by Angling Times |

Springing from the mighty Welsh mountains at Plynlimon, the River Wye courses its way through mid Wales before crossing the border into England near Hay-on-Wye.

From here the river is in its middle reaches, changing into the lower reaches south of Ross-on-Wye . It becomes tidal south of Biggs Weir where it eventually spills into the Severn Estuary just below Chepstow.

The fifth longest river in the UK, there are great opportunities for both game and coarse anglers.

The Wye has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and one of the most important rivers in the UK for nature conservation. Much of the lower valley is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Wye is largely unpolluted and is therefore considered one of the best UK rivers outside Scotland for salmon fishing.

Wherever you decide to fish along its length we’d always recommend a visit to a local tackle shop and contacting some of the many controlling clubs before choosing an area to fish.

The amount of water available to the coarse angler has been substantially increased, but to preserve the quality of the wild fishing many stretches limit rod numbers on a daily basis.

One of the UK’s top barbel destinations, the River Wye also has good stocks of large chub, silverfish as well as huge pike.

Upper reaches

From source to Hay-on Wye is the river’s upper reaches. This area offers some of the most beautiful, rugged and wild fishing in the UK.

Running mostly over rocks and gravel it is primarily a game fishing area with healthy stocks of trout and grayling, but the crystal clear waters can make these fish hard to catch.

Llangoed has a stretch that is a renowned salmon beat, but there is some great chub and pike fishing for the coarse angler.

Chris Ponsford says: “Good barbel fishing can be had as high as Hay-on-Wye but becomes much more of a game river above that for trout, grayling and salmon. However, even Builth Wells has coarse fish including some whopping chub and dace.”


The Upper Reaches of the Wye are noted for game fish but there's still plenty of chub to go at

Middle reaches

From Hay through to Ross is the river’s middle reaches. Here, it slows and deepens, taking on the more classic river look.

Witney Court, just downstream of Hay is predominately gravel with areas of bedrock interspaced.

This is one of the highest areas to hold good stocks of barbel, chub, silverfish and pike.

Below Hereford, Luggsmouth and Holme Lacy are worth a look in addition to some excellent fishing to be had in and around Hereford itself.

Local tackle shops will help get you sorted.

Below Hereford, the Wye and Usk Foundation has three great stretches – Caradoc, White House and Backney. All about one mile long, they offer prolific coarse fishing for barbel, chub, pike and silverfish as well as plenty of salmon.

Chris says: “Between Ross and Hereford there is not much day-ticket fishing as salmon beats rule, but Wye and Usk Foundation controls some beats, and great catches of barbel are possible.

“Hereford and District and Ross on Wye AA are the club books to have on this middle section and day tickets are available. Above Hereford there are plenty of barbel, and private sections like The Red Lion beats at Moccass.”


Backney, below Ross, is one of the most picturesque places to fish for barbel

Lower reaches

This is anywhere below Ross-on-Wye, where the river widens into a more stately meandering watercourse. Fishing here is a pure joy for the coarse angler with barbel, chub and pike as well as roach, dace, perch and even the odd carp.

Chris says: “Redbrook, Lydbrook, Monmouth and Symonds Yat, are prolific sections for coarse fish with barbel thriving in the fast, powerful currents.

Glamorgan Anglers, Newport AA, Forest of Dean AA, Wye and Usk Foundation all have beats. Above this, we are running up to the lovely old market town of Ross on Wye where the view from Wilton bridge downstream is not to be missed.

Ross on Wye AA has some great waters and the barbel fishing is very good on its day, with double figure fish a regular feature, plus big chub and river carp.”

Tidal reaches

Biggs Weir is a salmon water, but Newport AA has a section which can be coarse fished and barbel are present in numbers and to double figures.

Chris says: ”The barbel fishing starts on the lower tidal river at Brockweir near Chepstow. These lower reaches are good for salmon and coarse access may prove difficult, so a move up river to Biggs Weir will be needed.

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