November 7, 2014

Home Fishery and Thomas Wood Fishery Breaking News 7th November 2014

From January 1st 2015 HOME and THOMAS WOOD coarse fisheries, collectively known as the Upper Courtfield Fishery, will be run by Adam Fisher as part of his fabulous ANGLING DREAMS portfolio.

This will allow these great Wye coarse fishing beats to benefit from Adam’s skills and experience and to be managed to the level necessary for fishermen to best enjoy the diverse potential that they offer for specimen barbel,chub,pike and perch.

Spring Salmon fishing between 3rd March and 15th June will continue to be run by Don Macer-Wright through Lower Wye Fishing. See Upper Courtfield Spring Salmon pages Home Beat Thomas Wood Beat

“The salmon fishing continues to be difficult on the Wye. However there is nowhere where salmon fishermen are more likely to catch MSW salmon upwards of 20 pounds in weight in the British Isles than on the river Wye, as recent seasons have demonstrated. Courtfield fisheries get their share of these wonderful salmon and Upper Courtfield beats provide some historic pools and runs where great fish were regularly caught in the past. By concentrating on the salmon side of the fishing only I shall be better able to promote and maximise the salmon fishing potential for the benefit of salmon anglers. My policy is to provide fishing at reasonable and for that matter unbeatable prices for the lower Wye.”  Don Macer-Wright

November 4, 2013

Booking Pages open for 2014 on Wye and Usk Foundation

Booking pages for 2014 are now open for Wyebank, Courtfield,Thomas Wood and Home fishery on Wye and Usk Foundation Booking Office.

Without any question Wyebank was the most prolific fishery in the early part of 2013 coarse season with barbel to over 13lbs, Courtfield wood stretch was very good and Home and Thomas Wood will have more swims cleared for 2014. The bottom and top end of Home has produced some excellent fishing with three or more barbel over 11lbs. Chub to 6lbs caught from all beats except Thomas Wood and Wyebank produced three over 6lb in one day with one estimated at 8lb which was no doubt more than 7lb. This one caught from Wyebank crib, where a barbel weighed at over 13lb 4oz was caught some years ago. Whatever the general fishermens’ view Wyebank is without question the beat that produces the biggest barbel on the 3.5 miles of river bank of Lower Wye Fishing based on records of past 5 years along with the biggest chub and dace, but Courtfield produces the most double figure by far on this part of the river.

July 15, 2013

Where to fish at Lower Wye Fishing for barbel in current heat wave and low water and high temperatures July 2013

Shade is at a premium, seek it out and increase your chances of some fine barbel.

After nearly two weeks of rising temperatures and dropping flows it is becoming increasingly difficult to find barbel and chub on the feed. My last post

Dissolved oxygen, canoes and barbel – a few thoughts

discussed the basic needs of fish for dissolved oxygen to stimulate feeding, now I need to identify the most likely places to find fish. This will be obvious to most readers. Barbel need fast well aerated water and deeper water will be cooler and hold more oxygen. Shade reduces surface heating and also allows pockets of slightly cooler water.

My bet is that Thomas Wood provides some of the best conditions locally to those stretches below Kerne Bridge. After 10am a lot of the Thomas Wood stretch remains in shade throughout the day. The Thomas Wood great crib provides some increased flow, although not much, but there is deeper water and some turbulence and mid to late afternoon onwards has got to be worth a go. Also the lower Thomas Wood crib, the Spike. Here there are cribs either side of the river creating a good mid river channel with a good depth.

thomas wood crib shade

Thomas wood crib is 200 yards below the top end of the fishery  (Courtfield Estate sign) and the Spike is about 600 yards further on towards the bottom end of the wood. There is plenty of shade in between with steady runs out from the sandstone rock slabs.

lower crib thomas wood

The "spike" lower crib Thomas Wood

shade downstream of lower crib thomas wood

shade downstream of lower crib thomas wood

Take ropes and bank spikes if you fancy some of the underbank rock ledges.

The top end of Home fishery has the classic shut stream run and swan pool crib all with good oxygenated water. The bottom end likewise has some fast water where barbel and chub will be found. But FOR SHADE go to Thomas Wood

Where to fish Thomas Wood

June 23, 2013

Some exceptional coarse fishing at Wyebank and Courtfield on the River Wye in a quiet first week throughout the river.

