I’m just back from the ASFB/RAFTS conference (which was excellent) with a copy of the latest annual review. This publication gives the catch data from Board rivers (and the Irvine and Garnock) around Scotland and makes interesting reading. The Irvine and Garnock returns are included from 2013 due to the way they report but are included in the 2014 report.

The full report will be available online for download shortly at http://www.asfb.org.uk/publications/ . Included in the publication are articles on the Wild Fisheries Review, Scotland’s counter network, river restoration and many other interesting topics and makes a very good read.


Of the 47 Rivers returning catch data included in the report, 46 included release rates. The average release rate of all those reporting was 73% in 2014, down 7% on the 2013 figure of 80% and the 2012 figure of 74%. This may be due to it being a poor season around Scotland and anglers taking their first salmon and then not catching any more. It really was a bad season for angling.

Locally, the Irvine & Garnock returned a reported 49% of salmon caught (in 2013)
The Ayr (in 2014) returned 35% of the reported catch.
The Doon returned 64%
The Stinchar returned 68%
and the Girvan returned 80%

The River returning the lowest percentage of their catch in Scotland was the Wick River which put back only 26% of their salmon.
The next worst results came from the Ayr and then the Irvine (but that was 2013 data).
The Ythan came next at 60% closely followed by the Doon at 64% in 5th place.
The Stinchar came in 10th with their release rate of 68%.

While we do see catch and release rates improving in Ayrshire on the whole, the Ayr figure is extremely disappointing and concerning (considering the poor juvenile stocks in this river). The trend for the Irvine and Garnock is improving and hopefully their 2014 results will reveal they continue to improve once they become available in April.
The Doon and Stinchar have remained fairly stable in the last 2 – 3 years but there’s no room for complacency and must improve. I am disappointed that in Ayrshire, we have 4 of the 10 worst performing rivers (in terms of catch and release) in Scotland (of the 46 reporting release data). Thankfully the Girvan is above the average with a very respectable 80%.

Despite many claims that the Doon had it’s worst season for years, the results didn’t support this and the Doon was the most productive of all the West Coast and Solway rivers last year (that doesn’t include the Clyde which we know is improving but there’s no data available on their results at present). The Doon is consistently the most productive salmon river on the West coast.