A Giant Stirs
Trout & Salmon|April 2017

Andrew flitcroft explores two famous beats on the improving river wye.

SINCE 2003, SALMON catches on the River Wye have increased. The river, once the most prolific in England and Wales and famed for its huge fish, remains a shadow of its former self, but following its crash in the latter part of the 20th Century there have been signs of recovery, with spring and early-summer runs bucking national trends. The capture of 118 fish in June 2013 and 94 fish in May last year on the Wyesham beat, and 86 fish on Bigsweir in June 2015, are compelling. When you consider that the average weight of salmon last season was 11½ lb and a good proportion were more than 20 lb, with a few Wye giants of old sprinkled about, you have to sit up and take notice.

For the past few years I have followed the river’s improving fortunes and decided last May that T&S (James Beeson and I) should pay a visit to see what the fuss was all about. We had booked the Rectory beat on the middle river and parked on a grass verge upstream of Boughrood bridge. Rectory doesn’t have a gillie but joining us was the next best thing: Simon Evans is not only the new chief executive of the Wye & Usk Foundation but also a fanatical salmon-fisher. We were to fish Rock, Simon’s favourite pool on the whole river. A sub-plot was the fact that James, despite previous efforts in the West Country, had yet to land a salmon.

We fiddled around in the boot, like typical newcomers to a river, waiting for someone in the know to share their wisdom. “I’m going to put on a floater and a fast tip,” said Simon. Decision made – we were off.

The Rectory is stunning. It has all the rocks, streams, gullies and ledges you would associate with a classic salmon river; its high wooded banks, fresh with new growth, envelop you in a world of acute wellbeing. The river had had a small, grubby rise three days before and was carrying a clay stain brought down from the upper Ithon tributary, a sediment that was highlighted by the spring sunshine. Simon put me in first at Rock and I worked the stream from its neck to the feature from which the pool takes its name. It’s not a long cast to the rock, which diverts bobbling water around its near side. After an accurate chuck, I heard Simon say under his breath, “That’s it. That’s the spot.” If I could manufacture a resting spot for a springer, I would copy the rock and the water in its lee. Alas, nothing happened, not even in The Tail of The Rock, where the pool widens and deepens before the smooth bridge flat that’s known more for its trout and grayling. Further down the beat, we tried Mill Stream, Neck of Rectory, Rectory and at the bottom of the beat, Upper Glangwye. Apart from a few shad that pounced on flies that were fished faster or pulled slowly on the hang in Rectory, our efforts were ignored.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM TROUT & SALMONView All

Mr Goldhead And The Grayling

Lawrence Catlow fishes the rapidly recovering River Irfon in Powys.

9 mins read
Trout & Salmon
January 2018

Moody Beasts

Stan Headley searches for the elusive sea-trout of Loch Ailsh in the northwest Highlands.

8 mins read
Trout & Salmon
January 2018

Alone On The River

Cliff Hatton encounters a mighty Wye salmon.

6 mins read
Trout & Salmon
January 2018

Hop To It

Richard Donkin has a no-nonsense approach to tackle and amphibians.

4 mins read
Trout & Salmon
January 2018

River Blackwater

THE BLACKWATER rises in the boglands of County Kerry, and although the peaty tinge it carries gives rise to its name it also flows through limestone and that helps it to support a diverse range of fly-life which provides plenty of sustenance for salmon parr and trout. The river is one of Ireland’s most productive salmon fisheries, along with the River Moy.

1 min read
Trout & Salmon
November 2017

Hampshire Avon

THERE CAN be few places in fishing more famous than the Royalty Fishery on the Hampshire Avon, even Mr Crabtree has fished its illustrious waters. Two seasons ago an enormous salmon of 40lb was caught in the spring at the Royalty and big salmon are regularly caught in the early months of the season.

1 min read
Trout & Salmon
November 2017

A Grand Plan

Giles Catchpole makes some surprising New Year’s resolutions

4 mins read
Trout & Salmon
February 2018

Eoin Fairgrieve's Casting School Part 13: Shooting Lines

Discover how to hit the far bank and avoid tangles

2 mins read
Trout & Salmon
February 2018

Bridging The Gap

Troubled by the middle-dropper position? Stan Headley recommends a stunning pattern for loch salmon and sea-trout, dressed in a clever way

5 mins read
Trout & Salmon
February 2018

Mixed Lives

James Beeson goes west on a quest for some early-season dry-fly action on the famous River Usk.

7 mins read
Trout & Salmon
March 2017
RELATED STORIES

GOLF GOES TO NETFLIX AND IT HAS COMPETITION FROM TENNIS

Formula One racing got a huge boost in interest in North America through the Netflix series “Drive to Survive.”

6 mins read
AppleMagazine
January 21, 2022

A DIGITAL DIVIDE HAUNTS SCHOOLS ADAPTING TO VIRUS HURDLES

When April Schneider’s children returned to in-person classrooms this year, she thought they were leaving behind the struggles from more than a year of remote learning.

4 mins read
AppleMagazine
January 21, 2022

THE HOTTEST CARS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2022

The chip and supply chain shortages of 2021 have been difficult for automakers and consumers alike.

4 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #534

TESLA INKS DEAL TO GET KEY BATTERY COMPONENT OUTSIDE CHINA

Tesla is turning to Mozambique for a key component in its electric car batteries in what analysts believe is a first-of-its-kind deal designed to reduce its dependence on China for graphite.

3 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #534

ULTIMATE ADVENTURE 2021 PRESENTED BY RUGGED RIDGE

Tumbleweeding from Oklahoma into Texas

10+ mins read
Four Wheeler
February 2022

REPORT: MANDATORY OLYMPIC APP HAS SERIOUS SECURITY FLAWS

A smartphone app that athletes and others attending next month’s Winter Games in Beijing must install has glaring security problems that could expose sensitive data to interception, according to a report published this week.

2 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #534

GOP OHIO CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION WANTS CHIP LAW FUNDED

GOP members of the Ohio congressional delegation asked House and Senate leaders to fully fund a law meant to address a global shortage of semiconductor chips used in phones, cars and video games.

2 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #534

MICROSOFT BUYS GAME MAKER ACTIVISION BLIZZARD FOR ABOUT $70B

Microsoft is paying nearly $70 billion for Activision Blizzard, the maker of Candy Crush and Call of Duty, to boost its competitiveness in mobile gaming and virtual-reality technology.

4 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #534

EXPLAINER: MICROSOFT'S ACTIVISION BUY COULD SHAKE UP GAMING

Microsoft stunned the gaming industry when it announced this week it would buy game publisher Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, a deal that would immediately make it a larger video-game company than Nintendo.

3 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #534

iPad vs Mac

The ultimate devices for work from anywhere

7 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #534