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Opening day: Pictured at the upper beat of Kinnaird, outside one of the oldest fishing huts in Scotland, on Saturday, from left, are: John Martin, Alan Jones, Graeme Inglis and Donald Webster.

Opening day: Pictured at the upper beat of Kinnaird, outside one of the oldest fishing huts in Scotland, on Saturday, from left, are: John Martin, Alan Jones, Graeme Inglis and Donald Webster.

Saturday saw the start of a new fishing season on the Esks and what a beautiful day it was for a change.

I was at the top beat of Kinnaird at mid-morning and met an old friend John Martin and his party all set up and ready to go.

River Keeper Donald Webster had great hopes as the river was in excellent state and had cleared in the last few days. I have had no word from them so I would take it that they had no luck.

I have heard nothing from the rest of the river so as I expected the spring run on the South Esk is continuing to be sparse.

Marine Science Scotland (MSS) will be installing a fish trap below the Kinnaird Dam this week after the failure of a test netting session when the boat could not be controlled.

This will be in situ for a few weeks and thus rod angling will be curtailed.

Any fish taken will be radio tagged and it is hoped they will be able to trace their progress into the upper river via a dozen or so monitoring stations.

Later I was at Lower Pert where David McDonald and his son Craig, with friend Daniel Tate, were already fishing. David had already hooked a well mended kelt.

He was to have better luck after I had left when he took the first springer of the season, an 11lb bar of silver from the Luther Pool. He also had two further kelts in the lower Stob pool.

On the upper beat, Neil Kinnell from Kelty Bridge did very well with two springers from the Boat Pool to give the Pert beats an excellent start.

The only other fish I have reported was taken on the beat below at Gallery, so we can now look forward to another good season on the North Esk.

It has been reported that a few unwelcome anglers have been seen fishing before the season started and thus without permission on the river at the Inch.

This has been reported to the Bailiffs and they would be well warned. They will, if caught, face the force of the law and almost certainly have there tackle confiscated.

Would any genuine angler or indeed observer please take time to report any further incidents. By the way it is a crime to kill any salmon in the spring in the Esks.

I was asked a question this week about the Kinnaird Middle beat and I am afraid the answer is not in my ken. Over to you readers... Where or why did the Churchill Pool below Arrats Mill get its name? If you have any ideas please ‘phone me on 01356 622753.

Tight Lines

Bill Balfour

 

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