Just one week to go!

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With the Wye currently in full flood prospects for the Salmon season or any other fishing look a bit uncertain but I think there is a fifty fifty chance of members fishing on the first day 3rd March next Wednesday.

I’ve asked a couple of the Club’s established expert salmon fishers to give their views on early season salmon fishing on our stretches of the River Wye. Last week Matt Cooper one of our Countrywide members gave his tip for early season with the fly rod. This week it’s the turn of local man Richard Woodhouse to impart his wisdom on how to do it. Originally from Shrewsbury Richard has been a salmon angler all of his life and has wide experience of salmon fishing in the Wye, Usk and the River Severn.

Richard represents the Club on the Wye Local Fisheries Group.

Richard with one of his salmon from Weirend in 2017

Richard says “

How I approach the Ross waters during the main spring period depends on water height on the Ross gauge.  Colour is usually not a problem in Spring, although the Lugg can come in dirty after big spates particularly in Summer.  Ross in general fishes best in lower water as this tends to slow the fish up and most catches are made with the river in the 0.25 to 0.80 metre range when both fly fishing and spinning can be successful. 

Early March usually sees a high cold river.  I would not usually fish above about 1.5 metres but as the water drops opportunities improve and gradually open up for spinning in the deeper quieter areas such as the Town Water, Weirend Bay, Hom Pil and Bottom Pool.  In these conditions I will be using paternostered wooden devons, spoons and Flying Cs.  At this height the chances for the fly rod are in my opinion slim.

At about 1 metre on the gauge the river starts to fine down and lose much of its push.  This starts to open up a lot of our water and I start carrying a fly rod as well as the spinning outfit trying the fly first before running through with a spinner.  Fishing in these conditions will be mainly from the bank as most areas are still too deep for wading.  For the fly, casting will be down and across at a fairly shallow angle.

My fly fishing outfit at this time consists of a 15ft rod with a sinking shooting head along with tube flies and waddingtons.  The sinking line cutting under the fast surface flow allowing that important slow presentation whilst the long rod helps to keep the D loop of my spey cast out of the bankside vegetation.  For maximum versatility and to avoid having to change the complete head at different pools, my sinker consists of a fast intermediate body which takes 15ft and 18ft tips of varying densities to suit the pool being fished. 

Once the river is down below 0.8 metres wading becomes possible in more places including AC/DC, Green Bank and Hom Stream.  This allows increased opportunities for the fly rod.   With lower levels I switch between a standard multi tip line with a floating body and my intermediate body but with lighter sinking tips.  I also downsize my fly rod to my 13ft’er with smaller flies but continue to carry both fly and spinning outfits.        As levels continue to drop under 0.5m and water warms with fish taking up residence I will look to a full floating line with small flies but I don’t ignore the sinking tip if the full floater doesn’t produce.  I also continue to carry the spinning rod as the mepps has often produced after the fly over the same water proved unsuccessful.  

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