Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Salmon Fishing Scotland Bait fishing for Salmon.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Bait fishing for Salmon.

Bait restrictions to be lifted as River Tay salmon yield decreases.

A measure to preserve salmon stocks on the River Tay could be withdrawn on a trial basis to see if it helps improve dwindling fish catches.
This is an article written by Mark Mackay which was published in the Courier today.
This is certainly a very emotive subject with anglers. Your comments are welcome.

The river Tay at Cargill.
The Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board is considering allowing anglers on some beats to resume using shrimp and prawn as bait 11 years after they were banned.

Their use was stopped in 1999 in the interests of salmon conservation as the baits caught too many salmon.

However, high water levels in recent years have resulted in very poor fishing conditions during peak salmon fishing season in July and August.

As catches have dropped significantly, according to Fishtay — which provides details of fish catches — so too have the number of anglers hiring beats and visiting the area.

Figures comparing 2010 to the five-year-average suggest that the decline has continued, with this season one of the poorest for many years.

That has led some to call upon the board to reintroduce shrimp and prawn as salmon bait in a bid to beat the conditions, improve catches and protect local tourism.

An application for an "experimental licence" has now been submitted to the Scottish Government, with a decision keenly awaited.

Prawn bait

Fears that fish stocks could be adversely affected by the move have been hotly disputed by the board, with the licence relating to a "controlled" trial.

In years gone by, beats using shrimp and prawn bait are reported to have seen over 100 salmon caught and killed in two days, an unsustainable level.

However, the board's fisheries director David Summers has categorically ruled out any return to wholesale use of shrimp and prawn as salmon bait on the river.

He said, "It has been put to us that re-introducing shrimp and prawn bait might be helpful in increasing catches.
'No evidence'

"We don't know if that is the case or not and there is no evidence to support that view.

"We have suggested that some beats could reintroduce the baits on a trial basis.

"The board has applied to the Scottish Government for an "experimental licence" but at the moment I don't know if we will get this.

"At the end of the day it is purely an experiment and if it went ahead it would be limited.

"All the fish caught would have to be returned to the river. That would be an iron-clad condition for anyone taking part in the experiment.

"There is no intention of allowing a wholesale return to using these baits, as some people appear to believe.

"That is simply not the case."

Mr Summers said while some believe stringent conservation measures are required to protect salmon stocks, others believe there are more fish than anyone knows.

He said it was vital for the state of the industry and tourism in Perthshire that the board explores every possible method of boosting business.

Mr Summers added, "Some people wonder whether there are more fish than we think.

"One of the reasons for the low number of catches is the fact that over the last couple of years, during the summer months, we have experienced unusually high water levels.

"When we have these in the summer, it makes fishing conditions difficult.

"A couple of weeks ago we were feeling very positive about summer 2010, but sadly we are now in high water again.

"If we continue having these bad conditions it will affect catches and the local economy.

"With these conditions during July and August there has been a drop in the number of people fishing the river.

"That has been obvious.

"We must explore every method possible to reverse this trend, otherwise it will begin to impact upon the jobs of ghillies and the business of hotels and other tourism providers."

Should the scheme be given the go-ahead by the Scottish Government, it is the board's intention that it runs for four or five weeks to the end of August.

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Anonymous said...

Bob - What sheer blatant hypocrisy if shrimp/prawn fishing were to begin again, after all the fraudulent methods of having it banned in the first place.
No legal method should be banned, it is the angler who is holding the rod that determines whether it be sporting or not.
I was a vociferous advocate for retaining s/p ing in the past, but now the reasons given for re-introduction are spurious and only really financial.

These baits, nor any other should have been banned in the first place.

Baits don't kill fish, anglers do, or don't as is their wont.

Stumpy Boater

Anonymous said...

I welcome the return of the shrimp. Unlike the worm the fish are easily returned unharmed. I can already see the letters to T & S from outraged fly only! Having learned to shrimp in Ireland both with the float and spinning methods I can vouch for how skilled you need to be to be successful. I love all methods and will fish the fly as a preference but anyone who says the shrimp is easy or some form of poaching are quite frankly dilusional. As the other comment says it was not the bait but the uncontrolled greed and ignorance of the anglers who caused it to be banned!

The examiner

Anonymous said...

Got to agree with Stumpy Boater and The Examiner on this one. Its not the method that kills fish, its the angler. With ever more restrictions, its not just salmon stocks that are dwindling on the Tay, its the anglers! Check out Fishtay for availablity in August! Its just about a case of pick your beat. Lets get anglers fishing this river again and support the chairman and board in improving fish stocks and catches.
Black Doctor

Anonymous said...

Agree wholeheartedly. Have only been fishing for the past few years both in Scotland and Ireland mostly spinning, a bit on the fly and also learning the shrimp in Ireland. There's a real technique to catching one on the shrimp. Very often you lose your bait without even knowing you've had a take. However, having caught many salmon spinning and a few on the shrimp, it's been a real pleasure to easily release the fish from the shrimp as it doesn't swallow it down. So it's not necessarily the method, it's the angler.

Wee Bag

Anonymous said...

A big bold move from the new board and hopefully more to come.
As long as it's done right ie gillies aren't pressured to bend the rules etc then if C&R is practised as or better than it currently is and catch rates go up then I think its positive.
What's the harm?
I hope/believe the new board have got decent new and big plans, the new chairman is a good businessman. I think we should back him.
Neil T
Ps Doubt i'll use it much

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Bob, that the banning of a legal method on the grounds it killed more fish was ludicrous, but then to use its alleged killing ability to make catch returns look good, and therefore justify the cost to fish these beats, is sheer hypocrisy.

Whilst I am not a supporter of C&R, I would suggest that the main reason for anglers not booking these beats is simply the cost. I for one use to fish the Tay regularly, but have not been back for several years now because of a combination of the C&R policy and the cost of fishing now in place along the Tay, and other rivers in Scotland.

If the Tay board want to simply boost their catch returns, then why not net a beat or two, returning the fish afterwards. After all netting under license is also a legal method of catching fish!

I know this is a ridiculous suggestion, but I think that angling in general really needs to realize that C&R is not the only answer to this desperate situation. A sensible approach to encourage more anglers to return to these famous beats on the Tay is needed. I know many anglers that would love to fish for salmon on the Tay, but are simply prevented doing so by the ever increasing costs and the absurd position of paying up to £100 a day and not being able to keep a single fish.

We need to rethink the whole approach before the Tay will ever get the same number of anglers back fishing, and putting the return figures back up. £30 a day! I'll book a week!

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