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Newsletter February 2018

February continues a pace with more rivers now open and some big fish reported. The numbers of fish may not be setting the world alight, but it's only February. The size of these Spring salmon are certainly generating a global interest in Scottish fishing.

FishPal staff have been out and about this week. Mark handed a cheque to Kenny Galt from the Tweed Foundation from angler donations made when booking fishing on FishTweed. Mark has again requested for the money to be ring-fenced for Tweedstart. TweedStart works closely with the education sector by integrating its activities into the curriculum in primary and secondary schools throughout the Tweed catchment.

Mark hands over a cheque just shy of £2000 to Kenny Galt from The Tweed Foundation.

Saturday I joined UCAPA for the opening of the River Clyde. John Henderson from Hardy was given the honour of the first cast. It was great to see a huge turnout and in particular a large number of young anglers. Hardy gave all juniors in attendance a goodie bag and UCAPA gave them a free season permit. A memorable day for everyone and in particular, the young anglers who are the future of the sport.

With only a few weeks left before the Easter holidays, we are receiving calls from parents who are looking for suitable venues to take the family fishing. There are some fabulous places on the site suitable for young and old, no matter what your ability. We have fishing to suit everyone's budget.

Please give Tom a call in the office on 01573 470612. From a single day fishing through to fishing with accommodation check the FishPal website.

Tight lines if you are out and about this coming week.


19th February

Crabtree & Crabtree Offer

Milne Graden Estate properties are perfect for anglers fishing lower Tweed.

Enjoy a week's stay at West Lodge or Park End, discounted by 20% to £300! Tucked away on the border of Scotland and Northumberland, the Milne Graden Estate sits in a spectacular location. With the internationally-renowned Tweed flowing through and the Estate's own beat practically on the doorstep, the cottages are an ideal base for fishing parties - read more.

Smolt Migration

Smolt tagging and tracking has been taking place on the Dee since 2016. The recent decline in salmon stocks prompted the Dee management to take a new focus to investigate the estuarine and coastal environment, where the risk to smolts was believed to be greatest.

Dee Smolt

The original belief that smolt mortality was more pronounced in the lower river and harbour area was not reflected in the information that was gathered during 2017 - read more.

River Dee

This year's winner of the Callum Mackenzie Cup is Jacob Oliver (11 years) from Co. Durham. Jacob caught a fresh 14lb salmon at Monaltrie last June on a size 10 Editor.

The Oliver family have been fishing the river Dee for over 20 years. His father Joel caught his first salmon in 1997 under the watchful eye of Monaltrie ghillie David Murray.

Jacob Oliver
Jacob with his trophy on opening day.

For anglers who are going fishing on the River Dee this week, reporter Ross Macdonald has said "The outlook is more favourable for this week. A small rise in water levels should offer better sport, and as if by magic, I have just heard of a 14lbr from Lower Crathes this morning" - read more.

Somers Fishing Tackle Shop

Anglers if you are fishing the Dee, Don or Ythan a visit to Aberdeen's premier tackle shop should be your first port of call. The shop stocks all major fishing brands and offers a "river delivery service" for customers fishing the Rivers Dee and Don - read more.

If you would like to fish the River Dee in 2018 please visit the FishDee website or give Tom a call in the office on 01573 470612.

River Spey

Guest of honour Evelyn Clark poured a bottle of Aberlour into the river.

It was great to be able to join the opening day celebrations of the Spey at the Victoria Bridge in Aberlour where once again the event was supported by Aberlour Distillery and Walkers. I know from speaking to Roger Knight and others at the ceremony that their sponsorship is really much appreciated, so well done to both for your involvement - read more.

This year we have a good mix of fishing on the FishSpey site, offering something for every budget. If you have not fished the Spey or would like to try a new beat, please give Tom a call in the office on 01573 470612.

Where To Fish

If you have not yet decided where to go fishing this year please give Tom a call in the office on 01573 470612.

We have everything from a single days fishing through to fishing with accommodation. Including guides, instructors, and where to buy and hire equipment. If you're looking for somewhere to rest your head after a day fishing, we have places to stay along with where to eat.

Keep Up To Date

If you would like to receive regular updates on catches, river levels and fishing reports please follow this link.

London Fly Fishing Fair

The London Fly Fishing Fair are running a competition to win a holiday for 2 in Argentina at the Pira Lodge, one of South America's most important freshwater reservoirs - read more.

Whether you're a beginner or an expert, or somewhere in between, the London Fly Fishing Fair 23/24th March 2018 is the ideal place to get involved in the sport.

