Thursday March 3rd, 2022
Every new fishing season arrives with fresh anticipation, even in the cold, dank conditions that greeted the opening of salmon and trout fishing on the Wye and Usk today.
For salmon anglers, the upper sections of both rivers were in reasonable condition for an early cast and there have been reports of springers seen in the upper Wye. However, today’s rain may push both rivers up again and with a mixed forecast, the prospects look a little dicey for the rest of the week at least.
We’d like to remind all salmon anglers that the Charles Farlow Trophy will be awarded to the largest fly-caught salmon in English and Welsh rivers at the end of the season. The winner also receives a certificate, a £500 Farlows gift voucher and a uniquely engraved ‘Goliath’ bottle of gin from Foxdenton Estate (click here for details on how to apply). The winning fish quite often comes from the Wye or Usk although last year, an angler fishing the Hampshire Avon took the prize with an impressive 30 pounder. We would like it back if possible please!
For those wanting to learn how to Spey cast or just to brush up on their techniques, AAPGAI instructors Illtyd Griffiths and Craig Evans will be running spring casting courses on the upper Wye. More details can be found
A few hardy trout anglers also venture out during the opening days of the season, hoping to encounter hatches of large dark olives or March browns that will get the fish moving. Action can be brief and frantic early season, usually centered round the middle part of the day with any sunshine definitely helping. The advice is never to sit back with your lunch and admire any rises – if you see a trout move or even a wagtail snatch a fly from above the river, get fishing straight away. March trout are hungry and have usually forgotten what a fly looks like!
In most years it takes warmer days in April for the tributary trout fishing to wake up but more lowland rivers such as the Lugg, Arrow and Monnow probably give the best chance of early success. However, conditions allowing, the general advice is stick to the main stems until April, or at least until we have enjoyed a few sunny days.
There will be a few coarse anglers braving the March weather too, determined to get a day or two in before the river season closes on March 15th. We were particularly intrigued by a report from Lee Harper-Smith who fished Lower Canon Bridge in late January, catching a 14lb pike on fly. We don’t often hear of people targeting Wye pike with flies so it is interesting to hear when this method is successful. Pike anglers are a secretive bunch so it probably happens more than we realise!
14lb pike caught by Lee Harper-Smith on a fly from Lower Canon Bridge at the end of January.
Finally, many have noticed that our most viewed river height gauge on the upper Wye at Llanstephan took a blow from something quite large in the recent floods. We will be there to replace it as soon as levels allow, along with the faulty water temperature sensor.
We wish the very best of luck to anyone who breaks their winter fishing shackles and ventures out to cast a line over the next few days. For those that aren’t quite ready, there is always Oliver Burch’s February Game Fishing Report to read.