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River Management

Scale sampling

The Environment Agency is asking anglers to help them collect valuable information about the River Tyne:

The scales from freshwater fish give a tremendous amount of information about their growth and life histories; for salmon and sea trout the time of hatching, departure from the river, return to the river and number of spawning runs can all be determined by viewing the scales under magnification. The scales also provide a biological and chemical sample from each fish that can be used in DNA, microchemistry and stable isotope studies.





By sending in a few scales from the fish you catch, you will contributing to improving the understanding of the River Tyne salmon and sea trout stocks. Ideally it is hoped that a scale sample will be submitted from each fish taken and that a few samples will be taken from those that are to be returned. Please note, that if taking scales is likely to cause undue stress or harm to a fish that is to be returned we would ask that it be returned and no sample taken. There is a very good video of how to take scale samples on the Tweed Foundation website

Scale samples can be sent in using a freepost address and after examination the aging information about the fish sampled is returned to the angler.

Environment Agency
Freepost NAT 11924
Tyneside House
Newcastle Business Park
Newcastle upon Tyne



A fish going through a counter

A fish going through a counter


Angler logbook scheme

Using fish counters, looking at video footage, examining catch records and collecting scales will tell you lots about the status of our returning stocks of salmon and sea trout but they do not give you any information about how the river is fishing or the effort being applied to catch fish.

By participating in Environment Agency's Angler Logbook Scheme you will contributing to valuable information on quality of fishing available on the Tyne, and adding to national data on salmon and sea trout populations. Each logbook is a pocket diary in which information such as fishing location, date, duration and number of fish caught are entered. With the Tyne now widely regarded as the best game fish river in England, it is also vital that the best possible data is available with which to manage this important resource.

If you would like further details please contact the Environment Agency's Environmental Monitoring Team in Newcastle on either email to Morton Heddell-Cowie at Email Us or telephone 0208 476 6542. Any data you provide will remain entirely confidential and the more anglers we have contributing information and scales, the more useful it becomes.


Fishing regulations


Coarse fishing

It is unlawful to fish for coarse fish from the 15 March to 15 June, both dates inclusive on any river or stream.

Game fishing

  • It is unlawful to fish for migratory trout from the 1 November to 2 April both dates inclusive.
  • It is unlawful to fish for salmon from the 1 November to 31 January both dates inclusive.
  • All salmon caught before 16 June must be returned to the water immediately with as little injury as possible.
  • No person shall sell, offer or expose for sale, barter, or have in possession for sale any salmon or sea trout which has been taken by rod and line.
  • It is unlawful to fish for non-migratory trout from 1 October to 21 March on any river both dates inclusive.
  • All anglers aged 12 years or over must be in possession of a valid Environment Agency rod licence before starting to fish.
  • All fishing belongs to someone; make sure you have permission from the owner before you start to fish.

Further details of Byelaws are available from the Environment Agency - Fisheries Byelaws for the North East.

Conservation Angling for Salmon on the Tyne (CAST)

On many rivers, salmon stocks are in serious decline. Tyne stocks however remain relatively stable, meaning the Tyne is designated as a river Probably not at Risk by the Environment Agency. It is our responsibility to safeguard and enhance this status, by helping minimize the impact angling may have. We also wish to promote angling as an accessible activity for all.

The existing Tyne “Voluntary Code of Conduct” is outdated; this guideline is a replacement. We believe that by the adoption of our guideline, anglers demonstrate they are applying the highest standards based on current evidence. The recommendations we make almost certainly apply equally to sea trout, although the sea trout is not our main focus. We intend to review our document on a regular basis.

This is a summary of the recommendations of our Working Group.

The goals of CAST are to:-

  • Enhance salmon numbers by increasing catch and release (C&R) and by good C&R practice.
  • Promote angling for its value to society.
  • Comply with and improve upon the Environment Agency’s C&R targets for the river.

The Impact of Catch and Release

After recognizing their legal obligations, anglers should:

  • Recognize that C&R is successful.
  • Acknowledge that the optimal policy for catch and release is to release all salmon that will survive. Before June 16, all salmon must be returned by law.

Angling Practice

Anglers should:

  • Avoid angling from late morning until late evening if the weather is hot and the water low.
  • Choose fly fishing in preference to spinning and particularly to bait fishing.
  • Use strong enough tackle to subdue the fish quickly, and play the fish hard to do so.

When fly fishing, anglers should:

  • Use standard size 6 hooks (or equivalent) or smaller, and might choose to use single, double or treble hooks, although the last may cause more damage to the mouth.
  • Consider using barbless hooks for more rapid unhooking and reduced mouth damage.

