Before an Act of Parliament passed in 1696, there were numerous weirs along the River Wye, which impeded salmon from returning to their spawning grounds. In the interest of navigation this act called for all weirs between Hay and Chepstow to be pulled down. Five noteworthy fishing weirs were demolished; Monmouth, Linweir, Ashweir, Wallweir and Tintern or Abbey Weir. Twenty-five mill weirs were also pulled down at Monnington, Bridge Sollars, Sugwas, Hereford, Fownhope, Carey, Hancocks, Foy and Wilton.

In the nineteenth century at that time the river was heavily netted along its length for salmon smolts which were considered to be a delicacy and popular in the restaurants of Hereford and Ross-on-Wye.

In times of flood the river was navigable by barges up to Whitney Bridge, which transported most of the coal consumed in the district and returned downstream with cider, wood, wheat and flour. There were riverside quays in most villages and Hereford once thronged with barges. The barges did provide a benefit to salmon inasmuch as they were pulled over shallow water and consequently formed channels in the river bed, which allowed the salmon to pass in low water on their way upstream to the spawning grounds.

1855 Navigation on the Wye practically ceased when the railway from Gloucester opened and as a consequence the barge channels silted up.
1861 The Salmon Fisheries Act was introduced on the recommendation of a Royal Commission. The aim of this act was to improve the state of the river although it did not bring any immediate benefits.
1862 The Wye Preservation Society was formed by a society of private individuals to enforce the fishery laws encompassed by the Salmon Fisheries Act. The first meeting of the society was held on the 9th December, 1862 and Sir Velters Cornewall of Moccas was elected as Chairman and President of the society.
1866 The Wye Board of Conservators was formed which was a legal body, empowered to levy licence, money and rates, which could be expended in preserving the river Wye. Simultaneously, the Wye Preservation ceased to function actively.
1867 Frank Buckland was appointed as Inspector of Fisheries.
1869 Frank Buckland introduced 700 young Rhine salmon into the Wye with the aim of improving stock.
1875 Some of the keener fishermen on the Wye formed another body called the Wye Fisheries Association, whose objective was to obtain control of the net fishings which predominated the river, using money voluntarily subscribed by members.
1878 John Hotchkiss joins the Board of the Wye Conservators and continued to battle against overwhelming odds and eventually was able to buy up most of the netting rights which, through lack of salmon in the river, had become virtually valueless anyway.
1866-88 Reputed to be the saddest years in the history of the Wye because of prolonged bickering between different factions instead of agreement to a strategy which would restrict freshwater netting on the Wye.
1901 The Duke of Beaufort sold his netting rights to the Crown for a generous amount of £5000 and these fisheries were taken over by the Wye Fishers Association who let them to anglers to raise revenue for financing future improvements.
1909 All netting above Brockweir Bridge was prohibited
1952 Formation of the Wye River Board and the disbandment of the Wye Conservators.
1985 At the end of 1985 the Wye Owners purchased 250,000 ova from the Shin. the resultant fry were planted out in February and April of 1986 as follows:- Duhonu (20,000), Bach Howey (35,000), Tregoyd (5,000), Velindre (5,000), Glithen (5,000), Llynfi (20,000), Dulas (5,000), Enig (10,000), Lugg-Arrow (135,000).
1989 UK government agency National Rivers Authority was launched. It had responsibility for managing water resources, investigating and regulating pollution, and taking over flood controls and land drainage from the former ten regional water authorities of England and Wales. The NRA replaced the 10 existing local authorities.
1995 Building on the efforts of volunteers, the Wye and Usk Foundation formally began with the generous backing and support from fishermen, owners and others interested in the well being of the river.
1996 In April , the NRA was replaced by the Environment Agency, having begun to establish a reputation for being supportive to wildlife projects and tough on polluters.
2000 Commercial fisheries in the Wye and Severn estuaries were bought out by the Wye and Usk Foundation.
2007 Drift Netting off the Irish Coast was banned.