2004 springers [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

2004 springers

03-28-2004, 12:09 PM
I wonder if any anglers out there can tell me if this 2004 Salmon season has got off to a very good start?or is it just normal.
I have been hearing of fish being caught off most rivers,Dee,Spey Tay and Tweed also some off the northern rivers have had some good days.
I hear the middle Tweed has fished rather well,along with the middle Dee,are there many coming from higher up? Aboyne and above,what about the Spey in the middle reaches,most people I speak to think its looking brighter this early on.
Does anyone out there have any information on the recapture rates of released fish?or has anyone ever caught a Salmon that has already been caught by rod and line.
I beleive it is commonplace in Russian angling!!

Willie Gunn
03-28-2004, 12:28 PM
I cannot answer for any of the other rivers but the Spey is well up on last year.
James Butler, Speyboard Chairman said last week

>>Meanwhile, the total catch is 130, with 90% released. For the same
>>period last year the catch was about 50.
Most beats are returning the fish as per the board rules but there are exceptions. The Aberlour Association have killed the first 2 fish they caught. Kineromy are also killing a lot of fish. 7 that I know of. An old fisherman killed a fish at Tulcan D against the rules and the gillies wishes. He had irritated me a lunch time by wittering on what a load of rubbish catch and release is.

released fish can be caught again see, http://www.asf.ca/release/speyapr2003.html

The Catch and Release Tagging Project concluded in 2002 with 386 spring salmon (Feb.-May) and 473 summer salmon and grilse (June-Sept.) tagged and released. Recaptures of spring salmon varied, from 16% in 2000, to 7% in 2001 and 11% in 2002, with an average recapture rate of 10%.

Only two summer salmon were recaptured (0.4%). Recapture rates are highest for February fish, with 30% of fish caught again. However, recapture rates decline as the season progresses, with only 3% of June fish caught a second time. These figures may well reflect the actual exploitation rates of fish entering the river at different times of the year. When analysed in more detail it is evident that among spring salmon, fish caught and released in February-March can be recaptured until May,and fish caught in April-May are vulnerable until July.

Many spring fish can also be recaptured in September when the spawning season approaches. These findings confirm that spring salmon are particularly vulnerable to capture by anglers. Released fish were recaptured in every month except August, and therefore require measures to protect them beyond the spring period. These results underpin the SFB's Salmon Conservation Policy for 2003, which aims to protect spring salmon throuthout the season.

I once caught a fish which I carefully unhooked and was holding in the water till it got its breath back when I suddenlt realised it still had a fly in its mouth. It obviously had broken someone else, it must have had a fly in each side of its mouth.

03-28-2004, 01:19 PM
I am pleased to hear that the Spey catches are up on last years catch as I beleive last Spring was pretty good as well before the dreaded drought arrived in early May!!. The 90% catch and release rate is really good for a river of its size,I take it the other 10% at Kinnermony and association were all bleeding badly!!,although I understand that the 1st fish off the Aberlour association goes to the local hospital.what is the policy at Kinnermony? is it anything goes or is it that the catches are that good that the beat has had so many fish that the fish killed have all been second fish!!
Its nice to hear that Tulchan D beat has had fish as they have had a lean few years up there,I take it Robert wont be welcoming his guest back with open arms!!The old school attitudes must change,this is acceptable if it is a youngsters 1st fish (ghillies discretion applied).
I am still off the opinion that the re capture rate of spring fish adds to the figures and it is a pity that the tagging scheme is still not being used.but who cares as long as there are fish in the river to re capture anglers will return!!:)

Willie Gunn
03-28-2004, 01:53 PM
Originally posted by lummels
The 90% catch and release rate is really good for a river of its size,I take it the other 10% at Kinnermony and association were all bleeding badly!!,although I understand that the 1st fish off the Aberlour association goes to the local hospital.what is the policy at Kinnermony? is it anything goes or is it that the catches are that good that the beat has had so many fish that the fish killed have all been second fish!!
Its nice to hear that Tulchan D beat has had fish as they have had a lean few years up there,I take it Robert wont be welcoming his guest back with open arms!!The old school attitudes must change,this is acceptable if it is a youngsters 1st fish (ghillies discretion applied).
I am still off the opinion that the re capture rate of spring fish adds to the figures and it is a pity that the tagging scheme is still not being used.but who cares as long as there are fish in the river to re capture anglers will return!!:)

As far as I am aware Kinneromy have killed everything they have caught.
I understand that the first fish goes to the old folks home but the second?
I totally agree that attitudes have to change I would change the Spey board rules that everything goes back same as the Dee and that bleeding fish are handed in the estate, it is amazing how the numbers of bleeders stopped on the Dee when the estates kept the fish.

