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The River Wye and the Wye Valley

Fishing on the River Wye

The River Wye has always been a popular place for fishing. Due to the Wye being largely unpolluted, as it does not run through any areas of heavy industry, it is considered one of the best rivers for salmon fishing in the United Kingdom (outside of Scotland).

In its heyday, the Wye was one of the best salmon rivers in England and Wales with 40lb fish taken annually and fish running throughout the season. Back on the 18th April 1838, the Times carried an advert stating:

"Good news for Anglers.—So very plentiful is fish in the river Wye, in the neighbourhood of Builth, that Stephen Pritchard, the fishing-tackle maker there, caught, on Tuesday last, in the course of four hours, no less than 143 grayling, trout, and salmon-pink; and in five hours, on the following day, 225 fish of the same description."

The largest salmon caught on the River Wye using a fly was by C H Moffat at the Dog Hole (Goodrich Court) on April 10th, 1915, it and weighed 43 pounds. The largest Wye salmon that is recorded as being landed was caught by Miss Doreen Davey, on March 13th, 1923, in the Cowpond, which is a pool on the Winforton stretch of the Wye and it weighed 59.5 lbs. It took her one hour and fifty-five minutes to bring the fish into the bank and the successful bait was a two-inch aluminium minnow made and supplied by Hattons of Hereford. Miss Davey had been fishing the fly all day but decided to change to a minnow, whilst waiting to be collected by her father.

There are records of other fish that were seen but unfortunately not landed, including the decomposed salmon which was washed up at Evenpitt Bridge at Holme Lacy and was etimated to be over 80lbs1.

Recently the salmon runs have seen a marked decline, with the Wye suffering more than most other rivers. Attention has therefore focussed on what else the river is able to offer.

The upper reaches, as indicated by the Times extract above, is good for game fishing and is acknowledged as a good trout and an exceptional grayling river. This has been accentuated at a number of places on the river, such as at the Glaslyn Estate at Llandrindod Wells, by careful water management, light stocking of trout in the middle of the year together with enforcing a catch and release policy for all fish.

The middle reaches of the River Wye offers some excellent coarse fishing for chub, barbel, carp, bream, roach, dace, bleak and also large pike and more details can be obtained from the local fishing clubs such as Ross Angling Club and Forest of Dean Angling Club.

Memories of Fishing

The memories and fishing stories from the rivers of Herefordshire have been produced by Field of Vision as part of a project for Age Concern, the film of this can be seen below.

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[Page updated: Feb 15 2011 13:31:59]

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