RKAA Newsletter 2018

Words from The Chairman

 As we approach the start of a new season, I felt it would be useful to reflect on last year’s fishing, and our hopes and aspirations for the season ahead.

After a particularly jovial opening day celebrations in mid-March, the river started to warm up, and signs of early runners were present by the end of April. However, apart from a couple of pulls and follows, no springers were landed by the time spring fishing came to an end at the end of May. The whole month (usually a good bet for the first Kelvin fish of the season) was blighted with low water, and cold winds, which more often than not came out of the east. However, I was fortunate enough to catch two springers, and lose two on my usual haunt in the north east of the country.

Another particular condition that, quite certainly, played a part in the lack of catches, was the low temperature of the water itself. This was a feature that continued to be the case right into the summer, and that put paid to most early morning sessions, throughout June and July. Fish were caught in June and July, and there did not seem to be a shortage of fresh runners seen trying to ascend the usual barriers on the lower river.

However, it was not all bad news and some lovely, fresh fish were caught throughout this period, but, again, fish seemed intent on running hard, or lying doggo in the pools in reaction to the low water temperatures. I was fortunate enough to catch three sea liced grilse during a week of action during July.  By this time of the season, fish were well spread out in the system, but still being frustratingly difficult to catch. News up and down the river was less than encouraging, with the expected flush of grilse in the last week of July / first of August, being a shadow of what was expected. Fish, again, seemed intent on running hard, and combined with fluctuating water levels, this made for very unsettled fishing conditions. One point that I thing is important to make is that I still see rods out flogging the water when it is clearly rising, or that the fish are running hard. This is generally a waste of time, and fishers would be well advised to pack up and go home in such conditions.

As we moved into the back end, fishing effort slowed considerably, as there did not seem to be the stock of fish, gravid or otherwise, usually expected in the upper reaches at this time of the season. I did, however, manage two more fish from the upper pools, albeit coloured grilse.

This season, top baits would have to be the worm and the flying C, with a few fish coming to a well swum Rapala. Flyfishers were, as usual, conspicuous in the absence, but until such time that we can create better fly fishing water, I regret that this will always be the case. I would welcome any suggestions from members as to where we can improve the fishings, the access and, generally, open up more water.  This season, the Kelvin has been categorised as a Category 1 river, but I urge all fishers to show restraint when taking fish, and ensure that, wherever possible, fish to be returned should never leave the net.

To conclude, I wish all Kelvinators a productive and enjoyable 2018 season, and invite everyone to our, now legendary, opening day bash at the Islay Inn, Saturday 17th March 2018.

Alan Atkins,



Vice Chair’s Report

We have got a fantastic river that seems to improve every year.

My season started with the well attended opening ceremony, we met at the Islay Inn for some hot rolls and then a stroll to the river piped by Donald McKenzie. Paul Young was in attendance to provide some words of wisdom and thankfully we all made it down to the river in one piece. The last few years at least one person has taken a stumble down the stairs due to the moss however the drams have always been saved.

The first cast is above Snow Bridge, so called as in Victorian times snow was swept from Great Western Road into the Kelvin. Got to admit that I do enjoy our opening day as it takes place in mid march after the trout season is opened meaning that someone may see a fish even if it not an actual salmon. It is a family affair as well, there is a fair few kids come along and a casting instructor is usually on call to give some advice. It is a really good day and new members get to meet the committee and other anglers for advice. If we get a mild March we might even see a trout caught on a dry fly. I usually expect to see some rising trout on day one of the season to our very good large dark olive hatches which our trout love. Look for several trout together in pinch points where olives are floating down the river.

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. When we introduced the photo cards a few years ago people used to clip the permit to their jacket or bag meaning we did not need to bother them to check however this seems to have lessened over the last year or so. We regularly get calls from anglers reporting poaching and sadly sometimes this is by people who should know better. There is no excuse to not buying a permit as it is one of the most reasonable permits on the Clyde system. If affordability is an issue the £15 trout/fly only permit is cracking value – trout fly gear can be picked up at very reasonable cost and I am sure a session can be arranged with someone to learn some skills.

Like most of you, it has been some years since I started fishing on the Kelvin and looking back in my diary I do not think it has ever been so good. Twenty or so years ago we did not have the same amount of angling pressure and even though we get folk complaining about access now, back then it was even worse however nobody really complained about it. The Vet School, for example, had a fence stopping access to the top of the stretch and if you were brave enough to climb the fence there was a few horses to dodge which put a lot of the townies off. Days would go by and you would hardly ever meet another fisher whereas now there are guys that fish regularly down that way. Sadly it is also regularly “poached” and we get calls about anti-social behaviour due to people that are not our members.


With three young kids I found it difficult to get out as much as I once did, and this went for tying flies as well. Thankfully pre- children I was able to tie enough flies to last me a good few years however now I am struggling around trying to get some basics together. I am still a half dozen flies kind of guy however there seem to be a few interesting patterns that I will be concentrating on this season. The “Retirer Sedge” is one of those patterns that just seems to make sense, a bit of deer hair for a wing and some poly yarn to make it super buoyant, from June onwards you could keep this as a dry fly and never take it off and still catch fish all day. Obviously I am late to the game, however Neil Sinclair’s foam bodied CDC olive looks reasonably simple to tie and could be used from the first day of the season until the last, also do not discount his old Double Decker as a workhorse which will pull up fish from every river.

