Gloucestershire

'Screaming' canoeists disturb anglers on River Wye

Fisherman on the Wye
Image caption Fishermen claim disruption caused by canoeists has led to fewer anglers paying to be allowed to fish on the River Wye

A row has broken out between anglers and canoeists over the rights to a stretch of the River Wye in the Forest of Dean.

Fisheries said fewer anglers were paying to fish because of disruption caused by "screaming" canoeists.

One fisherman, George Woodward, said the activity used to bring in "big money" but anglers did not want to fish in busy canoeing months in the summer.

However a canoe company said fish were not disturbed by paddlers.

Image caption One canoe hire firm claims fish are not disturbed by the activity

Mr Woodward, who has fished on the Wye in Lydbrook for 40 years, said: "All of a sudden the beauty and the silence of the Wye Valley is shattered by screaming, yelling individuals in canoes out on a jolly, with numerous bottles of cider and beer."

He added it was now difficult to let rods on stretches of river that were "really commercialised" with canoeing.

"It's reached the stage now, particularly in the summer months, where people do not want to fish the river."

Aubrey Fry, from canoe company Want to Canoe, said it was a "really small minority" of canoeists that caused disruption.

"The fish are actually on an increase. I have had a run-in with one or two with fisherman... but generally we respect each other."

Image caption August is the busiest month for people wanting to paddle along the River Wye

Both parties were urged to come to a compromise by Maureen McAllister of the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism Association (WVFDTA).

"If the canoeists are having conversations with the fisherman then you can make it work for everybody.

"It's a big river, it's a big expanse of forest, there's enough room for all of us if we play together nicely."

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