First day of the salmon season on Esk rivers

Pictured are John McCallum, Steve Walker, Ian McIlwraith and Donald Webster.
Pictured are John McCallum, Steve Walker, Ian McIlwraith and Donald Webster.

With the salmon season getting under way, our Tight Lines correspondent Bill Balfour, shares some insights to the first day on various beats on the South and North Esk rivers.


Anglers were welcomed to spring like conditions and a river at a perfect fishable height, something we have not seen for many weeks.

Kinnaird Ghillie, Donald Webster, was there to welcome his first tenants of the year, John McCallum, Ian McIlwraith and Steve Walker.

First fish of the day fell to the fly of John, and it weighed in at 13 pounds.

Caught on the flats behind the fish ladder, it was John’s first, first day fish on Kinnaird, despite being a regular for many years.


I met the first day anglers mid morning at the Boat Pool, just ready to have their first cast, having spent the early period of the day down on Luther Mouth and seeing nothing.

Well-known angling guide and tutor Morris Meikle was there with Neil Kinnell, Dave Stewart and Gary Mercer.

Gary had a springer just after I left at 11lbs, and Neil followed up with a 13lb beauty.


Hugh Campbell Adamson had four rods on his beat at Stracathro, and despite trying hard all day, they failed to get that elusive pull.

Bill Clark, Peter Mushie, Mike Rogers and Sandy Hutcheson – accompanied by a very nice little spaniel called Brambles – were somewhat surprised when they were joined by Hugh in the late afternoon, and he soon caught two fish - one 11lbs and one six lbs.

I have seldom spoken to someone so pleased as Hugh was, indeed he was over the moon.

The only other fish I heard of on the first day was at Canterland, and after visiting Morphie on the second morning got news of a salmon caught that morning on Kinnaber.

It has been a very promising start to the season, but with the rivers running very high again, it may be a while before we hear of further success.

Tight Lines, Bill Balfour.