Hard to believe that three weeks of the 2023 salmon season have passed already. The first few days of the season saw rivers running low and clear with numerous kelt’s tempted by anglers fishing the lower Taw. There were rumoured to be a couple of fresh springers tempted but I have not actually seen any pictures of such fish.

            Heavy spells of rain have brought the Taw and Torridge up and a couple of weeks have seen both rivers virtually unfishable. I set out today for my first visit to the Middle Torridge.

            The river was running higher than ideal but clarity was good with a perfect tinge of colour. If any salmon were present I felt there would be a chance. Salmon are scarce these days and expectation is not as heightened as it once was. Despite this we fish on in hope and drift flies across those old lies where the line has tightened in the past.

After a couple of drifts across the river the line zipped tight and it was good to feel life pulsing through the rod and line. A pleasing brown trout of close to 1lb had siezed the salmon fly.

            Steady rain was falling as I reacquainted myself with the river. It was good to be back once again on the river bank. The yellow splash of colour from primrose and daffodil telling that spring was here. Catkins and pussy willow decorated the riverside trees.

            Pheasants broke cover occasionally startling me as they fled, mallards flew up from the river and buzzards mewed high above the trees.

            All seemed as it should yet I couldn’t help but reflect on the depressing words of the ghillie who spoke of the dying river Wye on the BBCs Country file.   The Wye that borders England was once one of the country’s greatest salmon rivers, today it is dying as a result of pollution and climate change.

            The Taw, Torridge and most South West rivers are suffering a similar fate. It is sad that we could be the last generation to enjoy the privilege of fishing for the Atlantic salmon.

With this in mind I savour each cast hopeful that I might once again connect with that iconic silver bar.