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Wye - Hereford

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St Martins Dental Prcatice
Weather near Hereford

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The source of the Wye is in the Welsh mountains at Plynlimon. It flows through or past several towns and villages including Rhayader, Builth Wells, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford, Ross-on-Wye, Symonds Yat, Monmouth and Tintern, meeting the Severn estuary just below Chepstow. The Wye itself is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and one of the most important rivers in the UK for nature conservation. Much of the lower valley is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Wye is largely unpolluted and used to be considered[by whom?] one of the best rivers for salmon fishing in the United Kingdom, outside of Scotland. However, in recent years the runs of salmon in the Wye have declined dramatically and according to the Environment Agency rod catch returns for 2009 it is not even the most productive salmon river in Wales, as more salmon were caught from the Welsh Dee. In England the Tyne, Ribble, Wear, Lune and Eden all had larger catches in 2009.

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St Martins Dental Practice

St Martins Dental Practice

75 St Martins Street, Hereford, , HR2 7RG

The practice was established by Bob Binnersley in 1989. It has gradually expanded ever since and now boasts three dentists, two dental therapists, oral health practitioners, dental radiographers, a practice manager, a receptionist and dental nurses.

Website | Email | 01432 265 613

Local Reports

Oliver Burch's profile picture

River Wye Report 6th April 2014

added: 6th Apr 2014

Here we have the salmon catch figures for the opening month. It seemed like a slow start, with more than half the river still in flood as we began fishing, but by the end of March we had 60 springers recorded,...

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a figure which is well ahead of both 5 year and 10 year averages. The breakdown of the catches by section: above Builth – 1; Builth to Glasbury: 1; Glasbury to Luggsmouth – 10; Luggsmouth to Monmouth – 36; below Monmouth – 12. Working from the top, we can detail these as firstly the remarkable opening fish taken near Newbridge on a Mar Lodge fly, one from the Rectory, quite a number from the middle river which has seen most of the action through the month, and finally fish starting to show below Monmouth to the tide as the high water levels slowly dropped away. 15% of the fish taken were over 20 pounds and there were several 30 pounders, including a best fish of 35 pounds caught at Ingestone.

After the extraordinarily wet winter, the river is still high, and with the ground saturated every moderate shower seems to have added a few inches back to the level. Unsurprisingly, spinning has accounted for a fair number of the spring fish taken in the deeper pools of the lower Wye. During the winter, there was much discussion of the best way to avoid damage to salmon which are to be released when using spinning baits such as the Flying C. In its standard form this comes with a very large treble hook attached, which can be difficult or impossible to remove safely from a deep-hooked fish. Single hook Flying C lures in different weights are now available from McHardys and Garry Evans of Newport; most proprietors and certainly the Wye and Usk Foundation will appreciate their use. As will the salmon, be in no doubt.

Despite the high water, Wye trout fishing has been quite good at times. The hatches seem to have arrived early this year. In particular, there were some very good march brown hatches observed during the month. This very famous fly, which only a few years ago had become so diminished as to be considered extinct on parts of these rivers, seems to be making a come back on both the Wye and the Usk. I saw a couple of really spectacular hatches at Pwll y Faedda near Erwood during which every trout in the river seemed to be splashing excitedly at the surface. Oddly enough, such intense hatches do not seem to be quite as useful to the angler as the longer periods when the march browns trickle off in smaller numbers. Then your artificial pattern will be more prominent among the naturals and you may accordingly experience more takes. There are plenty of March Brown patterns, both wet and dry, to experiment with. Personally, I like to fish a team of spiders across the river during the early part of a hatch, and Roger Fogg’s Woodcock and Hare’s Lug in size 14 or even 12, combining brown and dull orange colours, usually works well. For a single dry fly, a size 14 Deer Hair Emerger, the shuttlecock wing of which mimics the 45 degree sloping brown wing of the natural, is often taken with confidence.

