Newsletter from Severn and Wye Smokery


It’s a strange time of the year, Christmas is over, children are back at school and days are starting to lengthen, we know spring is around the corner but the cold and frosty mornings have reduced those thoughts to whims and fancies. Guns have been cleaned and locked away and for me it’s meant a visit to the cupboard under the stairs, pull out my rods and reacquaint myself with fishing gear that has been gathering dust over the winter months. In Scotland the wild salmon rod and line season started on most major rivers in mid-January, while in England and Wales we will have to wait until March. Melting snow and rain has meant Scottish rivers have seen little activity but hope springs eternal and I have already booked a couple of trips for April in my quest for that early and elusive springer (salmon).

In Scotland the rod and line fishing has suffered several poor seasons and ghillies that I spoke to last year voiced genuine concerns about river salmon stocks declining at an alarming rate. The blame gets evenly spread between Government, farm fertilisers and nitrates, birds of prey, commercial netting, seals, dolphins and salmon farms, but now many are thinking the problem may be even more complicated and actually something that is happening out at sea.

The good news is closer to home though and the River Severn, which until recently, was described by the Environment Agency as a river ‘at risk’ is now a river ‘probably not at risk’. This reclassification is extremely important as it completely revaluates the health of the river’s stock. It’s also at a time when pressure is mounting for the E. A. to rethink their new licensing policy which has, in effect, closed the small commercial wild salmon fishery on the Severn. The word commercial does this fishery a disservice. It is in fact a group of twenty-five old boys who enjoy fishing the river for a tiny reward that at the moment doesn’t cover the cost of their license.

We are actively supporting these fishermen and feel that this heritage fishery with its skills and river knowledge is a tradition of Gloucestershire we can ill afford to lose. To be truly ‘sustainable’ environmental, social, and economic benefits must all overlap, but the E.A seems to be purely interested in only the environmental aspect of sustainability.

We don’t want the fishery to have unlimited access; it’s essential it’s sustainably managed and controlled, it would also help if the old riparian rights were returned so a license holder can bequeath his license to his son or daughter. With the E.A. we need to be able to take a more custodial approach to the fishery to ensure its long-term future rather than legislate to kill the fishery.

The E.A. also plans to implement a total ban on the off-shore netting on the N.E. English coast in 2018. This is a proper commercial fishery and accounts for 93% of the commercial catch of wild salmon and sea trout in England and Wales. As the coastal net fisheries in Scotland closed some years ago it’s almost certain that most of the wild salmon coming to London somehow picks up a Scottish passport en route. Numbers will also put this in some sort of perspective. In 2016 the N.E. fishery caught roughly 38,000 seatrout and 18,500 wild salmon. 2016 was also the last year that the Severn netsmen fished their quota, their total catch for the season was 162. This means particularly wild salmon but wild sea trout as well will become a rarity and something that chefs will only be able to feature as a rare delicacy, and by 2020 something we may talk to our children about having once tasted.

Continuing on the trout theme we have teamed up with Chalk Stream Foods and taken their awarding winning farmed trout, which is proving popular with many of the country’s leading chefs. The fish are reared in farms alongside the River Ichen and the River Test, and it is the diverted spring fed chalk stream waters that gives these fish their clean and delicate sweet flavour. By successfully now producing a suitable large fish for smoking we think is a product that will have widespread appeal, a British sustainably reared fish that for so long has been undervalued. We are planning to have hot and cold smoked trout available from the 14th February, wholesale customers contact the sales office for details.

The 15th February is the start of the elver season. The cold weather may mean that we will have to wait a while before we see any reasonable catches, but like all fishermen we remain optimistic. Any chefs or wholesale customers that would like to get involved in our restocking or Tanks in Schools programme get in touch, it’s a wonderful feeling restocking British rivers, involving children and teaching them at the same time about the wonders and life of the eel, its value as a resource and how we need to look after and respect our rivers.

More news soon.

Dai Francis
Ambassador without Portfolio
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** Dates for the Diary

Start of the UK elver fishing season
15th February
Don’t expect much fishing for the first few weeks, need weather and water to jump a few degrees in temperature.

Chinese New Year
16th February
Year of the Dog, supposedly anyone born in this year will be communicative, serious and responsible in the work place.

St David’s Day
1st March
Welsh choirs clear their throats for celebration singing. Daffodils and leeks go short in the market.

