The headwaters of the River Stinchar are in the same Galloway Hills where the Doon, Girvan and Cree rise. The main stem of the Stinchar is 54km long and much of it is accessible to migratory fish. There is very little industry or human population within the Stinchar catchment and intensive agriculture is limited. As a result water quality throughout the main river is very good. The main land use is forestry and much of the upper catchment is covered with commercial conifer plantations.
The river valley itself is relatively unspoilt and is one of the most picturesque in the south of Scotland with a succession of fine views. The Stinchar is well known for its spate like nature as the hills surrounding the river are steep. In the past the mouth of the river tended to shift position on a regular basis, although it is much more stable nowadays. The Salmon Fishery Inspector noted this phenomenon in 1887 with the comment that "the Stinchar was remarkable for its shifting mouth". The same report also noted that the Stinchar was also famed for "yielding larger salmon than any river of its size in Scotland".
Craig Pool, River Stinchar
Management of the river
The Stinchar fishery is managed by the River Stinchar District Salmon Fishery Board
with scientific monitoring and advice provided by the Ayrshire Rivers Trust