In the last few days we have seen the first grannom sedge coming off, both at the top of the river and as far down as Goodrich Court above Monmouth. To see the grannom during March is very early indeed. This is a different kind of hatch, in that when it really gets going, the little fly comes off literally in millions, a strange blizzard of what look like tiny whirling scraps of brownish paper over the river. They will be everywhere, invading your mouth and your eyes. Again, the fish are spoiled for choice and have a tendency to hunt over many yards from side to side under the surface as they frantically snap up the emerging pupae. This can make accurate placement of your artifical difficult; that fish which you just saw rise will be somewhere different when you make your cast for it. In these circumstances, again I turn to a team of three spiders fished across the current and Hare’s Lug and Plover, which has the right pale brown colour, is usually a top scorer. For a dry fly, try one of Dave Collins’ Grannom Emerger patterns.

Oliver Burch

6th April 2014

Oliver Burch's profile picture

River Wye Report 24th March 2014

added: 25th Mar 2014

A week further into the season and salmon catches are still slow, at least in terms of numbers, but some superb specimens have been reported this year. The entire river is now fishable, but still relatively...

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high in the lower reaches. These high water levels have tended to favour spinning even more than usual in the early spring. Most of the activity has come from the section from Monmouth up to the mouth of the Lugg and a number of 30 pounders have been reported from beats such as Backney and Ingestone. Martin Lydon has just had a 30 pounder from Caradoc, their first of the season, and Mike Pritchard took a magnificent fish of 35 pounds from Ingestone. The beats below Monmouth are now also starting to produce.

Trout fishing has been relatively slow, and seems likely to remain so for a few days longer, or at least while the present cold spell continues and fly hatches are inhibited. Accidental catches by salmon anglers using Flying Cs and big tube flies probably accounted for the best of them. Trout anglers on the main river and those who tried the tributaries found it necessary to continue fishing hard on the bottom with nymphs. Outlook as we enter April? Surely it can only get easier as the weather warms up.

Oliver Burch

24th March 2014

Oliver Burch's profile picture

River Wye Report 16th March 2014

added: 16th Mar 2014

It has been a slow start to the season, but an interesting one. The Wye was a very big river on opening day, the lower part being mostly too high to fish for salmon. A change to dry, bright, high pressure...

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weather, which continues at the time of writing, was welcomed by all, but water levels only dropped off very slowly due to the saturated ground. Some of the tributaries, the Lugg for example, are still pouring in large quantities of water.

Predictions were that the early salmon would be taken well up the river, as the long winter of flooding would have allowed springers to run far into the system. This proved to be quite right, although we had to wait a week for the first one. This was taken by Steve Grimwood right up at Newbridge, an area that often doesn’t see salmon until the last week or two of the season. He took his 18 pounder on a sinking line and a Mar Lodge fly, about as traditional a combination as you can imagine – could he have been casting with a greenheart rod also? It was a certainly a great achievement. Gillie Lyn Cobley had a 13 pounder spinning at Ingestone, and another 18 pounder was reported from Whitney Court on a Rapala. That is all, so far. I imagine the catch rate should improve as the lower river comes into ply. (The Usk, incidentally, has just one from Llangibby. And I think I had a handshake with one at Chainbridge the other day!)

Trout fishing has also started quite slowly, although the water temperature is comparatively warm for the time of year. A few large dark olives were visible around the middle of the day during the opening week, but fish were not reacting much at the surface. Those anglers who tried, whether on the main river or tributaries, found they needed to use heavily weighted nymphs to get results as trout seemed to be still rooted to the bottom. RP from Shrewsbury was one who had a wonderful opening day, fishing the top of the river at Clochfaen and casting a goldhead nymph upstream to take a brown trout of over 4 pounds. The days of sunshine are having their effect however, and I think this aspect is about to change. I was getting takes to spiders fished just sub-surface this afternoon and march brown hatches have already been noted in a couple of places. The same legendary fly is making a daily appearance on the Usk. One point noted by both trout fishermen and those salmon anglers who took trout accidentally is how thin and pale the fish seem to be after their winter of living in muddy water. Certainly they will have some weight to pack on as the river comes to life. One salmon angler who was pleased to take an accidental trout was TW of Leominster, who took one of 5 pounds 10 ounces spinning with a Rapala at Winforton. That was apparently one of the rare Wye sea trout.

