Fish'n flood on the Tyne

As another fishing season closes, we have been casting a fly over fellow fisherman and trawling the Internet to catch a feeling of how everyone has fared on the Tyne. At Land Factor we are involved in numerous beats on the river and our wide range of contacts gives us a unique overview of proceedings up and down the system.

Land Factor’s specialist on fishing properties, Hugo Remnant, gives a personal insight.

Overall it is a confusing picture. There have been some excellent, even outstanding days fishing and some beats have performed well; but with so much water about, many anglers have been disappointed.

There is no doubt that 2012 will be remembered as the wettest summer on record. A glance at the graphs of water height on the Fish Tyne website suggests that the first part of the season was not too badly affected, but from mid-summer onwards, many more days were lost to flood conditions. With heavy rainfall and constant releases from Kielder Reservoir, fishermen have often been frustrated, particularly on the North Tyne and Main River. When they have been able to fish, they have been challenged by relatively high water, often better suited to spinner than fly. Despite this, the lower river has fared well, probably assisted by lower-than-average summer temperatures which have discouraged fish from running upstream. Bywell has enjoyed another excellent season with 576 salmon, approaching their 2011 catch of 633 salmon.

Returning fish numbers are down. The size of the run has been lower than in recent years, with 21,446 salmon and sea trout through the Riding Mill fish counter to the end of October. This compares with 36,000 fish in 2011 and 45,000 fish in 2010. But, as one of my colleagues commented, in a wet year when the river runs high for long periods of time, how reliable is the fish counter in picking up all the fish running upstream?

Is one of the reasons for more fish being caught over the last 2 years due principally to a bigger fishing effort up and down the system?

The lower run seems to have manifested itself particularly in the sea trout catch, with many beats down by 50% this year; although there has been a late run of coloured sea-trout which seem to have been waiting in the estuary for longer than usual. Also for spring salmon, there is little sign of an increase in the numbers of returning spring fish. Despite this, Bywell caught 63 spring salmon (to end-April) this year and 80 spring salmon in 2011; and the reports from Styford were positive. On other beats, the spring catch has been negligible; the fish do not seem inclined to pass through the Riding Mill barrier in any numbers until the water temperature rises.

The Tyne is now firmly on the map as a destination for visiting anglers. There are 19 beats on the Fish Tyne website alone. The weather is increasingly unpredictable, and we have more and more data to study. Despite this the salmon remains an enigma, and management of these iconic fish, and how to catch them is as mysterious as ever!

If you have any queries about the River Tyne or elsewhere, please contact Hugo Remnant.

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