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.
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.
added: 14th Jun 2013
posted by: Oliver Burch
June is always one of the busiest months on the Wye with visiting anglers from all parts of the UK coming to sample our salmon and trout fishing. Salmon catches have slowed down very slightly during the...
hot and bright conditions of early June with water levels rather lower than ideal, although there are fish spread right up the river beyond Builth Wells. Some algal blooms affecting the water have been noticed on the lower river, particularly during the afternoon; the Wye and Usk Foundation ascribes these to the level of phosphates caused by agriculture combined with the bright sun. These blooms haven’t been dangerous, but salmon have been rather more ready to take during the morning. As usual in low water conditions, it is the beats below Monmouth, particularly Wyesham, which do best, with new sea-liced fish being taken most days. Nevertheless, salmon beats almost anywhere are capable of producing a fish at the moment, particularly for anglers who plan to fish early or late on bright days. This is also a good way to avoid the mass of canoe traffic on the navigable parts of the river. In fact we have 109 salmon recorded for June at the time of writing, which puts us well on the way to a good showing against the 10 year average of 170. The largest so far this month was a 28 pounder from Rock Cottage. Altogether, the river has passed the 500 mark for the season so far. Again, this looks good against the 10 year average, provided that water levels and expected runs continue to hold up.
It is now that we look to receive the run of two sea winter summer salmon, fish averaging 10-12 pounds weight, and these do seem to be arriving from the tide into the lower beats regularly. Although large fish can find their way into the Wye all through the season, if you look at the statistics published on the Wye and Usk Foundation’s site you can quite clearly see the division between the spring run with its significant proportion of heavier, three sea winter fish, and the present summer run. The Foundation records the percentages of fish caught over 20 pounds each month; for both March and April these were 27%, and for May and early June, 9% and 8% respectively.
Trout fishing on the main river also slowed down slightly during hot days of bright sunshine, but the tributaries, particularly those holding may fly, did rather well. This is a time when I would recommend trying some of the smaller ones, such as the upper parts of the Lugg or Arrow in Herefordshire, or perhaps some of the Monnow head waters under the Black Mountains such as Olchon, Honddu or Dulas. Above all, it’s a time for dry fly fishing. Otherwise, consider trying some of the mountain lakes of the region, which are usually at their best in high summer. You can find a list of these on the Wye and Usk Foundation site. Apart from the rainbow trout fisheries run by Welsh Water, I can recommend wild trout fisheries such as Llyn Bugeilyn, high on remote Cambrian moors, and this week I have had a couple of delightful evenings on Talybont reservoir in the Brecon Beacons. The kind of loch fishing techniques perhaps more familiar in Ireland and Scotland become appropriate here. Usually it’s a matter of fishing teams of traditional wet flies with particular attention to the top dropper tripping through the ripple. Fish the surface and look for explosive rises with “smash and grab” takes. On mountain lakes such as these, it’s the magnificent scenery which contributes as much to the experience as beautiful wild trout.
The weather does seem to have changed now from hot and bright conditions typical for June to cooler, cloudy days with showers: an outlook which should please anglers. However, it’s unclear from the prediction just how much rain we can expect in the short/medium term. Most salmon anglers will be looking for a proper flood to flush the river out and give the fish a lift upstream – the kind of conditions we saw again and again last summer. For trout fishing on the main river too, a freshet giving a rise in the water level and perhaps a little more colour for a while should speed up sport.
Coarse fishermen will be getting ready to start their season now and have every reason to anticipate good sport during the early weeks. Wye barbel fishing seems to go from strength to strength every year and the species has slowly made its way upstream as far as Builth Wells. In the bright sun and low water conditions on our beat near Erwood last week, I was watching the big fish, distinctive with their coral pink pectoral and ventral fins, showing up clearly on gravel shallows. We have seen them spawning here in recent years. The chub can also be spotted easily in such conditions, either sunbathing or lazily patrolling in search of food, occasionally opening that big white mouth. It’s quite remarkable what chub are prepared to eat – almost anything, it seems, at times. You can see them taking hatches of fly – true mayfly, yellow may, olives or sedges – which you would ordinarily associate with trout. More commonly at this time of year you will see them make aggressive attacks on shoals of minnows, fry and larger fish too. A typical upper Wye chub might be about 3 pounds, but they grow to 6 pounds and more in places.
