The Wye dropped away during late September into early November and with very low and clear conditions it was looking as though fish might have difficulty in accessing their chosen tributaries.  However a moderate spate took place mid month and some fish took the opportunity to move on and several were seen jumping at the few weirs and pinch points we still have left on the catchment.  Some early redds were found on the main stem quite early on in the Newbridge area and with still reasonable water as I write more should soon follow.

There were thankfully no reports of many late fish  caught on the upper Wye or tributaries during the extension period  until 25th November on the upper river.

There does appear to be a pretty respectable head of fish in the river with fish reported seen in most areas so let’s hope the conditions are good for spawning without the continuous heavy water of last season when it was nigh impossible to count redds in any meaningful way.

There is still concern as to the reported lack of fry on our sister river the Usk and I understand on the Lugg and Arrow tributaries of the Wye.  I recently attended the recent Wye/Usk Foundation AGM hoping to learn why this was so.  The explanation given was that due to December temperatures being above normal the ‘the fish simply did not spawn and presumably returned from whence they came.’   An extraordinary statement to my mind with no other possible cause given or really even discussed    It seems that the maintenance of the fencing and coppicing exercise too is becoming an issue and as though to highlight the fact it was said, as I understand it, that enough fencing work has been done to stretch from Abergaveny to Aberdeen which certainly gives some idea of the magnitude of the task. With much of the over shading probably worse than it ever was one has to ask has all this work been beneficial?   A fence gets put up or a weir removed and x amount of stream has been ‘restored’. But has it?  Has it had any effect whatsoever one has to ask and if so has it been monitored to any degree and do we have any results and, more to the point will we ever see them.

Flavour of the month is poor farming practices.  It’s taken a long time to get to this one as some of us were trying to head up this issue ten years or more ago.

Whilst farm run off from a siltation angle  is surely an issue one has to wonder just how much extra effect it has when one takes the erosion effects of the Wye in full spate into account.  It always run brick red in time of high water and I suggest always will. Obviously the chemical run off is probably a more serious matter.  I see its already being claimed that farm work undertaken so far is having an effect on downstream main river spawning.  How I wonder has that been deduced in any meaningful way.  I think someone found some fry at Lydbrook!!

A recent report out shows that NRW is in fact in a state of turmoil and reorganisation with cut backs and redundancies to the extent that a survey of its staff showed that a big majority of them were having little confidence in the organisation which employs them. Something I can tell you is reflected by angler opinion which is shall we say less than positive about the fishery prowess of NRW in almost all aspects with many good men having left the organisation leaving it short of any experienced staff., not to mention in it’s enforcement staff too.

It seems too that the canoe problem has not disappeared with another attempt to gain access to all rivers in Wales with another petition to WAG.  We may yet need your voice again to counter this when the time comes.

The Wye Salmon Association also held a meeting this month.  It was proposed that RWGA be invited to merge with this body to give a unified  voice to the anglers on the Wye and I have little doubt this will happen.   Many new and existing initiatives were discussed and If you are a Wye angler I would strongly  urge you to join to ensure that you, the ordinary paying angler is given at least a hearing and hopefully to participate in some of the initiatives  See their website at for more information.

So as we enter late November spawning will soon be in full swing.  Let’s hope its not too hot, too cold, too high or two low and that the fish lay down eggs for future generations.


Geoff Franks.


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