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Classic Atlantic Salmon No pursuit rivals salmon rivers, flies & legacy

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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-18-2004 01:45 PM
buntinbee Willie,
I know the antis want to ban fishing anyway, but is there any point in giving them extra ammunition by saying that all we want to do is 'play' with the fish for a little while? Killing fish to eat them at least has some purpose.
With regard to the subject of predators. If the control of predators is what it takes to help conserve the salmon as a species, then I must support it. Sooner or later the pendulum must swing. If the populations are allowed to spiral ever upwards the way they are then they are going to start to starve any way. What bothers me is the possibility that the salmon may well be gone by the time that mother nature sets the balance. I am not advocating the eradication of any species, but salmon, without a doubt need more help than catch and release affords them. What do you suppose the odds are on salmon returned by anglers to smolts devoured by goosanders? I know that I personally have shot a goosander (legaly) which had seven salmon parr in it's stomach and I would be willing to bet that this is no record. I know one beat on the upper reaches of the Dee which supports several pairs of these birds. Simple arithmetic paints a devastating picture!
Regards, John
05-17-2004 02:53 PM
Willie Gunn Hi John.
Welcome to the board. I hope you continue to read and comment on the posts.
2 points, I feel that whether we catch & release or catch & kill will make little difference to the antis. They want fishing banned.
On your point about multiplying predators I find it slightly ironic that anglers feel that they should be able to dictate that seals and dolphins cannot catch to eat but anglers can.
05-17-2004 02:01 PM
buntinbee I have been reading this thread with interest. Although I return around 80% of the fish I catch, I do not think that compulsory catch and release is a good thing for salmon fishing in general. Firstly I would like to point out that catch and release is becoming a normal part of the salmon fishing scene anyway - without being compulsory. I belong to an angling association, which is over one thousand strong and last years catch figures have indicated that 75% of our salmon were returned. This is an ordinary working man's club, not an idealist's syndicate by any means.
I believe that compulsory catch and release is a dangerous road to be travelling down. To go fishing knowing that you are going to hook, exhaust and then release a fish purely for your enjoyment is not really in the interest of the salmon. I feel we are showing our quarry little in the way of respect. If you give this a moments thought, apart from being morally wrong, we are playing into the hands of the antis.
I also think that we are missing the point a little in that the primary object is to catch to eat, this is how it all started after all. Personally speaking, I enjoy eating and giving away salmon to friends who appreciate it. I harvest what I need.
Catch and release seems to have become some sort of elitist soap box and the angler a convenient scapegoat for the salmon's demise.
I don't believe for one minute that rod caught salmon is anywhere near the top of the list as a reason for the salmon's decline. I think that fishermen are doing a lot, voluntarily for the salmon's wellbeing. If you feel the need to shout about conservation, shout about the multiplying predators, which we do very little about, or the legal netting stations. These two actually kill everything!!!
If salmon conservation is your aim, don't go fishing.

Regards, Johncompulsory
04-30-2004 05:22 PM
Magical May

Were now quickly heading into the final Spring month and by all accounts the Scottish Spring runs are still holding up pretty well!!
I have been hearing of very good catches recently particularly the higher than average weight of fish this year.
Water levels have held up well all Spring on the major rivers which has been a big plus.I wonder if anyone out there would know if any of their Rivers are having a poorer Spring run than normal? as I certainly have not heard of any!!
04-19-2004 08:19 AM
Oh my dear Alan.

Good old Alan!!!! I still remember his famous catch phrase...."you just have to go and find them" This was in reply to "where would you recommend we fish today Alan", at this height, temperature etc.

I think in those days, he had different levels of service depending on what time of year you fished (and how much money you spent)

We were definately the bronze level for March/April. Still enjoyed every minute. B beat is lovely.

His BBQs were excellent.
04-19-2004 03:41 AM
Catch rates

Adrian and Gardener,

There are data from rivers here in Norway showing catch rates of 20 - 70%. All data based on sportsfishing with fly, spoons, worms and prawns. Data are found from comparing counted migration salmon with catch or by comparing counts of after season spawners with fish caught during the fishing season.