Oliver Burch

16th March 2014

Oliver Burch's profile picture

River Wye Report 4th March 2014

added: 4th Mar 2014

It’s been a while since the last report, but, in truth, there hasn’t been much angling success to report. The flood which began on 18th December, extraordinary as it seems, is still with us today,...

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although the levels are tending to drop very slowly as the amount of rainfall has moderated slightly. The problem is that with the ground as saturated as it is now, only a few hours of modest rainfall are enough to send the levels up once more, and this has happened again and again over recent weeks. What we really need now is a switch to easterly air-flows and cold, dry weather (remember last spring), but it isn’t predicted for a while.

There have been almost no results filed or even practical fishing opportunities to take although, as always, there were one or two honourable exceptions. These were mostly visiting anglers who “gave it a go” in conditions which kept the locals indoors. So, here’s to the lads from Merthyr Tydfil and one or two others who managed to extract grayling from the Irfon at Cefnllysgwynne when the water higher than normally considered fishable, and also a cheer for the various people ingenious enough to catch chub from patches of slack water in the middle river. Bearing in mind that the flood water was relatively warm, there was also the odd barbel, some of them quite decent fish.

However, these were the exceptions to the rule; right now we have a new salmon and trout season opened, so what are the possibilities with the river today still more or less in spate? If the rain holds off, there will probably be opportunities to fish the upper river (Hay to Builth section) for salmon in the next couple of days. It will certainly be very high water fishing, but if the theory that the winter of constant flood has enabled spring salmon to travel higher than normal is correct, there might be some interesting results. Lower down the river, the water is going to be too high and too coloured for quite a while yet.

For a trout fisherman hoping to capitalise on those short-lived large dark olive hatches of March afternoons, it is difficult to know what to advise at the moment. The whole of the Wye and most of the tributaries are running off powerfully and much of the water is dirty. I think I would suggest to try our sister river the Usk, which, as always, is dropping off and clearing faster. Start at the top end.

Oliver Burch

4th February 2014

Atlantic Salmon Trust's profile picture

Usan Coastal Nets

added: 2nd Mar 2014

Mixed Stocks Fisheries. The Lairds of our Coast and wild salmon. Breath-taking arrogance, unsustainable, out-of-date, and cause for international censure.

After years of abuse of the netting...

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slap periods, Usan Fisheries have at last been brought to account. To anyone concerned about the state of salmon and sea trout stocks on the east coast of Scotland, they will feel that this legal action is long overdue.

Sailing close to the wind. Did Usan jibe?

It is widely recognised by everyone involved in salmon fishery management that the activities of the Usan Salmon Fishery have at times been somewhat ‘close to the wind’ in terms of the law. The weekly slap times, when nets are by law supposed to be rendered inactive by removing the leaders to the bag nets, are in place to support the conservation of salmon, grilse and sea trout. They are most certainly not regulations for a pick and choose approach by Usan Fisheries, arguably the most destructive mixed stocks fishery remaining in the UK.

The owners of the Usan Salmon Fisheries company now face 12 charges relating to alleged incidents in Angus and Fife during August and September 2013. The locations cited are at Boddin, Dysart, Ethie Haven and Scurdie Ness. If it transpires that their nets were operating in the month of September it will confirm the extraordinary arrogance – some might say the behaviour of people who seem to regard the Scottish coast as their fiefdom, and all salmon as their property – of a fishery which surely is now an anachronism, putting Scotland’s inept management of its wild salmon into international pariah status. The fact is that September is outwith the netting season. Transgression of statutory season closures is surely tantamount to poaching?