G Ritchie
03-28-2004, 02:31 PM
Tulchan D have had 6 fish (2 killed), C beat have had 3, B beat have had 2 and A beat are still blank (Up until Friday). Overall I think the catches on most of the Spring rivers in the North-east are well up on last year. Hopefully this is an upward trend.

03-28-2004, 02:47 PM
I beleive that you are a member of the board,what action will they take against non compliance?I dont think that total catch and release is the answer,as some anglers might like to take 1 fish home with them after spending quite a lot of money on their weeks fishing, after all these paying tenants are the lifeblood of the river and the local economy its down to commonsense!
The Speyboards policy is I think pretty good if used correctly,I know the Dee policy is different but I have seen this being abused as well,as long as they never go down the old smoked Salmon for fish returned route again as there will be many more fish recorded.
I think it would be considered a great success if the river as a whole were to record a 75% release of fish for any given season that would take care of the people who for whatever reason would like to retain a fish.I think that more people now are realising the plight of the wild Salmon and are happily returning these fish,how many people do you now see returning fish who would never have considered it 5 years ago? they too must be applauded,its all an education but there must still remain a strong pull for these anglers to come and fish Scottish rivers and
be educated by ghillies and other like minded anglers.The last thing we need to be constantly reminded off is the terrible fog at Murmansk Airport and those dammned choppers!and yes I do know they have catch and release as well,just as well as the helicopters would not get off the ground with some of those catches.

03-28-2004, 02:55 PM
Thats pretty promising!! I shouldnt think it will be too long before J.A. gets his 1st on A beat, heard anything above Castle Grant or association,what about the Dee above Banchory?

Willie Gunn
03-28-2004, 03:04 PM
I'm definately not a member of the Spey board, if I was I would have to be a bit more circumspect with my opinions about certain beats and their appalling record on catch and release. I am unsure what action the board can take as it is only a recomendation and if beats wish to abuse the recomendation there is little they can do.

I fished Cairnton on the Dee and they still offer rewards for returning fish, whisky or smoked salmon I believe but as I failed to catch a springer I never found out.

I cannot understand this compulsion some anglers have to take a fish home. I have seen some awful things killed at the backend for smoking, they would be better smoking some fish flavoured cotton wool.

In my opinion, if these fish killers decide not to return to the Spey the Spey will be a better place without them.

I hear that the Strathspey Association have had a few fish but have not heard about Castle Grant.

03-28-2004, 03:28 PM
That clears that one up about the board then!!
I think your cotton wool dark smokers was a good point,thats when I think your thoughts on the Dee rules should kick in,total catch and release after 1st August no exceptions!!
Regardless what walk of life you are in there will always be the greed factor,how many times have you heard the stories on the riverbank? Its just a fact of life!!
You would be a good candidate for the Spey Fishing Hotline!!
Just ask the tennant -Are you going to keep any fish then?
If the answer is yes,you could tell him dont bother coming then and fish their beat

03-28-2004, 06:14 PM
Good to hear some encouraging news from the old country.

What's happening at Tulcan these days? I was lucky enough to spend a few days there back in the early 90s but I heard it had changed hands. It would be nice to stay there again one day.

G Ritchie
03-29-2004, 02:48 AM
Castle Grant have had a few fish. The Grantown association had 3 fish two weeks ago as had the Abernethy association. Havent heard how they did last week. The Dee is fishing well with fish caught as far upstream as just above Ballater, although as usual for this time of year the majority have been from Aboyne down.

Tulchan belongs to the Litchfields, I believe they have owned it for many years. By the way I see we share the same birthday.

03-29-2004, 02:56 PM
Thanks for the info
Thats pretty encouraging to see the fish spread throughout
both River systems,this certainly bodes well for the rest of the season,given the right conditions.
Would I be right in saying that Tulchan changed hands in 1995 when the Litchfields bought it from the Panchaud family?
I was speaking to a friend today who was telling me that the Tweed has got off to a cracking start!he had 3 springers in 1 day!
while other guests had 4 more on the same day!!All fish were returned no bleeders!!
By the way happy birthday

03-29-2004, 04:26 PM
I'm almost sure the Litchfields bought Tulchan before 1995; I think late '80's would be nearer the mark. Gerald Panchaud (and his son Paul) fished with us in Norway in, I think, 1982. There was a well-founded rumour that anyone fishing Tulchan in subsequent years might have seen a photograph in the huts of Gerald standing behind an impressive array of fish. The truth, though, was that he didn't catch them all himself, but that didn't deter him from posing for the 'hero shot'! He had quite a 'hand' of sporting property; I believe he owned Tulchan, Amhuinnsuidhe and Mar Lodge simultaneously.