15th June 2013
added: 5th Jun 2013
posted by: Oliver Burch
The salmon total for May recorded by the Wye and Usk Foundation was 184, which, compared with a 10-year average of 111, is a very satisfactory result. The spring run having now reached up as far as Newbridge,...
the total breaks down as 4 fish above Builth Wells, 16 from Builth down to Glasbury, 23 from Glasbury to Luggsmouth, 57 from Luggsmouth to Monmouth, and 84 below Monmouth. Brian Skinner opened our account at Pwll y Faedda on the upper river near Erwood with a superb silver fish of 25 pounds one evening last week, and lost several others during the same session. The best fish recorded on the river was a 28 pounder from Bigsweir. Wyesham, immediately below Monmouth, have already passed the 100 fish mark and are now regularly reporting new runs of two sea winter salmon coming in on the tides. Since the last high water dropped off and permitted the lower river beats to be fished, we are now seeing fish reported regularly from most sections of the river, although the hot, bright sun and low water levels currently being experienced may slow things down somewhat. As always, anglers are asking for a change in the weather; some cloudy days and a bit more rain would be welcome now. Traditionally, June should be one of the most productive months on the Wye and we should be looking for the two sea winter summer run.
Readers of the July edition of Trout and Salmon may have been a bit surprised to find a rather down-beat report by Geoff Franks referring to just 63 fish caught during April and difficult fishing. The truth is that Trout and Salmon apparently made a mistake and reprinted the 2012 report; to set the record straight, the most accurate figure we have for April 2013 was 174 and the largest fish was the 48 incher caught by Adam Fisher at Seven Sisters. It was in fact the best April for 20 years.
Trout fishing came on by leaps and bounds with the warmer temperatures last week, as if spring had finally arrived, and we saw plentiful hatches of olive uprights, yellow may, and the true mayfly in places. On a rather wet and drizzly afternoon, one of my clients had good sport on the Llynfi Dulas as trout rose avidly to the big white flies. May fly never seem to be put off from hatching by damp weather and a little rise in level and very slight colour in the water do no harm either. I had nice dry fly fishing at the weekend on several brooks which were at just the right level. Right now, the hot bright weather and low clear water has made sport slightly more difficult on the open glides of the upper river. My advice while the bright sun lasts would be to fish early or late, concentrate on the fast runs or shady places under trees, or perhaps choose to fish a well-shaded brook. Again, a little more rain would be appreciated now.
5th June 2013
added: 25th May 2013
posted by: Oliver Burch
After the truly fabulous April salmon catches, I was just a little disappointed that the big flood of 15th May did not produce better as the high water dropped back. However, catches do seem to have picked...
up again and there is now a lot of salmon fishing effort on the river. We are already up to 119 fish for May with another 5 days to go, so we should be well ahead of the 10 year average. At the time of writing, the middle section around Whitney Court seems to be fishing well, as if this part of the river is holding the bulk of the spring run. We still don’t have any fish taken higher up than Nyth and Tyrcelin (above Erwood), as far as I know. The Nyth took one more this week, slightly frustrating for Brian and I, as we have yet to open our account at Pwll y Faedda, which is the beat immediately below. Down at the bottom end, Wyesham is reporting large numbers of new sea-liced fish pushing in from the tide. Quite a number of these seem to be smaller salmon in the 8-10 pounds bracket, and they have already run past the Monmouth shallows – Donny Macer-Wright reported three of them from his water at Wyebank yesterday morning. The largest fish taken in May so far is a 28 pounder from Bigsweir.
