Until 1923 salmon and other fish were legally caught using a coracle and nets on the River Severn at Ironbridge.

Landowners along the river would claim the salmon rights where the river came up to their land.

The poachers were licensed to catch trout and eels, but if they caught salmon on a landowner’s stretch of water they were supposed to throw it back. Of course they never did!

Unlike the net fishermen of West Wales who fished with a net slung between two coracles, only one coracle was needed at Ironbridge. One end of the net was pegged to the bank and the other end paddled out to the middle of the river. They would beat the water with a beating pole, which was like a broom stick with a big leather disc on it, to drive the fish into the net.

The other method was to lay eel line. This was set across the river three times with links every four feet with bated hooks on them and left overnight. They would return in the morning and pull the line in across the coracle, removing any eels.