The coarse season on the river Wye has started quietly. However Wyebank and Courtfield fisheries have seen some exceptional catches given the circumstances of the late spawning of barbel.

On opening day Chris Dobson took a remarkable bag of 20 barbel and 20 chub from the bottom pool of Wyebank.

“WOW June 16 again and what an afternoons fishing. After a slow start [no indications for the first 45 mins] a change of tactics was needed. Swapping to a blockend feeder loaded with hemp and a small 6mm pellet on the hair had the desired effect kickstarting an instant response. Chub after chub came to the net so a change back to pellet/groundbait feeder and I had a barbel first cast. To be honest I lost count of how many after 18 barbel they were even taking on the drop. Thank you to all at the Foundation and Don. 20 Barbel, 20 Chub”

On the 19th June the following paraphrased report went in for Wyebank. “The river was exceptionally low with clear views of the bottom through less than a foot of water well out into the middle run. The sun shone strongly all day it was possible to watch eels scouring the river bed for debris. The only fishing option was to target the stronger flow between the cribs. Trotting down with meat through the fast water produced a good number of knocks and some good chub were taken, two over six pounds. It also found the eels! Five chub. Best 8 pounds. Eels.” I haven’t been able to get confirmation on the 8 pounder but either way it must have been massive and is in the Wyebank crib pool for someone else to hunt for!!

On the Thursday the 20th John Sherbon had a high 9 and 10lb 1oz barbel from Wyebank when I saw him after lunch, his report not yet in and James Bailey and son had a pretty impressive three days after I put them on swim 13 bottom end of the wood stretch of Courtfield. Again their reports not in yet but included two 9lb and a 10lb 7oz barbel the first evening and the next day an extraordinary 10 chub weighing 39.5lbs with an average weight of 3.95lbs. These fish were 3lb 6oz, 4lb, 3lb 15oz, 3lb 7oz, 4lb 12oz, 4lb, 4lb 8oz, 4lb, 4lb, 3lb 8oz. Their barbel bag included the 10 pounder plus 4 sixes, 3 sevens, 4 eights and 3 nines, 15 barbel over 6lbs by mid morning Thursday.

Then on Friday Ned Glover landed an 11lb 13oz barbel from the shut run on Home Fishery proving mine and Rudi’s points that this was potentially excellent water for good barbel! Today, Sunday 23rd June John Harding reported a bag of 10 barbel to 10lbs 14oz between midday yesterday and 3pm this afternoon and 6 chub to 5lbs.

Swim 13 of Courtfield see where to fish guide has produced 25 excellent barbel and 16 excellent chub. I think its the place to be at the moment on the Courtfield waters!

River Wye Courtfield Ned Glover's 11lb 13oz barbel 21/06/13

May 5, 2013

Sedimentation and no Ranunculus in the lower River Wye at Lydbrook 2013

Water levels have been slowly falling and at the beginning of May are now 2″ and more below summer level. Clear water and bright conditions have allowed a full inspection of the stone and gravel  river bed through the Lydbrook shallows at the bottom end of Courtfield and Wyebank. As suspected the bed has significant sedimentation and hardly any ranunculus. From my experience I believe it is the only year in a decade or more when  ranunculus growth at this point in time has been limited to a few patches here and there. I believe  it is probably the result of protracted turbidity since May 2012 up to early 2013. More worrying is the extensive growth of blanket weed showing over much of the river bed combined also with extensive covering of blanket weed stifled by sedimentation.

Ranunculus whilst important in the habitat of the lower Wye for providing shelter for fish species, is vital for maintaining water levels. As flows drop through the late spring and early summer ranunculus grows and creates an expanding biomass, which acts as a natural dam, thereby raising and maintaining water levels, whilst maintaining daily oxygen levels. Without the ranunculus there is nothing to prevent the important shallows from rapidly drying up.

There must be a concern that with an enriched river bed, as demonstrated by the blanket weed, and a rapidly falling river that we may be facing a high risk of excessively low water, high algal blooms and de-oxygenation, if the weather moves back to low rainfall and high temperatures. There is probably no single greater issue on the river Wye at the present time than the appalling loss of soil from the land, being carried directly into the river with every flood, with the diffuse pollution it brings, combined also with storm discharge policies allowing untreated sewage and chemicals to flow freely into the river.