London Fly Fair

River Tay

Steven Watt with one of his three fish.

More Spring salmon were landed last week during the cold weather and river conditions, rewarding those who braved the elements.

Dr David Summers head biologist on the Tay has for the last few years said "Tay Spring fish are getting bigger".

The Middle and Upper Tay featured last week in Bob White's fishing report as fish continue to move up the system, giving everyone hope of landing one of these memorable fish. On the Tummel, three fish were caught at the Dam on the Pitlochry Angling Club stretch all by Steven Watt. On Monday he landed a couple up to 21 pounds on the fly, and later in the week caught another good sized fish spinning.

The Tay is certainly the place to come to for the chance of a fish of a lifetime. The sheer size of the river produces very powerful large salmon and the possibility of a 40 pounds fish must be on the cards now - read more.

Royal Dunkeld Hotel
Special Fishing offers for anglers are available. Contact Janet on 01350 727322

Fishing Show In Scotland

Knowledgable and friendly staff on hand to help you.

Mark Cockburn and Anne Woodcock will be at the Glasgow Angling Open Weekend (March 2nd/3rd/4th). The event, held over 3 days, is Scotland's biggest angling event for game, predator, sea and coarse fishing. During the weekend there will be fly tying and tackle demonstrations, along with fishing tuition - read more.

Whether you're a beginner or an expert, or somewhere in between, this is the ideal place in Scotland to get involved in the sport.

River Tweed

Above Kelso, the Floors beats landed three for the week, while below Kelso, Mr Eric Bell landed an 8lber from the Wintercast on Upper Hendersyde on Tuesday. The same day lower beat Carham got off the mark for the season with two lovely springers landed in the Kitchen Rocks Pool - read more.

FishTyne reporter and guide Neil Lobban fishing Tweed last week.

Four Sea Trout were caught last week. Lower Birgham landed the best one at 9lb on the fly - read more.

Bluestone fishing report that the water looks good and there should be fresh fish in the Whiteadder. There has been very little fishing so far this season, just the odd hour here and there, amounting to not much - read more.

For places to fish and stay during the Easter holiday in the Scottish Borders please visit the website or call our offices on (+44) 01573 470612. We have fishing on the site to cater for all abilities.

Wear A Lifevest

Lifevests are important
Please wear a lifevest when you next go fishing.

Henry Gilbey at the RNLI HQ finds out what it's like to fall in wearing waders and no life vest.

"I expected to see the benefits of wearing a lifejacket as opposed to not wearing one on Monday, and I did, the single thing that scared me the most was how hard it was to get out of that RNLI pool when my waders had filled up." read more.

Scale Sample

An interesting fish caught on the River Ness at Dochfour last week demonstrates the complex lifecycle of the Atlantic salmon and how difficult it can be to interpret.

Erosion on the edges of the scale sample.

The fish was dark in colour for the time of year, particularly around its head and gill covers, which suggests that it had been in freshwater for some time. Furthermore, it's ‘vent' (tube for depositing eggs) was not protruding as would be expected in a baggot or a partially spawned fish - read more.

More Rivers Opening

More rivers open later this week which include the Nith & Annan on 26th February.

Opening day celebrations will be at Frairs Carse and Dalswinton on the River Nith - read more.

The River Annan opening day celebrations will be at Hoddom Castle on 26th February. Please contact the Annan Rivers Trust on 07710 331079 for more information.

Your Photos

Opening day celebrations

There was loads of snow and a high river for the opening of the River Bladnoch on the Galloway system. Still there were brave anglers eager to have a cast.

Keeping sending in your photographs to

News In Brief

Neen Mackay is on the River Ness in Series 4 - Episode 6 of Turas a' Bhradain . Watch it on BBC iplayer and you'll see why we recommend you put the Ness onto your fishing bucket list.

Fish Legal and the Angling Trust have written to the UK government to warn that it could face legal action if it fails to protect sensitive marine sites off the South Coast of England. Thousands of English wrasse are being caught in Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) – protected under EU law – and transported to Scotland, to be used as ‘cleaner' fish by the salmon farming industry.

Scientists from Oregon State University have reported that newly-hatched salmon use a geomagnetic field to learn which way is up. Researchers who confirmed in recent years that salmon use the Earth's geomagnetic field to guide their long-distance migrations have found that the fish also use the field for a much simpler and smaller-scale migration: When the young emerge from gravel nests to reach surface waters. Read more via the FishPal Facebook page.

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