

I had intended to fish the lake the following day, but in the very hot weather – unusual for the Cambrian Mountains – I thought a quick evening trip might be more productive. One look at the two-mile road down to the lake confirmed the need for a 4×4 vehicle. We bumped and jarred our way down the track to arrive at a truly stunning location. Songbirds, sheep and one noisy duck were the only sounds. It must be the most remote place I’ve been to in the UK. You wouldn’t want to get into trouble here alone.

The old boathouse at Llyn Bugeilyn

I surveyed the lake. A few lily-pads poked up from the peaty water, stained a deep red. No fish were rising. All trout were no doubt hiding in the depths away from the incessant sun.

Following the received wisdom of “small and black”, I set up my 4wt fly rod and tied on a black GRHE and a black Zulu on the dropper. The 4wt rod is maybe a little light for fishing a large lake, but I was expecting the fish to be in the margins, and wind wouldn’t be a factor today. My father opted for a larger 7wt with a longer reach.

I cast my floating line into the dark water, hoping for an immediate take. No interest. I moved around the lake. The going was hard through the mossy, boggy ground and tussocks.

To cut a long story short: we blanked. I tried a number of flies – some larger, some brighter – but didn’t get a single pull. I moved around the lake as much as the terrain would allow, but the result was unvarying. I’m not sure what we could have done differently. The conditions were definitely against us today. Maybe I could have tried a sinking line and a heavier fly, and used my 6wt rod, but I felt it really just wasn’t going to be our day.

We flogged the dead horse for a couple of fruitless hours before conceding defeat. At 8 o’clock, with the sun still shining from the cloudless sky, we left for our dinner booking at The Star Inn .


I was a little disappointed to end my run of eleven fishing trips without a blank. I’d have put money on this lake delivering. That – as they say – is fishing. I’d love to return to this beguiling stillwater on day on a warm overcast evening.