Posted by: AAPGAI | December 3, 2009

The poor Salmon runs of 2009 by Ron Holloway

Ron Holloway AAPGAI

Ron Holloway AAPGAI

The Spring salmon runs this year have been poor on almost every east coast river in Scotland. The Aberdeeshire DEE had a reasonable Spring run of fish but I understand it was not over good.
The Tweed Spring runs were about 65% down compared to recent years. The Summer did not produce the grilse on time although these smaller fish did contiue to trickle up the river in small pods for most of the late summer and well into the Autumn.
The expected larger back end run of salmon into the Tweed was reasonable but not great what with inconsistant high and low water condidtions, sport was sporadic to say the least. For a brief few days in November when flows were right over 1000 salmon were taken during a four day period untill the heavens opened and Tweed rose 15 feet!
It was very noticable from meeting and talking to many visiting fishermen who unfortunately had a blank day or caught very few fish during a weeks visit they were naturally very disappointed considering the high rents that fishermen pay to fish some of the prime beats of the Tweed particularly at the back end of the year. Discussions inevitably turned to whether there should be a stocking policy for the river. This is usually the stock response we get from fishermen who have a poor week!!!

Author of "you should have been here last Thursday"

Author of "you should have been here last Thursday"

The Tweed has never been stocked with salmon from other sources so the genetic stock of fish we see today is as pure as nature intended. The natural spawning escapement over recent years has been so sucessful that stocking is far from necessary. Rarely in such situations has stocking increased a resident salmon population, or has it been proven to be sucessful. Stocking in this situation would be just treating the symptoms of just one poor year class of fish. If future runs continue to fall over several years then stocking may be needed, but only then when the causes of the decline have been properly identified and treated. Every salmon river on the east coast of Scotland suffered from poor runs in 2009 so it is not just the Teed that has suffered.
Anglers should be patient and see what next season brings before such costly drastic measures as stocking are taken or even considered.
History teaches us ( see Augustus Grimble) that there have been poor year classes of salmon recorded through out UK ever since catch records were first taken some two hundred years ago.
Some thing somewhere within the lifecycle of this 2009 year class of salmon has controlled the survival of the returning salmon. Whether the fish spawned properly, or the eggs, alevins or fry survival was affected or the smolts did not get to sea or those that did return to the sea met with problems in the North Atlantic is any ones guess. One thing is for sure it will happen again some time, because that is how nature works. Ron Holloway 

Ron enjoying a chat and a laugh with AAPGAI members

Ron enjoying a chat and a laugh with AAPGAI members

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