We have received several reports recently of rainbow trout being caught on the River Ayr and Doon and I have received photos from reliable sources of these fish caught on both rivers. Whilst this situation is not good, these fish should be thinned out quickly by the numerous anglers that are out on both systems. Anyone catching rainbows in any river should kill it and I’d appreciate if you would take the time to let me know and if possible, send me a photo.

Rumours have being circulating as to the source of these rainbows and blame was widely  directed at Ayr Angling Club as responsible for the situation on the Ayr. I spoke with the Secretary of Ayr Angling Club today on this matter and I am pleased to report that the Club categorically refutes any suggestion that they introduced rainbow trout to the River Ayr. Club members in attendance at the time of the stocking confirmed that no rainbow trout were stocked. The supplier also confirmed this to Ayr AC.

Of course there have been rainbows turning up on both the Ayr and the Doon and it is easy to speculate where they came from but without evidence, I’d encourage people to go fishing (with permission of course) and kill any they catch (I only ever recommend 100% killing of non native species. Native species; trout and salmon may be killed at the anglers discretion and following DSFB guidance, but there is no need to). There is nothing more that anyone can do on this matter at present but Marine Scotland and the Fish Health Inspectorate are both aware of the situation. Anyone responsible for rearing or keeping fish are encouraged to review their containment measures. These measures should prevent escapes even during exceptionally high flood conditions. Nothing less is adequate.

Another worrying report came to my attention yesterday; a Barbel is reputed to have been caught near Ochiltree on the Lugar Water. Whilst I’ve no photographic evidence to support this, I am led to believe that the fish was 1.5 lbs in weight, definitely a barbel and was killed and disposed of. It goes without saying that if you catch something that is obviously different and not either salmon, trout, (Grayling on the Ayr) or eel, then it should be photographed, frozen and reported immediately to Clubs, DSFB or ourselves (or all 3). Only by following such simple procedures can we avoid being led on wild goose chases and potentially expensive  and unnecessary investigations.

The introduction of any species into a river or loch requires a licence from Marine Science Scotland. Introductions of non native species to our rivers never receive approval or licence and are illegal. No one should take it upon themselves to introduce any species to a freshwater as this can be highly damaging and destroy wild fish populations.


Share →

7 Responses to Non Native Species in the River Ayr and Doon

  1. Carlos Van Heddegem says:

    It’s common knowledge that Angling Clubs on the Doon stock there water with farm reared brownies(occasional rainbow) to accommodate a number of angling competitions, including events for boys and girls. The Fishery Board has always ignored this in the past so should this be taken more serious? Are Angling Clubs aware of the stocking rules and regulations?
    Are pike and perch classed as non native species? They have present for years with their originans varying depending who you ask. Theirs no doubt in my mind they feed ferociously on salmon fry and we should we pursue the eradication of both species.

    • Stuart Brabbs says:

