WINTER 2016/2017. A VIEW OF 2016 AT THE END OF NOVEMBER.
THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT 2016 GAVE US AN INTERESTING SERIES OF EXPERIENCES FOLLOWING THE DECISION OF THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT TO END COASTAL NETTING.
That was good news and as a result we all started with high optimism and a real bounce in our steps as we made our way to the river.
Catches in the spring were mediocre. There were fish in the pools from mid March. In fact there were fish caught and their presence was evident during every month between March and October. Despite the seatrout season being less abundant than in 2015 the reality for our visiting anglers was that there were always fish to be seen, all through the summer and deep into the autumn.
The one outstanding feature of the season was the catch of MSW salmon during June and July. Both months were well over 100% up on the five year average. The June figure was over 300%! I have thought long and hard about why this has happened and conclude that it is highly probable that we are seeing late spring and early summer salmon coming into the river, which in earlier years would have been caught by the nets.
A CHINK OF LIGHT PERHAPS?*
Most of these important 'big fish' will have spawned and their progeny should give us good summer salmon fishing in reasonable water levels for years to come.The first chink of light for a new regime perhaps?
Another feature of the year was the numbers of big MSW salmon which gave our visitors some considerable excitement. We ended with 111 salmon and 99 seatrout, which, for rather a difficult year, was respectable.
SOME THOUGHTS ON FLOODS
WINTER 2015/2016 FLOODS
Unprecedented river levels of many Scottish and English rivers brought the old year to a tumultous end. The Aberdeenshire rivers, Dee and Don, were among the worst affected. There are months ahead of clean up, insurance claims and expenditure on trying to re-establish some sort of normaility for river proprietors and long-term tenants.
For SEPA, the Scottish Government agency responsible for flood management, these floods should be a reminder that in many Scottish rivers catchments flood management regimes simply cannot cope with these extraordinarily high river levels. The same issue is of course relevant to English rivers such as the Cumbria Eden and Lancashire Ribble.
WISDOM FROM THE 1970s
In 1970 Jeremy Purseglove wrote 'The Taming of the Flood' (ISBN 9780008129354.William Collins) which to many people, including myself, is a Classic which says all that needs to be said about the morphology, history and natural history of rivers and wetlands. The book is well worth reading because it defines the necessity of a catchment approach to managing river flows. Each catchment requires a different