Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Salmon Fishing Scotland Report on Tay AGM.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Report on Tay AGM.
This was the report written by Ken Bell for the Courier about the Tay AGM.

UNLESS BEAT owners and anglers return more salmon to the Tay next season, stronger measures to enforce the voluntary catch and release code might be considered, writes angling correspondent Ken Bell.

This was the warning given by John Milligan, chairman of the Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board, at the annual meeting in the Birnam Institute yesterday.

While the percentage of fish being returned has increased, from 10% when catch and release was introduced in 1999 to 46% in 2006, the Tay still lags behind other major Scottish rivers.

In 2006 out of 1593 spring fish caught on the Tay system anglers released 739.

The 2006 spring run in the Tay was the best for many years, but last spring's catches fell drastically.

Some rivers such as the Esks have made catch and release statutory for part of the season, and Mr Milligan said this was a route the Tay board did not want to have to take.

The meeting heard that just over 60 out of the 214 riparian owners had so far responded favourably to a letter outlining changes to the voluntary catch and release code.

The revised code stipulates that from January 15 to May 31 anglers release the first fish caught each day with the angler then being given the "option" of keeping one subsequent fish.

Worm should not be used as a bait during this period. From June 1 to the end of the season all hen fish should be released, and at least 50% of the cock fish, in particular fish over 15lb.

All coloured fish should also be put back. And anglers should not use worm in September or October.

Mr Milligan said that if 1000 more fish were returned to the river this would put some five million extra eggs into the spawning redds-over twice the capacity of the board hatchery.

While fishing with worm is not to be a statutory offence, inspector Derek Gregor pointed out that if riparian owners made it a condition of the lease then anyone caught fishing with worm would be in breach of their permit, and could be charged with fishing without legal right.

Fisheries manager Dr David Summers, in his report, noted that high flow on the Tay in the summer allowed the late arriving grilse to run through the lower beats to the upland streams where they spawn, while the low water in September and October benefited the lower beats at the expense of the middle and upper stretches.

Fish counters on the river showed figures which were average, with just over 4000 going through the Pitlochry Dam counter, and 600 through the Clunie Dam fish pass, continuing an increase which started following improvements there in the 1990s.

The Lochay Falls counter, where Scottish and Southern has made improvements, had the highest count for 10 years.

The counter on the River Ericht above Blairgowrie totalled just over 6000 fish, a significant decrease. However, it was felt that late arriving fish would not have passed Cargill's Leap in November.

Dr Summers said work was under way to reduce artificial blockages to the upstream passage of fish, and a weir on the Almond and another on the Lunan are being looked at.

Mr Milligan thanked the Tay Ghillies Association for its financial aid and work on various projects. And he thanked John Menteith and his colleagues for their work on the Inchewan Burn at Dunkeld.

Mr Menteith said the work, which has cost over £70,000, was now being used by SNH and SEPA as an example of river habitat improvement.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What the hell would Derek Gregor know about fishing the worm.


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