Like the Severn, into which it eventually flows, the River Wye rises in Wales, passes through some of the best countryside in Britain, and offers superb fishing for both coarse and game fish
Much of the Wye is privately controlled. Fortunately it is a long river and a lot of bank space is still available with a reasonable amount of all-season coarse fishing. Some day ticket water is available near Builth Wells and enquiries should be addressed to Mrs Asbrey, 17 High Street, Builth. 11yswen lies a few miles downstream on the A470. Here the Bridgend Inn has about half a mile of single bank and issues day tickets. Nearby, too, is the famous llandrindod Wells carp lake.
Rightly recognized as England’s premier salmon river, the Wye is also one of the best coarse fishing rivers in Europe. The river has produced pike to 37lb, dace to 1 ½ lbs, roach of 2lb 14oz, eels to 6 ½ lb, a chub of 7lb 3oz at Symonds Yat, grayling of 3lb l0oz and even a bream nearing 8lb. It also yielded a record salmon of 59 lb (with bigger seen on .the spawning redds), a brown trout of 5lb and sea trout to near 9lb. It makes the Wye an exciting prospect for all anglers.
The course of the Wye Rising on the heights of Plynlim-mon, the Wye is a rushing, boulder-strewn and busy water in its upper reaches. Here is the game angler’s preserve. Not until Builth Wells is the Wye recognized for its coarse fishing, and not until Hay-on-Wye is this fishing described as of ‘quality’. It was near here at Whitney in the autumn of 1976 that Austin Clisset set a new five-hour match catch record for the Wye with a bag of chub totalling 87lb.
But Wye fishing is overshadowed by the salmon. This inhibits full-season coarse fishing in many places. In most cases coarse fishing is allowed only after the salmon season closes in October. Most fishing rights are privately owned or syndicated, and a ban on the use of maggot baits applies from March 14 until September 15. The use of maggot baits is also banned along the River Lugg from March 14 until May 31.
At Treble Hill Cottage, Glasbury, Mr R Bufton issues day tickets for two miles of right-bank fishing at Ford Fawr and a mile of the right bank upstream of the B4351 bridge at Hay-on-Wye. This is a particularly good section for dace fishing (best catch so far is over 80lb), and, for the angler who likes river pike fishing, specimens up to 25lb are regularly taken. Nearby is 11angorse Lake with free fishing for roach, perch and good pike, and where there are boats for hire.
Day tickets and club contest bookings can be had on application to H Brodie-Smith of Poolpardon Cottage, Clifford, near Hay-on-Wye, who controls a mile of double bank at Hay Castle and Clyro, and a very productive length of the river downstream at Kerne Bridge below Ross-on-Wye.
Moving downstream one finds the Glanwye water. This stretch is a mile long, with 30 day tickets to be had from W Potter, Glanwye, Hay. Farther down, the Gabalva Fishery is one of the best Wye stretches for chub and dace. It is two miles long on the left bank upstream of Whitney toll bridge on the A438-B4350. The season is October 1 to January 24 and 40 day tickets are available from the Rhydspence Inn at Whitney. It was near this stretch that Clisset’s record was set, from a right-bank peg above the old railway bridge near the B4350.
The famous Moccas Water
The A438 trunk road now closely follows the path of the river as it winds down to Hereford. Most of the access points are from this road. The Whitney Court Estate control about five miles of both banks and the Estate Office issues day tickets which are for club bookings only. As on much of the Wye, night fishing is not allowed on the Whitney Court Estate water.
On the famous Moccas Water stretch 200 day tickets are available for 8 1/2 miles of the right bank. The coarse fish season runs from October 1 to January 1 and permits are obtainable from the Red Lion Hotel, Bredwardine, near the B4352 Hay to Hereford road. Like much of the Wye this stretch is patchy until you get to know it. But many swims along it hold huge shoals of dace or chub, as well as roach of quality, and big pike. There is an average depth of about 5ft. At Bridge Sollers the Garnons Estate water covers 2lA miles from the bridge and 100 day tickets are available on application to the estate office. There is some great chub fishing to be had along this slightly deeper water where fish to 6lb have been caught. The Birmingham Anglers’ Association controls about 1 VA miles of both banks at Brinton for members-only fishing. Associate membership cards are available from most tackle shops in the Midlands.
800 yards in the town, on the left bank below Wilton Bridge (access from A40) and the Ross Angling Club issues day tickets for this stretch running from the town rowing club HQ to Wilton Bridge. Nearby, too, is the famous and strictly preserved Bernithan Court pool.
The Birmingham AA control a mile or so of both banks above the Saracens Head Hotel at Symonds Yat. There is good fishing here for eels, also for other coarse species. At Old Forge, near the junction of the A40 and A4137, the Worcester and District United Anglers Association has a stretch and issues honorary membership cards.
In and around Hereford the local association controls the fishing along 6 1/2 miles of the Wye. This is match and pleasure fishing country and day tickets are available for many stretches.
The Hereford and District Angling Association controls several excellent fisheries; the left bank at Belmont above the city, at Castle Part, at Eign where there is superb dace fishing immediately below the railway bridge, at Bartonsham on both banks and at Field Farm on the 144
right bank near Hampton Bishop where there are big roach, chub and dace. The Association also control stretches near Holme Lacy and Fownhope. A map of local fishing is issued with day tickets which are available from the association.
Hereford tackle dealer H Hatton, 73 St Owen Street, controls and issues day tickets for a stretch at Holme Lacy, and downstream at King’s Caple, on the left bank, day tickets are available from Pennoxtone Court, King’s Caple, Herefordshire. Ross-on-Wye has some first class fishing. Birmingham AA controls
A short way upstream is the famous Kerne Bridge where some day tickets are available on application to local hotels. At Lower Lydbrook, too, the Courtfield Arms has a short stretch available for visitors.
At Monmouth, the Birmingham AA control a lengthy stretch of both banks upstream of the A466 bridge. Monmouth tackle dealer H Keeling, 48 Monnow Street, issues day tickets for some excellent fishing along the Redbrook and Biggesweir sections. Redbrook is famous for its dace and, lower down, for big chub which are for the angler using bread-flake float tackle.
The Wye is tidal at Tintern Abbey and care should be taken along the banks. Day tickets can be bought from M Jones, The Rock, Tintern, Chepstow, Gwent, for about VA miles of the water from Brockweir downstream. In between all of these famous places on the main river are many small tributaries like the
Llynfi, Ithon, Monnow, Mithyl and Lugg. Fishing is available for the visiting angler at-many places, while for the Lugg especially it would be wise to obtain a Birmingham AA associate card.
It seems hard to believe that the Wye, half a century ago, had deteriorated seriously due to over-netting, for it now produces more rod-caught salmon than any other English or Welsh river.