This strange spring continues to blow literally hot and cold, making life difficult for trout fishermen. The weekend of the 18th and 19th, certainly the warmest so far this year, was a good one with numbers of good catches reported and trout rising happily to olive uprights and large brook duns in places. I had a very nice day with a client on the Herefordshire Arrow on the Saturday, with trout rising freely for most of the day. We were mainly using an Adams and a Deer Hair Emerger. On the main stem of the river, yellow mays have also been about in numbers and it’s well worth while to carry an imitation. Also, we are now starting to see the true mayfly in any streams with enough silt to suit the presence of this fly. You can find it on the Arrow, Lugg, most of the Monnow system, parts of the Edw, and also on the lower parts of the main Wye itself, although here it is the chub which mostly benefit. It’s quite a privilege to have waters containing this iconic fly – fishing the hatch is not always as easy as sometimes imagined, but red-letter days are possible. It has been colder during the week, with a full gale blowing yesterday to make life difficult, but the weather has now turned milder again to make life easier for the dry fly man.
The twaite shad have arrived in the lower river for their spawning run, right on time and apparently undeterred by the cold spring. A five pounder reported from the lower river might have been, I would guess, one of the rare allis shad. Yesterday, after a couple had grabbed a tube fly intended for salmon, I watched a group rising splashily, apparently to olives floating down with the current. At times they will take anything from a Flying C to a tiny spider. Please remember they are a protected species and should not be deliberately targeted; if you catch one, more will be present, so move on.
25th May 2013
added: 9th May 2013
posted by: Oliver Burch
We finished April with 172 salmon taken on the Wye, 27% of the fish reported being over 20 pounds, and the largest being the 37 pounds (conservative estimate) cock fish taken by Adam Fisher at Seven Sisters....
By any standards, it has been a super month for spring salmon on the Wye. Salmon have now been taken as far up as Nyth and Tyrcelyn above Erwood, but the majority of fish caught were from the lower river and the middle river to Hereford. I was lucky enough to get a couple of fish last week, one from Goodrich Court and one from Aramstone, both on a Black and Yellow tube. Towards the end of a relatively dry fortnight, the rate of catches reduced as the water level dropped. Neverthless, sea-liced fish continued to push into the lower beats below Monmouth on every tide.
It’s raining now and we look to see just what effect fresh water will have on the levels and the fishing. So far this afternoon, the upper river has risen just two inches. If there is no more significant rise, the main fishing chances will still be below Monmouth and perhaps the middle river to Hereford. If we have a proper spate, it may be worth fishing right through to Builth or even higher.
Trout fishing last week was a little better as rising temperatures have encouraged hatches and consequently rising fish. A few anglers reported good fishing during the emergence of grannom sedge, although the only really big hatches of this insect I saw were on the lower river when I had a salmon rod in my hands. It does seem the excessively cold and protracted spring has compressed the expected timescale for hatching insects. On cold days last week, we were still seeing a few march browns on the river – and trout were certainly reacting. Hawthorn flies can be seen hovering on the banks now, various olives are about and it comes as a bit of a shock to realise we can expect the first mayfly quite soon. Generally, top of the water sport can expected now, either with dries or spiders. Expect to find more trout lying in the fast water at the heads of pools, waiting to take advantage of hatching insects. Trout fishermen also would like to see a flush of water to clean out the river a bit. Watch those rain gauges and the webcams.
9th May 2013
added: 7th May 2013
posted by: Atlantic Salmon Trust
My friend, Fred Woodward, wrote 'The Scottish Pearl in Peril in its World Context' which was published by Diehard in 1993 (ISBN 0 946230 27 7) and, although currently out of print, is in my view the best...
introduction to the life of this fascinating mollusc. He asked me to write the Foreword to his book, which I quote below because the context of the Freshwater Mussel FWM (Margaritifera Margaritifera) is perhaps more relevant today than it was then, largely because of increasing public awareness of its ecological importance.
