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  1. Scotland
  2. Tweed
  3. About the river

About the river

History of the Tweed River

Tweed has a deserved reputation as one of the world's great salmon fisheries. Since the 17th century, anglers have been sport fishing the river for its famous run of salmon.

Victorian salmon anglers enjoyed some of the finest fishing in Tweed's angling history and their innovative approach to tackle design is still reflected in present day tackle.

With the advent of Victorian fly fishing tackle, the evolution of modern rods and reels had begun. No longer were salmon played on a 'tight line' or line tied to the rod tip, but rather a 'loose line' which ran through the rod rings.

This allowed greater opportunity to land big Tweed salmon, which the 'tight line' method was simply no match for the greenheart, ash and hickory rods, which often exceeded 20ft, were complemented with heavy brass reels, weighing up to 2lbs in weight.

This period of Tweed's angling history was superbly documented and immortalised in print by some of the finest piscatorial writers such as Scrope, Younger and Thomas Stoddart.

Let ither angler choose their ain

An' either waters tak' the lead

O'Wielan streams we covet nane

But gi'e to us the bonnie Tweed

An' gi'e to us the cheerfu burn

That steals into its valley fair

The streamlets that at ilka turn

Sae softly meet an' mingle there

Thomas Stoddart, 1866.

Upper Tweed

River facts and figures

Tweed is the second longest river in Scotland and takes great pride in the fact that it produces more fish caught to the fly than any other river in Britain.

The river is 98 miles long and gains life from a staggering 1500 sq miles (4000 sq km) of border catchment area.

Dryburgh Upper near St. Boswells.

Although regarded as a Scottish river, the first 75 miles are indeed Scottish but for the next 19 miles from Carham to Paxton, the south bank of the river is English.

For its final 4 miles journey to the sea from Paxton to Berwick-upon-Tweed the river flows entirely through England.

Who looks after the river

The river is governed by the River Tweed Commission (RTC) which was set up originally by the Tweed Fisheries Act in 1857 and now operates under The Scotland Act 1998 (River Tweed) Order 2006. This organisation comprises representatives from both the public and private sector including estate owners, angling associations and commercial fisheries.

The RTC has a broad and comprehensive range of responsibilities including administration of the river, regulating angling methods and policing the Tweed system.

The Tweed Foundation was set up in 1983 and is a company with charitable status, providing fisheries management advice to the RTC. It aims to protect and enhance the economic and social value of the fishes of the Tweed and the Eye through the study, maintenance and restoration of their populations, ecosystems and habitats and the encouragement of wider participation in angling.

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