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River Management

The Don District Salmon Fishery board


The Don District Salmon Fishery Board is the statutory body tasked with protecting and enhancing stocks of salmon and sea trout across the district.

Represent, co-ordinate and promote the interests of Scottish salmon and sea trout fisheries and generally to take such steps as may be desirable for the protection, preservation and development of salmon fisheries of Scotland and having regard for the environment and other fauna and flora.

For more information on the work of the DDSFB click here.


The River Don Trust

The River Don Trust is a charity registered in Scotland, No: SC036015.

River & Fishery Trusts/Foundations/Research Institutes are independent charitable Trusts briefed to contribute to river and fishery management for the benefit of all fish species living within the aquatic habitat of their catchments.

By definition of their constitutions, Trusts are equally representative of proprietorial and community interests. They have a broad based agenda for the improvement of freshwater aquatic species and their habitat and the consequential environmental, economic and political benefits derived from their works.

What do they do?

The work of member Trusts addresses the catastrophic decline in fish numbers and the management of other freshwater species in Scottish river systems which largely result from the depredation of salmon & sea trout. They research and collect scientific information to form and provide objective advice on River Management Plans to counteract this decline.

The basis for advice is determined to be inclusive of the needs of all user groups related to the river catchment resource.

For more information on the work of the Don Trust click here



River Don Brown Trout Improvement Association (RDBTIA)

The River Don Brown Trout Improvement Association was created to supervise and implement the measures laid down under the Brown Trout Protection Order granted to the River Don in the early '90s.

The RDBTIA's function is to monitor the Protection Order and report on what measures are being taken to improve the access to reasonably priced Brown Trout fishing, habitat management and the policing of tickets on the water (a requirement of the PO) although this function is principally met by the bailiff team of the River Don District Salmon Fishery Board it is within the remit of the RDBTIA to have Wardens on the river.

Part of the programme of improvements has been the stocking out of native River Don juvenile brown trout along with advice from a variety of advisory groups.

The RDBTIA is changing in light of developments on the River Don and has been a strong part of the development team for the new River Don Trust. The Trust, the RDDSFB and the RDBTIA have very common goals with regard to the husbandry of the river habitat. In light of the changes that are coming in fisheries management working co-operatively rather than disparately has already proven very worthwhile for all parties.

However, the RDBTIA does have particular areas of interest which require a separate approach. Most notably this includes encouraging fair pricing of trout fishing throughout the river system and increasing reasonable access. Developing strong links with proprietors of trout fishing and improving access to some parts of the river is a clear goal for the RDBTIA during 2009.

For more information on the work of the RDBTIA click here


Fishing regulations

2021 Salmon & Sea Trout Conservation Policy

Legal Requirements

FULL CATCH AND RELEASE FOR SALMON. Trout and Seatout are advised to be returned.

A. The salmon fishing season will run from 11th February to 31st October.

B. It is a criminal offence to retain a salmon or grilse throughout the whole of the angling season. By law any salmon or grilse that is caught must be returned to the river, whether dead or alive.

C. It is illegal to sell rod caught wild salmon or sea trout, or use knotted nets, tailers or gaffs.

D. It is a legal requirement that proprietors must report catches and fishing effort, so all anglers in turn must report to the beat proprietor. Failure to report catches or effort could influence the future category status of the river.

Conservation Code

E. Anglers are encouraged to practice 100% catch and release for the entire season for sea trout and finnock.

F. Anglers are encouraged to fly fish throughout the river catchment.

G. It is recommended that all hooks should be barbless or crimped.

H. Spinning is permitted at the beat’s discretion. Maximum of one treble hook (barbless) on lure.

I. It is recommended that bait fishing, using the worm only and barbless hooks, is only permitted for junior anglers at the beat’s discretion. There should be no worming in October.

J. Fish returned to the water should be handled carefully with wetted hands and held facing upstream until sufficiently recovered to swim free. Fish should remain in the water at all times.

K. All anglers are requested to disinfect waders and landing nets prior to fishing to prevent the introduction of Gyrodactylus salaris and other diseases to the Don. Further information is available at

L. Any pink salmon that are caught must be retained and reported to the River Office on the 24-hour number – 01467 642121.

For guidelines on how to safely release fish or information on fish stocks, please visit our website:

The Conservation of Salmon (Scotland) Regulations 2016 manage the killing of salmon in rivers based on categorising the conservation status of their stocks. The Scottish Government has categorised the Don as a Category 3 river and therefore all salmon must be returned throughout the 2020 season.

24 Hour Emergency Contact Details – 01467 642121


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.