Avon Fishing Association Catch Reports

We hope these catch reports and comments help members and visitors. They contain useful pointers to successful tactics.

Please send entries and photos for inclusion on this page by email to Paul Kenyon (address on AFA Contacts Page)

Report on 2018 Catch Returns

This analysis begins with comments from members to illustrate the interesting variety of members experiences in 2018

Then a summary of responses from 53 AFA members using the online Catch Return form is presented and a list of the annual AFA award winners

These returns were used to calculate the Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE) for salmon, sea trout and brown trout in 2018.

Previous AFA historical records and surveys are used to compare CPUE for salmon, sea trout and brown trout in 2018 with earlier years

2018: AFA members' comments

The comments section on the online Catch Return form reveal the unpredictable nature of fly fishing:
  1. Low water throughout the summer and during the autumn made fishing very difficult.
  2. The last week in June and first 2 weeks in July during the evening was exceptional fishing
  3. Poor catch rate possibly due to lack of water and days fishing
  4. Looking forward to 2019
  5. I fished hard in good nocturnal conditions but only heard one fish jump
  6. Best season I have had on the Avon.
  7. The fishing seemed poor with only small brown trout

Summary of 2018 salmon catch

number caught

number returned

number of days fished for salmon

Catch Per Unit Effort
= (100* ([total number of fish caught] / [total number of days fished])

2

2

66

3

“Catch per unit effort (CPUE) measurements are widely used in fisheries management and are generally seen as a better indicator of true abundance than catches alone. CPUE worked out as for salmon = (100* ([total number of salmon caught] / [total number of days fished for salmon])”

Summary of 2018 sea trout catch

number caught

number returned

number of days fished for sea trout

Catch Per Unit Effort
= (100* ([total number of fish caught] / [total number of days fished])

25

23

105

23

Summary of 2018 brown trout catch

number caught

number returned

number of days fished for brown trout

Catch Per Unit Effort
= (100* ([total number of fish caught] / [total number of days fished])

757

750

253

297


2018 AFA awards

  • The Siveridge Conservation Award goes to Adrian Cross who returned 3 sea trout and 140 brown trout
  • The Bob Sadler Award for the largest Brown Trout goes to Adrian Cross for a fish of 16 inches
  • The Presidents Prize goes to Adrian Cross with a total of 141 brown trout
  • The Jim Coombs Award for the largest sea trout goes to Stephen Lowe with a fish of 27 inches
  • The Cedric Potter Trophy for the largest salmon goes to John Roberts with a fish of 26 inches


Fishing Effort

  • 15 members fished for salmon for a total of 66 days (15 % of total fishing effort)
  • 18 members fished for sea trout for a total of 105 days (25 % of total fishing effort)
  • 33 members fished for brown trout for a total of 253 days (60 % of total fishing effort)

Analysis using Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE)

Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE) is the number of fish caught per 100 days fished

Salmon

Members fished for salmon on 66 separate occassions. Only 2 salmon were caught resulting in a CPUE value of 3

But the picture may not be as bleak as it appears. In the comments field on the online Catch Return, members reported a further 4 occasions when they either lost, or 'turned' a fish.

Taking these brief encounters into account, we could devise a new 'glass-half-full' statistic E-PUE (Encounter Per Unit Effort' (salmon hooked, lost or turned) which gives a value of 9 for 2018.

Sea trout

Members fished for sea trout on 105 occassions. The CPUE figure for sea trout in 2018 was 23.

Brown trout

AFA members fished for brown trout on 253 occassions. Brown trout achieved a CPUE score of 297. Thus on average 3 brown trout were caught per fishing trip. The majority of these were small fish (less than 8"). But members caught 125 trout of 8 inches or more: a CPUE score of 50.

In other words, on average ONE brown trout 8" or above was caught per 2 fishing trips.

Comparison with historical records: salmon ...


The 1990 AFA salmon survey

In 1990 the committee asked anglers to record the number of times they went salmon fishing and their catches.

In 1990 members fished for salmon 128 times and caught 11 fish giving a CPUE of 9.

For further details see

this page on the AFA website.


This table shows CPUE data for salmon across all South West (SW) rivers for the years 1997 to 2017.

In 1990 CPUE (9) for salmon on AFA water was in line with, perhaps slightly better than, CPUE across the South West in the years 1997 to 2017.

Here is the

link on the AFA website

to the records of the number of salmon caught by members from 1974 to 2017

However, in 2018 only 2 salmon were caught by AFA members resulting in a CPUE value of 3.

The AFA committee is proposing a Rule change to increase the opportunity for members to catch salmon.

Comparison with historical records: sea trout ...

The 1990 AFA sea trout survey

In 1990 the committee asked anglers to record the number of times they went sea trout fishing and their catches.

In that season members fished for sea trout 203 times and caught 58 fish giving a CPUE of 29.

For further details see

this page on the AFA website.

In 2018 the CPUE for sea trout was 23. Fishing effort was lower than in 1990: Members fished for sea trout on 105 occassions.

