MY REPORTS from the Esks over the spring have been indeed depressing and believe me it does my confidence in regulatory bodies in Scotland no good at all.
However nature has its own ways and things change. The recent high water mainly due to melting snow and much higher air temperatures lifted the water into a temperature range which has been known to excite salmon into running upriver.
The first beat on the South Esk to benefit was Upper Kinnaird who had over 40 salmon for the month of April and also another 22 captured by the net trap, these of course were radio tagged and will be monitored at various stations on the river during the season, right up to their spawning locations high in the Angus Glens.
Marine Scotland admitted to being disappointed by the small number trapped but they were hampered by high water on many days during the month.
Last week saw salmon running the river in considerable numbers and at Finavon Castle they were approaching double figures when I last heard. Tony Andrews was also very keen to tell me that the fish were larger than normal for early spring salmon on the South Esk, most being three sea winter fish. Good returns are also on hand from Inshewan, Cortachy and Dowrie Park and the first fish recorded on The Kirrie Club water last week.
The North Esk has been fishing it socks off and the mid river beats at Stracathro and Pert doing exceedingly well. Hugh Campbell Adamson in the week ending April 27, recorded no less than 24 salmon and David Swanson at Pert, 22.
Further up the Burn started off with a splendid week of 17 while lower beats at Kinnaber and Gallery enjoyed good sport also. Kinnaber also recorded their first two sea trout. Fish are being seen in Glen Esk and at Burn House several were taken late last week.
Jock Craig recorded another win in the BAC Glen competition fished on the Millden stretch of the river and despite prevailing very cold conditions managed to tempt four to his flies. Ron Gray had the largest fish at just over two pounds.
Just in is the result of the Loch Lee competition fished on the opening day of the loch and the winner was Stuart Robertson in a day when the trout were coming readily to the fly and good sport was had by all.
I was at the official opening of the Rottal Burn Project in Glen Clova on Friday and was so pleased to see people from all over Scotland congratulate all involved in this wonderful project.
Tom Samson (Esk Fisheries Trust Chairman) introduced Fiona Armstrong (TV Personality and expert angler) who poured the sparkling bronze liquid into the stream and wished all who swim there well.
There was considerable praise for Dr Marshall Halliday the Trusts Director who brought this dream he had through to what it is today. Some time soon an interpretive centre will be erected and I hope many of you will take the chance to visit and wonder at just what has been achieved.
I am pleased to hear that the local angling club are getting more applications from local people who want to take up the sport, whether this is due to the excellent exhibition in the town house I do not know but I feel that it did indeed help. Application forms can be had from committee members so why not come along and enjoy this wonderful pastime.
Tight Lines, Bill Balfour