River fishing in Wales, often in glorious scenery, adds up almost without exception to game fishing. Anglers out and about on the clear mountain streams or major rivers of Wales are invariably seeking salmon, sea trout, or brown trout. Opportunities are numerous and the chances for visitors are good to excellent.
Wales’ greatest salmon river is, without doubt, the Wye. There will be some, perhaps many, who will query our classification of this marvellous water as a Welsh riverand we must admit that it caused us no little thought, not least because the Wye has so often been hailed as England’s greatest salmon river. Our final decision to include it in this section was based on the fact that it has now been firmly placed administratively under the control of the WNWDA. The Wye has produced all Wales’ biggest salmon. A list of the top 20 Welsh salmon finds every fish a Wye fish, headed by Miss Davey’s 59 lb 8 oz beauty of 1923 with the smallest in that list, taken in 1955, weighing 44 lb. The Wye is also rich in coarse fish though fishing for them can be restricted.
The Principality’s other major salmon rivers are the Dee and the Usk though it should be added that these are far from the only waters which attract salmon runs. A short additional list would include the Conwy, the Dovey, the Mawddach, the Teifi and the Towy. Further details of all these and more are given on the following s.
Vying with salmon in Wales – and, for some, surpassing them – as an angling attraction are its sea trout, known in this part of the world as sewin. Most of the Welsh sea trout rivers – and certainly those best known – are concentrated on the western and northern coasts. The most prolific is the Towy, said to have yielded more sea trout over 10 lb than every river in England and Scotland puttogether! The Conwy has pro-duced Wales’ biggest sea trout so far – a fish of 21 lb 8 oz. Add to these the Clwyd, the Dovey, the Dysynni, the Glaslyn, the Mawddach, the Rheidol, the Taf and the Teifi, again to name but some in no particular order of preference, and it is clear why tangling with these coveted fish is one of the great attractions for the angler. A very general indication of the peaks for these fish is that a few big ones begin running up these in April with the main run getting under way in May and June. This is followed in late July or August by a run of smaller fish with, in September, a final run of bigger fish again. Details of the many sea trout possibilities are fully covered in the following s.
Brown trout are native to most and there are many opportunities for the visitor to fish for them.
Regarding coarse fish, it must be said that there are no rivers in Wales which could be classed as coarse fisheries pure and simple. There was one, theTaff, but since 1968 this has been decimated by pollution. The coarse fisher’s only chances are, therefore, in game fish rivers which also contain coarse fish, the Wye, Usk and Dee being three obvious examples. This is often on a grace and favour basis with the game fishing taking preference. Details of these opportunities and, where known to us, the restrictions placed upon them, are also covered in the following Fishing Guide section.
Where available, record material relating to various is given. The reader should note that in every case the word trout means brown trout unless otherwise specified.
Rod licences for rivers in Wales are issued by the Welsh National Water Development Authority and not by the respective River Divisions. These River Divisions however are noted in the Fishing Guide entries following since they are concerned with the close seasons within their areas.