Words from The Chairman
As we are about to embark on a new season, I feel that it would be appropriate to give a short overview of the season past.
Like almost all west coast rivers, the Kelvin was under mandatory catch and release of all salmon for the whole of the 2016 season, which presented both anglers and managers with a raft of challenges. From what I have heard Kelvin fishers faced the challenges with gusto, and I’m sure the figures will prove that the vast majority of our anglers stuck to the rules. In fact, I heard word that on one particular pool, fishers had released over 150 fish by the end of August alone. This must be applauded, and is a great indication that many of our new, more novice anglers have taken on board government restrictions, and complied without complaint. Further to this, it must be noted that our “old hands” have obviously done a great job of educating new members, and encouraged good stewardship and conservation of our wee gem.
In fishing terms, the spring was not nearly as productive as 2015, but with around 10 springers landed to my knowledge, we shouldn’t complain. As we moved in to June, the river was blighted by low water, and the catches reflected this. Although, there were some notable exceptions, and with water, tide bright fish in the 8 to 12lbs range were caught. Personally, I had a disaster of a season on the Kelvin. After catching 5 springers in the my favourite northern river, including an 18.5lbs fly caught beauty on the 16th of February, my largest and earliest salmon to date. Back on the Kelvin, luck evaded me, and, apart from a couple of lost fish, it was a blank season for me. However, personal circumstances, and work commitments meant my time on the river was scarce.
As we came in August, conditions improved and a steady stream of spates brought in the grilse in numbers. However, there were days where these fish seemed to be turbo charged, and did not stop in the pools in the lower river. It was very frustrating for rods to see numbers of fish ascending the obstacles in the lower river with real purpose. In saying this, sport was hectic when the fish did slow down and take a rest, and some Kelvin fishers reported catches of two or more fish in a session.
As we approached the autumn, September was once again blighted by low water, and the catches reflected this as was to be expected. The last month of the season saw better levels, and catches were, on the whole, very good, with a couple of exceptional individual tallies. So, all in all a good season, and a high level of catch and release. However, with more than 100 fishers not declaring their catches, our final count could have been much higher, and by all accounts our returns are better than the other rivers in the catchment for last season. On a sour note, I have received reports that there were a large number of fishers out without permits, and I can only remind members that it is their responsibility to check the permits of unfamiliar rods on the water. As association members, it’s your river, and anyone fishing without a permit is basically taking money out of your pockets.
Finally, please remember to look out for work parties over the rest of the winter. Not only will you feel a strong sense of ownership over the river after a day’s brashing and clearing, but it will open up much more fishable water for everyone. Finally , I would just like to wish all Kelvin fishers a productive and enjoyable season 2017, and please ensure to join us for our opening day bash on Saturday 18th March 2017,
Vice Chair’s Report
The trout season started as usual at our most excellent opening day ceremony, which should be a highlight of any Kelvin Fishers diary. We had a good turnout which started out with rolls with bacon or sausage at the Islay Inn, with a dram on the association. We were then piped to the river by Donald McKenzie, and then a speech by our Chair Alan Atkins. We had Lawrence Meechan, who is a casting instructor, teaching some of the kids how to cast a fly and also giving any members who wished some tips on how to reach some of those Kelvin trout. It really was a great day and I enjoyed meeting old and new members. I urge you to attend this year as I always find that members are very free with the knowledge they give out.
I had a difficult season this year due to a fire which meant I had to vacate my house for the best part of the season. However, on my regular walks through the park I spoke to many trout anglers, and this season has been excellent. I have also kept up to date with the river through our Facebook page and group – we decided to shut down the forum on the website and start a Facebook group as that is where it seems all the discussion appears to be these days – you can access it through the official River Kelvin Angling Association Facebook page or website. It was only a few years ago that trout fishers appeared to be few and far between on the Kelvin, however after the decision to catch and release all trout the benefits of this are showing every year with bigger and more numerous fish. Consequently, this has attracted a lot more dedicated trout anglers utilising the bargain fly only ticket. Reading through the various Facebook posts I see that the larger Kelvin trout are often taken using techniques such as French nymphing. I had hoped to organise a meet up during the summer one night for the trout guys (any anyone else interested) to swap skills and knowledge however due to my personal disruption it never happened – it will be a priority this year.
All anglers are aware that a valid permit is required to fish the city’s most accessible river and I would urge anyone who sees someone fishing illegally to telephone the police. The police were called last season to assist with an ex-member who was fishing illegally. The ex-member had previously accepted a sanction of a one season ban however had then continually fished the river. After much more negotiation this then resulted in the persons tackle being confiscated and the police being involved. Obviously it should never have to get that far however, it is the members that have made the rules and expect them to be upheld. This season we will be even more vigilant what with the forthcoming changes in policy due to the Wild Fisheries Review.
Anyway, I am looking forward to this coming season and plan to meet up with anyone that fancies a fish. I get asked often about flies for the Kelvin and I give the usual advice of Grey Dusters and pheasant tail nymphs as standard. Klinkhammers and Comparaduns if you want to be fancy – micro flies at dusk into dark for rising fish.
Have a great season!
130 returns submitted in time
251 migratory fish caught.
Wild Salmon Fisheries Review
As you are aware, the actual review and the river categorisation system are separate. The review is ongoing, and I have been working closely with the RCFMT to review and respond to the information that has been provided by Marine Scotland. Going forward I will be providing links to the relevant information on our Website and Facebook page. By following the links you can keep yourself informed and provide personal responses. We will of course be responding as an interested party at an Association level, and as part of the RCFMT.