Salmon season opens England & Wales
3rd March
Time to catch up with Scots and see if any spring fish are running
Cider orchard
Severn & Wye cider orchard planted
150 trees, 7 heritage varieties, all possible from contributions from our sales of MSC haddock, herring and ‘SEG’ approved smoked eel.
Dai Francis

One Last Chance to Save Welsh Salmon & Sea Trout Fisheries

Dear Friends,

Last week we witnessed both success and a severe let down. WE MUST ACT…FAST!

With many from our fishing community, I attended Natural Resource Wales Board meeting on the 18th January in Bangor, Gwynedd and witnessed what I can only describe as an injustice as the NRW chair Diane McCrea took the decision to present the NRW Fishery Bylaws, essentially unchanged, to Welsh Government.

Please help us get more signatures:

We had a fight on our hands….we now have a battle.

I urge you to now lobby your Welsh Assembly Members and make them see that NRWs bylaws do not represent the appropriate means of establishing community lead fisheries in the now and therefore for the future.

I urge you to share our story with local papers; local media and social media and I urge you please…LETS GET MANY MORE SIGNATURES. We may only have days to do this….the timescale is now unclear.

The greatest frustration for all of us who witnessed proceedings at the Board Meeting of the 18th is that the majority of the non executive Board, understood our plight:

they stated the fishing community had been ousted from the process; they called for an alternative approach to be developed in partnership with us (as should always have been the case); and they recognised NRW are in no position to police the proposed system. All members of the Board recognised the need to tackle riverine habitat issues and made the promise to implement a strategy to deal with them…..all of this shows our voice has been heard! WORKING TOGETHER WE ARE INFLUENCING FOR EVERYONES BENEFIT.

THEN……came the sledge hammer blow! The Boards Executive Members effectively ignored the wisdom of the non executive. Suddenly, it was about no more time wasting; no more expenditure; no more listening……to us. We are not on their agenda ladies and gentleman….WE MUST PUT RIGHTING THIS WRONG AT THE TOP OF OURS.

Even though their very own Board stated the way forwards must be shaped by those who are most impacted by the measures…..US…they were ignored!

Please forward this message now….it’s our last chance.


‘Thank You’ for all you have done and your continued support,

Reuben Woodford

Invitation to an Open Evening at Gary Evans Shop Whitchurch Cardiff

We are holding an open evening in our Cardiff shop on the 22nd of February and wondered if any of your members would like to attend? I’m sure we had a few from Merthyr last year!
It starts about 6.30pm and we always have some very special offers only available on the night, as well as a general discount on other items. There will also be a free buffet including beers and non-alcoholic drinks.
It’s a great opportunity for members of different clubs to get together, swap stories, information, and have a bit of fun.
If you wish to attend let our secretary know so he can contact Garry Evans with the numbers of our members to allow for the catering.


The Chairman and committee members would like to wish all membership a very happy Christmas and tight lines with screaming reels for 2018

MTAA Response to Compulsory C & R and NRW Reply

The following representation is from Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association and represents views brought up in both the Usk and Taff Local Fishery Groups.  Not all those in the Usk Group had the same views but some did agree with us.

These Groups although not Statutory are recognised by Natural Resources Wales as sounding boards for advice.

Catch Controls: byelaws for Nets and Rods 2017

The general opinion from both these committees, we do not claim all are in agreement but in general the comments reflect that Anglers are not in total agreement with the proposals.
All those who sit on these committees have many  years of knowledge of the Usk system and in some cases feel that other factors that are equally damaging to fish stocks,  the answers to which have been avoided for years should be considered. One of these is Fish eating birds and their control.  Natural Resources Wales have now stated that at least 50% from surveys  of sea running  smolts are lost to these predators.

The current staffing of Natural Resources Wales on enforcement is totally inadequate due to cut backs and unless adequate protection is afforded to the current Salmon/Seatrout stock then any restrictions on anglers will not achieve any benefit.

The current spate during 2016 and early 2017 of agricultural pollution incidents is another problem
There appears to be reluctance by NRW, and indeed the Welsh Government, to recognise this.

Q  (2a.)
Do you agree with Natural Resources Wales salmon and sea trout stock assessments?
Not on some rivers as the figures do not bear out claims being made by Natural Resources Wales. The blunt approach is neither scientific nor proportionate and appears to be a catch all so Natural Resources Wales can appear to be doing something. Natural Resources Wales have agreed that the problem is not with the fishermen but yet again they expect, without mentioning or even attempting to tackle other problems, that the anglers must bear the brunt of the new restrictions.

