South Esk sea trout reprieved

The Esk Salmon Fisheries Board has announced that a compensation agreement was reached with Usan Fisheries who operate the mixed stock fishery at Lunan Bay which will see all sea trout caught in their nets returned to the sea.

Last year was the start of this policy and anglers on the South Esk will testify to its immense success, which saw stocks of sea trout in the river much larger than for a decade.

It will be several years before we are aware of the complete success of the scheme as these fish should have spawned last autumn and the first of their young will not descend to the sea until next year.

On the salmon front, things are even better.

Large numbers of heavy early summer salmon have arrived in the North Esk after the heavy floods of two weeks ago and, despite low usage of the river, several notable catches have been recorded, with local angler Peter Christie taking two beauties on Stracathro of 12 and 14 lbs., both of course returned unharmed to the river.

The South Esk has a less notable run of fish, but better than for years. It, of course, suffers from considerable interceptory nets south of Montrose - these making no secret of their considerable success since starting fishing at the beginning of May.

Where have they come from? Well it surely is no co-incidence that the Esk Sakmon Fishery Board started its conservation scheme six years ago and we have all been saying it would take six years for results to be seen.

I would contend that this is what we are seeing and I pray that it is so.

Anglers will now look to the next few years for further proof that spring catch and release has been the way forward and that the restraint of the Esk anglers will lead to the better management of the rivers.

The only blur on the horizon is the interceptory nets whoich are reaping a rich harvest at the expense of anglers. The netsmen have been heavily compensated for their restraint while river proprietors have seen a large proportion of their income disappear. Not a very even playing field I think.

On Saturday, in the most horrendous conditions Brechin Angling Club members fished Lintrathen for the 125 Trophy, which was duly won by Ron Gray, closely followed by junior members Martin Runcie and Michael Craig.

Best boat was Martin Runcie and myself with seven fish. I cannot remember just when I was so wet, but it didn’t seem to matter as Martin and I drove back to Brechin smiling.

Back to Lintrathen on Sunday, and Brechin Angling Club,s Jock Craig won again.

It was the Inter Club Competition run by The Strathmore Angling Association and Jock retained the trophy he won last year.

Tight lines,


Bill Balfour.