AFA Annual General Meeting Chairman's Reports

An Achive of  chairman’s reports  are available by clicking  here.

Chairman’s Report to the 2022 AGM

 

Introduction and Thanks

 Covid 19 regulations were still in operation during the early part of the year and restricted meetings and work on the river.  The situation eased in March and fishing resumed properly in April and continued to the end of the season.   Committee meetings began again in August.My thanks to the committee for keeping in contact with me made easier by email. 

Catch Returns for 2021

The number of fish caught were:

Salmon 4 (75% returned)

Sea Trout 32 (82% returned)

Brown Trout 712  (99% returned)

YearSalmon% ReleasedSea Trout% ReleasedBrown Trout% Released
2021475

32

\32

8271299
202014100348548799.8
20196100288648599.6
20182100259275799
201781002181470100
20161172477872799.8
2015770348888699.9
20148100907465399
2013107022983768100
20122277737285399
201139845672103799
20105278625685599
20091675866061698
20081968407577999
200715801735100799
20064566463435997
200529 96 436 
200431 78 446 
Total335 1096 11596 
Average (19)82.2617268499.1

Brown Trout:  712 fish were caught this year.

Sea Trout:  32 fish were caught this year.

Salmon: 4 fish were caught on Association water.  

Prizes

The Cedric Potter Trophy for the largest salmon goes to Derek Myhill with a fish of 25inches.

The Jim Coombes Trophy for the largest sea trout goes to Adrian Cross with a fish of  24” (Est  

6 lbs

The Presidents Prize (Donated by Sir William Peek) Goes to James Fillingham with 217 brown trout caught

The Bob Sadler trophy for the largest brown goes to  Stephen Lowe with a fish of 18.5  inches. 

The Silveridge Conservation award goes to Paul Lingham who returned 100% of fish caght

Catch returns: I am very pleased to see that the vast majority of anglers are filling in their catch returns online.  There are still a few members sending their results by e mail.  This is time consuming for those who have to transfer the data on to the master table.  Some embers are failing to send in any returns. Please send in a return even though it is a nil return.  Accurate data is crucial to the way we approach riverwork and our approach to conservation.

Catch and Release:  I think it appropriate to go into some depth regarding our current catch and release policy given possible changes proposed by the EA which would mean a 100% return policy for salmon and a 2 fish bag limit for sea trout.  At present the Association asks members to return 75% of salmon and sea trout.  

Firstly some history.

We have data covering the last 18 years from 2004 to 2021.  

Data Breakdown:

18 year average catch and release data for Salmon, Sea tRout and Brown Trout

 

SalmonSea TroutBrown Trout
Average  Number Caught% ReleasedAverage Number Caught% ReleasedAverage Number Caught% Released
198261 (51)7268499

Comparing Data

Looking at Data 2004 -2012 Average annual catch and release is:

Salmon 30 (75%)

Sea Trout 62 (58%)

Brown Trout 710 (99%)

Looking at Data 2013 -2021 Average annual catch and release is :

Salmon 8 (87%)

Sea Trout 60 (39) (83%) *

Brown Trout 587 (99%)

  • In 2013 229 sea trout were caught approximately half of them in October while fishing for salmon.  If we treat this as an outlier then the number caught drops to an average of 39.

The data shows quite clearly: 

  1. A marked drop in salmon caught of 73%

(2) A significant drop in sea trout caught of 37%

(3) A smaller drop in brown trout caught of 16%

(4) Brown trout returns are stable at 99%

(5) An increase of 8% in salmon returned

(6) A marked increase  of 25% in sea trout returned

The increase in the percentage of fish released has been achieved by the goodwill and common sense of AFA members.  I must re-emphasise, though,  the importance of releasing fish, particularly when numbers are low as they are now.  Not only salmon will benefit but also sea trout.  Releasing sea trout benefits both sea trout and brown trout stocks and while a release figure of 83% over is excellent we must continue to ensure that high release rates are the norm for migratory fish and especially for  large sea trout (and in particular large hen sea trout)  an absolute priority.

