When booking anglers need to be aware of what they can and cannot do when fishing. There are legal requirements, conservation codes, individual fishery rules and booking agency conditions that all need to be taken into account. Regulations are there to benefit all and to ensure that anglers conduct themselves in a sporting manner, so every effort should be made to adhere to them.
Outer Hebrides conditions
Some regulations are law and must be strictly adhered to. Scottish law forbids fishing for salmon on Sundays; it is also customary practice on most of the islands within the Outer Hebrides that no other fishing takes place. The salmon and sea trout season varies depending on the fishery, but the brown trout season starts on 15th March and ends on 6th October. It is illegal to sell any rod-caught salmon while fishing in the Outer Hebrides, or anywhere in Scotland. Foul hooking is strictly prohibited.
Catch & release
Scottish salmon and sea trout stocks have declined throughout the country over a number of decades but recent years have been encouraging with some areas showing a steady increase. Most fisheries now encourage anglers to adopt a sensible approach to the number of fish kept, with most fisheries also introducing bag limits.
Although the Outer Hebrides have been fortunate in not suffering significantly, it is through careful management and conservation methods that we will continue to enjoy the pleasure of fishing for these wonderful fish. Anglers are asked to show constraint and adhere to any catch and release policies, and where possible, return as many fish and in the correct manner. Hands should be wet before handling fish, fish should be landed as soon as possible and returned to the water quickly. Anglers are requested to return all coloured fish unless unavoidable.
'The laws of nature demand we live only on the surplus granted to us, and never to touch the substance' said one of the former proprietors of the Eishken Estate, Lewis. How true a statement and more so in today's climate.
Gyrodactylus salaris (GS) is a parasite which infects the skin, gills and fins of salmon, trout and some other types of fish in freshwater. It is less than half a millimetre in size, so small that it is barley visible to the naked eye. Despite this, it can cause serious damage in some strains of Atlantic salmon.
The effects of this disease are so serious that salmon stocks have now been lost completely from more than 20 Norwegian rivers, with the particular race of salmon in affected rivers being lost forever. Gyrodactylus salaris does not occur in UK rivers but experiments carried out in Norway have shown that our salmon, like those of Norway, are killed by the parasite. It is therefore essential that the parasite is not introduced into UK waters.
To help ensure that the Outer Hebrides remains GS free all Fisheries in the Outer Hebrides require that anglers sign and present a declaration form to confirm that if they have fished abroad their kit has been thoroughly disinfected. Click here for a copy of the declaration form
To help prevent an outbreak of Gyrodactylus Salaris anglers MUST disinfect their fishing equipment after fishing foreign waters. Gyrodactylus Salaris has had catastrophic effects on some foreign rivers and could easily be transmitted to rivers and lochs here without the correct preventive procedures being taken. All fishing tackle with no exception, should be disinfected, and if it has not you must inform the fishery management immediately on arrival.
Anyone wishing an information booklet on either catch & release or Gyrodactylus salaris should contact the Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust on 01851 703434.