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TYNE SPEYCASTER 01-19-2005 05:41 PM

Has it been proved inconclusively that spring fish breed springers??
We have had some debate on the Tyne regarding the Environment Agency policy of returning all fish in England and Wales before 16th June each year. Peter Gray at Kielder Hatchery reckons that springers do breed springers, but has no proof. Is it not possible that Salmosalar is infinately more adaptable than we realise?? Are springers not the Kamikazes (or to be harvested) of the species, their redds, if they survive to cut them, overcut by the late runners. This leads on to C&R, gone are the days of stale fish being killed but it would be surely acceptable to take one prime springer, the pick of the crop, to eat, share gift etc etc and put back everything, everywhere, from end of august??

Tyne Speycaster fishing in Chaytors footsteps!!

Willie Gunn 01-20-2005 12:53 AM

Tulchan is a beat that follows the Spey Board recommendations that the first third fish etc is returned. Spring fish are genetically different from other salmon and deserve to be protected until there are enough to take a "crop" without endangering the species. The majority of spring fish are female and require protection.

At the present time on the Spey it is UNacceptable to kill any spring fish, although under the present rules it is allowable.

Gary W 01-20-2005 03:41 AM

I have heard that spring fish derive from slow growing parr/smolts that are hatched in higher streams with less food availability. Hence, the slower growth rate. Perhaps there could be some truth in this - i.e. slower growth in the river, more time spent at sea feeding ???? This would mean that returning fish would seek out the same spawning streams and in turn produce more spring fish. Perhaps somebody else can provide clarification on this point.

As for killing springers; only if we have a sustainable run. I disagree with blanket catch and release but surely if an animal is endangered we should not be killing it for the pot. However, on rivers where they still allow the nets to kill fish(North and South Esk), is it fair to impose a ban on killing fish with rod and line.

Unfortunately, some fisheries managers/riparian owners/DSFB's have had to impose bans on killing of fish because a minority of anglers cannot be trusted to reap only the minimum that they require.

Would you be happy killing one springer if you caught three or four or more in a week, or all spring?

I usually kill one salmon a year for a special occassion, and return all the rest. If I caught a springer, unless on a river where they are in abundance, I think I would be returning it and waiting until summer for a grilse for the pot.

fcch 01-20-2005 07:28 AM

Question ??
Willie (,

Please excuse my ignorance, ... Are "springers" on your side of the Atlantic fresh from the sea spawners, or "black" salmon which wintered over in the river??


Gary W 01-20-2005 07:47 AM


Springer is the term used to describe clean fish which run earlier in the season. These fish enter our rivers approximately from January thru' May. They are usually in prime condition in terms of shape, colour and freshness from the tide. Because these fish run our rivers so early, they have a long wait in freshwater before spawning around November/December time.

However, their numbers have been in general decline throughout Scotland and many rivers have banned killing fish before June to try to conserve and improve stocks of these early running fish. It's understandable; if they were wiped out completely, we would lose five months of our Salmon fishing season which, would not only make me cry, it would hit small local economies hard.

fcch 01-20-2005 01:29 PM



They must become a mere shadow of their former majesty come december. Our adults arrive in late june and seem to evaporate before our eyes come august-september (weight loss).

Willie Gunn 01-20-2005 01:59 PM

Tyne Speycaster Sorry for my abrupt answer this morning and welcome to the forum, my only excuse is it was predawn and I had a 31/2 drive to get to the Helmsdale. I am not at my best till the sun gets up.

I was speaking to one of the Spey Board scientists just to check that I was correct, he emailed me to say
<<On your query about spring salmon, the evidence for over-cutting of
spring fish redds with autumn fish redds is not there. Spring fish tend
to come from the upper reaches of large catchments of the Spey, and fish
in these upper areas (trout and salmon) spawn earlier (end Oct.).
Summer/Autumn fish come from areas lower down the catchment, and they
spawn later. So the possibility of a later-running, later-spawning fish
over-cutting the redds of an earlier-running, earlier-spawning fish are
remote. Nature will ensure there is some variation and overlap, but it
is the exception and not the rule.

There is plenty of evidence to back up both the relationship between
run-timng and spawning location, and time of spawning against altitude
in east coast Scottish rivers.>>

So in a nut shell the springers are not Kamikazes (or to be harvested).

Willie Gunn 01-20-2005 02:58 PM


Originally Posted by fcch
Willie (,

Please excuse my ignorance, ... Are "springers" on your side of the Atlantic fresh from the sea spawners, or "black" salmon which wintered over in the river??


Springers as Gary says fresh fish, we call black salmon kelts and they have a terrible stigma. Me I miss them when I don't catch any, there were very few on the Helmsdale today.

fcch 01-20-2005 03:33 PM



we call black salmon kelts
I was wondering about that too, but figured I'd wait instead of looking like a complete idiot :wink:

Willie Gunn 01-20-2005 04:06 PM

Two nations separated by a common language. George Bernard Shaw

I used to wonder what kind of a fish a black salmon was.