Fred Woodward worked at the Kelvingrove Gallery in Glasgow in a team of distinguished natural historians and biologists. In that capacity he became a member of the European Invertebrates Survey and of the Bern Invertebrates Specialist Group, among other influential roles, including fellowship of the Linnaean Society. I remember Fred talking about the importance of the freshwater mussel and its relationship with juvenile salmonids, especially Atlantic salmon parr. At that time he was drafting the guidelines for the EU's Habitat Directorate, which ultimately led to EU legislation to protect the FWM.
Why are freshwater mussels (FWM) important?
My own interest in Margaritifera Margaritifera stemmed from living on the banks of the River South Esk in Angus, which was famous for the quality of its FWM pearls. In the 1980s it was still legal to collect pearls by opening up the shell of the living mollusc, invariably killing it in the process, and occasionally finding a pearl inside. South Esk FWM pearls were highly sought after, so much so that the late Queen Mother was given a necklace of a selection of the purest irridescent and graded pearls.
Quite often we would find heaps of opened shells beside the river, with dead mussels rotting and stinking in the summer warmth. It was obvious to me, even before I met Fred Woodward, that the plundering of the river's stocks of FWM could not continue if they were not going to become extinct.
Hence, when Fred asked me to write the foreword for his book, this is what I wrote:
"The freshwater mussel is a biological indicator of the health of our rivers. It is also the prized quarry of pearl fishermen, and in Scotland there is a common right to fish for them. There are few such privileges given to the ordinary person, above the rights of the riparian owner, and it is significant, as public access to Scotland's wilderness areas is now a major political issue, that we now know that this practice is no longer sustainable, if the Scottish pearl mussel is to survive.
Traditionally the pearl fisher killed every mussel in the search for the elusive and valuable pearl. It is this, in the context of the longevity and slow growth of Margaritifera Margaritifera, which made it obvious to Scotland's small group of professional pearl fishers that they needed to devise a method which did not involve killing the mussel. This they succeeded in doing by developing tongs which prise open the shell-halves sufficiently to allow inspection and removal of a pearl from the mussel's mantle without harming it. Unfortunately, it was impossible to communicate this method to the much larger number of amateur pearl fishermen, and it therefore became necessary to introduce legislation in 1989 to protect the animal by making it illegal to kill them, or interfere with them in any way.
Fred Woodward is the champion of Margaritifera Margaritifera. His interest in its natural history, its exploitation by man since pre-Roman times, its global context and the politics needed to ensure its survival, are the subject of this book. His main concern is for the mollusc's wellbeing, and yet he manages to introduce an elegaic sympathy for the Scottish group of professional pearl fishers, Bill Abernethy, Peter Goodwin and the McCormack family. It is well worth reading Peter Goodwin's book, 'The River and the Road - Journal of a Freshwater Pearl-Fisher' (Hale 1985 ISBN 0 7090 2341 3) which describes the lives of pearl fishers, an activity which sadly but understandably no longer exists.
The 1992 Rio conference on the global environment highlighted the issue of biodiversity, and it is therefore important that each threatened species has its champions. Fred Woodward's commitment is much more important than championing the cause of a single species however, because his holistic approach has much in common with the Scottish biologist and philosopher, Patrick Geddes, in the way he invites us to think globally and act locally. Margaritifera Margaritifera is more than yet another threatened species or biological indicator; ultimately it is a measure of our commitment to sustaining our environment."
Since 1993 the EU has introduced Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) to protect fragile species such as the FWM. Because of the mollusc's relationship with juvenile salmon, which are hosts to the FWM's larval parasite (Glochidia), it is the relationship between the two species which has become the target of EU conservation efforts. In salmon rivers where the freshwater mussel still exists, SAC status is predicated on the wellbeing of both species in that particular ecosystem - the freshwater catchment.
