One of the quarter of 30lb fish caught so far in March
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‘An amazing month’ is how the majority of anglers are describing what has been one of the best months of March for river Wye salmon for generations.
The iconic waterway has seen an average catch of 22 fish in March over the past 5years. However, 2012 has stunned anglers who have enjoyed unbelievable sport on the river this month with a total of 95 salmon reported so far.
Of this huge number an unbelievable 29 fish have been over 20lb – four of which gave a handful of lucky anglers a fish of a lifetime coming to the bank at over the magic 30lb mark. The best beat has been Wysham, which has returned 11 salmon with an average weight of 20, while the biggest specimen was caught from Ingeston at a weight to 35lb by angler John Kenyon on the fly.
Obviously with such a boom in fish numbers speculation as to the cause of the glut is rife. One man who knows more than most about the Wye though is Stephen Marsh-Smith OBE, Executive Director of the Wye and Usk Foundation, and he believes he knows the reasons behind the large March run.
“It’s been a most exciting start to the season even against some very challenging water conditions for March,” Stephen told Total Fly Fisher.
“There have been some amazing fish caught, on top of which there has also been a huge number of kelts caught, showing that there was a good run last year too.
“Debate obviously rages as to how this increase has occurred. Clearly a sea survival increase has helped, but nowhere near enough to account for the uplift – other rivers that have a run of 3SWs have not improved so much.
“We would contend that the increase is as a result of the work on the upper Wye during our pHish project, which dealt with the effects of acid rain above Llangurig and made improvements to the Irfon which are being taken forward in our ISAC project; fish passes and some of the early habitat restoration. We were able to track increases in juvenile densities in these sites which were monitored during the project.”
Anglers are now looking to April, which has seen as much higher salmon catch average over the past 5years than March, to see what's in store for them.
Further details of the work carried out by the Wye and Usk Foundation and how to fish their Wye beats can be seen here.