There is ample evidence that increasingly  fish aquaculture farms are  causing major problems but no effort is being made to control it. Why?

Q (2b).
Please tell us if have any evidence to support a different stock assessment conclusion.
The current catch returns are showing evidence of more fish entering some river in 2017 making the catch all restrictions as just being a method for Natural Resources Wales to simplify the new bylaws and not act as the evidence based organisation they profess to be.

Do you support the proposed Net fishing byelaws?  Byelaw 4 – Catch and release with nets (salmon).

Some proposals for restricting the netting season and fish sizes will make a difference. However the Environment Agency in England and many other countries have taken far more drastic action against netting imposed bans.

The proposal and acceptance of the netsmen to return all net caught salmon goes against all the guidelines issued by Natural Resources Wales to anglers on the release of fish. The care they ask anglers to take cannot, due to the way net fishing is carried out, result in any net caught salmon surviving. We would ask that Natural Resources Wales produce any evidence they have of research to prove this?

Q(3b.) Do you support the proposed rod fishing byelaws?

We support elements in the proposals but feel again that some are being put forward without the necessary scientific evidence so often asked for by Natural Resources Wales when anglers make suggestions.

Angling brings added value to both conservation and to the local economy that both support local angling and improve conservation of stocks. The heritage argument to preserve the status quo regarding net exploitation has been the main reason given for the last twenty years and before when any new bylaws are proposed. This only protects the interests of a very limited number of individuals to exploit a diminishing stock, the catch returns for the nets show how many fish could be saved if as in England, Wales was prepared to act in the same manner.  We cannot see any added value from the net fishery either in terms of the local economy or the measures. The promise to return all net caught salmon, a questionable promise, taken by the net fishery to aid conservation is to coin a phrase a Red Herring.

Byelaw 3(d)-Interpretation

We will deal with this in some of our answers below.

Byelaw 4 – catch and release with rod and line (salmon)

We are opposed to the mandatory catch and release proposal due to the fact that the current use of it as a tool to saving more fish is not borne out by the two rivers that already have it in Wales the Taff and the Wye.  The figures for the Taff this year are very low and the Wye has not done as well as the previous two years. On this basis catch and release is not the problem. It is very quickly showing that some of the problems highlighted by Anglers in the last ten years not tackled by either Environment Agency or Natural Resources Wales are more of a problem than anglers.

Anglers do much to help the conservation of salmon and sea trout as well as the aquatic and riparian environment. The removal of in river obstructions to upward migration as well as being a presence that discourages poachers.  The fact that more and more Natural Resources Wales are asking the angler for intelligence for them to carry out their statutory duties shows that they are understaffed. If and we suspect that this will happen on many rivers if Catch and Release is adopted, anglers stop fishing, then the intelligence will also come to an end.

Byelaw 5 – catch and release with rod and line (sea trout)
WE think that those who fish those rivers that have a sea trout run are best to respond to this.

Byelaw 6 – Size limit sea trout

We have some knowledge of this and welcome the introduction of an upper size limit of 60 centimetres it would protect large mature sea trout which are capable of producing large numbers of eggs. We agree the proposal to move the commencement of seine and coracle netting from the 1st March to 1st May however we would prefer that netting is banned. These measures would together provide protection for a stock which appears to have declined in recent years. Many anglers have been releasing such fish for some years and some associations require this and others encourage it.

Byelaw 7 – No bait fishing

This prohibits the use of bait for salmon. It prohibits the use of bait for sea trout before 1st May. Bait fishing for sea trout would be allowed with a single worm on a single hook with a gape of 8 mm or less after 30th April. We question the banning of worm fishing for salmon but allowing worm fishing for sea trout is not what can be described as logical thinking. Fish whether Salmon or other will take a worm. You already have the classic issue of this on the River Usk where worm is allowed for trout fishing but not for Salmon.
All worm fishing for salmon and sea trout fishing should be prohibited until stocks recover. We understand that the survival rate for worm caught fish is very low. The survival rate for fly and spinner caught fish is high.
Shrimp and prawn fishing catches mainly salmon, and a very occasional mature trout. It does not catch immature fish. All fish are hooked in the mouth, usually in the scissors. All can be returned with little harm. We understand that some surveys have been carried out on the use of Prawn and Shrimp in Ireland that show a positive light on these baits. It will also give those who like to fish with bait the opportunity to carry on fishing. This in itself will help to keep more anglers on the rivers of Wales.