Of the twelve charges, five are related to netting salmon every weeekend in August from 1800 on Fridays to 0600 on Mondays, all outwith the statutory weekly close time for net fisheries.

All this may seem petty and somewhat arcane to anyone unfamiliar with the operations of Usan Salmon Fisheries. This company, which has long received political and moral support from government and funding from the EU, takes salmon in unknown numbers from most, if not all, east coast salmon rivers. No-one knows which populations of fish are being exploited, some of which may be in a fragile condition (as is the case with the government’s own assessment of South Esk spring salmon). The activities of Usan Salmon Fisheries make it impossible for fishery managers on all affected rivers to assess the condition of their salmon stocks.

The existence of that mixed stocks net fishery is simply bad fishery management, and it is time to take full control of their exploitation. If it is found that they have been flouting the law, notwithstanding health and safety considerations, it will become absolutely clear that they cannot be trusted to manage their operations within the law. Appropriate measures to curb their activities, on conservation grounds alone, must surely follow?

And I haven’t even touched on the immense damage being done by one small family business to the rural economy and communities from Fife to Inverness!


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Oliver Burch's profile picture

River Wye Report 13th February 2014

added: 13th Feb 2014

It hardly seems necessary to write much about either the weather or the floods, which have been the main item of national news for weeks now. The Wye system has reached some quite exceptional levels, threatening...

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and damaging bank-side property. With a saturated catchment and further heavy precipitation forecast, we clearly have more problems to come. The Wye and Usk Foundation have already recorded 15 inches of rain during the first 6 weeks of 2014. A seal which somehow found its way into the Monnow is another indication that these are strange times indeed. From an angling point of view, there are no immediate prospects and it does look now that we might end up regarding the 13/14 grayling season as one which ended before Christmas. I suppose it is just possible that the Irfon will come down to a fishable level by the end of the month, but that is far from certain. Coarse fishermen on the main river also don’t have much to look forward to before their season ends.

Meanwhile, people have come to realise that a new salmon season is only 21/2 weeks away and are starting to wonder what the chances will be. I already have early season days booked on the lower river, and I’m coming to the conclusion that we will be spinning from the bank, assuming that it will be possible to fish at all. It’s interesting to speculate just what effect the present flood conditions will have on firstly the fertilised salmon eggs lying in their gravel redds, and secondly the early spring run. The Wye and Usk Foundation advise that we shouldn’t worry too much about the first, salmon redds are tougher structures than you think and the survival rates will be high. The extended floods might mean that, assuming we have springers in the numbers experienced during 2012 and 2013, they will be spread much higher up the river, possibly even as far as Builth. It would be nice to think that beats above Hereford might have chances for early springers. At the same time, we should logically expect fewer kelts than usual, as these spawned females will have had plenty of opportunity to return to sea. In the longer term, a river running high and clear late into the spring, declining only very slowly, might provide better trout fishing than average. Our sister river the Usk, with a much smaller catchment, can be expected to drop off more rapidly.

Oliver Burch

13th February 2014

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River Wye Report 23rd January 2014

added: 23rd Jan 2014

As one belt of rain succeeded another every couple of days and the ground continued completely saturated, the main river and major tributaries have remained at high flood levels with no fishing possible....

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It is some 5 weeks now since we have been off the river. Prospects? Well, I suppose that it must stop raining sooner or later. A cold, dry, easterly air flow with high pressure conditions might eventually generate some grayling fishing possibilities before the season ends. Meanwhile, we wait.

Well above the grayling zone, it was possible at times for the Wye and Usk volunteer teams to carry out some scheduled winter maintenance where the upland brooks were running clear, if high. This month, teams have trimmed parts of the Edw brook in Radnorshire, and parts of the Escley, upper Monnow, Olchon and Honddu streams under the Black Mountains.

Oliver Burch

23rd January 2014