Country flags for UK, Spain, Germany, France, China and Italy Speedy Booker Partner Sites
  1. Scotland
  2. Galloway
  3. River management

River Management

Galloway Fisheries Trust

The Galloway Fisheries Trust is a Scottish registered charity (No. SC020751) which was formed in 1988 by the four local District Salmon Fisheries Boards in the South West of Scotland wishing to understand more about why some local fisheries had problems and how to address these.

Since the early days the GFT has gone from strength to strength, and now works across most of Dumfries and Galloway's rivers and still waters, including the Border Esk. The GFT has seven fulltime members of staff who are suitably qualified and experienced to deliver an extensive work programme to protect and enhance local fish stocks, their habitats and water quality.

The river catchments on which GFT complete most of their work are the six river catchments covered by this angling website: the River Luce, River Bladnoch, River Cree, Water of Fleet, Kirkcudbrightshire Dee and River Urr. GFT also provide scientific advice and work on the Annan and Border Esk.

The aim of the GFT is to restore and maintain aquatic biodiversity in Galloway by means of practical, responsible and sustainable approaches to land, water and fishery management, based on sound science, for the benefit of the community as a whole. These objectives are achieved through providing specialised advice, education initiatives, undertaking focussed research programmes and completing practical works to protect and enhance native fish stocks across local freshwaters. All of the Galloway rivers have District Salmon Fishery Boards.

Present work programmes:

  • Salmon Smolt Tracking - it is important to understand and protect salmon smolts during their risky migration down rivers and into the marine environment. GFT have been tracking smolts on the Bladenoch and Dee.
  • Solway INNS Control and Knowledge Project - Invasive non native species can be very damaging to fish and their habitats. GFT is controlling Japanese knotweed, American skunk cabbage and Giant hogweed across the Galloway rivers.


  • Blackwater of Dee Restoration Project - an ambitious project to return salmon and increase trout numbers in nearly 20km of this tributary of the Dee below Clatterigshaws Dam, by adding gravels, removing conifer rogues from banksides and planting native hardwoods.
  • Monitoring Water Temperatures - climate change is causing many rivers to become too hot in the summer. We need to understand where is at greatest risk, to target measures too cool waters.
  • Helping Waters cope with climate change - If fish populations are going to flourish, then it is important to increase the resilience of waters to the impacts of climate change. Climate change is heating up waters, causing more summer droughts and larger winter floods. Planting ripariarian deciduous trees, introducing wood debris into channels and encouraging rivers to function more naturally, all help to increase resilience.


More information

To find out more about the work of the GFT please check their website or follow them on social media. GFT can be contacted on:

Galloway Fisheries Trust,
Fisheries House,
Station Industrial Estate,
Newton Stewart,

Telephone: 01671 40 3011

E-mail: Email Us


Fishing regulations

Anglers should be aware of the legal requirements in place before they book fishing. Each River in Galloway has its own set of regulations set by the river's District Salmon Fishery Board and its fisheries. Legislation requires that all anglers have written permission to fish for salmon and sea trout anywhere in Scotland.

Under the Conservation of Salmon (Scotland) Regulations 2016, the conservation status of the Galloway rivers is accessed on a yearly basis.

Grade 1: Cree



  1. All salmon and grilse caught between the 1st March and the 31st March (inclusive) MUST be returned to the water as soon as possible and with the least possible injury. This means that any badly bleeding fish or any fish which dies after being caught between these dates must still be returned to the water. 

  2. No prawn/shrimp fishing AT ANY TIME.
  3. No livebaiting AT ANY TIME.
  4. All beat owners shall keep a record of salmon angling effort for the season, indicating the numbers of rod days fished in each month of the season, and shall enter that record on their catch return form sent to Marine Scotland. 
  1. All salmon and grilse caught after the 31st March but before the 1st June MUST be returned. Any badly bleeding fish caught between those dates which are killed are to be the property of the beat owner. 
  2. ALL sea trout OVER 2lb in weight MUST be returned – for the ENTIRE SEASON.
  3. ALL salmon OVER 10lb in weight MUST be returned – for the ENTIRE SEASON.
  4. NO worm fishing before the 1st June.
  5. NO worm fishing after the 30th September. 
  6. Between the 1st June and the 30th September worm fishing shall be permitted only using a hook with a minimum size of 1/0.
  7. Fishing with a bladed spinner (such as a “flying C” or Mepps) shall only be permitted if the spinner is fitted with one single hook – for the ENTIRE SEASON.
  8. A maximum of 1 salmon/grilse to be killed per angler per day PROVIDED that if the angler is a non-syndicate or visiting angler he or she has booked a minimum of THREE days fishing (which do not require to be consecutive days).
  9. A maximum of 2 salmon/grilse to be killed per angler per week SUBJECT to paragraph 8 above.
  10. A maximum of 2 sea trout (under 2lb) to be killed per angler/day.
  11. A maximum of 4 sea trout (under 2lb) to be killed per angler/week.
  12. ALL FEMALE salmon to be returned after the 30th September.