The surveys in Ireland by fishery scientists showed that salmon were caught in the upper part of the jaw or lower jar when prawn or shrimp fishing. The salmon were then released with no adverse effects to them. This was far better than worm fishing where the bait is often taken deep within the salmon and has a high mortality rate if tried to be released.

The banning of  prawn and shrimp was overturned  due to the evidence submitted.

With a number of elderly anglers in the club who have contributed for many years with their licence money. They now find it hard to wade rivers due to being infirm and unsteady on their feet.

They still hold the enjoyment of fishing very high and for them to be able to sit on the river bank for several hours is a pastime that we cannot take from them and should not.

It can also encourage people to fish when club membership is waning  and more could be lost due to the constraints imposed by the NRW.

Byelaw 8 – Hooks
This byelaw amends byelaw 10 of the 1995 byelaws and:- only allow fishing for salmon and sea trout with barbless or debarbed hooks prohibits the use of treble hooks.

We are in agreement with this but question and ask how will Natural Resources Wales enforce this and all the other new regulations with current staffing levels?  The banning of trebles will certainly save fish.
Section 4
Please tell us if you have any further comments that haven’t been covered by the previous questions.

We welcome the fact you have asked for further comments:

We feel that the present status of catch and release should be maintained. That the taking of any salmon after the 30th August should be added to the proposals as by this time many fish are gravid in any case. This would reduce the window of when fish can be taken to three months of the year.
The move to bring the new bylaws in for Ten years is not only unrealistic it just looks like another Natural Resources Wales move to reduce their monitoring and assessment of stocks.

In the past the monitoring of fish stocks was viewed and an essential part of the work of body that was set up to improve and maintain fish stocks. We are referring to the National Rivers Authority in the Nineties; the Environment Agency after that.  Today monitoring is if carried out is being done on a shoe string. We now more than ever need to carry out the programme of monitoring that was employed over the years. Evidence for the need to do this and to show how critical it is has come to light this year when it was suddenly discovered that in some brooks there were no Salmon fry. What a surprise when, and we do not blame staff on the ground, cost and decisions by people who considered fisheries management as a low priority reduced monitoring.

We suggest therefore that Natural Resources Wales relook at the way they view their remit on the fisheries function. This is critical if they wish to live up to their claim of protecting and enhancing the environment in Wales.


a/ Taff, had prior to the barrage, a substantial (unreported) run of migratory fish. Black weir used to hold a large shoal of salmon which was heavily fished for by illegal “angling”.

b/ Absence of fry etc in spawning brooks. Local intelligence informed the Usk LFG in 2015 & 2016 of heavy predation in these brooks by poachers, namely at, Trecastle, Senni, Yscir and Tarrell. Lack of enforcement on the ground due to cut backs left these areas open to poaching.

Tony Rees P/P Merthyr Anglers. 804 members.
Anthony Rees MBE

13 Alexandra Avenue

Merthyr Tydfil. Mid Glam

CF47 9AE


Use the arrows in left hand corner to move between pages.


We know that many members fish for bass, the following is the result of a recent meeting in Europe.

Council agreement on 2018 fishing opportunities secured at 07:40 (CET)
Its been a gruelling night of negotiations with the Commission plus work to find common ground with the French and Dutch delegations on sea bass. The UK team has worked really effectively together to push the case for more proportionate measures based on good science. Having started the night with a stark outlook for Wales we are delighted to be able to share good news on our priorities for 2018.
Final compromise:
Sea bass


  • Gill nets – 10 months of 1.2 tonnes per year (Wales’ red line: 1 tonne)
  • Hooks / line – 10 months of 5 tonnes per year (Wales’ red line: 4 tonnes)
  • Recreational – 12 months catch and release (but with possibility to authorise a bag limit of one in July and Aug in the light of benchmarking in early 2018)


Also after ICES benchmark exercise in 2018, the Commission will consider if there is a basis for reviewing the measures in place for sea bass and allowing for any landings of sea bass in recreational fisheries.
Good news on other stocks of interest


  • 15% increase in TAC for skates and rays
  • increases in quota for cod and plaice in the Irish sea
  • increases in quota for sole and cod in the Bristol channel

Below is the full report (use arrows at bottom left hand to turn pages)

EU fisheries policy 2018 (1)




Cyfarthfa Park

I popped in to see Dia Odd Socks this evening and he was telling me that he had a tremendous day on Cyfarthfa Park Lake fishing Peg 29 he landed 12 bream and 2 crucian carp on the method feeder.

