When Western Power Distribution purchased Llanishen reservoir in 2004, one of its first acts was to stop fishing at the reservoir, thus ending a tradition that had lasted for over 100 years.
Following the reservoir's construction in 1884, a small trout hatchery was built below the main dam using the waters of the Nant Fawr. By the 1900's, fish reared at Llanishen formed its annual stock and the first permits to fish were sold to anglers by the Corporation's water department. Though the hatchery has been disused for many years, the reservoir always received annual stockings of trout.
In those early years, the reservoir was lightly fished, producing an average weight of fish of one pound, although each season would see larger trout caught. The reservoir was set in open countryside surrounded by working farms, shooting estates and narrow country lanes. Apart from the Rhymney Railway that sliced north to south through the parish, there was no other form of public transport in the district prior to the First World War. Even today, with Llanishen becoming a suburb of Cardiff, the reservoir site provides its visitors with superb country views and, though such a short way from the "hurly burly" roads of modern Cardiff, can still give one the matchless sense of being in the countryside.
In 1948, under the leadership of Mr William G. Earle, a local builder of Rhyd-y-penau Road, anglers at Llanishen formed a club. Its aims were to advise the Cardiff water department on the fishing and improve the facility generally. The Cardiff Reservoirs Fly Fishing Club celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1997, and with rarely less than a hundred members this club has provided, at small cost, an entry into the fly fishing world for hundreds of prospective anglers: men, women and children. The club was a founder member of the Welsh Fly Fishing Federation in 1953. Many of the club's most skilled members have represented their country at National and International events throughout the United Kingdom.
RAG is currently exploring the possibility of restoring fishing to the reservoirs, when we can get the reservoir refilled, in conjunction with former members of the Cardiff Reservoirs Fly Fishing Club.