When spinning, anglers should:

  • Modify lures with multiple hooks, reducing the number of hooks to one.
  • Use standard size 6 hooks or smaller, and might choose to use single or treble hooks, although the latter may cause more damage to the mouth.
  • Consider using barbless hooks for more rapid unhooking and reduced mouth damage.
  • Avoid the use of larger flying Cs, and consider the use of barbless trebles size 6 or less, or barbless singles with these lures.

When bait fishing, anglers should:

  • Use barbless circle hooks and fish the bait actively.

When landing and handling fish, anglers should:

  • Use a landing net.
  • Handle the fish as little as possible and only with wet hands.
  • Keep fish in the water as much as possible, keeping the fish in or briefly just above the water for photography.
  • Carry pliers or forceps to aid unhooking and be able to cut the line if the hook needs to be left in the fish.
  • Hold fish upright in the water with gentle support while it recovers but not move the fish in the water to increase flow over the gills.
  • Wait for the fish to maintain its normal swimming posture before release.

Beat conditions

Individual owners will also have their own individual conditions, such as the hours that fishing is allowed on that beat, what ghillies are provided (if any) and what fishing methods you can use.

FishPal booking conditions

This site uses the FishPal booking engine, you need to agree to FishPal's booking conditions

You will be given another opportunity to read all these conditions before doing any online booking, where you have to indicate your agreement to them. They will also be included in the joining instructions you are given when your booking has been completed.


Gyrodactylus salaris

This is a parasite which infects the skin, gills and fins of salmon, trout and some other types of fish in fresh water. It is less than half a millimetre in size, so small that it is barely visible to the naked eye. Despite this, it can cause serious damage in some strains of Atlantic salmon.

Why should I worry?

The effects of the disease are so serious that salmon stocks have now been lost completely from many Norwegian rivers, with the particular races of salmon in the 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.

Can it be eradicated?

To eliminate Gyrodactylus salaris from affected rivers, all types of fish capable of harbouring the parasite must be removed, so restoration of salmon stocks in affected Norwegian rivers has involved poisoning whole catchments. Such remedial work is destructive, difficult, very expensive and likely to take many years. It may also not be successful.

Where does it come from?

Gyrodactylus salaris occurs naturally in the Baltic rivers of Finland and Russia (possibly also eastern Sweden). The native fish of these rivers, including Baltic salmon, are tolerant of the parasite and normally the infection causes them no harm. However, Atlantic salmon in areas where the parasite does not naturally occur have little or no tolerance of it. Some years ago, Gyrodactylus salaris was accidentally transferred for the first time to some rivers of the west coast of Sweden, to Norway and more recently to some rivers in northern Finland and northern Russia.

Is it a notifiable disease?

Gyrodactylus salaris is a listed notifiable disease and legislation is in place to prevent the transfer of live salmon and trout (the main hosts for the parasite) to British waters. This has now been supplemented by EU legislation that recognises the special status of the UK as being proven free of the parasite.


What can I do?

This parasite is very hardy and may be inadvertently introduced by fishermen. It is capable of surviving for several days in damp conditions such as plastic bags, wet angling equipment (e.g. bags, waders, landing nets, lines) and the wet surface of dead fish (e.g. bait fish). The parasite can also survive on other fish species including the eel.

Care needs to be taken at all times to ensure that movement of these other species takes place strictly in accordance with statutory fish health requirements. As the parasite has a direct life cycle and reproduces very rapidly, it is possible that even a single specimen imported by accident to a previously unaffected river would be capable of starting an epidemic in a very short time.

Prior to arrival in the UK, anglers travelling from areas which are not designated as free of Gyrodactylus salaris, and in particular from those areas known to be infected, such as Scandinavia, should take the following precautions to ensure that their equipment is not contaminated.

All fishing equipment should be thoroughly cleaned and then treated to kill any parasites by either:

  • Drying at a minimum temperature of 20°C for at least two days, or
  • Heating for at least one hour at a temperature above 60°C, or
  • Deep freezing for at least one day, or
  • Immersion in a solution suitable for killing Gyrodactylus salaris for a minimum of ten minutes. Chemical solutions which have been used successfully include Virkon* (1%), Wescodyne* (1%), sodium chloride (3%), sodium hydroxide (0.2%).

* these chemicals are available from agricultural chemical suppliers. The use of trade names is for illustrative purposes only and does not signify endorsement of any particular product.