Why Feeding Bread to Ducks is BAD

Many birders were first introduced to the joys of wildlife by feeding ducks bread at a local park or pond. While we may have thought this was an environmentally responsible and cute way to dispose of old or stale bread, offering bread to ducks is actually unhealthy and potentially dangerous for the birds.
What Bread Is to Ducks
Bread and similar products such as crackers, chips, crisps, donuts, cereal and popcorn are great sources of carbohydrates but they offer little nutritional value for ducks, geese, swans and other birds.
In fact, bread is the equivalent to junk food for birds. Like humans would suffer from a diet of nothing but candy, too much bread can lead ducks to excessive weight and malnutrition as well as many other problems.
Offered in extreme moderation, bread is not immediately harmful to ducks or birds, but that moderation is hard to judge. While one family may only feed the ducks once every few months, there may be many other families and individuals who are feeding the ducks bread far more frequently. This can lead to a diet based almost solely on unhealthy bread products. Environmentally conscious birders will refrain from offering any bread or bread-like products to ducks to avoid nutritional problems and other issues caused by a carbohydrate-rich diet.
Why Bread is Bad for Ducks
Not only can bread be fattening to ducks and make it harder for them to fly and otherwise evade predators, feeding ducks bread can also lead to other serious problems.
Duckling Malnutrition: Ducklings require a varied diet and plenty of natural plants and insect proteins to mature properly. If ducks are regularly fed bread, ducklings will not receive adequate nutrition for proper growth and development. Furthermore, because ducks will eagerly seek out an easy food source such as human handouts, ducklings will not learn to forage for natural foods as easily.
Overcrowding: Where an easy food source is abundant, ducks and other waterfowl will lay more eggs and the pond or lake will become overcrowded. This makes it more difficult for the birds to seek out healthier food sources and increases the likelihood of territorial aggression. In overcrowded areas, predators can also thrive and will impact other bird populations, and diseases can quickly spread through large flocks as well.
Pollution: When too much bread is offered to ducks, not all of it will be eaten. Soggy, uneaten bread is unsightly and rotting bread can create noxious odors as well as lead to greater algae growth that can clog waterways and crowd out more desirable plants. This concentrates the pollution and can eventually eradicate fish, amphibians, crustaceans and other life in the vicinity, making good food sources even scarcer.
Diseases: Feeding ducks bread can increase the spread of diseases in two ways. First, a carbohydrate-rich diet leads to greater defecation, and bird feces easily harbor bacteria responsible for numerous diseases, including avian botulism. Second, moldy bread can cause aspergillosis, a fatal lung infection that can decimate entire duck and waterfowl flocks.
Pest Attraction: Rotting food leftover from sated ducks will attract other unwelcome pests such as rats, mice and insects. These pests can also harbor additional diseases that can be dangerous to humans and threatening to other wildlife.
Loss of Natural Behavior: When birds become accustomed to handouts, they lose their natural fear of humans and may become aggressive in order to get more food. Their loss of fear can also cause other dangers, such as a willingness to cross busy roads in order to reach picnickers and other likely sources of food.
What to Feed Ducks Instead of Bread
Wild ducks and waterfowl can live longer, healthier lives by relying on natural food sources such as aquatic plants, seeds, grasses and insects rather than taking handouts from well-meaning humans. If you still want to feed the ducks – and doing so can be an enchanting experience – there are many healthier alternatives to offer instead of bread.
Great foods to feed ducks include:
• Grapes (cut in half to prevent choking)
• Cracked corn, barley, oats, birdseed or other grains
• Frozen peas or corn kernels (defrosted first, but no need to cook)
• Duck feed pellets available from farm supply stores
Don’t Waste Bread
For many people, feeding ducks bread is not only a way to interact with wildlife, but it is also a handy way to dispose of old, stale bread. There are many other useful ways to dispose of unwanted bread, however, including…
• Adding bread to a compost pile to create mulch and fertilizer for bird-friendly landscaping
• Trying stale bread recipes such as bread pudding or homemade dressing and stuffing
• Toasting stale bread for homemade croutons, bread crumbs or garlic toast
Of course, the best way to use up stale bread without feeding it to ducks is to avoid having any leftover bread in the first place. Bread can be easily frozen until needed, or birders can monitor their menus and shopping to ensure there are no leftover products that would be tempting to feed to ducks.

