So far this morning I’ve had 12 calls relating to work issues, mostly from the River Ayr bailiffs. At their request I’ve been asked to remind anglers that any sea trout caught should feature in the end of year catch returns regardless of whether they returned or not and regardless of the size of the fish. Whitling/Finnock, call them what you want, are still sea trout and therefore should be included on the returns sent to the DSFB at the year end. This is not discretionary but a mandatory requirement. I would add that the Ayr DSFB spent a large sum of money stocking sea trout fry to the river over a 5 year period recently and catch returns and smolt trapping failed to show any significant improvement however recently a few more sea trout are reportedly being caught. Similarly all salmon caught whether killed or not must be reported. To manage a river properly accurate information must be provided to the Board.
Another issue that came up this morning was the illegal removal of gravel from spawning areas on the Glenmuir. In the third incident of this kind this year, this morning Bailiffs caught someone removing gravel from the river without landowner permission. A tractor and trailer was used and the tractor was seen in the water. Diesel/oil was leaking from the tractor. Bailiffs will look at the evidence collected and decide how to proceed. Four weeks ago, another incident was discovered that had led to the river being blocked by disturbed gravel. The persons responsible were spoken to and the problem rectified. I will speak to SEPA regarding unauthorised gravel extraction on Monday.
I would suggest the recent stocking program is starting to bear fruit. There does seem to be a lot more seatrout being hooked/caught this year as a by product of salmon fishing. As you say, only accurate catch returns will confirm this.
It’s great to see sea trout back in the river. Let’s make sure we keep them there.
It isn’t just the Ayr that has had an improvement with sea trout this year but it is early days and we will have to see how many are reported. Had the stocking been worthwhile, I expect we would have seen an improvement several years ago but there was nothing to suggest this. We have always had a few sea trout each year and some have been very large indeed but I’ve never heard of any big ones being caught. In 2010 I saw a large sea trout of over 5lbs in the middle reaches during April. It was in the same spot for 3 or 4 days during a prolonged period of very low water and no one expected any fish to have entered the river at that time.
I heard yesterday of a single angler that claimed to have over 30 sea trout to his rod last year but none of these appeared on a catch return. Unless people report their catches, it is impossible to accurately assess the situation.