Springers do seem to have been better this year. The Fishtweed website reported 157 last week, including 26 for both Lower Floors and Sprouston - the latter is just a 2 rod beat, incidentally - against a 5 year average for the whole month of 30 for each beat. Equivalent sites for Dee and Tay also seen to indicate good numbers compared to the 5 year average. One or two encouraging noises coming from Ireland, too, I think.

Andy Wren
03-30-2004, 10:07 AM
Certainly Currane is looking good ,they have had their largest fish for some ten years at 24lbs and some boats coming in with two fish ,first seatrout are in as well with the first specimen fish coming to the fly .

03-30-2004, 02:00 PM
Hi Guys

Thats cracking news from the Tweed, Currane and the other Scottish Rivers!!This backs up what I have been hearing also.
That 24 pounder from Ireland must have been a specimen fish.
I 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?

03-30-2004, 02:11 PM
I recall being at Tulcan in 1991 and I think it was then still owned by Mrs. Panchaud. I fished 'A' beat - the Ghillie's name was Warren. It was September - not prime time - but there were a lot of fish sporting their autumn colors headed upstream. We had fresh grouse for dinner. Guests had been out hunting them with hawks.

I have never seen so many original works of art and best London guns in one place before.:smokin:

Willie Gunn
03-30-2004, 02:40 PM
I know nothing about the sale of Tulcan, I only fish there on the daily lets when you don't have to take a cottage.

Warren there lies a tale. Warren no longer works for Tulcan he was gillie at C beat in the end. The story goes he was and still is very friendly with one of the guests wives. I cannot divilge further on a public forum.

Just home from the Dee my fishing partner had a 18lb fish, I had three good pulls but thats all.

03-30-2004, 04:11 PM
Its a great pity that you did not make it in the spring or early summer of 1991,as that was a terrific year for them at Tulchan.
The works of art you seen hanging on the walls and the fantastic gun collection in the lodge are still there,in fact since 91 these have been added to its something else!!

When you say "there lies a tale"can you remember the pony tail!!

04-08-2004, 09:11 AM
"I cannot understand this compulsion some anglers have to take a fish home."

Malcolm, I happen to have a family who all like to eat Salmon. I also have many friends who like to eat Salmon. I myself like to eat Salmon, so why is it so bad to take ONE home to have for the table. They are a source of food to be harvested in moderation and within the limits of conservation. Conservation doesn't always mean 100% release!

Unfortunately enough it's not until July when I have my fishing trip to Norway that I can bring a fish home for the BBQ and my family to enjoy. That's after I've spent a good few quid in my home country. I'm not complaining, cause I know the rules, but please don't start going down the road of compulsary catch and release. It's not required in "most" cases.
I think 90% C&R is well above what is required for the Spey to survive and flourish.

I did have my eyes opened this year on the Dee. Apart from the good numbers of fish running and being caught (and released)
I was quite alarmed at some of rules adopted by owners and ghilles of certain beats. It appears that a hooked and lost fish (at the net) is counted on some beats. No wonder some of the catch return figures are looking up!!!!! How ridiculous is that. Next we'll be counting kelts!!!! (-:
Personally I'm not interested in Whisky and smoked salmon as compensation or reward.

Anyway, tightlines to all and let's keep things in perspective!

I'm back on Dee-side in May. Hope the Springers are still running.

Willie Gunn
04-08-2004, 04:00 PM
Originally posted by storlaks
"I cannot understand this compulsion some anglers have to take a fish home."

Malcolm, I happen to have a family who all like to eat Salmon. I also have many friends who like to eat Salmon. I myself like to eat Salmon, so why is it so bad to take ONE home to have for the table. They are a source of food to be harvested in moderation and within the limits of conservation. Conservation doesn't always mean 100% release!

It's not required in "most" cases.
I think 90% C&R is well above what is required for the Spey to survive and flourish.

I think

It good to see that the future of the Spey is important as you thinking things will be ok. I mean the scientists are spending the Spey Boards money on research suggesting that the first fish should be returned, beats are changing this to allow anglers to tke a fish home, my solution to stop this happening is to make the Spey the same as the Dee everything goes back.