Thank you for the information

AGM 8th November 2017 – Report



Minutes of the 52nd Annual General meeting at the Ex-servicemen’s Club on Wednesday 8th November 2017.


The Chairman opened the meeting at 7.30pm.


Mr Paul Bowen (Abergavenny)


The minutes of the last Annual General Meeting held on 8 November 2016 were read and accepted.

    • A Rees reported that although there had been mentions of the introduction of car parking charges on a number of occasions by the body managing Cyfarthfa Park no concrete proposals have been made.
    • With regard to minute 3.3 of the last AGM in respect of who to contact to report poaching incidents it was confirmed that it should be to National Resources Wales bailiffs on their hotline number 03000 653000. NRW cards bearing the number were available in this meeting for members to keep.
    • The Chairman reported that a fruitful meeting had taken place with the local Police but since then there had been no contact from them because, we believe, due to staff changes by them
    • Mr A. Rees reported that the formation of a new company was now progressing quickly and a favourable outcome is anticipated.
    • There has been no model boat activity on Cyfarthfa Lake for several months due to the ill health of their organizer. Also there were several arising from their activities such as going out of bounds and on one occasion damage an underwater gabion basket placed in the lake by us.
    • The Association has continued to oppose open access by canoeists to inland waters, but the final outcome of any decisions by the Welsh Assembly appears as far away as ever.
    • The Chairman circulated details of salmon catches on our waters from 1984 to date, which showed a fairly level line on a graph, although a decline in numbers caught this year meant a reduction in the value of the Association by £50K. Also a large reduction in the number of salmon entering the River Taff has been seen by NRW.



In accordance with the previously agreed policy of improving the natural quality of Brown Trout fishing on our River Taff system the number of farm reared fish was reduced to 250 10” – 12” trout this year.  Since the reduction of farmed trout being stocked a significant improvement in the size and quantity of fish has been noted.  From 2018, for a period of 3 years no farmed fish will be introduced.  Cantref received a stocking of 600 rainbow trout.

Our coarse lakes and ponds were stocked with 375lbs of mixed silver fish from Redhill Farm plus 500 Bream, 250 Perch, 280 Gudgeon plus Roach and Rudd were shared between New Pond Penywern and Cyfarthfa Lake.  Also 100 small Crucian carp were placed into the small ponds at the rear of the Castle to bring on for possible transfer to other ponds when larger and more mature.  No coarse fish are contemplated for Fish Pond Penywern due to uncertainty of the works proposed for the A465 duelling


The pollution problems of the Taf Fechan above Cefn Bridge is now close to being resolved.  It has been found that 13 properties in Lakeside Gardens have connected waste producing appliances to the surface water drains instead of the soil system.  Also a location in Prince Charles Hospital has similarly been misconnected.  To rectify the situation the Local Authority has issued statutory notices to put matters right.

An oil leak occurred at the Llwyn Onn treatment works which lead to contamination of the River Taf Fawr.  Initially Welsh Water who own the plant denied the leak was from their plant but later admitted liability.  The leak was on-going for several weeks before being rectified although it is not thought to have caused lasting damage.

There were a number of reports of large amounts of discoloured water entering the river opposite Caedraw Flats over several weeks.  Investigations by our members and Natural Resources Wales pinpointed the source to be the development at Trago Mills and action was taken to stop the problem successfully.

Another form of pollution has been the spread of alien species the American Signal Crayfish which was initially only in Cyfarthfa Lake but is also now being seen in both Penywern Ponds

Litter is also a major polluter of our waters with large amounts being regularly cleared from Penywern Ponds which can be mostly attributed to anglers.  There has also been numerous incidents of dumping along the river from Blue Pool down through Cefn Lido, the Fire Station, Effi Astics, Troedyrhiw and Aberfan.  Culprits have included Merthyr Council workmen who cut up a fallen tree and dumped it into the Taf Fechan above Cefn Bridge.  Discarded line left by an angler in Cyfarthfa Lake lead to a cygnet having to be captured after having swallowing a hook and becoming entangled in the line.  This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened and members should be a lot more careful when in the vicinity of wild life.


