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Angling Trust licensed Game Fishing coach Guide for the Wye, Usk & tributaries

Wye & Usk

Oliver Burch

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Small Streams

River Trout

Autumn & Winter Grayling

Upland Lakes & Reservoirs

Sea Trout


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The grayling fishing of the upper Wye, like the coarse fishing on the lower river, was for years a well-kept secret, overshadowed by the concentration on salmon. Today, it is regarded as the great success story of the river and the grayling fishing here compares with any in the UK. Grayling are also found in some of the larger Wye tributaries, such as the Monnow, Arrow, Lugg, Ithon, and the Irfon especially has some very good fishing: 18 inch fish turn up regularly. The best months for top of the water sport, either dry fly or spiders, are September, October and to some extent November, but a winter hatch of large dark olives can bring them up, even on a freezing afternoon after the turn of the year.

Personally I fish right through into March as the weather allows, generally using heavy nymphs or sometimes long trotting. The key to success in the late season is locating the big shoals which the grayling have formed by then and some long stretches of river may seem quite empty until you come across 50 or 100 large grayling packed in a tight space. It is important to know the likely spots and to use an extensive searching method. This is where long trotting with the centre pin reel running a tiny hook and bait up to 60 or 70 yards away will score - I recommend you try this delightfully delicate method if you have never done so.