Salmon and sea trout catch returns for each of the major Ayrshire rivers.
The Trust supports boards and local managers through the continual assessment of fish stocks and identifying pressures within each catchment that limit productivity. Recent trends of declining salmon catches are thought to be linked to many pressures and weather patterns but highlight the need for urgent conservation.
The graphs presented show the salmon and sea trout rod catch returns dating back to 1970. Obviously there has been declines in the salmon population and the Trust encourages 100% Catch and Release on all Ayrshire rivers for Trout and Salmon for conservation purposes.
The salmon rod catch shows an overall increase from the start of the data in 1970 until it reached a peak of 961 in the year 2004. Since then there has been a gradual decline until 2013 and a more significant drop in numbers after this. The 2021 total was 128.
The sea trout rod catch was at its maximum in 1973 with a total of 619. A steep decline is found after 1988 until the most recent data. 2017 results indicate a total of 24.
The salmon rod catch peak is later, in 1995 with over 2000 fish, when looking at the River Doon in comparison to the Stinchar and the Girvan peaks in the mid 80s. Since then there has been a gradual decline in the totals. The river Doon is currently the most productive river in Ayrshire based on its Salmon catch return with the 2021 total equalling 447.
The sea trout rod catch in the Doon reached its peak in 1975 with a total of 496. Ever since, there has been a declining trend where the past 17 years have shown a total of less than 100. 2017 totals show 43 trout were caught.
The salmon rod catch peaked in the year 2008 for the River Girvan at a total of 767, declining to 600 in 2012 where it has since dramatically decreased to only 56 in 2021.
The sea trout was at its highest rod catch in 1970 and ever since has shown an overall declining trend despite fluctuations in 1987 and 1999. In 2017 the sea trout rod catch total was 79.
The salmon rod catch in the Stinchar peaked at total of 1462 in the year 1985. Since then there has been an overall negative trend in salmon rod catch with the 2021 total reaching only 93.
Aligning to all other rivers in Ayrshire, the sea trout rod catch peaked in 1985 within the river Stinchar reaching a total of 606. This is is the same year as the salmon peak, indicating an extremely productive year. Since then, there has been a dramatic decline until 1995 where it has largely flattened out at an average of approx 60 fish.