As far as Salmon are concerned the Wear can be considered as a spate river with the majority of fish running during a flood or in the days following one. Sea Trout are likely to run throughout most of the season, moving upstream at night, often in only a few inches of water. However, the numbers of these migratory fish present in the river vary throughout the season, with the greatest numbers being present in the months of September and October.
Fishing seasons: These are: Salmon: February 1st to October 31st. inclusive, including Sundays.
All Salmon caught prior to June 16th. must be returned. Sea Trout: April 3rd to October 31st inclusive. Brown Trout: March 22nd to September 30th inclusive. Grayling and other Coarse Fish: June 16th to March 14th inclusive.
Sea Trout fishing begins in earnest during May with the largest fish of the season often being caught during this period. Night fishing can pay dividends at this time, especially on a warm, moonless evening following a period of settled weather.
Salmon fishing in the Spring tends to be limited to the lower river unless a series of floods have encouraged them to progress beyond Durham.
The lower reaches of the river will be holding a considerable head of fish during this time, the fish having entered the River in numbers when there have been high Spring tides during darkness. Any floods will encourage upstream movement and soon fish will be found throughout the lower and middle beats. Salmon will appear in increasing numbers and most pools will hold sea trout.
This is the best time to have a go at night fishing. Seldom does it become really dark and the warmer weather encourages one to stay late on the river. Night fishing can be daunting for newcomers to the experience but the rewards can be life changing. There is little to beat the take of a large Sea Trout, followed by its cart-wheeling runs up and down the pool, all in almost total darkness. Night fishing can be truly addictive.
September and October are the months when the river holds large numbers of Salmon and Sea Trout, spread throughout its length. Fish can be caught by all legal methods but most anglers continue to use the fly. Night fishing can be particularly productive but with temperatures beginning to drop and the nights beginning to lengthen it is probably best to limit it to the first two hours of darkness.
Day-time fishing can be most enjoyable. The use of a little water-craft will highlight possible lies and a well placed fly or spinner will have the heart pounding in anticipation. There will be coloured fish present (please return these with care) but many will still be silver throughout the river's length, and even sea-liced as far upstream as Bishop Auckland.