04-18-2004 04:27 PM
Willie Gunn Not sure how many they have altogether. We had 2 on Saturday from B making 5 in total for the week. Alan's garden is as neat as ever and his woodpile a work of art.

I had my fish from the other side the wind was horrible making the hut side almost unfishable. I hate double-speying from the bank
04-18-2004 04:03 PM
Hi W.G.

Thanks for clearing that date up for us!!
Have they had many off the 4 beats?and hows Alans dahlias?
Well done,did you catch it from the hut side or the opposite bank?
04-18-2004 07:58 AM
Willie Gunn
Re: Gardner / Andy

Originally posted by lummels
am still not too sure about that date for the sale of Tulchan!!as I think that I fished it the year it was sold

I wonder if W.G. would know this one?
Fished Tulcan yesterday, B beat with Alan the oldest serving gillie on the Spey 35 years,He tells me that Tulcan changed hands in 1991.
Caught a nice 10lb er in the Rock pool released of course.
04-14-2004 11:44 AM
Gardener Adrian, rod-and-line is more efficient than you suggest. I believe the evidence shows that, in a hard-fished river, more than 10% of the run of fish will be caught in the course of a season. This varies through the season, though - a higher proportion of spring fish seem to be caught. This is not only because they remain in the river for longer and so are fished over more often, but also because they do seem to be more willing to take when fresh run. Hence the need for particular measures to conserve them.

The % caught will almost certainly have increased in recent times. I don't think this is because we fish better than our predecessors, but simply because, as the numbers of returning fish reduce (as they have done almost everywhere), rod catches do not reduce by the same proportion. Faced with a pool containing 10 salmon, you might catch 1. If the same pool contains 100 salmon, you are most unlikely to catch 10. Also, almost every river you care to name will have seen an increase in fishing effort in the last 50 years. More rods are crammed onto the same water and rods will tend to fish for longer, too.

You make an interesting point in your last para. I sometimes return fish. I also sometimes kill fish when I feel the runs are large enough to spare them and if they will be put to good use. Remember that any river has a maximum head of fry and parr that it can support, so provided there are enough spawners to stock it to capacity, any extra fish will not actually increase the number of smolts. Also, only about 2-3% of salmon are repeat spawners, so unlike trout which will remain in the river for years if not killed, salmon are unlikely to return in subsequent seasons.

But, like you, I also feel that if numbers are seriously low, we should probably not fish at all. There are differences of opinion about the mortality rate among released fish, but there is no denying that, however carefully and expertly it is done, there will always be some deaths. And the mortality rate is higher in fresh fish (which are already under stress caused by the transition from salt to fresh water) and when the water is warm and deoxygenated.

For the last few years I have foregone the opportunity to fish a well-known river in the early part of the season because its runs are so reduced. Although others continue to fish it and return what they catch, I feel that, in the light of such low numbers, the river may not be able to afford to lose even one fish. To me, returning a badly bleeding fish which will only go to feed the eels is far less morally acceptable than killing and eating it. For this reason I would always prefer a flexible regime to blanket C&R, but for this to work there also needs to be a genuine willingness among fishermen to return fish where possible. Attitudes have changed a great deal here in the last 10 years, but there's still some way to go.
04-14-2004 10:32 AM
Adrian This is an interesting debate! Its been a few years since I did any Salmon fishing. Back then, catch and release was a very novel concept. In fact finding a "taker" during a week of Salmon fishing was a novel concept!

I remember my last trip to the Tweed one late November watching literally hundreds of fish moving upstream and yet during the course of that week only one fish was taken from my bank (a bright 8lb grilse) and one from the opposite bank (a 20lber in full autumn livery).