If you want a fish visit a fishmonger.

04-09-2004, 03:49 PM
Malcolm, I am sure you are aware that some beats on the Dee still allow guests to kill fish. So this dismisses the theory that a compulsory C&R rule from the board stops fish being killed. It absolutely doesn't.

IMO, what the Spey have done is correct. They have left a bit of decision making to the angler thus stopping this ridiculous situation where 1 person fishing on one bank kills a fish and the other guy on the opposite bank is kicking up a fuss because he has been TOLD to put everything back.

If the Spey is reaching around 90% C&R (or even close to that) then I would say that's pretty good going....or is that still not enough for you?

As for visiting a fishmongers.....well they don't sell many fresh wild salmon steaks in the south east of France. Anyway I still get satisfaction from eating what I catch, even though it is Norwegian and not Scottish.

Willie Gunn
04-09-2004, 04:02 PM
No I'm sorry it is no where near good enough. Anglers should all be told to return the fish that they catch. Most beats on the Spey follow the boards rules but others still allow fishermen to murder spring salmon. Kinermony being a prime example. Greedy fishermen will always find an excuse to murder fish, IMHO the fish should be confiscated and given to the estate.

The few Dee beats that are breaking the rules should be named, shamed and brought into line.

Spring salmon are far to scarce and important to be eaten.

Topher Browne
04-11-2004, 12:18 PM
If fisheries with exceedingly healthy runs such as the Ponoi (Kola Peninsula) or the Rio Grande (TDF) mandate and practice nearly universal Catch & Release, why would a Scottish river--its run of Springers either depleted or threatened--fail to do the same?

04-11-2004, 03:34 PM
As I've said before it's all about finding a balance. C&R is one factor and is important, but it's not the answer to all the issues regarding the Spring Salmon decline. You see the Tweed seems to be flourishing and it has the same C&R rules as the Spey, but it also did many other things prior to and in parallel to C&R introduction.

I know another example of a river in Norway where there is no C&R but proper river management has brought this river back to be one of the best in the country. Only 10 years ago it was in serious decline. There are also other examples where C&R have been inplace for years on certain rivers and no significant improvements has been seen.

One beat on the Spey killing fish isn't going to put the Spring run in jeopardy, so why bother yourself. If the river is now being managed properly, things will improve. ,

04-12-2004, 07:04 AM
You'll notice, Topher, that he really didn't answer your question. I've followed this debate at times in the UK publications and one thing you can be sure of is that the catch and fillet crowd has no answer to that very question. It's always about their "right" and "needs" to take some fish home. That's why many of that ilk now go to Iceland where on many rivers they're allowed to kill even more fish. In fact, I gave up fishing there because I needed a barf bag after coming in from fishing and seeing twenty or thirty dead fish in plastic bags each day.

04-13-2004, 09:57 AM
Well JR, for your information, I'm not part of any catch and fillet crowd, as you so put it. When I fish on my chosen rivers, many of then catch and release, I adhere to the rules and like I said before, it doesn't bother me. What does bother me are these obsessed people who can't see by catch and release as the be all and end all of conservation. It's an easy and cheap answer for many river systems!!!! Diverts responsibility from the owners to the anglers very nicely.

If a river system(i.e. in Iceland) can sustain killing fish by rod and line for food consumption, then why should it not be done? The bloody nets take enough, don't they? It's all about balance. A river system can only sustain a certain amount of fish, so if there are sufficient numbers returning, then a controlled killing of fish is quite acceptable.

I understand that the Spey, like the Dee some years ago, may benefit from an increase in Spawning fish, so a form of C&R is required to maximise the numbers reaching the Redds, but does that mean a compulsary C&R rule throughtout the river......not IMO. The majority of Salmon fishers are happy to put fish back and will do so even if they are allowed to kill. It's only the small percentage that do as they wish and show no respect. That small percentage won't make the difference, so leave it be... and don't punish the "honest" salmon fisher who may decide to take a fish home for his weeks fishing. The Spey's C&R policy, like the Tweeds, is a good.

As for handing fish into the estate to be given a side of smoked farmed salmon......this is nonsense.

I'm not sure what question I didn't answer, but I standby what I say. Proper River management and a considerate and manageable C&R policy is the way ahead.

