Thoughts on the 2015 Fishing Season

The Curate's egg would describe this year's fishing both at Stracathro and countrywide.

We caught less fish at Stracathro in 2015 than in 2014, but I believe we saw more fish. The counter would suggest this to be the case.

We caught our usual solitary fish in February, but this was as much to do with lack of effort and the conditions than lack of fish. March proved this when we caught twenty three for the month, a success echoed by adjacent beats. There is no doubt the breach in the Morphie Dyke has allowed the springer earlier access to the relative safety of the headwaters., which must be to the benefit of the whole river.

The spring run seemed to peter out early, and whilst the seatrout did their best to give sport in the early summer, grilse are arriving later and later each year. They are not easy to catch, especially if their heads are down and they are hell bent on swimming through.

The autumn run was mediocre, and it continued in small numbers throughout the remainder of the season. Whilst the water conditions were good, and the pools were full of fish the temperature never dropped sufficiently to encourage those autumn cock takes. We saw so many fish in October, but the catches were poor.

The floods of last winter changed the beat more than usual, and necessitated the rebuilding of the bank on the Lower Junction. Thanks to SEPA for their help with this. One of the biggest changes has been to the bottom pool, the Weir, which has deepened, and now fishes well in all heights.

Nationally the consensus is that it has been an alright season with the northern rivers having a good spring, the Tay and the Spey showing improvement, but the Tweed and Dee failing to match previous successes. You have to feel for the Dee. The Dee Board and Trust are well run, the anglers show total restraint in killing, much has been spent on improving habitat, but yet…..

It would be wrong not to congratulate the Scottish Government on at last licencing the killing of salmon. The minister’s hand may have been forced by S&TA’s complaint to Europe, but notwithstanding, at last we have protection of salmon. I am sure future generations will look back in horror and incredulity at those ridiculous days when it was totally legal (and Government encouraged) for netsmen to kill as many as possible, when it was clear to all that the stock was diminishing. At least now we have some sense.