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: 4th Mar 2014
posted by: Oliver Burch
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,...
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.
4th February 2014
added: 2nd Mar 2014
posted by: Atlantic Salmon Trust
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...
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!
« Older En
added: 13th Feb 2014
posted by: Oliver Burch
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...
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.
13th February 2014
added: 23rd Jan 2014
posted by: Oliver Burch
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....
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.
23rd January 2014
added: 5th Jan 2014
posted by: Oliver Burch
Very little to report lately on the Wye and its tributaries, which due to flooding have been out of condition for fishing for many days now.
Whether you may be interested in grayling upstream or coarse...
fish lower down, I would normally advise that there are no prospects at all for the moment until the weather dries up somewhat and the water levels fall. I typed “normally” just there, as there are always heroic types who manage to produce results during flood conditions which most of us regard as impossible. So, my congratulations this week go to DJ of Evesham, who managed to get a single 16 inch grayling on 29th December from the upper Wye at Doldowlod. And also to AJ of London, who apparently had a New Year holiday booked and refused to be put off. On the 31st December at Craig Llyn, with the falls on the river making a noise quite audible from the main road, he managed to find some grayling sheltering in a slack from the flood and took a brace to 2.5 pounds. Next day up at Clochfaen he blanked, but he had already showed what might be done with some perseverance.
5th January 2014
added: 21st Dec 2013
posted by: Oliver Burch
On the 4th December, with the river in nice condition and the weather set to be dry, I predicted that we could expect several weeks of good grayling fishing. I wasn’t too far wrong; we had two good weeks...
before it began to rain again. There were some excellent, bright days while it all lasted, with temperatures warmer than average, and anglers had results from practically everywhere with a grayling population, both with the fly and the trotting rod. Even the big currents of the Lugg and Arrow reduced enough for the odd grayling to be taken. Meanwhile, the Irfon continued to fish well despite relatively low water levels and grayling were also reported from the Monnow and Llynfi. The main Wye by now was right down to summer level at 1 foot on the Llanstephan gauge, and very clear.
One sunny morning at Pwll y Faedda, when trotting was not working well due to the low water, I gave it up and spent a fascinating hour watching salmon spawn on of our pool tails. It behoves grayling anglers now to keep an eye out for the whitened areas of salmon redds when wading gravel sections, and to avoid these places for the rest of the winter. After lunch, the usual dark olive hatch began and on this occasion the grayling began to rise in numbers, for a short time at least. I left the trotting rod on the bank and turned to a fly rod made up with traditional wet patterns, including Grayling Steel Blue and Yellow Bumble, and was able to get a dozen by casting upstream at rises before it was all over.
The Irfon’s Cammarch Hotel has a new experiment, allowing winter trotting on their centre beat for the first time. I tried the method on this fishery despite the low water conditions being perhaps unsuitable for trotting a float. I failed to get a huge bag (four in fact), but it did include two very handsome 18 inch fish. Here, too, spawning salmon were very much in evidence.
Maintenance work to prune the Wye and Foundation’s small stream beats has already started, although, weather permitting, the bulk of it will be undertaken during January and February. Anybody interested in joining the small band of volunteers undertaking this work should contact me on email@example.com
At the time of writing, after days and nights of rain, all the rivers are currently in flood and unfishable. According to the forecast, there is a fair amount of rain still to come, which calls into question whether any grayling or coarse fishing will be possible over the Xmas holidays – at the moment, I am afraid, it doesn’t look likely. Keep your fingers crossed and a Merry Christmas to all who read this column.
21st December 2013
added: 4th Dec 2013
posted by: Oliver Burch
Practically the whole Wye system is now at a good winter fishing height, running cold and clear. Possible exceptions are the Lugg and Arrow tributaries, which are fishable but still have a big current...
to be ideal for grayling. It is remarkable how the springs in Radnor Forest keep those two streams running high long after the main river and other tributaries have dropped. Grayling fishing has generally been good, both for those long trotting with bait and those fishing heavy nymphs with the fly rod. In fact Moccas angler Dave Collins had one on the dry fly last week, which must be unusual for late November. Most afternoons I have seen a few dark olives coming off, these being the autumn version of the fly which is slightly smaller than those we will see in spring, but rarely a reaction at the surface. On the main Wye, the chief hazard for grayling anglers has come from out of season trout, some of them already spawned, which tend to push in ahead of the more timid grayling. Coarse fishing has also benefitted from the moderate conditions, and winter chub have been taken in numbers from the lower river. A drop in temperatures should bring the pike on to feed properly.
The “beck watchers” or our local equivalent have reported good salmon spawning results with redds already cut in many of the tributaries, although fish have dropped back to the main channel as water levels dropped. I have also seen plenty of coloured salmon in the main river.
Wind and some colder temperatures have been predicted in the short term, but the weather forecasters seem to be agreed in predicting little in the way of rain as far forward as Christmas. If they prove right about that, there should be several weeks of good winter fishing ahead of us.
4th December 2013