The River Kelvin Angling Association Newsletter – January 2012
Our Annual Get Together
The AGM will take place at the Woodside Hall, starting at 7pm on the 2nd of February. (Please do not enter the hall before 7pm). The address is 36 Glenfarg Street G20 7QE. It’s just off St.Georges Road. The nearest tube station is St. Georges Cross.
To help the meeting run as smoothly as possible, please submit anything you would like to be tabled in advance. Although we will have our usual time set aside for questions, we may not have enough to get round everyone. To make sure your point is heard you can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, or text it to 07730682748.
There will be raffle tickets on sale, and don’t forget to bring any unused tags for the free membership draw. This year we will also have RKAA fleeces and hats for sale. All proceeds go to the association.
Words From Your Chairman
As another season approaches, I feel that it is appropriate to reflect on the season past, and the activities of the River Kelvin Angling Association (RKAA).
In terms of the fishing, the season started with a few springers caught, but with only a handful of anglers fishing in earnest, it is difficult to say just how many fresh fish were in the river. I managed a well mended kelt at the end of March, but did see likely springers in the fist week of April.
June saw the arrival of a good run of deep fish in the 9 – 14lb bracket, and I was lucky enough to hook three of these fine specimens, landing two! Sport was fairly consistent and some fine fish were caught, including a few fishers landing their first salmon.
As we moved into July/ August, fish were being caught consistently throughout the whole length of the river. However, grilse were not present in any numbers, with only small runs of fish trickling through in the low water. This seems to have been the case throughout the whole of Scotland. I did experience a good run of grilse in the second week of August, where in a good period of water, I banked two fish, both bang on 6lb, and one a carbon copy of the other! As far I know, this week produced fish, with most anglers I spoke to having landed, lost or encountered fish on most outings.
The back ended saw several periods of very high water, and even once the water dropped, fish seemed to be running hard and, therefore, difficult to tempt. When conditions were more settled fish were still being caught, mostly in the 4 – 10lb range, with some notable exceptions in the high teens and low 20lb’s. By October, there were very few fish being caught, but I managed a nice fresh fish in the last week of September, and then a further three coloured fish in October. I’m sure that fresh fish were running in September and October, and this was confirmed when, one morning, I was fishing with another two association members, when we experienced a run into one of the pool, where all three of us connected with and lost fish ! I heard that later on that afternoon another two members had three fish between them and lost a further two. The stragglers from the morning’s run? Or had the water dropped sufficiently to allow another run to settle in the pool, now at a more suitable height?? Who knows, but that’s the beauty of salmon fishing, a pool is dynamic, always changing, and very seldom are we privy to what the fish are up to below the surface.
To sum up, the season was one of extremes, with several periods of high water, and, I believe, running fish. However fish were caught and, personally, I hooked more fish than last season. I landed one less, but that’s just fishing I suppose! Catch returns have been, so far, disappointing, and members are reminded of their responsibility to submit their returns, irrespective of numbers caught. Not only is this a legal requirement, but it is the only real way that the RKAA can establish run patterns and manage the fishings effectively.
In October of this year, and as the result of a previous ecological study and the granting of relevant permissions from Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Golf Club, the RKAA appointed a consultant to undertake bank side arboricultural works to “open up” the fishings and provide members with more variety of water to enjoy. Several of the pools that have been made more accessible may never have been fished in earnest before. There have been two main areas where works have been carried out, both offering increased access for fly, bait and spinning. The two areas are upstream of the “Slush” at Maryhill to the bridge at the bottom of Dawesholme Park, and the Glasgow Golf Club stretch, from Maryhill Road to behind the club house. The majority of the works have been completed for these two stretches, and has resulted in many metres of new water to explore. I managed to land a grilse of around 4lb on the last day of the season from the Golf Club stretch, and I’m sure that this area will prove fruitful in the seasons to come. The RKAA will be continuing with this kind of work over the winter, and we hope to have another section completed before the spring. We have been very lucky to source a contractor who is very experienced and, more importantly, understands the need of the fisherman in terms of access. Further plans, that we hope will come to fruition over the winter, are proposed in – stream works to create new holding water that we have a lack of good holding water i.e. pools, particular in the middle/ upper reaches of the Kelvin. There are measures that can be taken to rectify this, including the installation of croys, pinch points etc. However, these works will require further consultation with relevant professionals and external agencies, potential funding, and time! This is just part of our plans, and I will endeavor to keep all members as informed as possible of any developments regarding improvement works throughout the season. I hope that all RKAA members will support the committee in its work to improve the fishings on the River Kelvin. All that is left for me to do is to wish all members an enjoyable and productive season for 2012.