Grade 2: Urr Water

Salmon season: 15th March – 30th November (no salmon fishing on a Sunday).

  • The Urr has been designated as a Category 2 river under the new Salmon Conservation Regulations for the 2020 season. This means the killing of salmon is permitted (within the conditions outlined below). This categorisation is reviewed annually.
  • To follow the River Urr Management Plan to enhance and improve habitats and water quality.

Grade 3: Water of Luce, Water of Fleet, River Bladnoch SAC and River Dee (Kirkcudbrightshire).

Rivers which are grade 3 are mandatory catch and release and all salmon must be returned unharmed to the river. For grade 1 and 2 rivers please see beats and District Salmon Fishery Board (DSFB) regulations for conservation measures currently in place.

District Salmon Fishery Board regulations

Each District Salmon Fishery Board (DSFB) has its own set of regulations. Below is a set of regulations for all Galloway Rivers. However, please read the regulations for the Urr DSFB, Water of Luce DSFB, Water of Fleet DSFB, River Dee (Kirkcudbrightshire) DSFB and River Bladnoch DSFB at: this page.

Minimum legal regulations:- 

1. It is illegal to sell rod caught salmon and sea trout

2. No Sunday Fishing

3. No angler fishing for salmon, sea trout or trout may fish with more than one rod at any one time

4. No set lines

5. No prawn, shrimp or live bait fishing. No ledgering or gaffing. No fishing by net, hook or other illegal instruments, including snatching.

6. Any American signal crayfish caught accidentally must be killed immediately and left on site as required by Scottish legislation. (Only relevent for the Kirkcudbrighshire Dee).

7. All fry, parr, smolts, kelts, foul hooked and coloured fish caught must be returned unharmed immediately.

8. The killing of any gravid salmon is ILLEGAL and the water bailiffs duty includes strict enforcement of this law

9. Fishing permits must be carried at all times whilst on the river

10. You must show your permit when asked by any watchers or other authorised persons and allow inspection of your tackle and fish

11. All rods must make a return of fish caught at the end of each day/week to the owner (even if this is a nil return) and should include any fish involved in catch and release.

12. You must do everything you can to help prevent poaching and illegal fishing

13. Dogs are not allowed except by express permission of both the landowner and the fishing proprietor

14. People are requested to leave NO LITTER. Lengths of nylon or equivalent are to be discarded as this is a danger to wildlife

15. Anglers must ensure that they do not cause damage to property, fences, dykes etc and always leave gates as found.

16. No permit holder shall, in the event of a pool already being occupied, fish that pool in front of the angler already in possession and must go behind them and the angler in front shall move on one step with every cast. Members and permit holders are expected to fish in a courteous manner at all times.

17. In all Scottish Rivers, all salmon caught before the 1st April must be returned carefully to the river even if the fish is badly bleeding.

18. In the interest of conservation, the catch and release of migratory salmonids is encouraged throughout the season. In rivers which are grade 3, catch and release is mandatory.


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.


An alien non-native species is a species which is not native to the local area / region or Scotland. The introduction of an alien species, either as a deliberate release or inadvertently through escapes can disrupt the natural balance of an ecosystem.

Direct effects of an introduced species may include predation, habitat loss or augmentation, or competition for habitat and food resources. Indirect effects from alien species include the introduction and / or spread of diseases and parasites. Most non-native species are very difficult and expensive to eradicate or control once established.

Biosecurity issues are of increasing economic and ecological significance. According to a survey, 'An Audit of Alien Species in Scotland', conducted by NatureScot, there are approximately 1000 non native species present in Scotland and while most exist in small populations with little impact on native flora and fauna, a small but significant proportion of these non native species are invasive.

Recognition of the importance of the prevention, control or eradication of non native invasive species, parasites and diseases local river catchments has resulted in Fishery Trusts across Scotland writing Biosecurity Plans to help address these concerns.

Anglers have a key role to play in identifying, reporting and ensuring they do not intentionally or accidentaly introduce or spread damaging alien species.


How many of us clean our tackle after each visit? Nets, waders and clothing can harbour seeds and pathogens which may be present in one water course but are not in another. Thorough disinfection of nets and waders after each visit is a habit which will help us to preserve the fantastic fisheries that we have. For information on how to do this please check out this web site.

