Saturday, January 16, 2010

Salmon Fishing Scotland Report on the River Tay Opening Day 2010.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Report on the River Tay Opening Day 2010.

This is a report in the local press today after the Opening day on the river Tay yesterday.
Anglers key to saving Tay salmon.
By Richard Burdge

RESPONSIBLE ANGLERS hold the key to conserving the River Tay’s dwindling salmon stocks, the fishing fraternity were told yesterday.

Speaking on the opening day of the salmon fishing season, Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board chairman Bill Jack expressed confidence that anglers would embrace the voluntary “catch and release” code of practice ensuring more draconian measures are not required.

A poor run on the Tay of spring salmon as well as a disappointing grilse run sparked fears for the future but the board believe self-policed conservation will avert spawning stocks dropping to below critical levels.

“We are advocating that no salmon whatsoever should be killed before June and thereafter all hen salmon should continue to be released,” Mr Jack said.

“From June 1 no more than one ‘clean’ male salmon should be killed per angler per day and, where possible, it should be a fish of less than 10lb weight.”

Mr Jack, who has just taken up his post with the board, said support for the scheme was widespread and he could not envisage a situation where anglers on the Tay would abuse that trust and require the board to take legal action—as has been done on other Scottish rivers—to compel anglers to return all fish caught.

Mr Jack conceded that older anglers who had lived through the best of times on the Tay when catches were far larger might find the stringent measures difficult to accept but from the feedback he had received anglers were prepared to play their part in securing salmon stocks.

“All rivers are faced with the problem of increasing mortality of salmon at sea, which is widely believed to be due to climate change factors affecting the location and abundance of the food chain upon which salmon depend,” he said.

It was the board’s responsibility to protect and enhance stocks, Mr Jack said, and he felt the new conservation guidance—which all Tay proprietors are being requested to make a condition of let—will prove to be sufficient.

Beats along the river marked the opening day, with the largest ceremonies held at Kenmore and Dunkeld. Mr Jack was at the latter which was organised by Dunkeld and Birnam Tourist Association and the TDSFB.

MSP John Swinney made the symbolic first cast at Dunkeld, having led a procession of anglers headed by pipers through the village.

Mr Swinney said, “The River Tay attracts fishing enthusiasts from across the country.

“I wish ‘tight lines’ to all who cast their lines this season.”

A ceremony at Kenmore was attended by MSPs Murdo Fraser and Roseanna Cunningham and environmentalist David Bellamy, with former Miss UK Nicola Jolly making the first cast.

A charity dinner and auction was held at Kenmore Hotel last night in aid of CHAS while permit proceeds were going to Angling for Youth Development.

Speaking at the dinner, Provost John Hulbert said, “Within Perthshire’s tourist economy, angling is a major player. VisitScotland has done a fair amount of research on the topic, and is developing tailored marketing plans accordingly.

“We know the Tay is one of the best known angling rivers in Europe, and also that in Perth and Kinross the value of the salmon and brown trout angling is around £25 million per year.”

THE HEAVIEST fish—and The Redford Trophy—went to Peter Backhouse, of Perth, who caught and returned a 16lb hen fish on the Upper Kercock beat, between Murthly and Kinclaven.

“It was fantastic, it was a nice fish and it always good to get something on the first day,” Mr Backhouse said.

The second heaviest reported fish was taken by Arnott McWhinnie, from Stanley, who caught and returned a 12lb fish on the Benchil beat above Luncarty.

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