Last days of the 2013 season

As this most beautiful golden autumn enters its last phase before the onset of winter we are seeing some good water levels to encourage salmon and sea trout into the upper reaches of the South Esk and Prosen in preparation for spawning.

It hasn’t been a great season from the angler’s viewpoint, but that doesn’t mean it has been a bad one for our migratory fish. Some of our visiting anglers have commented on the large number of parr in the river and this is also true of the Lemno Burn. I also saw a few parr in the Rottal Burn when I visited a couple of weeks ago, but nowhere near the high numbers lower down in the catchment. Indications of an abundance of invertebrates are apparent in the feasting watery wagtails and dippers as well as observed hatches of olives and sedges. Using these impressions rather than formal recordings I think the river is in good ply. If that is the case there is no reason why good numbers of smolts should not leave the river in the spring of 2014.

In fact I think, again from unstructured and unscientific observation, that 2013 was not a year of high abundance for salmon or sea trout. Whether conservation levels of each component (population) of the river’s natural stock were met will probably never be known because no-one is counting them.

As I said in an earlier blog, the catches by the four beats – Kinnaird, Finavon, Inshewan and Cortachy – in the period February to the end of May were considerably higher (30%+) than the ten year average. In my opinion the higher catch was the result of good fishing conditions rather than a greater head of fish in the river. I am absolutely certain for example that there were many more salmon in the South Esk in 2011, which was the yearthat Usan nets killed 2307 salmon in May.

Statter photo of leaping salmonPhoto taken by Colin Statter on the River Allan near Stirling. An autumn fish on its way to spawn. 

fishers down the Flats

Alec and Anne Lyell fishing down the Flats (Milton Beat) in good October water.

I look forward to visiting the Rottal Burn again in early December, where at that time there should be fish spawning. It will be interesting to see if any or most of those fish are multi sea winter salmon.

TA 29/11/2013


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