This thread started out as a discussion about springers but the point here is there were a lot of rods on the river that week and a lot of fish in the river but only two were caught. Bottom line, legitimate rod and line fishing is an innefficient method of harvesting Salmon. The old rule of thumb was that 1 in 100 salmon were takers. I don't know if that had any basis in science and statistics can be dangerous but remember that one draught with a sein net is 100% effective at removing every fish from a pool in a matter of minutes.

I support catch and release. Having lived in the U.S, for almost 10 years now its become the natural thing to do. Mandatory or voluntary? If Rod and Line were the only risk a fish runs from high seas to the redds then a limit system with C&R permitted seems appropriate. If things get so bad that C&R has to be mandated then you have to question wether the deliberate targetting of Salmon by rod and line should be permitted at all.
04-14-2004 10:06 AM
Gary W Storlaks,

Sorry, I didn't realise that you were talking about a specific beat/river.
I think it is a shame that we require such rules at all. Unfortunately, it is the minority of inconsiderate fisherman who force boards/owners to impose such ruling.

The stocks on one of the rivers I fish(west coast) are almost totally depleted, yet, during the low water in September last year the bailiffs allowed anglers to kill over 30 fish from one pool.

I have written and complained verbally about this to the association in question, and they have the arguement that they need the ticket/permit revenue. What a disaster!
04-14-2004 09:26 AM
storlaks Gary, I'm certainly not against you taking your fish for the year. That wasn't my point.

My point was based around the issue on a certain beat on the Dee. Today the beat allows anglers to kill a fish whether they fish 3 days or 1 week, thus potentially doubling the mortality rate.

What I would like to see from that particular beat and, if I were being honest, others, is the rule where you may only keep 1 fish if you fish for the whole week. A compromise and fair IMO. That means if you choose to fish 1 or 3 days you accept the fact the everything goes back. I often take 3 days, but would be happy with this rule, knowing that if I wanted a fish to take home I would need to take a weeks fishing and catch 2 at least.

It's all pretty hypothectical anyway, as the Dee has a 100% C&R and it's only a few beats abuse it.

For other rivers and where timeshares and public waters have to be considered, I accept rules may have to be different.
04-14-2004 07:31 AM
Gary W Storlaks,

I disagree with the idea that only anglers fishing on weekly lets should be allowed to keep a fish. I live in Scotland and like to fish in as many rivers as time, my wife, and my wallet will allow. However, in order to keep the cost of my fishing down, I travel to and from my fishing, same day, on day tickets where available.
I, generally, only keep one fish a year; sometimes two. I am selective where I take my fish from, only taking fish from rivers that IMO have a sustainable enough stock to allow anglers to take the odd fish home.
I am also involved, voluntarily, in river management and restocking programmes. Why should somebody who fishes one week a year be allowed to keep a fish, when I fish all year round and contribute to river management, and fishing on a day ticket would not be allowed to keep a fish or two for the year?
04-14-2004 05:47 AM
storlaks Lummels, IMO day & 3-day lets should not be allowed to kill fish. If you are fishing for a week, you can take a fish home, provided it's not your first one caught. That would keep the majority of people happy and returning to fish year after year and bringing much needed money into the area. It would also provide a level of choice for people. i.e. split your week 3&3 on different beats and adhere to 100% C&R, or take a week on 1 beat and have 1 fish to take home.....if you want to!

You only need to look at the Dee website to see that there is still a lot of fishing unlet on the river. 10 years ago, this was not the case. Don't get me wrong, as a paying fisher, it gives me plenty of opportunities to fish different beats and different times, but if I were an owner, I maybe somewhat disappointed that my beat isn't being fished to it's full potential. I would imagine ghillies would prefer a full-house also.

I hope the Spey Board have done the right thing and have balanced the needs correctly. Time will tell.

As you pointed out, things are looking better this season in terms of numbers and also size, especiallyon the Dee. Always a sign of a healthy ECO system when you see all sizes running the river. What also has impressed me are the numbers of fry in the Dee. Most I have ever seen. A good sign also. Let's hope so.
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