Talking Trout with the Vice Chairman
Reports from the riverbank indicate the trout season was good. However, it will take another couple of seasons of recovery before we see the full benefits of the no stocking and no kill policy of trout. Sadly, there are still anglers who kill trout due to deep hooking when fishing with bait for Salmon and although I realise that this is sometimes unavoidable I would urge anglers to be mindful of our recovering trout population. It clearly states in the rules that a killed trout must not be taken off the water, so that there is no dubiety regarding the motives of killing trout it would be a positive step to abide by this. We have had a few catch returns with killed trout on them so it may be worthwhile reminding your fishing friends of the no kill policy.
Early in the season one angler in particular was making full use of having the full permit by spinning for Salmon and when a hatch of Large Dark Olives started switching to the dry fly immediately and catching good sized trout. I believe that this tactic is the best due to the fickle nature of our early season trout and others would do well to copy. Many anglers are taking advantage of the Sunday fly only rule and are finding many areas that are untouched on a Sunday; this means the trout are more willing to take a dry fly as they have not been spooked earlier in the day. Having trout anglers on the water on a Sunday also ensures we have eyes and ears on the lookout for poaching and those fishing illegally. To my knowledge there are only a handful of anglers taking advantage of the fly only trout ticket however I expect this to increase as the trout population increases.
Best time of the day in Summer I found to be dusk when the bats were on the water – areas that I had suspected there to be a depleted trout population came alive with good sized trout that I found only to be interested in micro flies – 22 and smaller. I witnessed a few anglers packing up early and heading off just before this time and only met a few guys on the water who were really giving it a go. The guys I did meet on the water at this time of the evening did very well.
The 2012 season should be an interesting one after the Arbour work that has been instigated by the association at the request of the members. Many new pools and whole stretches have been opened up to make access and casting a fly easier not just for the Salmon angler but for the trout angler as well, I for one look forward to trying out these new areas.
As usual the best flies for the Kelvin are medium sized Comparaduns and Klinkhammers early in the season and smaller F flies and Griffiths Gnats in summer. The Grey Duster in all its sizes always does well and I suspect that an angler fishing with it does not really need to change at all during the year. Nymphs like the Pheasant Tail always do well no matter the conditions.
I hope you all have a good season – please do not hesitate to stop and have a chat with any of the committee.
Working with the Clyde River Foundation
The Clyde River Foundation (CRF) is a registered Scottish charity which researches the ecology of the Clyde and its tributaries, and promotes environmental education throughout the catchment (see www.clyderiverfoundation.org). The RKAA has worked closely with the CRF for a decade and our most recent joint initiatives are outlined below:
Kelvin Catchment Habitat Survey
Habitat surveys are essential to effective fishery management – they identify spawning areas, blockages to migration, potential sources of pollution, areas affected by non-native plants, and areas which could benefit from river restoration projects. The RKAA part-funded the production of a habitat survey of the kelvin and its major tributaries. A total of 55498m of the Kelvin and its tributaries have been walked to date, mapping an area of 695449 square metres! A large draft report is currently under discussion between the RKAA committee and the CRF but projects being investigated include the identification and restoration of a “demonstration reach” to prove the concept of a “natural hatchery” for the Kelvin; the scoping of a project to control himalayan balsam on the Allander; the improvement of fish passage on the Garrel Burn; and the continued funding of the Kelvin Catchment Officer’s job to ensure we build upon this major step forward.
As an example, trout and salmon require a mosaic of different habitats in which to complete their life-cycles. The least productive habitat type for these species is called “glide” – smooth-flowing areas over a usually simple substrate. Some 61% of the river length (and 66% of the area) of the Kelvin catchment surveyed to date is glide habitat – much of this due to the destruction of natural pool-riffle sequences by land drainage and flood defence works. There is much scope for restoring the Kelvin!
Kids and the Kelvin
Many of you will be familiar with Clyde in the Classroom, which introduces primary school children to the ecology of the Clyde system. Kids and the Kelvin was a development of Clyde in the classroom, part-funded by the RKAA (http://kidsandthekelvin.com/). 357 pupils from 14 schools in the Kelvin Valley LEADER area took part, learning how to look after trout eggs in their classrooms, and releasing the fish into their local burns. The children revisited the river to watch electrofishing in action and see their local fish species up-close. They took kick samples back to the classroom, identified the many river invertebrates living in their river, and learnt how invertebrates are linked to the health of the river ecosystem. As a direct result of the project, pupils from Chapelgreen and Twechar Primary schools were the first people in over a hundred years to see salmon in the Queenzie Burn and the Board Burn! We hope to return to this excellent project in the future.
