Archive for the ‘Sea Trout’ Category


Thursday, February 26th, 2015
WARMING SEAS: CHANGING ECOSYSTEMS In The Times today 21/2/2015  Oliver Moody writes about research results of Spanish and British marine scientists on the effects of the rise of 1.31C in sea temperature in the northeast Atlantic continental shelf region over the last three decades. The government’s Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) has already suggested that consumers “will have to learn to love a range of exotic fish species as North Sea stocks change”. Dolphins killing salmon 1

 Dolphins feeding on salmon in the Moray Firth

What does all this mean for our wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout? I think the most obvious effect on fisheries is that species with a preference for colder waters, such as the sprat, are moving northwards. Meanwhile, species of fish that prefer warmer waters such as horse mackerel, mackerel, sardines and anchovies, have already spread into the North Sea and Baltic Sea. Pentland Firth APHA

The Pentland Firth, most northerly of British mainland coasts

This ‘Mediterraneanisation’ of the seas around northwest Europe – our seas and coastal waters – may bring rewards to the UK fishing industry if species such as red mullet move north. But there are also implicit threats coming from sea warming. For example, it is already established that cod and salmon are moving away from the warmer waters of the southern North Sea. Terrestrial warming and higher temperatures of freshwater habitats may also cause declines of trout stocks, which of course includes sea trout. Some views expressed in the angling media are based on the hope that the natural resilience of Atlantic salmon will adapt to environmental changes. They rightly point out that salmon have survived at least two ice ages, which involved them abandoning hot river catchments and colonising new ones revealed by the retreating ice. It is important that such views do not encourage complacency. It is particularly important that river managers continue to prepare for climate change by catchment-wide planning to mitigate effects of warmer water, especially in spawning and juvenile habitats. Pristine burn on Hoy. Low density of juvenile trout

A moorland tributary, susceptible to high water temperatures on hot summers days

Along our coasts and at sea we do not have the ‘hands-on’ ability to address such environmental impacts as we do in fresh water, but we can give migrating salmon and sea trout much better access to and from rivers by killing fewer of them.

From the AST viewpoint we need to monitor what is happening to sea temperatures in the ocean, along our coasts and in fresh water. We must also keep up to date with arrivals and departures in our coastal waters of predators and prey species. Importantly, we must also continue our dialogue with European sea fishing colleagues on the Pelagic Advisory Committee (PELAC) to ensure that migrations of wild Atlantic salmon are not being accidentally disrupted by pelagic trawlers.

Mid Summer Freshets

Sunday, July 20th, 2014


I have been away on the West Coast in Argyll while the 2014 catches at FCW have moved up to 43 salmon and 64 sea trout.

Compared with catches at this time of year in the 1980s and 1990s, these catch numbers do not amount to much, but they are still reasonable and compare quite well with most other beats on the Esks.


There have continued to be fresh-run MSW salmon – the most recent a 15lbs salmon from Willows – and the condition of our sea trout continues to be excellent.



Monday, June 30th, 2014


We have been tickling away all week with one or two sea trout each night, after the six we caught on Monday. There are sea trout in all the pools, but not many.

I am interested to see whether the main run is yet to come because, by any measure, this has been a strange year with warm water from the beginning of the season and sufficient water in the  river to allow sea trout and salmon to swim upstream without any problem.

fishers down the Flats

This photo was taken from the suspension bridge at the tail of Casdtle Stream, just above Red Brae. You are looking upstream towards the Flats where there are two peopole fishing.

Conditions at night are now perfect for the night angler. If there were shoals in the main pools we would probably be catching them in good numbers, but those shoals, as far as we have observed, are only intermittently present.

I remember a night in 1988 when I ‘found’ a shoal of sea trout in the tail of Tyndals Pool at about 0200 and caught seven of them before the dawn came. I had not seen those fish lying on the gravel in daylight. It is possible that they had arrived during the hours of dusk ness (there’s no darkness in June in Scotland) but I think not. That shoal of sea trout in my opinion had been there all the time, just lying quietly in the quiet tail of Tyndals.

Which just goes to show that sea trout are mysterious and secretive fish that keep themselves to themselves, and normally are very difficult to spot.
Postscript written at 0630 on 30 June 2014

As the South Esk falls away to its summer low level the movement of migratory fish into and within the catchment has declined.
As always with our little river, we now need rain to freshen up the system and encourage new fish, fresh from the sea, to enter the river.
Until that happens I suspect all will be very quiet.
I see that some rain is forecast for later in the week. By then we will be needing it badly.
The season to date at FCW has seen 37 salmon (biggest 16lbs) and 46 sea trout (biggest 5lbs) recorded.