Friday, 16 November 2018
Conditions still reasonable for running fish but there have been few reports of any redds so far.
Weather has been very mild, cue a reason for fish not spawning, but a cold snap seems to be in the offing next week so perhaps we shall see some activity them and hopefully there will be some reliable sightings. At least the WSA have again installed their temperature monitoring gauges so we will at last get some real data other than pure guesswork.
Real data is important to know what is really going on one the river and in all honesty we don't have much for the Wye as a whole. With no fish counter in the river the only real indicator of fish numbers is the reported rod catch. The monitoring of juvenile densities is derisory when compared to many other rivers and as for smolt numbers or return rates well your guess is as good as mine.
As for redd counting we get even less information for gone are the days when bailiffs, supported by volunteers and ghillies did a pretty comprehensive count throughout the catchment together with evening and nightime patrols to prevent poaching which was systemic years ago on many upstream beats by organised gangs, farmers and locals up for a fish or to. I know from my own outings with the bailiffs they were a dedicated and effective team and fish were present in almost every location visited in number no one would believe nowadays.. Guys such as Head Bailiff Cliff Lloyd, Ray Dobbins, Alan Price, George Smith, Mike Morgan and others did a good job under difficult conditions. They were not always helped by the local magistrates. One bailiff reported a 100 % conviction rate in a Builth Wells court and 100% failure rate with llandrindod Wells magistrates. Draw your own conclusion. Van loads of fish were said to leave the Edw valley and farmers Xmas turkeys and pigs from that area tasted mildly of fish so I was told.. A pitchfork is a pretty handy poaching tool I understand.
The bailiffs mentioned above, and many others spent decades on the river, knew it like the back of their hand and everything that went on. Totally ignored by WUF, never consulted, never questioned, never involved other than transporting fish for hatchery purposes. All the knowledge they had meant nothing becauser someone else thought he knew better which is why where we are now.
Fish spawned throughout the river then but little is seen downstream of Glasbury these days. Lack of fish is one reason but any who did spawn there would be in serious risk of loosing their eggs to the huge barbel population that is now present,never mind the Cormorants and Gooseangders if any eggs did actually get to hatch. Most years the EA hatchery from Abercynrig and the old Glasbury hatchery put out numbers of fry as did WUF at one time not forgetting the WSA smolt pond initiative snuffed out before it could be effective. Now there is nothing/zilch.
NRW is unfit for purpose, bailiffs are rarer than hens teeth, No longer an Annual Wye report from the EA/NRW and further restrictions likely to be imposed. on salmon anglers WUF carry in in virtual secrecy claiming success at every turn, every project with never any real data to back it up. Totally ineffective Wye Salmon Owners Association now renamed Wye Conservators who themselves do - what exactly. Does anyone know other than garner in more cash from the barbel fishing and sod the salmon anglers.
As for catch and release, Has it had any effect? No one knows of course with no data whatsoever to backup any claims made.
Fence and coppice but -no ongoing maintainace, remove blockages that were not blockages at all, remove woody debris then put it back again, Cut down trees then plant some instead,improve access to spawning stream areas that were never used even in the good days and with no fish to populate them anyway. Now we have eel passes on the few weirs left. Remove weirs, aka the Monnow but nothing goes up them to make any difference Complete failure to co operate with others willing to help for free. Cash is king to keep the wages and pension pots alive So the list goes on.
Everywhere you look there is disorganised chaos and sooner or later there must be a clearout out and new personnel drafted in to try and make a difference with one body that has the backing of the anglers it purports to represent not just the owners who long ago handed over any responsibility for the salmon fishing. Conservators Chairman suggested to me we should embrace the barbel anglers. Well no thanks, not when it interferes and downgrades the game angling for which the Wye was once famous in deference to the pursuit of a non indigenous species.
I'm really depressed now having got that off my chest and even more worried that things will just chug on in the same vein for years to come. Glad I saw at least some of the best of the rivers bounty and sad that probably others may never come close to it in the future.
ONE OF THE LOTS IN THE LATEST WUF AUCTION.
Foraging for fungus next September with Wuf's Director Simon Evans. Starting bid £300.
I can hardly contain myself -it's a must have.
You can also get a days COARSE fishing on Wyesham on June 16th -how about that.
Like I said, Cash is King;