With regards to the river categorisation of the Clyde System, the Government has decided that we will move from a class 3 (total C&R) to a class 2 (conservation measures in place). While personally I am happy with the decision, I have my reservations about how this decision was made and the possible outcomes. Not something I am going to go into detail with here, but feel free to ask me in person.
For the past 8 years I think I can say that the RKAA has been a conservation minded organisation. The majority of our members understand the need to show respect for their quarry, and the need to protect fish numbers. This can be demonstrated by the measures voted in by the membership (C&R to June and October, tagging system, etc.). The result is that after discussion with the RCFMT there is actually very little we have to change, as we already do enough to demonstrate that we are working to protect fish numbers. The only change from the rules in the 2015 season, is that we will be issuing 3 tags instead of 5. This is in line with the other clubs in the system that issue tags.
There will be a couple of changes to the way we sell permits next season, but there will be no impact on existing members.
We have had a couple of instances where shops were issuing permits incorrectly, so as a trial we are moving new permit sales to direct only. Existing members will still be able to renew their permits in one of the angling shops, but for anyone looking to buy a permit that was not a member in 2016, they will need to complete a form and send it to the Committee for approval.
We are also in discussions with Fishpal about offering season tickets and day permits online.
There were a couple of incidents of note this year, but due to ongoing legal process I cannot go into any detail. I can say however that we have stepped up a gear when it comes to those that repeatedly go against the Association. While there are some people that would prefer that we did not involve the police in Association matters, in two cases last season we were left without any choice. Those involved were given multiple warnings, but for their own reasons they felt that they could not behave in the manner that is expected from Association members. My only issue with involving the police is that they are often not up to speed with the law that applies to fisheries. As we go forward I believe that this will start to improve, and ultimately if and when the Wild Fisheries Review is completed there will be a far more robust set up in place.
Unfortunately, due to illness and relocation, we find ourselves down to 1 warranted bailiff. We do however have 2 members going through the process, and hopefully a further 2 joining them. If you would like to volunteer some of your time to help look after the river, please get in touch.
As ever, if you see anything suspicious or behaviour you are unhappy with, contact the Committee.
This year I must emphasise the importance of keeping track of your catches and submitting an accurate catch return. This information could well be crucial when it comes to the categorisation of the system. So if we want to remain cat. 2 and possibly move to cat. 1, then you must make sure you submit a catch return by the 20th of November. This year we received 130 returns, which is a number with plenty of room for improvement. I would also like to talk about the quality of some of the returns we received this year, which were well below what the Crown Estate would consider acceptable. The format that we provide online and in the booklet must be completed accurately, as this is the way we then have to submit to the Crown Estate. So, to be clear, you must keep a record of the weight of each fish and when it was caught. Simply putting down the total you caught for the year and caught between June and September is not acceptable. If your return is not completed properly it will be recorded as not submitted, and the fine will apply.
In conjunction with the Clyde River Foundation, we are currently investigating the possibility of “renaturalising” a stretch of the Kelvin. The project will involve taking a “barren” stretch, and attempting to improve the habitat through instream works. European funding may be available, but with the political climate I am not holding my breath.
I recently saw a report on the length of catchment that has been lost over the years to altering of the original channel. Something like 90km has been lost in total! I’m hoping we can use this information to lobby for instream works in the future.
Family commitments and adverse weather conditions have prevented me from organising as many work parties as I have in the past. Most work has been ad hoc around clearing obstructions in the salmon ladder, although Frank Cook has continued to work away at clearing some of the banks up by Glasgow Golf Course. We also invested in some clearing of the vegetation along the stretch above Great western Road, and the result is very pleasing. I look forward to fishing this stretch when the season starts.
The plan is to organise a number of targeted work parties through the year, with plans to tackle access at Kirkintilloch, Torrance, Glasgow Golf Club and beneath Balmore Bridge. That is plenty to be getting on with, but we appreciate there are other areas that need attention and we hope to get round to them.
Please try to get along to a work party and help out if you can.
There were a number of pollution incidents reported last season, but I’d like to start by bringing you up to date with a successful prosecution. Following numerous complaints from the RKAA and members of the public, SEPA took action against Allma Construction. The company were working at the Woodilee development, and had been responsible for sediment being released into the Bothlin Burn and Luggie Water. While I am delighted that there has been a result, I am concerned about how long the process took, and the size of the fine (£4000).
Tommy Savage got in contact with me to report an incident above Torrance. It looks like a large section of the bank has been damaged and as a result the pool has been altered dramatically. The incident has been reported to SEPA and the last update was that the investigation was ongoing and could potentially fall under criminal law. So no further information at the moment, I will update as soon as I hear anything.
The official start of the season is the 11th of February. The ceremony will be held on Saturday the 18th of March to coincide with the opening of the trout season. Details to follow.
I just wanted to take the time to highlight the importance of last season, and the stability of the Association. The cat.3 situation had a negative impact on clubs across Scotland, with many reporting a fall in membership numbers and the financial implications that go along with that. I really feel we have bucked the trend on the Kelvin, maintaining our membership numbers and balancing the books in a difficult period. We also showed healthy catch figures, which again seemed to go against what we have been hearing from other rivers.
Personally, I feel that the Kelvin is a river that is improving year on year. While it is not without its issues, if we can continue to open up access and work with SEPA to keep an eye on water quality, then I believe that we have a fantastic asset. It is my hope that the membership realises the value of the fishing on offer, and gets involved in promoting and improving the fishery.
Have a great season!