April 15, 2013

A river Wye monster salmon?

I am back both physically and mentally exhausted, after the best part of two hours bank work, whilst struggling with my conscience and replaying what appeared to have happened this afternoon after lunch.
Simon this morning reported filthy water on its way from the Ithon which will put paid to any fishing for days, so with 3ft of water and only one place that I know of with deep water and a fishable flow at this level I headed for Legg meadow crib and the last chance of a last fish before this water takes them all upstream.
This is the story of what happened. I should start by saying this is the first time in what I have to admit is 45 years of river keepering and occasional fishing, that I have ever fallen in, whether river, stream, lake or pond. I have always maintained this fact as rather a proud boast, and if you have ever cleaned rickety chalk stream weed racks, worked on hatch control in all weathers of flood and ice and once upon a time worked the eel traps in the pitch dark of August floods, electro fished from punts for spawning pike and walked the gunwale with loads of chalk for bank repairs, you’ll know why. Today’s experience was also the scariest thing that has happened to me in those 45 years.
I cast out my yellow belly devon minnow with a sliding weight set up I use and after a number of casts snag free, I had the sort of take which I have now experienced several times on the Wye, and particularly in this stretch when the slow retrieve of the devon just stops and everything goes solid. These aren’t aggressive takes but seem to be big fish moving to the minnow and sucking it in before closing their jaws on it. The previous two occasions when both fish were lost, the fish moved after about 15 seconds to half a minute, this time it didn’t budge and the steady side strain I applied did nothing. I was sure it wasn’t the bottom as I was fishing what I am pretty certain was mid water. For what seemed to me a good 5 minutes but was probably half that, nothing happened beyond a periodical tremor through the line and what felt like head shaking but could have been the play of the current, Although I have rewound this over and over in my mind I think I was convinced it was fish as there was none of the give and take from a snag and I think there was a subtle movement in the body of the beast.
Then it was really over,  the fish moved 4 or 5 yards or so up into the pool allowing me to exert massive, and I mean all or nothing, side strain as for once I was as convinced as I could be that my line would hold. The fish must have suddenly freaked as without any warning it turned and came towards the bank fast when I saw this monstrous shape, all black, and I have this frightful image of its eye as it turned making a huge vortex like swirl and sped into the deep water causing a huge hit to the rod which pulled me off balance, and you all know what these Wye banks are like. I slipped and went straight in to my waist on my back. With rod grasped in my right hand it was pointing straight across the river and the fish would have pulled it clear of my hand had not the line stretched giving me that sickening knowledge that it was all over, as I grasped at the roots to prevent me sliding into the depths. The line went slack and in my subconscious I’m sure I heard the line ping as it broke. You’re probably thinking what an idiot for not releasing the clutch a little!

I had tightened the clutch to allow me to keep a constant heavy strain on the fish. When it moved it came up river so that I could gain line and then I gave it stick, not expecting the fish to rush the bank. I must have then reeled some line but it was all happening so fast. I think the fish either surprised itself or saw me. I don’t think it realised it was tethered by the line until I got the side strain on, when it suddenly took fright rushing towards the bank only to realise its mistake. I in the meantime literally had no chance to lessen the clutch tension and found myself staring and I think transfixed by this beast of a fish which looked huge and black, and I saw its eye as it turned at about 2feet below the surface. The water literally opened into a hole and the next thing I knew was the rod hit by the tightening line as the fish took up the slack it had created, I slipped lost my balance and was in the water foolishly grasping for the bank as the rod pointed towards the river and it was all over.

As I crawled back up the bank, having pulled something in my leg I thought to myself what was that fish, had I hooked a sturgeon I thought. of course not. I possibly saw a streak of silver but all I can see in my mind is a big black green fish as long as my computer table that I’m now sitting at. in fact it seemed bigger than that but of course it can’t have been. Fish are reckoned to look smaller than they are in the water, well to me this one did not. It clearly was all wrong for a big pike and no way was it a pike’s head. It was a great salmon, that in Adam’s words of the other day “was to big to lift”. I cannot possibly put a weight on this fish, It really was a big one that got away. Adam Fisher has had one, I saw one the other week before Adam’s fish was caught, which looked hugely bigger than a low thirty pounder. Last year a fisherman in Legg meadow saw a huge fish “porpoise” in Legg meadow of Courtfield in late January/ early February. I believe Gilbert’s famed portmanteaux may be back in the Wye and it is now only a matter of time until one is photographed on the bank.