This year saw the 50th Anniversary of the Association and to celebrate this an event was held in the function room of Merthyr Tydfil Football Club.   More than 100 members and guests attended including our new President Sir Roger Jones OBE and the Mayor of Merthyr Tydfil.  Entertainment was provided by the Tenovus Choir an excellent buffet was served.  Steve Charleston did a collection on the night for Tenovus and over £380 was raised.  The highlight of the night was the honouring of Malcolm Williams, Brian Walkley, Gary Davies, Tony Rees and Graham Davies who were made life members of the Association, the 5 have been members of the Committee for the whole of the 50 years of the clubs existence and also were members of Merthyr and District and St Tydfil Angling Association, before the amalgamated to form Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association.  The committee are grateful to Rhys Evans and Nigel Morgan for organizing the event.


Poaching and illegal fishing of Association waters continue to be a major problem with bailiffs dealing with numerous incidents.  Particular problem areas are Penywern Ponds, and the River Taff at Weir Pool in town, Troedyrhiw, Merthyr Vale and Aberfan, discussions have taken place with NRW bailiffs.  Also Welsh Water bailiffs ejected 4 poachers from Cantref.


The Committee continues towards the formation of a new holding company to protect its assets but it is a very complex issue and consequently taking a long time to progress.


The committee have been in discussions to become involved with the development of a coarse fishery as part of a land reclamation scheme near Hirwaun.  It is a large site which already has several ponds which could become an excellent facility but will need significant investment.  These discussions are at an early stage.

Earlier in the year the Committee agreed that in future juniors of 9 years and under could fish our waters free of charge when accompanied by our adult members.

Merthyr Council have agreed to a model boat club having use of an area of the Park Lake, which was agreed by ourselves.  Subsequently they did make some use of the water but caused several problems like going out of bounds and in one instance caused damage to one of our gabion baskets.  Currently the situation of their status on the Lake is unknown.

Also in the Park, the Association has been making a lot of use of the new extension to the model railway building particularly in tutorial sessions with both younger and older anglers.  On one occasion we were grateful to members of the Welsh Fly Fishing Teams who came along to pass on their expert knowledge.  The building is proving an excellent base for our coaches who continue to work tirelessly to help the development of angling in our area and beyond.

Work has been undertaken to try to rectify the long standing problem of water leakage from the Park Lake.  Unfortunately the efforts made have proved unsuccessful.

In the last AGM the Chairman mentioned that the Welsh Assembly Government had agreed to include a footbridge o link both ponds at Penywern.  This can now be seen on a video showing the new road from Dowlias Top to Hirwaun (and back) also briefly shown are images of both ponds.  It can be seen by entering “A465 section 5” on Facebook and scrolling down to the appropriate items.  The work is currently scheduled to start in late 2019 and Tony Rees has been liaising with the consultants managing the scheme for several months, although things are still very much up in the air as to programme and exact route near Fish Pond.

Welsh Water have introduced a catch and release rule for Talybont and members are requested to abide by this.

Natural Resources Wales are still consulting on the proposed introduction of catch and release for migratory fish in Wales.  The Association will continue its opposition to these until all factors of why here has been a decline in salmon stocks has been considered, for example the greater control of fish eating birds such as cormorants and goosanders.


In 2017 we again sold the same number of Permits but our turnover was down slightly as we increased our sales to Senior Citizens and I was slightly disappointed as quite a few new senior members did not re-join:

The proposal is for all permits to remain at the 2016 prices: at £60 for all seniors £35 for Senior Citizens and leaving the Juniors, whose membership was a very marginal increase on 2016, at last year’s prices of over 12 £20 and 9-12 years £15. Under nine will be free as long as A Senior member or Senior Citizen is a member.

During 2017 we have again received a Sports Council Grant of £1,500. This will be used to fund a new Level 1 Coach as well as pay for the use of the new Railway building on Cyfarthfa Lake that we are using for coaching. We ran Coaching /demonstration classes in the Spring and Autumn and they could have been better attended. My thanks go out to the coaches for supporting these events.

We are still in discussion with Merthyr Council regarding our lease. Currently they are carrying out a survey of the waters they own.

In 2017 I again kept our funds in three banks NatWest, Hodge Bank Cardiff and Hampshire bank. NatWest interest is abysmal but as we spend through the year from that account we need to keep it.

On Grant Funding as well as Sport Wales we have been lucky to secure a Coaching Grant of £4.5k from Natural Resources Wales and one of £4.5k, from them as well, for fishery improvements.

I would like to thank Keith Jones, Malcolm Williams, John Coombs, who have been generous with their time in turning out to help us keep our waters litter free and sympathize with them on the continual need to have to do this when much of the litter is angler related. I must mention the help that our two youngest committee members our Secretary Rhys Evans and Tom Payne together with a newest addition, he is also having one himself Jonny Walker. They have been helping the oldest on the committee to improve both our lake in the park and Top Pond.

