Latest Autumn Arrives In The River Valleys

Autumn Arrives In The River Valleys

The Wye and Usk valleys will be in their full autumn splendour in the next few weeksFriday 5th October, 2018

Salmon catches on both the Wye and Usk have picked up considerably in the past couple of weeks, helped by some decent rainfall and more seasonal water temperatures. After what has been a poor year for rivers across the UK, we hope that salmon anglers at least enjoy the last couple of weeks of the season.

For both the Wye and Usk this ends on October 17th with an extension to 25th October for the main stem upstream of Llanwrthwl Bridge and the tributaries. Throughout the season we ask anglers to handle fish with care and this is no different for coloured autumn fish.

While we always try to remain optimistic, next season will be the first year affected by the poor spawning conditions of the 2015/16 winter in England and Wales. If this is of interest to you, it is a topic that we are planning to cover in our Annual Meeting on Friday 26th October, more details of which can be found on the WUF website here, along with those of the Autumn River Walk.

Trout fishing is now over for another year. Bearing in mind Grayling and coarse anglers have been enjoying some of the best fishing conditions of the year so far2018’s prolonged hot summer, the fishing on both rivers wasn’t at all bad. Oliver Burch will cover a review of 2018 in his September report, due to be published on the Fishing Passport site shortly (Catches & Reports section).

Meanwhile, the autumn grayling and coarse fishing has been excellent. Even more encouraging has been the number of recent catches of small barbel (1lb) from some beats, mainly caught on trotted maggot. While barbel in some other UK rivers seem to be struggling with recruitment, the Wye appears to be in good health. Other beats, especially on the Lugg, have reported large numbers of juvenile grayling too. The immediate future looks very positive for these species.

Elan Gravel

On the WUF project side, we started our Elan gravel replenishment operation yesterday, which this week our habitat team will be full bore on. If you want see river restoration in action, take a trip to Elan Valley visitor site in the next couple of days. A WUF staff member will be happy to explain what is happening.

Our Elan gravel operation started this week. Here river gravel taken from the top of the Elan catchment is being introduced below the lowest dam. We stack it on the bank to be distributed naturally by the winter flows.This year we are very pleased to announce the inclusion of Elan Valley Trust (EVT) as a project partner, in addition to Welsh Water and Natural Resources Wales. This project has been delivering good results for the Elan’s ecology, as reported in a previous e-newsletter.

Natural Flood Management

Elsewhere, we are about to start work on a £700,000, two and a half year project in Herefordshire in partnership with the Environment Agency, Herefordshire Council and the farming community. The objective is to reduce water runoff from farmland and hold more water in the soil within seven catchments that are prone to residential flooding.

In addition to reducing flood risk, the project will have several other beneficial outcomes. For farm businesses, it will improve soil health and crop yields. For rivers, it will reduce the amount of sediment and phosphate washing into the Wye, thereby improving fish populations.

Meanwhile, for all of us, increasing organic matter levels in soils locks up carbon dioxide and helps combat climate change. This is exactly the type of multiple benefit work that is being promoted as the future for agriculture.

Finally, for anyone heading out on the Wye and Usk in the next few weeks, whether fishing or not, please take a moment to enjoy the river valleys in their spectacular autumn livery.

All the best from WUF.

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