Nothing too dramatic weather wise on the Wye in April. A couple of small spates, a little snow on the hilltops and generally cold but the river levels held up well but once again the lower river is still waiting to really get in on the action.  Many of the fish pushed through these bottom beats and the area from just below Ross to Hereford was doing OK with still some fish getting as far as hay on Wye.

Once again however less than a handful of fish were caught above Hay despite consistent running water.  Jim Fisher had one off the Newbridge water spinning as did Richard Thomas 15lb from the Rocks.  Christopher Morley got Glanwye off the mark with an 18lb fish and Steve Boswell had a lovely fish from Lyn Em at 18lbs too. Lower down around Erwood another fish of 27lb was recorded at Llangoed, angler unknown, and Spreadeagle reported two crackers of 25lbs on fly to Ed Brown and 20lbs to John Watkinson.  Further down still at Caemawr Nathan Jubb had several fish on fly topped off by a superb fish of around 27lbs. Andrew Holloway also had a 10lb fish on fly from the same beat.

Just above Whitney Ernie Coleman was having some sport off his water spinning an F/C with five fish, a couple around the 25lb mark. Lower down still Whitney recorded several fish with two to Mr sprinter on fly best around 20lbs and a 14pounder to Martin Lydon  who fished several beats over four days for seven fish spinning with F/C including 3 in a day. from Wyeaston Leys. A couple of good fish came off the Red Lion with Kenny Powell taking a 25lb fish and Tiger Dixon weighing in with one just over 23lbs. Ricky Reno also had a 20lb fish from Garnons spinning.

During this early part of the month middle and lower beats were still a little on the high side. The quality of the fish was really excellent and Wye fish seemed to have found some good feeding grounds the last couple of years for they were fat and in immaculate condition with several big fish reported lost from several places.

However as things fined down Dave Roberts got to work on the Carrots and recorded six fish and he also had three fish in a day, best 19lbs on the F/C  Golden Mile/Sheephouse also had fish with another to Nigel Smith at 15lbs and Tim McFarlane 13lbs.

Stan turner at Aramstone also recorded several more fish to his own rod, three around the 10lb mark and a couple of better ones. Ingeston picked up fish when conditions were right and regulars Mike Pritchard and David Slade both had multiple fish as did ghillie Lyn Cobley who also had three in a day. Martin Lydon also had one of his fish from there too and another from Caradoc.  Ingeston were easily the top spring beat at this stage

Courtfield/Wyebank had several more fish with Don Macer Wright, Peter Simms and Ross James all, having a fish ranging from 10 to 15lbs.    Ross anglers were catching fish, at least Jon Daniels was as he recorded his sixth fish of the season while Richard Woodhouse also weighed in with a 15lb fish on the  F/C  again. Both anglers also added fish later on in the month.  Ingeston continued to catch fish with five on day, 3 to Gillie Lyn Cobley and David Slade (23lbs)and Mike Pritchard also recorded good fish there

At this stage the Wye weight average was around 15lbs and despite the arrival of some smaller springers or 2SW fish it only fell slightly.  Towards the middle of the month the pace picked up further as levels dropped away the lower river particularly around Hereford and Ross areas with the lower beats also picking up fish at Wyesham and Upper Bigsweir with Bigsweir itself also getting the odd fish too. With good running conditions and good tides fresh sea liced fish were taken in many areas on these lower beats and in general weights, although mostly estimates, remained high. Around the 25th the 100th fish for the month was caught so there is not space to mention everyone here .  Martin Lydon added more fish and got into double figures over a week or so on various beats. Dave Roberts, Nathan Jubb, Stan Turner  and Don Macer Wright also added to their personal score.  Don reports a fish estimated at around 3olb on fly which he brought to the bank after a prolonged fight but was unable to land and had to cut the trace .  One of the fish at Upper Bigsweir was reported as fin clipped.  On the down side several angers had problems with badly hooked fish and a salmon caught at Ross had disease on its head.

As levels fell off the upper beats produced very little though Spreadeagle produced a 24lb fish on fly to Alistair Thompson and Llangoed another of 27lb though the angler is not known nor the captor of a similar sized fish at Clifford.  The Rocks just above Builth did buck the trend a little and was off the mark with a 15lb fish to Richard Thomas. Whitney also picked up a fish or two with a 20lb fish to Mr Sprinter.

Symonds Yat also produced a few fish though here too anglers seem in the main to remain anonymous for some reason though Martin Bowler had fish of 19 and 14lbs spinning there.  It’s down there on the middle and lower beats that at the moment where the real action is likely to be until we get another respectable spate.

Hatches of Grannom have been prodigious at times with fish seeming to prefer the nymph or emerger and those who have taken a few for the table have found the fish gorged with pupa.  Some good March Brown hatches have been seen on the main river too though conditions have remained cold and the middle of the day has been favourite for the trout.

Salmon catches continued during the latter part of the month with a mix again of smaller fish and the odd one in the high teens such as fish of 19lbs to George Adams from Wyesham, 19lbs to Saul Roberts at Ingeston and 19 1/2lbs to Joe Cobley on fly from Wyesham. Ed brown had another fish of 18 1/2lbs from Bigsweir.  Dave Roberts had another fish from the Carrots –his 10th of the season and Tom Lane had a fish from there too. Nathan Jubb also had another couple to his score from upper Bigsweir.  So the total for April reported so far was around 150 and apart from 2012 (174) the best for many a year and fish quality has been excellent, the Wye fish having obviously found good sea feeding conditions somewhere for sure.

May is usually a better month than April and given good conditions there is no reason why it should not be so again. The 2sw fish usually build up this month with the odd better fish too but we need a good spate now to move them through the system and give upper beats a reasonable chance  There were reports below Ross of a couple of seriously big fish lost after prolonged battles.

Wye Salmon Association [WSA] held another instruction day for youngsters at Llanthomas which was well attended and much enjoyed by those present. Other events are planned for later in the year.

Footnote.

May started off well with a dozen fish on the first of the month and the following day George Adams, fishing at Wyesham landed four salmon in one day on an F/C. 10- 14-16lbs topped off by a 32 pounder.

Another of the early Wye springers, a fish estimated at 25lbs caught by Mr Colman near Whitney and recorded by him as 25lbs may well have been seriously underestimated. He recorded the length of his fish at 49 ½ lbs.  If this was so then for sure it was a superb fish well into the high thirties or more.  He was fishing alone when landing all of the 4 fish he has taken this season and he’s 87 years old.  Some feat I’m sure you will agree.

Geoff Franks.

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