Nevertheless CPUE for sea trout in 2018 (23) and 1990 (29) are quite similar.

Comparison with historical records: brown trout ...

Historical record of trout catches by an AFA member

AFA member John Eve was a skilled angler. He only had eight blank days in 15 years fishing the Avon.

John kept detailed records of the brown trout he caught on the Avon between 1975 and 1990. During that period he fished the river 106 times. He caught 191 trout over 8 inches long. He returned 310 fish of less than eight inches.

John's CPUE was 473 for trout under and over 8 inches

For trout over 8 inches his CPUE was 180

On average John caught just under five fish on each visit: about two fish over 8 inches and three fish below takeable length. About 38% of John's catch was of takeable size. .

For further details see

this page on the AFA website.

1989 AFA Survey of Trout Catches

In the late 1980s some AFA members expressed concern about poor brown trout catches. In 1989 I was asked by the committee to design and analyse a survey that asked anglers to record how many takeable fish (8 inches and over) they caught, as well as where and when they were caught.

Twenty five anglers returned the survey form. Nine anglers had not fished during the year so the results are based on 133 visits to the river by 16 members.

The CPUE for trout of all sizes was 272

The CPUE for trout over 8 inches was 66

For further details see

this page on the AFA website.

Summary of trout CPUE from 1975 to 2018

Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE) is the number of fish caught per 100 days fished

John Eve 1975-1990

1989 AFA Survey

2018 AFA Catch Returns

CPUE for trout of any size

473

272

297

CPUE for trout greater than 8 in

180

66

50

Comment:

I was surprised, pleasantly surprised, by the similarity in brown trout CPUE values revealed in surveys of members conducted nearly 30 years apart.

In 2018 60% of members' fishing effort was directed at catching brown trout.

But it's not unusual for members to remark on the small size of Avon trout e.g. "The fishing seemed poor with only small brown trout"

I hope the following section goes some way to explaining the size, migratory and reproductive behaviour of trout in our river

Size and age of brown trout in the Devonshire Avon

The majority of brown trout caught on the Devonshire Avon are less than eight inches long

But each season anglers catch larger twelve or thirteen inch fish

Figure based on F. J . NOTT 20th .November, 1962. Fisheries Officer. Fisheries Survey - river Avon. 1962

This graph shows the growth rate of wild brown trout in our area. Fish of twelve to fourteen inches may take six years to reach that length

The graph suggests that there are simply fewer bigger fish, and therefore the more fish you can actually catch, then they greater the chance that one of them will be big

Our trout are about three years old before they spawn for the first time

Some brown trout (particularly females) migrate to sea and return as sea trout to spawn with returning male sea trout or resident male brown trout

The  intimate relationship between sea trout and brown trout

Low river levels have made fishing for brown trout difficult in 2018 but provided an opportunity to observe sea trout. This video contains tips on using their behaviour, shape and colour to spot these very shy fish.

In 2016 our understanding of the importance of larger sea trout to trout stocks were increased by scientists from Exeter University, Queen Mary University and Game and Conservancy Wildlife Trust.

They reported that a small number of large female sea trout are responsible for maintaining the stock of trout in a river.

Their paper is available online: Goodwin et al. (2016) A small number of anadromous females drive reproduction in a brown trout (Salmo trutta) population in an English chalk stream. Freshwater Biology 61, 1075–1089.

The case for sea trout conservation   Why conserve sea trout?

Highlights of brown and sea trout spawning in Autumn/winter 2017. YouTube video from the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board


Conclusions

I would like to thank all those who submitted their catch return and comments online. It certainly helped in collating the results.

I think we should continue to collect data that can be used to calculate CPUE. CPUE is "widely used in fisheries management and are generally seen as a better indicator of true abundance than catches alone."

The FAQ for the Online Catch Return Form  should be retained for new members, and updated as new questions are asked.

I would encourage members to submit reports of fishing "ups and downs" during the season that can be included on this page to help communication between members

I suggest the paper version of the Catch Return form should, in future, include questions on 'days fished' to enable calculation of CPUE values for salmon, sea trout and brown trout

I suggest the paper version of the Catch Return form should, in future, ask members to submit the length (rather than length/weight) to standardise across paper and online forms.

Report prepared for AFA on 3rd January 2019 by Paul Kenyon.
email address on AFA Contacts page


References

  1. SALMON STOCKS AND FISHERIES IN ENGLAND AND WALES, 2017Preliminary assessment prepared for ICES, April 2018" written by Cefas Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Team at Lowestoft and fisheries personnel from the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales
  2. F. J . NOTT 20th .November, 1962. Fisheries Officer. Fisheries Survey - river Avon. 1962
  3. Catch per unit effort on Wikipedia
  4. Environment Agency 2008 Evaluating options for sea trout and brown trout biological reference points


November 2018

12th November

Report from Andy Pieterse "Delighted to report I managed a small Grilse on the Avon (today) "

Report from John Roberts "Caught today on silver Willie Gunn. More hooked and lost by other anglers."