Early Season Wye Salmon Tactics

The salmon fishing on the Wye will start again on the 3rd March and no doubt the water temperature will be low and the river level high. The water may also be coloured. Historically this is the time when the “springers” will start coming into the river system; these are the big fish (20 – 30lbs) that all salmon fishers dream about.

Everyone will tell you that you have to fish deep because the fish will be close to the river bed, in locations that offer some protection and where the current is slower. In close proximity to large rocks and in deep pools are the most likely spots but experienced salmon fishers will know where the best lies are, although these can change with river height.

Many anglers will be spinning but if you are like me then you would prefer to fly fish. So what are the tactics that will give me the best chance of catching a spring fish? The answer is to fish deep, with a fast sinking line and large, heavy, tube flies. This will be hard work for some anglers and undoubtedly it will be off-putting but if you take your time and roll up the line to the surface, before casting, then this method shouldn’t be too daunting.

Black and Yellow Tube Fly

Black and Yellow Tube Fly

Black and yellow is a good choice of colour as many of the gillies on the river will tell you and so a black and yellow tube fly would be my selection. Last year this combination accounted for a significant number of fish on the Usk as well and from discussions with fellow salmon fishers the colour combination appears to be a universal recommendation.

How to fish it; well you have to get the fly down quickly and so a 45 degree cast, down and across the river, followed by slipping more line into the line on the water would be a good technique to use. A reach cast enables you to do this but you could also use a shooting head and hold some running line back which can be fed into the line as it is fished.

Should the river level be lower than expected then you could use a yellow and black pattern such as the Picasse or the good old reliable silver stoat, or your own favourite yellow and black fly.



About John Symonds

I mainly fish the rivers Wye,Usk and Ithon for salmon, trout and grayling. Also fish in Ireland on the rivers Moy, Suir and Blackwater. Specialist skills photography and graphic design relating to fishing, casting and fly-tying. Qualifications include Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructor (APGAI) single and two-handed fly rods, International Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) two handed casting instructor and Level 2 Angling Trust Coach.

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