All anglers across Scotland are still waiting to find out just what the regulations for salmon angling will be by the start of the season in early February.
The government said two months ago that new regulations would be in place by the start of the 2015 season, but I am still awaiting confirmation as are all anglers across the land. The same position is facing the coastal netting stations who have said the they will not be seeking compensation from the Salmon Fisheries Board to delay their starting date and if legislation is not confirmed they will set their nets in February and that will be the biggest disaster for local rivers like the South Esk which is teetering on the edge of stock viability.
After the severe floods of November the Esks have settled to a good winter level and this should mean that eggs deposited in the gravels of the upper river will be growing well and we hope that these conditions will continue into the spring.
At this time of year, and indeed even in late December, I can recall the local keepers and bailiffs showing my brother and me the spring salmon lying below the wooden footbridge at Kinnaird, I would expect we were around 10 to 12 years old.
My sons are now either side of 50 and unfortunately I was unable to let them have the same experience and in these times such an experience is unlikely but I will never say impossible.
I can see the government at long last taking more interest in the preservation of our precious river species and I have a sincere hope they will not stop with salmon but go on to species like Brown Trout, Pike and other ‘course’ fish and of course fresh water mussels.
Mussels seem to be having a bit of a hard time and I on my ramblings of the riverbank am not seeing the populations expected, and smaller shells seem very, very few.
With all the regulation already placed on agriculture aimed at preventing run off of chemicals etc. it is difficult to understand why I am seeing so few juveniles, one can only hope that time will bring an improvement.
Is it not so sad that we are watching our rivers closely looking for improvement and let us all take this as a lesson for the future that we must take better care of our environment.
One bright spot of last week, I saw a Red Kite on the North Esk, what a thrill!
Please remember if you are looking for a days fishing for Rainbow Trout that Kinaldie Fishery (Geordies Pond) are still open and where better to be on a clear winter morning