Words from The Chairman
As we are about to embark on a new season, I felt it would be useful to reflect on the season past. The 2013 season started with a very cold and dry spring, which those hardy souls who braved our opening day celebrations can testify. We had postponed the start of the season to coincide with the start of the trout season as we hoped for better condition, how wrong could we be. In fact, conditions on March 15th were more like one would expect in January with a biting East wind and intermittent flurries of snow. However, those that did turn up, including TV fisher Paul Young, enjoyed being piped along Kelvin Way, having a few drams, and the traditional “first cast”, before retiring to the Islay Inn for pies and pints.
The fishing in earnest really didn’t begin until April with, to my knowledge, four springers caught and several lost before the end of May. The fish that were caught / lost were fine examples of spring salmon, deep bodied many carrying sea lice with an average weight of between 8 and 14lb’s. Water levels were reasonable at this time of the season, until the drought hit, and gripped the country through until the end of July. The odd fish was caught during this particularly dry spell, but once the rains arrived at the end of July, fishers enjoyed consistent sport for about a two week period. Personally, I only managed one fish during this period, but it was fresh from the tide, weighing in about 6lbs, but lost three others in a most frustrating period of fishing. RKAA members enjoyed good sport throughout August, with the main grilse run not making an appearance until September which saw, once again, dry, warm conditions, and as the river dropped again to summer low, catches slowed. October saw better conditions with several notable spates, and fishers enjoyed good sport, although most of the fish reported were coloured. I managed another four fish during the back end, the best of which was a heavily coloured hen fish of about 14lb’s. As catch returns have been submitted, figures show that numbers of salmon caught last season are only slightly down on the season before, showing that, even in low water; fish will still run the River Kelvin.
Fishing aside, it is important to recognise the sterling work done by members throughout the closed season. Those who attended the work parties must be congratulated on the extensive bankside improvements carried out. This is an on- going project that aims to improve access and open up the fishings on our river. This work will continue into the new season, and I urge all members of reasonable fitness to join the work parties, and do their bit for the river. Future projects include river restoration work, continued strimming, tackling invasive species, and potential pool creation. I do believe that, in angling terms, we are still to fulfil the river’s potential, and only through improving access, and fishing new, previously inaccessible areas will be able to have a true picture of the extent of the runs of fish, and where the fish go in the river, at any one point in the season. Finally, I would like to wish all members an enjoyable and productive 2014 season, and invite you for a dram at our opening day celebrations on Saturday 15th March, 2014, at the Islay Inn, Argyle Street.
Vice Chair’s Report
This time last year when I wrote my trout update I predicted that if the mild winter continued we would have a bumper start of the season with olives being taken off the surface by the end of March. The Salmon season started with mild conditions and then when we had our usual opener mid-March it was absolutely freezing and we were plunged back into winter until what felt like June. Consequently I will make no further predictions about the weather other than to reiterate you cannot predict the weather beyond a few days with any certainty. Saying that, last year’s opener was great with some nice food and a pint back at the Islay Inn, Paul Young (the actor not the singer) also put in an appearance which was great!
Again the 2013 spring the trout anglers had an absolute ball with lots of above average trout being caught. Bearing in mind the majority of trout will be in the 8-10 inch range there were several trout caught in the 13-17inch variety. I was lucky enough to catch a trout on the dry fly in almost static water a trout of around 18 inches which put up a fair old scrap on my 4 weight and left me shaken for quite some time afterwards. My fishing buddies have done equally as well and there was hardly a time when we blanked in the spring. I found it interesting that I am now catching good trout in some of the busiest spots; trout are hanging around in shallow water under bushes and only venturing out at proper dusk when you can hardly see your fly on the surface. To get one 15+inch trout that I had spotted I had to stake out the spot for half an hour before dusk and wait without casting until it started to feed, needless to say it was hugely rewarding.