TYNE SPEYCASTER 01-20-2005 04:39 PM

Willie Gunn, no need to apologise, I'm the same at that time of a morning especially if I was lucky enough to be going fishing!
Your information (and Gary's) will prove invaluble at the next gathering of the 'fishmonger brigade' here in Northumberland.
The EA are rumoured to be thinking about introducing a similar C&R to the Spey on the English waters in the next few years rather than everything returned before 16th June. I really don't see how they could police it, we don't have keepers, gillies or boatmen on our beats, I suppose it would be similar to the situation at Aberlour? won't happen!!
To be fair the Tyne has quite a healthy spring run now but the problem of C&R till 16th June is that most anglers stay away till then and poachers have a free run on the springers we are trying to conserve.
I also had a bad experience 2 seasons gone in May on the Tyne, a beautiful 15 pounder on the fly, long tail sea lice, quickly landed, unhooked and carefully returned, kicked off strongly and then horrors, belly up being swept downstream. Managed to net the fish out, spent the next 3 hours trying everything to revive only to watch her die, I was devastated, we then had to push her into the stream and watch as she tumbled, flashing in the deep pool. I didn't fish again till the 16th when I could have the choice.
Anyway I personally think the Spey C&R has it right as long as everone adhers.
Thanks for the insight to Tulchan B I'm there for 3 days 31st March 2005, any tips or further insights/links would be much appreciated.
Tight lines
Tyne Speycaster fishing in Chaytors footsteps!!
ps Our Village club water here on the Tyne is the very same beat that is described in 'Letters to a Salmon Fishers Son'

Willie Gunn 01-20-2005 04:52 PM

Rules are designed to be broken, if a fish will nor survive I would get out the preist. stupid having to release a fish to die. There are worse beats than Aberlour but I can not name them on a open site.

I'm sorry to tell you that you have little chance of catching a running fish on B beat on those dates.Graham Ritchie and I am fishing Dephur, then Tulchan D then Delphur again so we will ensure no fish get past.

I will post a few more notes on Tulchan B tomorrow but 7 hours drive + 7 hours fishing has had a strange effect on my brain and I cannot remember the name of then lovely pool that is shared with C beat on alternate days, worth checking you are on the right rotation.

Willie Gunn 01-21-2005 03:40 AM

Tulchan B
Tulchan B shares Spearnick with C beat if I remmember correctly B has it Mondays Wednesday and Fridays but I might be wrong. It is a lovely pool fished from the right bank, so practice that Spey cast with lefthand up. ( There is a high treelined bank behind you which keeps the sun off the water.) The pool just down from the hut Lodge Stream, fishes well off both banks, though the left bank was hell last time as the wind was downstream force 10 gusting 11 and the double spey loop kept catching the bank(no wading possible) I took a fish off the right bank though.

The next pool up, the Boat is a lovely pool to fish, with the stream just straightening the line nicely. I have only fished breifly 1 session above the island I remember them as nice pools, but having never taken a fish from them they do not make my heart leap as the others do.

Remember do not stand on the daffidils.

DaveSadowski 01-24-2005 03:59 PM

Tyne Speycaster,

I personally can not see the EA spring fish policy changing for a long time.

The spring run on the Tyne - although possibly one of the best in England - is still quite poor. There are far more fish running the river in either September or October than there is in the whole Feb to June period.

There tends to be a good few reports of fish taken early in the season but strangely these tend to tail off as the kelts disappear. Don't get me wrong - i'm not saying that all the fish taken early season are kelts but it is easy for anglers to class the fish they have just returned as a prime spring fish when chatting on the banks afterwards hence giving a false impression of the number of spring fish running the system.

Good luck for the new season.

TYNE SPEYCASTER 01-26-2005 07:22 AM

Willie Gunn,
Sorry for the delay but thanks for the info on Tulchan, looking forward to it, maybe you and Graham will let a few through but good luck anyway, its good to hear that someone is getting plenty of fishing in!!
Is Alan on Tulchan the same as the John Andrews video many years ago??
The new spey website looks promising especially if more beats join in, the photos of the beats really help to put you there, even in the office!!
I joined the spey anglers association last year, seemed a good cause but only time will tell, its difficult to get all anglers, especially game, together as one.


Tightlines for 2005 also, wherever you cast your line.
If you were at the STA Dinner at the Falcons last November you would have heard the speaker, Paul Knight Director of STA state that a change was definately on the cards.
I would dispute the kelts for springers claim, its just not in anyones interest to make it up now that everything goes back, the anglers risk the riparian owners including kelts to up the rents if that happens.
The spring run on the Tyne from Hexham down is pretty good but with the lack of anglers pre June 16th who knows??

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