Keep an angler’s eye on your river
Members of the River Kelvin Angling Association are being encouraged to carry out a coordinated river health-check of the Kelvin by taking part in the Anglers’ Monitoring Initiative (AMI). Launched UK-wide in 2007 by the Riverfly Partnership, the scheme is gaining momentum north of the border. Members of three Scottish angling associations and two local fishery trusts are now trained to collect valuable riverfly data which can be used to detect changes in the water quality of their rivers. By recording the abundance of riverflies and freshwater shrimp, anglers are setting up a sort of early-warning system for pollution incidents which complements the routine monitoring by SEPA.
Training for the scheme is run by Louis Kitchen, the Riverfly Partnership’s national AMI Coordinator, who is based with the Clyde River Foundation. Once trained, anglers then set up their own local AMI group, which can decide which areas to monitor and set up a database for the collected information. For more information, contact the RKAA secretary. The Clyde River Foundation has staff trained to support AMI groups and will provide assistance where requested..
List of Scottish ‘AMI adopters’
-Nith River & Fishery trust
-Cramond Angling Club
-Lamington and District Angling Improvement Association
-Slamannan Angling and Protective Assoc
-River Carron Fisheries Management Group
We need to talk about Kelvin
Plans to set up a community forum to drive environmental improvements in the River Kelvin catchment have moved on a step. The Clyde River Foundation’s Kelvin Catchment Officer has checked out the current appetite for a river-based network by canvassing the views of a wide range of stakeholders in the catchment, including both local recreational groups like our own and statutory organisations such as SEPA. ‘Towards a River Kelvin Environmental Network’ is due for publication soon and will identify a number of problems and opportunities for change in the catchment, including the RKAA’s concerns about water quality and its continued interest to implement bankside and fish habitat improvements. Coordination of the network is now on the agenda and the Clyde River Foundation is currently looking to fund the network and a programme of ‘demonstration improvements’ in the catchment. If you have any ideas or would like to input into the network, please contact the RKAA.
There’s something coming between us
The habitat survey identified a number of barriers to upstream-migrating salmon and sea trout. One of the most stark is on the Garrel Burn in Kilsyth, where the CRF has shown conclusively that salmon cannot pass above an instream structure. As a result of an application by Rivers and Fisheries Trusts Scotland (RAFTS) to the SEPA waterbody restoration fund, the CRF met with engineers from Envirocentre who have designed a solution to the problem. The engineering report will now be assessed as part of a funding application for a nationwide programme of barrier removal.
Watching the Beats
To move forwards with our volunteer bailiff force we have made a couple of changes for the year ahead. We have recruited a new Head Bailiff and going forwards all bailiffs will be required to submit a disclosure and pass the warranted bailiff exam. We are working closely with the River Clyde Fisheries Management Trust to put together a catchment wide bailiff force that will receive regular training and support. The first meeting of the RCFMT bailiff force took place in November and there were 3 representatives from the RKAA.
Anyone interested in helping out in the coming season should give their details to James at the AGM, or contact the committee through the fishkelvin website.
Words From the New Head Bailiff
Hi my name is James Crainey. I have been asked to write a bit about myself, my interests, and what I could bring to the club as head bailiff.
I have worked in the water industry for over 33 years currently working for Scottish water during which time I have gained vast knowledge of rivers and lochs throughout both the local areas as well as Scotland wide.
In addition to this I managed a local fishing club in Kirkintilloch for 25 years where I worked in various positions to include treasurer, chairman, and president during which time I encouraged the young anglers within the club to develop the importance of adhering to rules and regulations for angling.
I was also involved in fund raising for the club which helped supplement fishing trips and allowed yearly restocking of the river Luggie. I also worked closely with SEPA for work related problems, septic tanks etc, burst water mains, sewers, and any problems with river management.
As Head Bailiff for RKAA I feel I could bring these skills and knowledge to the club, enhancing good communication and motivation within the club as well as developing my own knowledge of legislation, practical operations on the riverbank, and court procedures for example the power of the water bailiff ensuring standards are adhered to.
The Year Ahead
As you can see there is a lot of work in progress, and much to be positive about. We look forward to hearing your views at the AGM.