1998 - How was it for you?

The final declared salmon rod catch was 793, the run was characterised by a very serious shortage of spring fish, though not made up by good numbers of grilse as in other rivers. By June lst, less than 300 went through the fish counter and a mere 75 were caught. The bulk of the catch came in July (213) and August (207).

Most people thought that 1998 was a wet year. Certainly it rained a good deal more but the effect was somewhat lost on a catchment that has had all too many dry periods during the last decade. The number of times a flood exceeded the magical amount to draw fish away from the lower beats and estuary during the season was almost nil. That was until October 17th, the last day! The subsequent flooding was so high that in many places a permanent record has been made to show the enormity of the flood.

The effect this had on the fish was to take them right up to the tributaries in one run. Fish were seen at most falls in late October. They started cutting in early November and this coincided with a break after three weeks of continuous rain. The effect was to make redd counting little bit easier and perhaps numerically higher than in other years.

Some tributaries showed quite considerable activities, the Garth Dulas above the Agency's fish pass for example and the Clettwr above the Foundation's pass at Erwood. Both produced a redd count that was more typical of the seventies. Elsewhere, the Clywedog and the Edw both had counts of 50 and 200 and many other streams showed activity that could be described as satisfactory. By contrast, some tributaries had no fish at all and the main river was extremely poorly tenanted. The last fish I saw cutting was on 25th January in the Sgithwen.

Catch & Release

By contrast, many rivers in Ireland had one of the best seasons of all time. The Tweed was heading for a record but lost numerous weeks in October and November - their best months slashed their season's rod caught total to 9600. The Tweed is worth mentioning because it is about the same size as the Wye and for most of the late 50s and 60s we had a higher rod catch on the Wye. Electro fishing provided the best news of the year with clear evidence that our earlier work had resulted in production of juvenile fish where there had been none previously. Above the Duhonw fish pass being perhaps the best example.