Source: Wye and Usk Foundation
Looking back at May returns (149 Wye fish landed and a good excuse of the poor weather for it not being any more) we were expecting a ‘healthy’ June, which is normally the best month on the Wye.
However, it wasn’t anything like that. In a wet month, fish press on upriver and with high water for the first 12 days they did just that. Fish were caught well upstream at Lysdinam, The Rocks, Rhosferig and the Builth Town water. Further downstream, Glanwye added a further 7 taking their total to 16, the Nyth another 7 (to 24) and so the pattern repeated itself on most beats downstream. Bucking the trend, Caemawr did better in June than in May with 5 fish. Also below Hay, Letton another added another 4. Fly accounted for a large proportion of fish in these upper river beats.
As the levels dropped away, some of the lower beats started to see some sport, notably Sheepwash (3), Ingeston (7), Wyesham (7) and Bigsweir (12) and given the pattern of past years, it would have been reasonable to see a good many more from both the section below Hereford and downstream of Monmouth.
Back in May there were signs that all was not well with the Wye’s water quality: floods were dirtier than expected, dropping to a much greener colour than normal. When the sun and low water finally arrived, we had the biggest algal bloom I can remember. In all but a few instances, this brought an end to salmon fishing (on the Wye) from the middle of the month. One notable exception was a 30lb fish from Cadora; the lucky angler Andy Fenner with a flying C the successful lure in the murky, green river.
Adjacent rivers were lucky enough to escape this problem but for the rivers Usk, Tywi, Teifi and others there was no escape from the hot low flows towards the end of the month. Abercothi and Golden Grove (Tywi) added 3 though most fishers there would be concentrating on night fishing for sea trout. The Usk had at least part of a month when catching a fish was likely. Llanover moved to 14 and Llangibbi to 21 by the end of the month, Swan Meadow 6 and Chain Bridge 5.
Adding to general concerns about this year’s salmon run is that Scotland is not having a very good time either. 2014 is of course 5 years from 2009, the last poor year in the UK and it may be that low spawning numbers then has had a knock on effect. That year saw a number of extremely thin grilse and some very thin 2 Sea Winter fish (the majority of our returning fish) which would have had a much reduced egg carrying capacity. At least this is not in evidence now.
Looking to the future, there are some signs that a few grilse may be arriving, though the temperature will hold fish back in the estuary. There is hardly anyone in the Wye or Usk (but perhaps not the sea trout rivers) who is not hoping for a really big downpour to get rid of the accumulated silt and algae. Here’s hoping!
Finally, June’s Roll of Honour.
Congratulations to Georgie Morley for her first salmon, a 9lb hen from Glanwye and to Brent Purnell for his first too, a 10½ pounder from Trostre on the River Usk. Other notable captures included a 16lb salmon to an American trout angler nymph fishing at Cefnllysgwynne (Irfon) and a 5lb fish to 12-year old Eathan James at Ingestone.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, congratulations to 83-year old Gordon Clamp for his two fish (12lb and 14lb) from the Golden Mile!