NRW is advising anglers take the utmost care during catch-and-release as water temperatures soar.
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has today advised fisheries and anglers to take extra care when fishing for salmon in high temperatures, and to stop where water temperatures reach 20 degrees Celsius.
The news follows announcements from the Wye & Usk Foundation, the previous day, asking anglers not to make bookings on the lower river Usk (below Abergavenny), and also the banning of fishing on both the Galway and Moy Fisheries operated in Ireland by Inland Fisheries Ireland, last week.
As a cold-water species, salmon are known to be stressed by the kind prolonged hotter weather that the country is currently experiencing.
Whenever water temperatures reach 18-20°C, NRW advises anglers to take extra care while fishing for salmon. Salmon and sea trout start to feel the effects of these warmer temperatures, and can suffer when being fought, landed and returned.
The river Wye is already showing temperatures in excess of 20 degrees Centigrade at EA-monitored points, and clubs on both the Wye and Usk are also considering closure temporarily. Fishing Passport beats on the Wye downstream of Hay-on-Wye have been suspended for both salmon and trout.
NRW’s advice is for anglers to fish earlier in the day or late evening when the water cools off, with the fish being kept wet at all times, and should not be removed from the water to be weighed or photographed. NRW is also advising anglers to be patient when releasing the fish as they may need more time to revive to swim off strongly.
When temperatures top 20 degrees, NRW advise that it is too hot for salmon and sea trout, and that anglers should stop fishing. Mortality chances are high for salmon and sea trout at these temperatures, even with a proper catch-and-release technique.
Current Wales byelaws require any salmon or sea trout that is caught to be released safely into the water, using good catch-and-release principles.
Dr Ben Wilson, NRW Principal fisheries Advisor said: “With mortality chances being much higher for salmon and sea trout in hotter temperatures, anglers need to consider whether they should be fishing at certain times during hotter weather.
“We know that water temperature has topped 20 degrees in parts of Wales recently; particularly in the rivers Wye and the Usk, so we advise against fishing for salmon or sea trout in these rivers until water temperatures have cooled.
“We recommend that anglers keep in touch with their local association or club, or to use a water thermometer to make sure it is appropriate to fish.”