The sensation this fish created in me was one of pure adrenalin filled fear for the unknown, the type of fear I have experienced as a surfer committing myself to a danger filled wave carrying the banner of drowning writ in invisible writing along its pitching crest.

April 15, 2013

River Wye Courtfield, what a day for running fish

What a day yesterday proved to be. Perfect conditions except for the subtly rising river which can probably be blamed for the failure of 4 fishermen to catch anything. The ferry pool, willow run and Craig y Heul run all had fish showing. Clive between 3.30 and 4.30 never saw so many fish. I was talking to him at 3.25 at the metal steps when he said he had seen absolutely nothing all day. it was then 13 degrees, clear water and started raining lightly but not drizzle. I saw a rise and a head show and said there you go, followed by two more. Clive legged it down I got Ocean, my rising 5 yr old son from the car and went down to watch. Fish started rising regularly and head and tailing in front of us. Left Clive to it and saw him later. He saw at least 20 good fish, small springers and big, head and tail and generally show but couldn’t interest anything! Rene saw fish in the ferry pool and Craig y Heul run early morning but no takers. Clive has never experienced anything like it.
If your line is not in the water you won’t catch fish, if it is you probably won’t, if you do you are either lucky, its a perfect moment, or a falling river and fish have arrived Very recently, or you are a very clever salmon fishermen. They say salmon are free takers on the Wye. Well not always so! I am pretty convinced salmon are in there most of the time and that most of the time they will not take. Not that many years ago they would start prawn fishing about now and that was pretty deadly, we’ve moved on!

I am pretty convinced that for Courtfield we need a rise of only a few inches at 1ft of water which will bring salmon up the long shallows and through the Lydbrook rapids into the ferry pool. If the water drops rapidly they will stay there and if it drops back quickly to 6″ or less Courtfield and Craig y Heul will have a bonanza. If it stays around a foot but drops slowly I think they will move into Legg Meadow pool and rest up there as demonstrated last week.

This week I hope to finish clearing willow at the pipes and alders bottom end of Legg meadow pool but with 2ft 2″ today I doubt we shall reap the benefits of this run, that will be the luck of beats above, between us and Hereford and I think up to Glasbury miay be seeing fish by tomorrow.

October 1, 2012

Latest autumn Wye barbel and chub news from Wyebank and Courtfield

Since the 15th September we have seen both good and not so good conditions. River levels looked like they would drop away sufficiently to encourage barbel into the shoals which produce some great catches on Courtfield. However when the river eventually got down to 4″ it only lasted a day before the river rose to a middle sized flood over the weekend of the 22nd/23rd and beyond. Wyebank fished the best until the middle of the month and then became pretty difficult with a frost followed by the high water.

The WUF feedback shows that Wyebank and Courtfield performed very well for the larger fish throughout this period, once again demonstrating that Courtfield is one of, if not the best place, for double figure barbel. The results are as follows.


Courtfield 11lb 7oz, 10lb 14oz, 10lb 8oz, 10lb 4oz, 10lb 4oz.

Wyebank 10lb 7oz, 10lb

Middle Hill 10lb 12oz, 10lb

Peryhill 10lb

Aramstone 10lb


Courtfield 5lb 10oz, 5lb 3oz, 5lb 3oz

Wyebank 6lb

Aramstone 5lb

Wyastone 5lb 6oz

Foy 5lb

September 14, 2012

Wye barbel September update at Wyebank and Courtfield

Fishing is  challenging on Courtfield this September with some very bright days and continuing high flows.

The Legg meadow crib is still covered with water and the level at Lydbrook has been at 6″ for a week now, which is unheard of over the past decade. This summer has put us in new territory for the barbel with flow conditions which have never before been experienced for Wye barbel fishing. When the river is high and coloured and over 4ft the barbel are packed along the banks out of the heavy flows. At the other extreme, as in last year, when the river is at summer level or below with gentle flows the barbel seem to hold in shoals more and stay put. The fact that some fish, which have a distinguishing mark, will be caught several times through the summer in the same place, demonstrates a tendency for territorial behaviour. This year and particularly recently flows remain high and the barbel seem to be all over the place and not in the larger shoals.