Catch and release

This is where a fish is caught but returned to the water to help preserve fish stocks. Many rivers make this mandatory at particular times of year so you should check the situation when booking.

This page is to give advice on best practice to increase the chances of the fish surviving. There is also a very good leaflet available here.

Playing the fish

If you are 'playing' a salmon you can significantly help its chances of survival by applying the information below. It is worth bearing in mind that less than 7% of smolts return as spawning adults, therefore, it is vitally important that the angler who is planning to return his catch is able to tackle this with success and confidence.

Ensure your rod is strong enough to subdue a fish quickly 1 minute per pound weight is a reasonable suggestion for time for landing a fish. To avoid exhausting the fish it is prudent to use 15-20lb leader material where possible. Salmon are not renowned for being cautious about leader visibility. When playing the fish it is the anglers aim to move the salmon out of the fast current into quieter water and have the angler positioned slightly below the fish.

By being below the fish you are able to ensure the salmon is battling the current as well as the anglers tackle whereas if the angler is upstream of the fish the angler is fighting the current and the fish. The fight time is therefore lengthened, perhaps un-necessarily. Make sure you pick a safe place to bring the fish to land. Once the fish is subdued bring it quickly to the bank for hand or net capture.

Landing the fish

Research has shown that exposing a salmon to air for even a short period, for example to take a photograph, can significantly reduce its chances of survival. Keep the salmon in the water at all times. Do not at any time lift a salmon up by the tail as this can damage the tendons in the tail of the fish. Later in the season as the salmon nears spawning time, lifting a salmon by the tail can cause the egg sacs in females and milt sacs in males to rupture into the body cavity which can kill the fish in extreme cases thereafter. At all times support its belly whilst handling the fish in the water.

Use a large Gye-type landing net with knotless mesh which reduces damage to the fish's scales. It is wise to avoid beaching the fish as this again can remove protective mucous and scales from the fish which can lead to fungal infection. The salmon that is being returned cannot be gaffed or tailed by mechanical tailer, as both implements cause considerable damage to the fish and were used historically when fish were being killed by the angler, in the days before the catch and release initiatives, that are currently in place through out many river systems in the UK.

Always handle the salmon with wet hands, or put on soft cotton gloves which need to be wet, when removing the hook from the fish's mouth or body if accidentally foul hooked. This prevents removing the fishes mucous which is the fish's first line of defence against disease and parasites.

It is very important that the fish is kept in the water after being captured and the fish should be supported from beneath, with the hook gently removed either by hand or by means of long-nosed forceps or hook releasing tool. If a hook is deeply embedded and cannot be removed, the leader should be cut close to the hook, as fish released with the hook attached will generally survive, and try not to squeeze the fish too hard, and never hold it by the gills at all times.

Reviving and releasing the fish

After removing the hook, or cutting the leader and leaving the hook or fly in the fish, then we should ensure that the salmon will be supported in the water, facing into the current to allow oxygen uptake by the fish's gills, and given sufficient time to the fish for it to recover. Hold the fish gently until it is capable of swimming away strongly, you will know it is time when you feel it starting to pulse and kick softly. If you release the fish and it turns 'belly up' then quickly capture the fish and support it again for a while facing into the current to allow more oxygen to be absorbed. When the fish is being fought there is lactic acid produced in the muscle tissue which creates oxygen debt and the muscles cannot function adequately Indefinitely.

Avoid weighing the fish if at all possible and if you have to then weigh the net with the fish enclosed in it, a Maclean net is suitable for this. A tape measure or a marked off wading stick can also be used to take the approximate length while keeping the fish in the water.

Alternatively, to accurately measure a big fish capture, an angler can run a length of monofilament or fluorocarbon from a spool, measuring from the fork of the tail to the nose of the fish and tie a knot. Continue to run the mono round the girth of the fish and tie another knot. By cutting the mono just above the second knot the angler has a length that he/she can measure against a tape measure later. Ally Gowans has a calculator for predicting the size of fish which is available on the internet here.

I am sure anglers will find this advice most helpful. Perhaps one day beats may supply this information to visiting anglers on small laminated leaflets with beat conditions. Survival rate is greater at water temperatures below 20°C so be aware of the necessity to quickly subdue and return the fish during the summer months.

Survival chances of released salmon

There has been research carried out by a number of fishery trusts that has shown that the survival rate of salmon caught and released may be close to 100% when we apply the above guidelines and practice.

Spawning success and viability of eggs may be unaffected in salmon caught and released in late autumn using the above guidelines, and they can recover within twenty four to forty eight hours of being captured and are able to spawn successfully.