With the brown trout season opening yesterday on our rivers and lochs, it is a timely reminder for all anglers that anyone encountering a salmon on any Ayrshire river must return them alive to the water and unharmed. This applies to spring run salmon and kelts (spawned salmon that are recovering). It is illegal to take any Salmon or Sea-trout – dead or alive – from 1st February to 31st March each year.

Additionally, conservation measures for salmon are applied across Scotland and each river has its own conservation status with requirements that are legally binding.
The River Irvine and Ayr are category 3 and all salmon must be released unharmed if captured at any time during the 2022 season. This is a mandatory requirement.
The Garnock, Doon, Girvan and Stinchar are all category 2 in 2022 meaning local conservation measures are required to protect stocks ( Scottish Government states – ‘Management action is necessary to reduce exploitation: catch and release should be promoted strongly in the first instance. The need for mandatory catch and release will be reviewed annually.’)
Only on Category 1 rivers may salmon be killed and Ayrshire has none of these in 2022.
Each of the 4 Ayrshire District Salmon Fishery Boards have their own Codes of Conduct that recommends what is required from responsible anglers on their rivers and particular attention is drawn to their advice on catch and release on Category 2 rivers.