Legg Meadow has been fished hard and it is inevitable that fish will be getting hook shy. However don’t jump to conclusions because the Wood stretch has also been equally difficult and that stretch HAS NOT been fished hard, in fact it has hardly been fished at all. The feedback shows that despite some poor catches others have had brilliant success. Most notable has been Kenny Parsons and his clients. Kenny is an accomplished guide who really knows his stuff. He has a good understanding for knowing whereabouts the fish are likely to be and most significantly he refills the swimfeeder every ten minutes. Where others fail he and his clients always catch fish. Yesterday, Thursday 13th., John and Brian had a good afternoon fishing the bottom swim in the wood together. Plenty of feed was probably there success and in a couple of hours during the afternoon they had 5 nice barbel and 8 chub.

The good news is that doubles have been coming out in good numbers with numerous tens and a few elevens caught over the last two weeks.

Wyebank has had low pressure fishing this summer due to the high water making the pools inaccessible. That has changed this month and for the last two weeks Wyebank has come into its own at the lower end in the bottom pool. There was an exceptional catch of 30 smaller barbel going to a few around the 6-7lb mark and the rest down to 1.5lbs, had by Kenny Parsons’ client Richard, yes that man again! Check it out on facebook at Others have had some super fish to 9lbs plus with one to 11lbs 3oz showing that Wyebank bottom pool is a truly exceptional pool for all sizes of barbel in pristine fishing conditions. The top run below the island has had no fishing pressure at all and has to be a choice swim for the wading angler with bait box at waist. I think it must be full of fine fish.

So why is Wyebank so much more consistent than Courtfield at the moment. I think the answer to this is that the bottom pool lies below a well oxygenated riffle and although oxygen levels should be excellent along the river, this pool is probably at a saturated level and draws fish into it for ‘the buzz’. This would explain why the stock of fish in the pool keeps changing.

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September 4, 2012

Wye barbel fishing Autumn outlook for Wyebank and Courtfield.

After an extraordinary summer when the river at Lydbrook never got below 1ft without rising again, autumn has started with some real signs of low water in sight. I think we really need those low summer levels to get the barbel shoals to settle into the special pools and favoured lies. High water concentrates them in the slacks by the banks, while middle levels between 1ft and 3ft seem to encourage the barbel to range around all over the place, which makes for some difficult and testing fishing conditions, the like of which have been general through July and August.

Having said this we have seen plenty of barbel in the eight to high nines and a reasonable number of doubles with tens and elevens. I have’nt heard of any 6lb chub yet although several fives have been reported and the annual 7 pounder of recent years is yet to be reported. Talking of reports quite a lot of fishermen have not been sending in feedback, which IS a rule of Wyebank and Courtfield and vital if we are to keep a good eye on the health of fish stocks and fish movement. So please do not keep your specimen fish catch to yourself, report it!

I am quietly confident that the river will keep falling now and that barbel and chub fishing will peak as the month of September moves on to produce good numbers of double figure specimen barbel and specimen chub. If we get settled conditions through until late October then we could be in for a fantastic Autumn barbel session with the swims of Legg Meadow and the Wood stretch below, favoured and the stretch above the island also producing excellent fish for those who explore a bit. The runs and pools of Wyebank are virtually guaranteed to produce the goods for those who wade and work the water downstream, carrying a large bag of groundbait at the waist.

Courtfield is nearly fully booked for September but Wyebank is not. Last year the Wyebank fishing was outstanding. This year it has been difficult due to the prolonged high water. However double figure barbel to 11.5lbs and numerous large chub to 5lbs plus and great bags of dace have been taken. My advice, as the water drops back towards that magic summer level, is book now because Wyebank will start to perform very soon now and likely will do so throughout the autumn if levels drop right off. Once the bottom pool and the pool below the island come into their own I anticipate that some fantastic barbel catches are pretty inevitable.

i have’nt put anything in the gallery this year but we should be correcting that very soon with some lovely fish to show from spring and summer.