Come low water and proper summer the trout fishing died off and the trout became particularly belligerent only rising in earnest in areas that were totally without current and surrounded by high banks and bushes. The vegetation was as full as I have seen it for years due to the hot summer that we had. Still, the fishing was still interesting and meant you had to travel the river to find areas the trout were holding up in. I suppose that is one of the positives in the Kelvin permit in that we have a variety of water to explore when times are tough. Anyway, it’s all good with the trout, the no stocking and moratorium on killing trout is working a treat and I reckon in another few years we will have a trout stream to be reckoned with. The trout and fly only permit at 15 bucks is a bargain and to be honest is the one I would buy as I did not get one cast in for salmon at all in 2013.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the hard work the guys on the work parties have been doing, armed with a chainsaw and some cutters they have managed to open up lots of pools in areas that were hugely difficult to fish. I managed along to a couple however some of the guys were giving up lots of their fishing time to muck in for a full day. The main driving force behind them was Paul Reid accompanied by Jim Burns. It seemed like every week they were out clearing something away and it really is a case of the more the merrier. If any member fancies helping out and learning about more pools that you may not know about then you should really head along.
On a more sombre note my thoughts last season were with the family of Daniel Marchbank, the member who tragically drowned in the Sandy Pool at the Vet School. I never met him however as I often ran through the Vet School I am sure our paths would have crossed at some point. I have fished at that pool many times including wading out on to the ledges above it without incident so was kind of shocked when I heard about what happened. I have no idea how he fell however I do know that when wading some distance below that area the rocks were like ice while wearing felt soles so can only assume he slipped. We do not have many deep holes like this and there was some discussion regarding highlighting areas that may be particularly dangerous on a map. I would like to stress the whole river is dangerous and no specific areas can be singled out for attention. The fact is the Vet School for some reason has a high amount of anglers as well as other folk visiting it and therefore has a higher number of accidents. In conjunction with the Vet School some danger signs as well as life belts have been erected at both sides of the pool. Can all anglers ensure that if you observe anyone attempting to vandalise them or use them inappropriately you contact the Science Park.
There appears to be fewer people fishing without permits and certainly the guys that have been rumbled without one have been asked to leave the river. I now provide a letter to them advising them that they are stealing from members such as yourself who understand that to run a trout and salmon fishery you have got to pay for the upkeep of it. If you guys meet anyone you do not recognise please ask to see their permit as it is within your rules that you are allowed and expected to do this, I suppose there will be people just taking up fishing that do not know you need one however they must be asked to contribute just like everyone else. On the subject of rules can I remind everyone to have a look through the rules and constitution as it provides the basis for any agreed action that you guys want your committee to take. If some problem lands in the committee’s lap then we simply look at the rules and constitution to work out how to deal with it.
Have a great season!
203 returns submitted in time
410 migratory fish caught (returns submitted before 20th November).
71% of migratory fish returned
The digital map project is now up and running, but we need help from members to gather pictures and to name pools. If you have photographs of any pools and riffles that are not currently highlighted on the map, please submit them by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you would like to suggest a name for one of the many unnamed pools and stretches, please get in touch.
The site is now linked to our Facebook page which is now up and running. Anything that is posted on the news section of Fishkelvin.com will now pull through to the status section of the River Kelvin Facebook page. The plan is to have photos and updates sent direct to Facebook this season, and hopefully a river conditions section that members can contribute to, along with comments and photographs.
Please make sure you go to the Facebook page and like it to receive any future updates.
Currently we are without a Head Bailiff as James Crainey was offered a paid position with the Loch Lomond Angling Improvement Association. We would like to thank James for all of his work and wish him well in his new role. James is still a member of the association and has offered to help out and work with the current bailiff team whenever he can.
In the interim Jim Burns and myself will be coordinating the bailiff team, and will act as the first port of call for any issues that need to be reported. Before we can appoint a new HB we need to get some candidates through the exam and make sure they have their Warrant Card.
The existing bailiff team have worked hard this year, and have been very visible within their respective stretches. However, we need more volunteers in order to increase the coverage and protect the river from poaching and pollution incidents. If you are interested in helping out please contact a member of the Committee do discuss how you can get involved.
A much better return rate this year. Thanks to everyone that submitted their return in time. Members are reminded that you must submit a return by the 20th of November, even if you don’t catch anything.