Any sightings or questions regarding Biosecurity please contact Galloway Fisheries Trust.

Key species to be aware of:-

Fish - never introduce non-native fish species to any water without the appropriate licence. Introduced species can have a devastating impact on native fish stocks. Although now illegal, the loss or release of live bait by pike anglers has caused problems in some Galloway waters.

Plants - key species of concern in Galloway include Japanese knotweed, American skunk cabbage, Himalayan balsam and Giant hogweed. There are control programmes aimed at eradicating these species from the riparian zone of all Galloway rivers. Please report to GFT the presence of these species on any river banks. Great care must to taken not to accidently spread the seeds of balsam. For more information on identification and the GFT website INNS Control and Knowledge programme.

Invertebrates - North American signal crayfish are present in a few Galloway waters and causing extensive ecological damage. If you catch a crayfish please kill it immediately (there are no native crayfish in Galloway) and report to Galloway Fisheries Trust.

Disease/parasites - Gyrodactylus salaris (GS) is a freshwater ecto-parasite that infects Atlantic salmon and some other salmonid species. The parasite is less than 1 mm long and infests the skin, fins and gills which eventually kills its salmon host. An infestation of GS in a river will threaten the existence of any salmon population. At the present time this parasite is restricted to Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia and some other Baltic countries but importantly has not yet occurred in the UK. There are various ways in which GS could be introduced into the UK, although the most likely route would be through water or fish from infected areas but there is also a risk from contaminated equipment from anglers and any other freshwater recreational activity (canoes, diving gear, etc). Always ensure you disinfect your angling equipment if you have recently fished abroad.

Catch and release

Rivers and Fisheries Trusts spend a lot of time and money improving the environment for fish and other wildlife in the river but anglers also have a role to play. Catch and release of all fish is now more popular than it has ever been, although on some fisheries the take-up has not been as good as on others. The release of salmon, sea trout and brown trout can and does have a major impact.

Our rivers are busier than ever and it may surprise anglers how high the proportion of fish that are in a river get caught each year. Some studies have shown that as many as 35% of the salmon entering a river can get caught, of course on lightly fished rivers this will be far lower. If all of the fish caught were to be killed it is a huge amount of ova that is lost for future generations. It is worth remembering that a 10lb hen salmon may have somewhere between five and seven thousand eggs inside her. If we release 1000 fish on the river and assuming that 50% of them are female, that is something in the order of 2.5 million - 3.5 million ova secured for the next generation. Despite a lack of evidence of success, many anglers like hatcheries, yet releasing more fish will always generate more fish over the long term than any hatchery can ever hope to deliver.

Almost everyone likes to take a fish for the table on occasion, after all salmon and trout, cooked properly, are a delicacy. Some stocks are however still in a very perilous situation, spring salmon for example, and we need as many of these fish to successfully spawn as possible. Wild brown trout in rivers as well can be under pretty high pressure at times and the most prolific fisheries for these tend to be the ones where fisheries operate under a 100% catch and release.

Guidelines on worming

Before you decide to worm fish, please always check the river rules to see if this method of fishing is permitted and if so, in what conditions and at what times of year it is allowed. To undertake best practice, please follow these simple guidelines below.

  • Use bait controllers where possible; their design makes them easier to fish with and the weight easily separates from the line if snagged
  • Modern carp and specimen hooks are perfect for worming for salmon; circle and circle type hooks tend to only hook fish in the scissors or around the mouth and are unlikely to deep hook a fish. Check with the river or fishery rules for relevant hook sizes
  • Braided line gives excellent bite detection as opposed to monofilament; use a line size relevant to the river size and conditions as well as the river or fishery rules.
  • Always keep the rod in your hands whilst fishing; this keeps the angler in direct contact with the bait allowing them to react to takes and reduces the chance of a fish swallowing the bait.

Using a bait controller to fish the worm allows an angler to methodically fish a pool in a similar way to a fly angler by presenting a bait that is moving around the pool slightly slower than the flow, the amount of weight used can easily be changed to suit river flow. This method covers more of the river and effectively takes the bait to the fish. Fishing a static bait will not only reduce the chances of catching a fish but it will also increase the chance of a fish swallowing the hook should an angler get a take. Should a fish that needs to be returned be deep hooked it is best to leave the hook where it is and simply cut the line at the fish's mouth. This will not harm the fish whereby trying to remove a hook that is deep could be fatal for the fish.



This website uses cookies. Click here to read our Privacy Policy.
If that’s okay with you, just keep browsing. CLOSE