The Wye continued to pick up fish throughout the month with very few blank days due in part to continued small flushes with water mostly from the upper catchment and the Irfon and Ithon tributaries. Rain in the high end of the catchment was such that the Elan Valley dams overtopped during the early part of the month ensuring levels dropped only slowly. The problem once again was the water colour with was a variety of shades and it only really cleared properly towards the month’s end. The Irfon in particular was very black and peaty, slow to clear this colour persisted throughout the main river too for much of the time. Anglers complained that fish were reluctant to take the fly due to this although a good many fish were caught using this method.
The catch nearing the end of the month reached around a thousand fish or so, depending on who was counting, and it’s a long time since this total was achieved by the end of July. Total for the month was just over 250 and at times fish came from all parts of the river. Beats around the Ithon junction had a few fish, Builth Wells [GPIAC] water produced their first fish of the season and Nick Hope had a red letter day at Caerwnon producing four fish one evening. Glanwye continued to pick up fish including a 28lb fish to Nick Howell and several to David Harvey among others. The Nyth improved its score as did the Erwood beats, Gromain, Llangoed, The Rectory and Spreadeagle and for much of the month these beats were fishable.
Levels downstream however did hamper fishing for much of the time, not just the height but the previously mentioned poor colour. However grilse did make a better showing during the month and were caught in reasonable numbers here and there throughout the river.
Fish were still entering the river and as such Bigsweir raised its seasons total to around 160, Wyesham 184, Upper Bigswier 48, with fish at Cadora, Cadora Backs and Redbrook too. Ingeston continued its good form with regular fish during the month ending with close on 70 fish and Goodrich had several including a first ever fish of 4lbs to Karen Wooley. Usual middle river beats such as Golden Mile/ Sheepwash, HDAA water and Luggs Mouth also picked up a few fish with nothing much upstream until Whitney Court and Caemawr, though Kenny Powell did get a good fish from the Red lion on fly.
So July was pretty much a reasonable month as July’s go, bedevilled as they often are by low water conditions which were thankfully absent. The river has now dropped away but unsettled conditions seem set to continue so who knows and there is in fact another small lift in water on its way downriver as I write with further rain forecast. Many of the early fish are now resident in the pools looking very coloured with the usual aerial acrobatic displays in evidence.
There were a couple of daylight poaching incidents seen around the Upper Bigswier area and anglers seen fishing illegally from canoes seems to be becoming more prevalent. Canoe activity has been outrageous in many areas with some particularly loutish behaviour by a minority of boaters who are completely out of control, though to be fair many are more considerate.
The now defunct Wye Salmon Fishery Owners Association [WSFOA] is to be replaced by a new body to be called the Wye Catchment Conservators who aim to bring all catchment riparian owners, salmon, coarse and trout under one organisation. However it seems to me the reasons why WSFOA became redundant in the first instance have not been addressed and to replace it with another with similar aims and with virtually the same personnel in charge is rather missing the point. As someone pointed out ‘same meat –different gravy’. There is no doubt a united front to the Wye’s problems would benefit the river, however many severely disenfranchised in the past will I think be rather wary before becoming involved. Is it in fact just another funding stream to be passed on to Wye and Usk Foundation to spend as they please? How much say will the members actually have and how transparent will both organisations be and will they for once review and monitor the success or otherwise of projects undertaken. I’m sure the new Chairman, Peter Horsburgh will do his best and we wish him well and good luck and hope he has a team of new faces without baggage to bring a different atmosphere to Wye matters.
August is usually a difficult month and does not usually match many of the other months though this depends on whether the grilse make a better showing than they often do. Please continue to look out for further fin clipped fish.