In 2017 we were again awarded the Green flag for our work on Top Pond Penywern. We thank Keith Jones and the team who help when Keith is away for helping us to get this award. I can also inform you that we have been short listed for a Keep Wales Tidy Award for the way we keep Penywern.

I have three tickets so I have asked Keith and Malcolm to come to the Award ceremony in Cardiff on the 20th November.

On the Newsletter side my only wish is that more members would send in more information to John Coombs and myself and that more members would register with Rhys the Secretary to receive the newsletter we only have 343 on the list.  This is one of our best means of contact. I have asked that we look at the Facebook page to see if we can do better as it looks as though it has stagnated.

Licence applications are already coming in for 2018 both by post and requests on Email.

During the year I was asked to meet with a person from a Group called Sported. There are quite a few organisations like this looking to help organisations like ours. I was asked as the person who approached was interested and keen on the work she has seen us doing at Cyfarthfa Lake with Children. It has not cost anything but I will wait to see how it goes they have accepted us and asked for another meeting. I will invite another to come with me.

Balance sheets are available if you send me and email:

Tony Rees Treasurer

If you wish to see a copy of the Association Accounts for the current financial year please contact Tony Rees on 01685 723520 or


President Sir Roger Jones OBE Sir Roger Jones OBE
Vice Presidents Ron Gover

Geoff Pritchard

Mark Jones

Gareth Harvey

Phil Williams

Ron Gover

Geoff Pritchard

Mark Jones

Gareth Harvey

Dawn Bowen AM

Gerald Jones MP

Chairman Gary Davies Gary Davies
Vice Chairman Keith Jones Keith Jones
Secretary Rhys Evans Rhys Evans
Treasurer Tony Rees Tony Rees
Minutes Secretary Graham Davies Graham Davies
Membership Secretary Malcolm Williams Malcolm Williams
Comp Sec – Coarse Doug Hawkins Doug Hawkins
Comp Sec – Trout Gavin Jehu Gavin Jehu
Ladies Comp Sec Catherine Brown Catherine Brown
IT Officer John Coombs John Coombs
Press Officer Daniel Popp John Coombs
Child Protection Officer Doug Hawkins Doug Hawkins
Child Protection Officer Tony Rees MBE Tony Rees MBE
Child Protection Officer Mark Sweeney Mark Sweeney
Assistant  Junior Sec Mark Sweeney Mark Sweeney
Head Bailiff Steve Charleston Steve Charleston
Pollution Officer Ron Jones Ron Jones
Committee Nigel Morgan

Brian Walkley

David Matthews

John Kinsey

Hywel Jones

Alan Power

Simon Collier

Tom Payne

Jason Payne#

Mark Williams


Nigel Morgan

Brian Walkley

David Matthews

John Kinsey

Hywel Jones

Alan Power

Simon Collier



Mark Williams

Co- Opted Later John Walker

Tom Jehu

John Walker

Tom Jehu

  1. PERMIT FEES 2018

The committee propose that there will be no increase in membership fees or day charges for 2018


There have been no requests from Members in accordance with the 28 day rule nor are there any recommendations from the committee to alter or supplement any rules and regulation this year.

    • Peter Williams pointed out a perceived shortage of small trout in the river. In reply Ron Jones stated that this year it was his experience that there was in fact an increase in the number of small trout showing and a good mix of sizes apparent.

There being no further business the meeting closed at 8.45pm


Top Pond – 17th Nov 2017

Dae Couzens fished Top Pond on Friday 17th Nov 17 and waited patiently for 3 bites and landed 3 lovely bream all around 3lbs.  He road tested his new hat as well, it passed!!



Please find ABOVE a petition asking Welsh Government to apply a holistic and truly sustainable approach to stimulating improved and sustained stocks of Salmon and Sea -trout in Welsh Rivers.
This limits risk to our fishing clubs and thus our wonderful pursuit of FISHING.
It is my hope, that if we collectively reach out to all fishermen; fishing clubs and representative organisations; parts of our local economies that could suffer due to draconian fishiery policies, and to the wider community who recognise the adaption that is required in the present environmental management system:
Please sign this petition if you concurr with the measures listed.
Please share this petition with as many contacts (IN WALES AND BEYOND) as you feel able to, to allow fishermen to shape a sustainable future for fishing