Migratory fish

Where migratory fish, like salmon and sea trout, are concerned there is considerable variation from river to river and area to area in the close seasons for rod and line fishing and for the netsmen. To enable the reader to understand the local situation relating to these fish most clearly, we are not listing all the various seasons below. Instead, the reader will find the statutory season (SOS) for nets and rods given under the river in question in the Fishing Guide section of the guide.

It is emphasised that the seasons given in the Fishing Guide are the seasons, I.e. those laid down by law. There may be variations the open season dates, but these may not be extended. To take an example for rod and line, the statutory close season on the River Annan is November 16 – February 9. This gives a possible open season from February 10 – November 15 inclusive. Fishery controllers may operate a shorter season if they wish (e.g. February 25 – November 13) but they may fish a longer one (e.g. February 2 – November 20). Where we have information relating to these exceptions statutory season, it is given in the Fishing Guide entries for the individual centres where they operate. In every instance, we have given the open rather than the close season so that the reader can tell at a glance when the water is open rather than when it’is closed.

The situation is further complicated in respect of migratory fish by legal restraints in some places on method. The most typical of these are instances where fly is the method which can be used at certain times. The most famous example of this is the River Tweed. The statutory open season for this river is February 1 – November 30. Between February 1 and February 15 and between September 15 and November 30, fly only is obligatory for salmon and sea trout throughout the entire river. All such exceptions are given in the relevant Fishing Guide entries wherever this information has been supplied to us.

The clear lesson to be drawn from all this for the angler who is not a regular on the water and who may be travelling a good distance spe-cially to fish it is to double check the season dates. It is far from rare for a visitor to arrive in Scotland only to find that the water of his choice is not open at the time he expected! Many controllers who provided information for the Scottish section of this Guide sent us examples of their tickets for guidance and it is worth adding that the seasons for the water were clearly stipulated on the tickets.

It must be emphasised equally strongly that by law no one may fish for salmon or sea trout on Sundays.