Salmon Fishing at Ross Angling Club (Weirend).
Weirend is at the downstream end of the waters of Ross Angling Club. This is the recognised salmon fishery for Ross AC. This fishery was once frequented by famous salmon fisher Robert Pashley, also known as “The Wizard of the Wye”, and before the Club took over the fishing rights it was the Guy’s Hospital salmon fishery. The stretch is approximately 2 miles in length and is marked at both ends with Club signs.
On this stretch is the Clubs salmon hut built by the Wye and Usk Foundation in their early days, where the member can sit awhile or make him/herself a cup of tea or coffee, a very pleasant spot in the spring sunshine. The club’s main car is only 200 metres away and there is a gauge at the Salmon hut which matches the reading on the Environment Agency’s Ross gauge.
This stretch of fishing is entirely right bank, and both coarse and salmon members can fish the water. The salmon members have priority where the catches are marked by white post. In practice coarse members rarely fish downstream of the salmon hut where most of the white post catches lie. The coarse members of the Club tend to fish the deeper water upstream of the salmon hut so do not impact the salmon anglers at all. The catches on this stretch are also marked by name boards. There are several wooden benches in the stretch below the salmon hut for the convenience of the members.
Description of Weirend Fishery.
The Weirend fishery starts at the second meadow downstream from Wilton Bridge and the White Lion pub on the right bank. Club signs mark the start of our fishing as you go through the metal kissing gate after crossing the plank bridge following the riverside footpath. The first meadow is shallow for the most part with just a few short deeper channels before it deepens considerably as the Wye dives into the first of the deep water at Poachers Hole. Here the bankside footpath goes through a second metal kissing gate into the most popular section for the coarse members. Downstream from Poachers Hole the River remains fairly deep at somewhere between 2 metres to perhaps 2.5 metres in places and passes two notable catches at “The Stones” and “Brighton Rock”, neither of these are fly water but useful spinning water which have produced salmon in recent years.
At the downstream end of this stretch is the Salmon Hut/ Weirend Crib where the water is wadeable when the Ross Environment Agency gauge reads 0.5 metres or less. It is a difficult wade with large rocks in the River so take care. Half way across the River the Wye dives into a deeper fish holding hole which is far too deep for wading. It was here that Jon Daniels took his 30lb fish in 2019. This is mainly spinning water but a fly can be fished into the deep channel on the far bank. In the spring fish can be seen here and it is a good place to judge how many salmon are around. At the bottom end of this short section the River suddenly shallows to run over rock and gravel for about 200 metres down to “The Loo”.
“The Loo is the first of the catches in Jackson’s meadow, the first field after the concrete road. “The Loo” is called by that name as in the past a chemical toilet stood here for the convenience of the Salmon fishers in the days when the Fishing was owned by Guy’s Hospital in London. At “The Loo” the water rushes past a small croy into a deep hole which produces fish most years. Fly or Spinning both can score here. The top part of the catch is wadeable down to the croy, the second part is not. The hole here is about 2 plus metres deep, rock and gravel. This catch has produced four fish in the last few years last one in 2019.
Next catch down is “Lower Loo” which is not wadeable and does not often produce fish. It is worth a cast or two. The bottom here is gravel and tackle eating rock! A fish came from this catch in 2016.
Next comes “Watkins”, utterly reliable and fish come from here every year recently. This catch is one of those where the anglers can get in the water and fish with Fly or Spinner from behind the croy which starts to uncover at about 0.5 metres on Ross gauge. The bottom here is gravel beyond the croy with rock mid River at about 20 metres. The catch has produced consistently since 2015 with a total of 13 salmon.
Downstream beyond “Watkins” is “Ray’s” crib, here again mainly fished from the bank but it is possible to wade behind the croy for cover when the Ross gauge measure 0.4 metres or less. The bottom is mainly gravel with some rock. Good flow past this croy and often produces fish in the swirls downstream which mark the presence of rocks. Salmon came from this catch in 2015, 2017 and 2019.
At the end of Jackson’s meadow is “The Brook” this again is a reliable catch producing fish most years. Our biggest croy it starts to uncover around the 0.5 metre mark on Ross gauge. Anglers can stand on the croy, however it is best fished standing in the water behind the croy for stealth. The River here is fast as it races past the croy into a substantial pool and can be holding water in summer. Bottom mainly gravel but there is some rock. “The Brook” can be fished with both fly and spinner. Since 2015 a total of 5 salmon have come from “The Brook”.