The Dougie Brown Trophy
Willie Keenan from the Islay Inn on Argyle Street has kindly offered to sponsor a trophy for the association. In recognition of Dougie Brown’s contribution to the association over the years, we have decided that the competition will be named in his honour. The competition itself will be for the ‘Fish of the Season’ as decided by the Committee. To enter the competition all you have to do is submit a picture of your fish (caught from the Kelvin system), along with details of a witness, and a brief description of how and where the fish was captured. Also any relevant details about the angler, method used, and conditions at the time. The Committee will then make a decision on which fish is deemed to be the most worthy of winning the trophy. The winners name will go on the trophy which will be displayed in the Islay Inn. They will also get a smaller trophy to keep on the mantle!
Plans to improve the habitat are ongoing following the review of the Habitat Survey. This year we will be scaling up the survey work carried out by The Clyde River Foundation to include more of the tributaries and looking for salmon fry beyond the current monitoring sites. We will also be investigating the possibility of grant funding for some in stream work.
Pollution incidents continue to be an issue. The wet weather we have experienced this winter has put a huge strain on the waste water management system and it has been found wanting on more than one occasion. The message from the Committee is the same as last year, we need your help if we are going to be able to highlight issues to SEPA. Too many times this season members have reported issues to the Committee well after the event, and have not bothered to call SEPA at all. If we don’t call SEPA at the time of the event then there is very little that they can do. SEPA insist on a smoking gun before they will take action, it is therefore up to anyone that sees a pollution incident to call SEPA straight away and then log it with the Committee so we can follow up. Any pictures that you can take would also be useful.
Clyde Riverfly Monitoring Partnership (CRIMP)
The 2013 season saw the launch of CRIMP on the Kelvin. Several members gave up some of their time to become trained kick samplers, and the monitoring began. The sampling will begin again in the spring and the Committee would like to thank everyone that has taken part so far. The monitoring will be key to identifying any pollution incidents that might not be witnessed or reported. Once we have established some baseline data we can use any significant changes as evidence of an incident or underlying problem. SEPA are signed up to investigate any issues that arise from the data, so it’s a great way to make sure the health of the system continues to improve. On a personal level I have found it a fascinating experience, and the knowledge gained will definitely improve my skills as an angler.
We do of course need more volunteers to take samples at the many agreed points across the system. If you are interested in learning more please get in touch.
There will be another launch day this year for all existing CRIMPers and anyone who wants more information. Details are:
The Clyde Riverfly Monitoring Partnership would like to invite you to our meeting on at 11.30am on Saturday 8th March 2014.
Whether you took part in Riverfly monitoring in 2013 or you would like to get involved next year – this meeting explains what’s it all about and how to get involved.
For some quick information and a synopses of the last year please visit our web newspage: http://www.clyderiverfoundation.org/crimp/crimp-news/
Location: Lecture Theatre 1 in the Graham Kerr, Zoology Building, University of Glasgow.
The meeting will take the format of:
• A guest speaker
• light refreshments
• an opportunity for in-formal presentations from last year’s monitors ( if you would like to present your sampling/experiences out on the river, please get in touch asap)
• A round up and plan for 2014
Also if you have any news regarding CRIMP that you feel would be of interest to your fellow monitors across the Clyde, please write to me and I will post it on our website. Photographs are always most welcome.
If you wish to attend the CRIMP meeting in March you will need to formally register your place with me by Friday 21st February by emailing me with the names of those who wish to attend.
I look forward to hearing from you,
Thank you and best wishes,
Clyde Riverfly Monitoring Partnership
Work parties took place throughout the year, however over winter the conditions have made it almost impossible to carry out any work. We will be pushing ahead again when the weather improves, and as always we need volunteers to help carry out the various improvements we plan to make. This year we have funds set aside to improve access through bank clearing and building styles etc. to make areas more accessible.
The growth of invasives and general vegetation took us by surprise during the drought this year, but it’s a lesson for this year and we aim to get on top early where we can. The stretches that were cleared and strimmed looked great and really opened up the fishing. This year we will look to expand this and apply for a license to spray the Knot Weed and Balsam.
Please refer to Fishkelvin.com and the Facebook page for more details on dates where you can come along and help.
The official start of the season is the 11th of February. The ceremony will be held on Saturday the 15th of March to coincide with the opening of the trout season, and hopefully things will be a bit warmer this time! As usual we will meet before and after in the Islay Inn for food and a few drinks.
Have a great season!