Wye roach – finding silver

Having a birthday at the arse-end of January has always been a bit shit. Christmas is but a distant memory; the weather is invariably dire; the days are short and most people are still a week off payday and skint after the festive excesses.

And yet I always seem to manage a decent birthday fishing trip on or around the 22nd Jan. A few years back I had a lovely, big Lea barbel on the day itself and I had a personal best perch at the time just a couple of years ago.

A lovely Lea barbel that I had on a memorable birthday trip a few years ago
A lovely Lea barbel that I had on a memorable birthday trip a few years ago

This year I managed to get out the day after my birthday, for a few hours on the Wye. I’d originally planned to fish purely for perch, but the tackle shop had no lobs. I thought I’d hedge my bets and try trotting maggot with a view to targeting roach and perch, hopefully.

The river was in great shape. A lovely murky green colour, up slightly, and after the freezing weather just a few days before, we were back in the early teens in terms of temperatures. The fishing was really enjoyable – far from a bite a chuck or even any really big fish – but totally absorbing; technical, methodical, interesting. I managed nine or ten really good roach, with the best two weighed at 1lbs 8ozs and 1lbs 4oz respectively. Plump, silver, unblemished fish – Wye roach really are lovely creatures. I had a solitary, small perch and one dace too.

A brace of big river Wye roach
A brace of big river Wye roach

1lbs 8oz Wye roach web

I’ve only been fishing the Wye for four years now, but by all accounts much of the river offered great roach fishing ten, fifteen or so years ago. Yet today they are quite localised with many formerly productive areas now barren of roach and other ‘silver’ fish. The Wye rightly is famous for its truly fantastic barbel fishing in beautiful locations, but this wonderful river offers all sorts of other interesting opportunities for some of our less glamorous, but perhaps more interesting species.

Winter on the Wye
Winter on the Wye

Author: tescovalue79

Age: 37. Work: Marketing & communications. Like: fishing, art, ITFC, good music, bad pubs.

6 thoughts on “Wye roach – finding silver”

  1. Hi Ben, really nice roach there, you managed a good day in the winter of almost constant floods, very true that the Wye has been in decline for the roach, some say it’s the cormorants others say the spread of barbel out competing them for food and raiding the spawning beds, think the later is closer although where you were there are far to many birds, a few years back I was roach fishing outside Saracens Head, with not much to show and a bird was shovelling a bloody great roach down it’s neck, a real two pound plus fish, no sooner was it down and the bird dived down again and was then enjoying a chub of around the same stamp, the last time I went down that way I counted and I kid you not thirty two of the things, as John Wilson once said do the maths and it’s not hard to see a very large impact on the system,
    Good to see you back out

    1. Cheers Mark, sorry for the delayed response. Loads of birds around that day, I’m afraid. Interesting theory re the roach – they do seem to be there in numbers, and in the general area there are few barbel, but lots of birds. Have you been out at all? Pool perching?

  2. The proverbial silver lining for a downcast birthday month! It’s sad though that there are areas there that are devoid of some species of fish.

  3. Hi Ben, very little to report except several dropped fish on live bait, hook change is the plan and they are in the box ready to put into action, under tens football is taking up a lot of my time to do any real sessions coupled with the weather, had a short session piking on a Sussex day ticket water and had a brace of big doubles on deadbaits, seeking to do a bit in the last couple of weeks, the canal near Goytre has a stripey or two worth a go with a spinner though, tight lines

  4. ‘re marks post I used to roach fish opposite the Saracens many years ago had a lot of 2lb plus fish, it only fished well when the river was way up 9 to10 10 ft on had them close in under the bushes , maggot feeder. Tight lines phil

    1. Hello Phil. Thanks for the comment. I’ve only had roach on the Wye when it’s been well up and coloured too – hopefully I’ll get a chance to have a go for them under such conditions later this winter. I’d love a 2lb Wye roach!

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