September 2019

Be careful what you wish for is perhaps the best advice when looking back this autumn! Following a very low water year, September continued with low water, extending back from the tiny bit of rain we had in mid August. At the end of the first week, it tried to rain and a rather frustrating number of dull, slightly wet days covered most of Wales eventually giving way to a real Indian summer anti cyclone: hot by day but cool at night.

This was the kiss of death to most sorts of fishing but especially salmon which seemed to disappear altogether. However, old fashioned equinoctial rains came a day or so late and these have persisted ever since. Yes, we wanted rain but will it ever stop? 

The Tywi valley filled with water and the Wye became a brown/grey torrent too, bringing fishing to an abrupt end (if it had ever got going). The Usk went into spate too but its hydrodynamics allow it to return to fishable height quite quickly.

So what happened? The Usk appears to have accounted for a few fish “here and there” while the Tywi catches have advanced a bit this month, which is not great considering what a good month September can be. Luckily the Cothi is similar to the Usk in that it comes into fishable order quite quickly.  On the Wye where we have a better handle on catches, a total of 20 fish were reported: 11 from the Builth to Glasbury section (Nyth 5), 3 from Glasbury to Monmouth and 6 below.

With just 17 days available in October plus a few more above Llanwrthwl Bridge, it’s just possible that 2019 will not the worst year ever on the Wye and if it does it won’t be by very much. If it stops raining and there is a chance to fish it will be interesting to see where they have got to with all this water and there may be a chance for to enjoy a few genuine autumn days. Next month we will look at the whole year and see what the significance of this year’s poor catches mean and what we hope to do about it.

Stephen Marsh-Smith

Rainfall at Llanstephan 2019 to date:


('18: 38" '17: 34" '16: 35" '15: 28", '14: 54", '13: 39", '12: 47", '11: 29")

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