TA on 6/5/2013
added: 28th Apr 2013
posted by: Oliver Burch
The salmon catches have gradually slowed as the river level has continued to drop, but the total still stands at a very impressive 150 fish reported for April so far. This is almost three times the 10-year...
average, which must be a source of satisfaction. Nyth and Tyrcelyn, above Erwood, is the highest beat to report salmon this spring. The reported fish for April break down by river section as follows: from Builth to Glasbury – 6; Glasbury to Luggsmouth – 34; Luggsmouth to Monmouth – 75; below Monmouth – 35. This is a huge boost for middle river beats, which have done poorly in recent years. The biggest fish so far in 2013 is still the giant of 48.5 inches caught by Adam Fisher from Seven Sisters.
Well-mended kelts continue to be caught from the middle and lower beats – I seem to have had more than my share this spring. Also this week trout anglers have reported the two year old smolts, silvered up and getting ready to go to sea, gathering on the gravel shallows and snatching at any small flies. Avoid them if you can. “The first floods in May, take the smolts away,” goes the old rhyme. Some high water now would be quite welcome, to assist the smolts and kelts down to salt water and boost the spring run to continue upstream. Almost anywhere up to Erwood would be worth fishing at the moment for salmon, and water levels generally favour the fly.
Cold weather, and particularly the cold winds, continue to make the trout fishing difficult, and quite a number of those fish which have been prepared to rise have turned out to be out of season grayling. Anglers who fished deep nymphs tended to do better, although this is unwelcome news for those who hope to be using the dry fly by this time of year. Dry fly opportunities have been there, but they tended to be for relatively short periods after lunch as fish reacted to a brief hatch. In this distinctly retarded spring, timings of hatches have got quite confused and it has been difficult to work out what trout are taking from a smorgasbord of different food choices amid blustering winds. This week we have seen large dark olives (still!), stone flies, march browns (and march brown look-alikes), grannom sedge (but only in small numbers), huge numbers of midges at times, and today I saw the first hawthorn (pretty much on time this one) blown on the water. If in doubt, remember that trout often favour the olives, which must taste particularly sweet to them, above other choices.
28th April 2013
added: 21st Apr 2013
posted by: Oliver Burch
Any doubts about the slow start to the salmon season during this very cold March must now be dispelled. After just 26 springers reported last month, 111 fish have now been reported so far for April,with...
another 10 days still to go. This is about double the 10 year average for the Wye, so the situation is looking very good indeed. About 30% of these fish were over 20 pounds. With water levels holding up well in generally showery weather, much warmer now, fish seem to have been steadily making their way in from the estuary and slowly upstream. For once the middle river has produced some good results for those anglers who turned out. The highest salmon catches reported so far are from Spreadeagle and the Rectory near Llyswen. The largest fish to date is Adam Fisher’s huge 48.5 inch cock fish from Seven Sisters, which the WUF are marking down as 37 pounds. Outlook: any beat up to about Erwood looks to be in with a good chance of a springer during the next few days.
Trout fishermen will be pleased to hear the grannom have arrived on the lower river. The grannom can be a difficult hatch to fish, characterised by frantic activity without much time for the angler to get it right. Try Dave Collins’ dry and emerger patterns, or a Hare’s Lug and Plover spider often works during the early part of the hatch. However well or badly the fishing goes, the sight of millions of insects hatching off together and the upstream migration of the females is unforgettable. Some march browns have been seen on the Wye, and last week I did fish one intense hatch of this now rather rare insect on the Usk. Keep your eyes open for this large brown fly; just very occasionally there are significant hatches on the upper Wye and fish react to it in the most dramatic way. The large dark olive, the cold weather fly which keeps us company during the early spring, is rather fading from the scene now.
The smaller streams are just about warming up and Herefordshire’s Escley brook was one which fished well this week producing some superb trout. Avoid the high altitude ones where the water is still cold for another week or two, and be prepared to fish a weighted nymph through the holes and upstream in the runs until trout are ready to rise.
21st April 2013