Middle Ballingham and Fownhope No8
Two thirds of a mile secluded stretch of double bank salmon and coarse fishing on the River Wye a seven miles downstream of Hereford
Offering a mix of wadeable, streamy water and gentle glides over gravel at the top end leading to deep slow pools, the beat has sections which are suitable for various methods of angling from fishing for salmon and barbel to trotting for dace and chub. The slow deeper sections are also good piking spots in winter.
Key facts about fishery
Parking 100 yards from the river
Access along the bank is good but by foot only so anglers are advised to travel light. The parking spot is in a layby and there is a 100m (110 yard) walk to the downstream section of the beat. The banks are steep in places although there are plenty of spots to access the water.
The top of the beat on the left bank is clearly marked by a large croy which belongs to the fishery whilst he bottom boundary is by the stile leading into Capler Wood. A post and rail fence marks the top boundary on the right bank and the bottom boundary is opposite the stile into Capler Wood. Although the majority of the fishing is done on the left bank, in the past a boat has been used to reach the far bank where there are several mooring places.
There is a 22 yard wide stretch of Ballingham Wood that belongs to the fishery. A footpath runs along this bank through the woodland, similar to the opposite bank.
15 known pools and catches
There are 15 known pools and catches along the fishery. Downstream from the Big Croy, it is possible to wade through Fords Gravel and The Rapids, which has been some of the best fly water on the whole of the river. Many of the pools below are best fished from the bank especially the Pipe casting out to The Alders down to the Gravel. Fish here travel up from this side along Under Capler.
On the right bank the fishing is said to be harder on the Middle Ballingham beat although the Wood Stream beat offers a good shaded resting place for fish. Tinker’s Hole was named after a tinker who poached this pool during the Great War while the pools below are best fished from the left bank.
Salmon have been caught to 38lbs
In 1986 a 38lbs salmon was caught in The Alders and other fish weighing between 25lbs and 30lbs were also often caught.
Although the Fishery has always been used for pleasure angling, it has been little fished in recent years despite the fact that this length has a reputation for being very productive. In the latter half of the 1980’s, the beat’s annual average was 129 salmon.
Today, however, it has been most frequently fished by barbel and chub anglers and has a reputation for big fish of both species with barbel into double figures and chub over 6lbs being frequently caught.
Bookings available on ‘The Fishing Passport’
The fishery currently generates an income of approximately £2,500 with on-line bookings available through the Wye and Usk Foundation’s ‘The Fishing Passport’ scheme at https://www.fishingpassport.co.uk/fishing/middle-wye/middle-ballingham-and-fownhope-no8. Numbers are currently restricted to three anglers per day at a cost of £27.50 for salmon fishing and £25.50 for coarse. Block bookings for all three rods are also available at a cost of £76.50 per day.
Terms and Conditions for fishing through the Wye and Usk scheme can be found at https://www.fishingpassport.co.uk/terms-and-conditions.
Latest Catch Returns for the stretch can be found at https://www.fishingpassport.co.uk/catch-return?b=73#results .
How to get there:
From Hereford or Ross take the B4224 to Fownhope. Adjacent to the church head south along Capler Lane for about one mile. Capler Cottage is on the right hand side and there is parking along the road beyond. The path leads down the wood to the river. Access to the right bank can be through the gate from Ballingham along the footpath crossing Ballingham Meadow.
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