Willie Gunn
04-13-2004, 02:29 PM
The problem with allowing beats to break the C&R rules is that the rule breaking spreads. Kinermony is a single bank beat which marches with the Aberlour Association, Delagyle,Wester Elerchies. Now anyone seeing fish being called always say " why do I have to put my fish back they killed theirs" That is why I say have total C&R then there are no excuses, it's my first fish, I returned one last week, etc whinge whinge whinge. The boards scientists ask for the 1st 3rd etc fish to be returned for a reason, few catch 2 so get the first fish back, to hell with taking one home for the table.

Nets taking fish is a red herring and has nothing what so ever to do with C&R 2 wrongs do not make a right.

04-13-2004, 04:10 PM
I applaud your stance on naming and shaming Kinnermony,the other beats,especially Wester Elchies must be spitting bullets watching them killing fish in the same pools that they have just returned fish to!! What happened to the passport to the redds?The one thing you must remember is that the vast majority of all other Spey beats are complying with the boards recomendations in full.The board you must remember is just getting its house in order itself this year after a very long time sitting on the fence especially from a re-stocking point of view!!and only time will tell if the results of the 4 hatcheries on the system bear fruit!!I sincerely hope it will for everybodies sake ghillies hotels,tackle outlets the whole valley for instance depends on Salmon running the system.I would say its up to the board to penalise these beats who are killing fish indiscrimenately before Europe penalises the whole river!! Iknow you write passionately on the subject but watch out for the "Coronary".The Spey board rules are spot on if adhered to!!
The point Storlaks makes about the Dee is a very valid point to!!
There are a lot of fish being banged on the head there,Ive seen them on display on slabs at some beats,and in hotels,so 100% C/R there is miles off the mark.

04-13-2004, 05:14 PM
Naming and shaming doesn't necessarily work. We all know Invery have been killing fish on the Dee since C&R was introduced, but for economic reasons, I presume, they were not going to stop it. It's a fish per guest per week, but it still goes against the Dee board rules. However my point is this. Has this had any impact on the results of C&R on the Dee.....NO. Things have improved despite this. Has this led to an increase in other beats doing the same....NO. Do people moan about it...YES, but these people will always moan about something.

This type of situation will always happen when you have many owners on a river and there is no Scottish law forbidding the killing of Salmon before a certain date. (Lets hope that doesn't happen) So let's accept the fact that 100% C&R will not happen, in practice, and to be honest, that in itself won't have any serious impact on numbers of returning fish.

If people moan because they have to put their first fish back then they should fish harder and catch 2!!! That's the bonus of the Spey C&R policy....it offers a choice, if people wish.

What's happening in Britain these days. People are obsessed with enforcing rules! Guidelines are better.

Anyway, good debate.

04-13-2004, 06:08 PM
The naming and shaming is over with!!
1 fish per guest per week is unacceptable as you and I know there are a lot of 3 day lets here,that means that in any given week there could be 12 fish in theory not going back into the river.That soon mucks up the C/R averages,plenty people out there know where I am coming from here!
Regarding the River Spey
The point you make on choice is absolutely spot on!!After you return your 1st fish you choose as a grown up whether to keep your second or not,its not rocket science,any fish returned to the river can only help,it cant hinder!!I know its only a gesture,but its a positive one,until all the well paid scientists on the river come up with the goods in a few years time these gestures will have to suffice!!
On a lighter note the reason I started this thread ,what I have been hearing regarding the 2004 spring season so far on all Scottish rivers has been very promising
hopefully this keeps up well into the season!!:)

Gary W
04-14-2004, 04:05 AM
It is a good idea force anglers to return their first fish and choose whether they 'chap' their second and so on. However, it is easily abused.
It is astounding how many people catch and release their first fish out of site of the ghillies and other fisherman, especially on the association water. Allowing them to kill their supposed second fish.
If somebody is a fishmonger they will always try to abuse this rule.

04-14-2004, 05:47 AM
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.

Gary W
04-14-2004, 07:31 AM

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, 09:26 AM
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.

Gary W
04-14-2004, 10:06 AM

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, 10:32 AM
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, 11:44 AM
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.

Willie Gunn
04-18-2004, 07:58 AM
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.

04-18-2004, 04:03 PM
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?

Willie Gunn
04-18-2004, 04:27 PM
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

04-19-2004, 03:41 AM
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.


04-19-2004, 08:19 AM
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.

04-30-2004, 05:22 PM
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!!

05-17-2004, 02:01 PM
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

Willie Gunn
05-17-2004, 02:53 PM
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.

05-18-2004, 01:45 PM
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