Over the wooden bridge and into the arable field is “Lower Brook”. Here the angler is at the very bottom of the pool mentioned above at “The Brook”. Very interesting catch here, in the middle of the River is a big bump which forces the River to divide with deep channels running both sides of the River and the middle is turbulent running over the gravel bank. Fish are found in the deep water at the sides and behind the gravel bank in the middle. There are steps and ladders and further down blue ropes for access. Fish lie in the middle of the River behind the gravel bump and in the side channels, it has produced fish in the last few years.
Next catch downstream is “The Flats”, access was opened by members in 2020 to fish again after many years of laying unfished. There were many salmon caught at this location in the past. It has yet to produce in its latest iteration.
“Hom Pil” catch is next. This is a very famous catch, and was where Robert Pashley caught some of his 40lb salmon in the past. The bottom is mainly gravel but does have some rock and deep holes in the middle of the River. Fish can be seen every year in Hom Pil and it is a good indicator of the stock of salmon in our sections of the River. Easy wade for the most part but be aware of the rock ending suddenly. Can be fished off the bank early season when the water is too deep to wade and wading can be undertaken when the Ross gauge is 0.8 metres or less. There is a ladder for access to the very top of the catch. Wading is possible further down opposite the abstraction pump which operates during the late spring, from here it is possible to wade all the way down to the next catch. Since 2015 a total of 14 salmon have been taken from different parts of Hom Pil, of these 5 have weighed in excess of 20lb.
“Pashley’s Crib” and “Greenbank” I’ll deal with as one. Greenbank is in effect a continuation of Pashley’s both have a gravel bottom which is featureless but does produce the occasional salmon. At the end of Greenbank the River shallows quickly as it rushes over a couple of rock shelves. The water here is streamy with normally an abundance of water crowsfoot which can affect fishing the catch. Best to fish it early season. There is a fallen tree here where a stream enters the Wye it provides a useful piece of structure for fish both coarse and game to hide behind. Wading is straightforward once the River is down to 0.5 metres on the Ross gauge. Nice place to fish if you only have limited time, best suited to fly fishing. A total of 6 salmon caught here since 2016.
The next catch down is Hom Stream, this is one of the most productive catches on our Weirend waters and ideal for the fly. Over recent years it has produced 9 salmon including 6 in 2017. The Wye runs over gravel for the whole length of Hom Stream and the angler can spend a couple of hours fishing it thoroughly. It is approximately 100 yards long and the wading is easy. The Access is straightforward at several access points that exist with blue ropes to help the angler in and out of the water.
Five Trees is the penultimate catch on the way downriver. Club members have fairly recently opened this catch for fishing by cutting back bankside willows. Mainly gravel bottom with the odd rock the catch can be waded from 0.5 metres on the Ross gauge. There are rock features and a trench in the middle of the River. Salmon often show in this catch both in the middle of the River and on the opposite bank near fallen trees. Past records show salmon came from here but in more recent times fish have been taken in 2017.
The last catch on Ross AC’s water is appropriately called “Bottom Pool”, deeper water here in excess of 2.5 metres in a few places it shallows up into water about a metre deep at the bottom end of the pool as it leaves Ross AC’s waters. The bottom is mainly rock at the run into the pool and gravel at the bottom end. There is one main lie over this rock where every season fish can be seen. This catch does not see many anglers but it can be fished from the bank with spinner and with a little more skill a fly can be put through it. Bottom Pool often produces large trout and salmon have been caught as recently as 2017.
Tactics for Weirend.
The stretch can be fished with fly rod for the most part but, there are certain sections which are better fished using spinning methods. So if the angler is after a full days fishing take both a fly rod and a spinning rod and all the catches can be covered. If like me you like to fish the fly then the middle sections of Weirend can keep your attention for a few hours by fishing Hom Pil, Pashley’s, Greenbank, Hom Stream and Five Trees and ensure concentration is maintained all the way down Hom Stream. For the fly fisher Bann Shrimp, Snaelda and Frances flies have all scored with a sinking or intermediate line early season. If spinning; Mepps fished upstream, Salmo Mors2, Toby and Flying C have all taken fish.