Record numbers of salmon were captured by anglers fishing the River Wear in 2013.
Environment Agency officers have just finished collating the rod catch return data from last year and they were delighted to find that catches on the Wear have hit an all time high.
Catch data show that salmon stocks are the best they have ever been, with a record 1,731 fish reported by anglers in 2013, compared to the previous best of 1,613 in 2011.
Sea trout catches on the Wear were also up last year. Catches rose from 1,427 in 2012 to 1,523 in 2013.
The River Wear was one of the few rivers in England that actually bucked the trend of reduced catches in 2013. This dip in figures was caused by the dry summer, which can hamper fish passage over weirs and reduce angling success.
Paul Frear, fisheries technical officer at the Environment Agency, said:
The 2013 fish catches are a real surprise. They show that, despite low river levels, the Wear can still produce great catches for anglers. Recent improvements in water quality and river habitats have contributed to these catches.
Salmon are in important part of our rivers’ ecology and they are a valuable economic fish stock, so this is fantastic news for the North East.
Fifty years ago, very few salmon or sea trout were seen in the Wear because the river was too polluted. Due to the successful efforts of the Environment Agency and its partners, the River Wear’s water quality is one of the most improved in the country.
The Environment Agency monitors rod catches of salmon and sea trout from rivers nationally, and the data show the River Wear is second only to the neighbouring Tyne as the best salmon river in England and Wales.