The Fishing Year

The early months of the season were characterised by low temperatures and few fish moving to the fly.  The summer saw rising temperatures and an increase in fish movement.  Brown Trout were most active in the early morning but especially at dusk and when the water was falling after rain.  Sea Trout fishing picked up in June and July with some nice fish being caught.  The salmon run was disappointing with only  four fish caught the earliest at Kerry Downs in August.

Email Addresses:  I say again that it would be most helpful if all members would contact the membership secretary, Paul Woodham and inform him of their email address.  All communications are conducted on line and so it is very important that he has an up to date list of email addresses.

Website: I would encourage members to place fishing reports on the AFA facebook page.  Detailed reports about river conditions, weather, time of day and flies used would be most useful as they are informative and attract non members to he page. If you are going to include photographs of your catch, I suggest that you take them with the fish in the net and kept wet.  I must commend James Fillingham for his excellent reports this year. I must commend James Fillingham for his excellent reports this year.

Ticket Sales: Guests were not permitted on the Avon this year and consequently there was no income form other sources.  In 2022 The sale of tickets, WRT fish pass tokens and members guests will recommence.

Social Events

The annual dinner was cancelled this year due to Covid 19 restrictions.  We hope to hold one this year sometime in July.

River Maintenance 2021.  Work on the lower river scheduled for March was cancelled due to Covid 19 restrictions. Some clearance work was carried out in April/May.  The majority of work was carried out at Kerry Downs in the summer.  On the True Right Bank a path was cleared upstream to the Glazebrook and downstream to Round Pool. On the True Left Bank tidying was carried out from the bridge to the Glazebrook Junction, a stile was placed to access the riverbank and a path was cleared up to Forky Pool. My thanks to members who gave up their time help, especially Ollie Yeoward who did much of the lower water work and also helped at Kerries.  We continue to work closely with the WRT, EA, DWT and SWRA  their advice and guidance are most useful in fashioning our approach to river work.  As I write this report I have been made aware of an incident in the Midlands where an angler was killed carrying out bank work.  The Association in question was found to be negligent and was fined £66,000 by HSE.  We have reviewed this situation and will be amending our work policy accordingly.  

Work in 2022 will concentrate on the lower water especially the removal of Himalayan Balsam.

WRT:  Work recommenced  with the WRT this year and electrofishing, which ceased in 2019/20,  was carried out on the river.  The results will be posted on the website. 

SWRA:  SWRA meetings were resumed this year.

Riverfly:  Riverfly work was cancelled for 2021 but will restart as soon as possible this year

The future

The committee have spent some time during the latter part of the year discussing the future of the AFA.  We feel that we shall not be wanting for members;  there is a waiting list and the desire to join us buoyant.  What concerns us is the age profile of the committee and the possible retirement of a great deal of its members perhaps in the next five years, most likely in the next ten.  I would say to our younger anglers that the time is fast approaching when that committee will need new members.  Be prepared, therefore, to offer your services so that the AFA will still be here long into the future.

Overview

It was good to get back to fishing on a regular basis in 2021 and it looks as though 2022 will be free from further disruption thanks to the miracle of modern medical science.  Like many rivers in the South West we are seeing a significant decline in salmon numbers caused by several factors, many of them beyond the control of rod and line anglers.  Fishing associations, however, have an input and many are now adopting a voluntary100% catch and release policy for salmon.  Individuals within those organisations are also choosing  not to fish for salmon or sea trout on a voluntary basis. We can also help by improving the riverine environment and maintaining high release rates.  The real issues are to be found out at sea, climate change and pollution.   This was brought home to us on the weekend of the 15 January when 400 litres of diesel oil were spilled near Lydia bridge.  I believe that we must continue to fish for salmon, by doing so our voice is heard in the greater debate on the future of game fishing.   In spite of everything fishing the Avon is still a delight and long may we enjoy its pastoral beauty.  Tight lines for 2022.                                       

 John Roberts

 

Scroll to Top