October 2019 & End of Season Salmon Report

2019 has been challenging in every respect throughout the season in every respect, including finding something to say in the monthly salmon reports: October managed to maintain that challenge!

The small red arrows in the graph above indicate the peak fishing moments at which the river started to fish. After the first of these on the 17th it rose again the next day when the season on the main river closed and on the 26th when the upper river season extension came to an end, the same thing happened. In the upper river beats, the Rocks took 4, Dolgau 2 and Glaslyn 1  fish while on the 17th, Builth downstream to Glasbury added another 7 with Glanwye taking 4, Gromain 2 and Rectory 3. Downstream, Whitney added one more. While the total of 15 looks grim – holding onto any scrap of good news – it was a fair catch over the short period when fishing could occur!

That brings the annual total to 344, the lowest ever recorded. In a sport where the excuse can often outrank the outcome, it is worth looking back over the year and seeing what did or rather didn’t happen to affect the overall catch.

The first problem may take some believing after six weeks of continuous rain but up to the first half of September it was one of the driest first nine months we have experienced in recent years. I would not be surprised to learn that ’75 and even ‘76 were wetter at this point. Llanstephan recorded just 17”. Since then a further 10 ½” have been added. This is great as it will have encouraged fish upstream before spawning and they will have chosen sites suited to higher water. At the same time it curtailed fishing in October to a cumulative total of just over a single day!

Looking at this year’s monthly totals, I’m tempted to ask if fish detect what’s going to happen regarding future rainfall conditions and adjust their run timing to suit? There’s ample evidence this is the case. In the dry winter/spring of 2012 fish came early in very low water conditions and then it rained. Autumn last year saw silver fish spawning as far as the Elan in a similar but attenuated November deluge after a record drought. This year’s electrofishing results, which check juvenile numbers (of 2018 spawners), was way more than the rod catch suggested.

So two very tough years in a row, bad though it was I saw the damage of 1976 and feel the dams have again averted disaster. 

All the best


Please note that the views within this report are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of the Wye & Usk Foundation.