      This raises several points Carlos and all worth a reply.
      1. Any stocking must be licensed by Marine Science Scotland unless it is stocking by the DSFB with fry, reared from eggs stripped from the river into which they are being stocked. A stripping licence is required for any fish stripped out of season.
      2. I’ve never been aware of any clubs on the Doon stocking with rainbow trout or any Ayrshire River as this is not something that Marine Science Scotland would authorise.
      3. It is angling clubs responsibility to know the regulations relating to stocking. Ignorance is no excuse/defence…. just as in any other Law in Scotland. If in doubt, there are plenty of people to ask for advice, eg. ART, DSFB, Bailiffs, ASFB, IFM, MSS, FHI.
      4. The person responsible for stocking the river (the supplier) must first ensure that the correct paperwork is in place with the Club. The supplier is actually the person undertaking stocking and so any errors would ultimately be their responsibility. This isn’t a perfect system and I know that occasional ‘mistakes’ have been made in the past.
      5. The Board shouldn’t object to licensed stocking but anyone stocking rainbow trout have no licence for such activity. ART are consulted by MSS for opinion whenever they receive a new stocking application on DSFB controlled rivers.
      6. As of 2015, Stocking of trout in England and Wales will be limited to Triploids only to prevent breeding with wild/native trout. It seems likely that Scotland will follow suit shortly and in my opinion, the sooner the better.
      7. Pike and Perch have been introduced to Ayrshire at some point in the last two Centuries or so. They were widespread in the Doon catchment in the Head Bailiffs report dating back to 1856. Martinham, Fergus and Snipe all hold perch and pike as does Bogton and Doe’s loch (aka Loch William) at Dalmellington. Heart, Chapelton and Carcluie Loch all reputedly held Pike and possibly perch. Loch Doon has been infested with perch since the early 1970’s and I recently received an unconfirmed report of a pike being caught although this is doubtful. Primpton Loch (now drained) at the head of the Primpton Burn was also know to hold pike and I think so too was Lindston Loch, again now drained. Any attempt to control pike will be futile and may be highly detrimental. By removing large pike from the river or Bogton Loch, then there is nothing to predate on the smaller ones and the population would explode. By removing small pike, the big ones then will predate salmon and trout all the more. This isn’t theory, it’s been proven time and time again. Controlling perch I suspect will be similarly futile as the population in Loch Doon is huge and impossible to deal with effectively. I’m fairly certain that some will pass downstream from the loch to the river each year. Any attempt to control perch even if it could be achieved in the river will fail due to the downstream movement from the loch. In other words, it would be a complete waste of time and money to attempt any control on these species. It has been tried in the past and failed. It would also be extremely unpopular with the Pike Angling community. These fish are here to stay I’m afraid, the damage was done before any of us were thought of. This is exactly the reason why illegal movements of species is prohibited.

  2. member of public says:

    Are you saying that the Doon district salmon fishery board have turned a blind eye to clubs stocking the river with rainbow trout?

  3. bob brown says:

    fish farms will not allow rainbow trout to be stocked into any river all stocking now needs permission from faskally and all trout stocked into rivers must be triplods . any club or otheres must first gain a permission to stock form from appropiate body this is recorded with all details of when where and how many fish get stocked . there is a full check up of all fish stocking now this has been law for a few years now. therefore a fishfarmer needs all paperwork and must follow instructions on it he would lose his license if he broke any of the rules. if rainbows are appearing in rivers then i would very much doubt that they have been stocked through a fish farm

    • Stuart Brabbs says:

      Bob, please see my response. While the regulations and licensing requirements help to ensure that rainbow trout are not stocked, it is not a failsafe system and mistakes still occur. It is also largely unregulated apart from when an application is made and I know of clubs that have stocked in the recent past without a license. We are working on this and hope that no further stocking of this nature will take place. Although a rare occasion, We do report back to MSS when we hear that clubs have stocked and we haven’t been consulted by the department. I suppose that helps to improve the efficiency of the system.

  4. Martin says:

    I was speaking to someone today about fishing in general, and he mentioned that “a whole load of rainbows” had been put into the River Ayr at Craigie Pool. Having read this blog and comments last week, I asked him where he had heard this, and did he know who was responsible. He had heard it from another fisherman. He was annoyed about it, but it wasn’t clear who was responsible, although assumed I think that it was a local angling club. No clear evidence of what happened, but suggests it is being talked about, that rainbows were put into the river.

    • Stuart Brabbs says:

      I have asked the angling club about this but they were emphatic that they stocked only brown trout. I’ve informed the Fish Health Inspectorate and Marine Scotland of concerns with fish in a particular fishery and of the rainbow trout in the river. The Fish Health Inspector was in Ayrshire sampling diseased fish today and we await their findings. Marine Scotland are concerned about rainbows in any river as they certainly don’t license such stocking. Either they have escaped from a fishery or they have been stocked. I hope these posts have raised awareness and those responsible ensure there are no further recurrences. How Marine Scotland and the Fish Heath Inspectorate proceed will be up to them.