I have enjoyed reading the exploits of other anglers on the Kelvin on our Facebook page, please follow the links on fishkelvin.com or urbanflyfisher.com to ensure you get to the correct one.

I hope you all have a great season, if you have any questions whether it is just for a chat or want to know whether a rumour you heard is true or false please do not hesitate to contact me.

Have a great season!



Headline Figures

215 members

138 returns submitted in time

198 migratory fish caught.


Wild Salmon Fisheries Review

Last year the Wild Fisheries Review collapsed, with the Government hinting that this was to avoid having to pass on costs to anglers. I could talk all day about what I think on this matter, but let me summarise by saying how completely gutted I was when I heard the news that the review would not be progressing. Not because I was sure of an outcome, but more because of the time that had been put in by many involved in the Clyde fishery. On behalf of the Association, and as part of the RCFMT, we had responded to many consultations, and there were many meetings and working groups attended to try and get some sort of improvement on a system that the Government had described as “not fit for purpose”.

Well guess what? That system that is not fit for purpose is probably exactly what we will end up with. Not just back to square one, but possibly a step backwards as some of those that campaigned against change have managed to consolidate their position.

In the short term the Clyde continues to be under-represented, without any statutory powers, and without any clarity on what will happen going forwards.

As the Secretary of the RCFMT I will do my best to keep you up to date with any news that comes out of Marine Scotland. There has been a changing of the guard, and I suspect that there are changes to come with regards to how the Clyde Fishery is managed.

The whole of the Clyde system has been given Category 1 status for 2018. As I have mentioned before I have my concerns about how this is calculated, but this approach is here to stay and we must learn to live with it.

The RCFMT have asked that all clubs and associations keep their conservation measures from last year in place, with a view to trying to keep our Cat.1 status going forwards. So our conservation rules and tags issued will remain unchanged.

The Scottish Government has not yet responded to their Consultation on Conservation Measures for 2018, so I am afraid I have no news regarding any changes to the law for the season ahead, and I am aware that this will lead to confusion given that the permit booklets have already been printed. I am assured that any changes will be issued by April, and I will pass on this information as soon as I get it.

Please keep an eye on www.fishkelvin.com for more updates.

 Permit Sales

FishPal is now up and running for existing and new member permits (including trout fly only). We are now looking at how we can add junior and concession permits to this online purchasing format.

Existing members (including concession) can renew their permits at GAC and JB Angling if they prefer not to buy online. Junior and fly only permits are currently not available in the shops.

The coarse fishing permit which was proposed at the 2017 AGM has taken slightly longer to set up than anticipated. It was also felt that this should run from March to make it easier to administer. This will therefore launch this year and be available through FishPal.

Bailiff Update

Currently we have 1 warranted Bailiff, and 7 Wardens. All are volunteers. We have at least 3 people that are willing to sit the exam and become warranted bailiffs, however changes at Marine Scotland have meant that the last exam date was cancelled, and there is no date for the next one. We are currently in contact with Marine Scotland through the RCFMT, and I will update as soon as there is any news.

As ever, we are looking for more volunteers to help ensure we look after the river. If you would like to know more about becoming a Bailiff or a Warden, please contact a member of the Committee.

Habitat Improvement

In conjunction with the Clyde River Foundation, we are continuing to investigate 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.

The intention was to use LEADER funding to pay for the project, however due to Brexit we may have to look elsewhere.

CRF Work Undertaken on the Kelvin Catchment

Fishery Surveying

A total of 11 sites were electrofished in the Kelvin catchment; three of these were annual surveillance sites on the Glazert.  Of the others, two were annual surveillance sites on the upper and Lower Allander Water (Figures 1 and 2) and six were investigative sites to determine the extent of salmon presence in smaller burns.

The Allander sites have been monitored annually for 16 years. The Upper Allander site (Figure 1) usually contained a mix of 0+ salmon (fry) and older (1++) parr but this did not occur in 2004, 2015 or 2017, where only parr were present.  Lack of fry in these years indicates a lack of successful spawning in the vicinity of the upper site.  The reason for that remains enigmatic but it could be due to lack of spawing adults penetrating to the top of the Allander.  To that end, we suggest the RKAA keeps an eye on potential blockages at the fish pass and upstream and the CRF will add another site to its routine monitoring programme in Milngavie above the salmon ladder.




The Lower Allander site is among the most productive in Scotland for juvenile salmon.  The 2017 results show nothing of concern.

Of the other sites, we confirmed salmon spawning in or near the Craigdhu Burn in Milngavie, the Craigton Burn above Milngavie, the Park Burn near Kirkintilloch and substantial numbers of fry were found downstream of the weir on the Pow Burn, which flows into the lower Allander.

Invertebrate Surveying

We have an Honours student currently studying water quality samples taken from 20 sites over the length of the Luggie Water.  The report is due in March.

Schools Work

Clyde in the Classroom 2018, is the biggest ever.  There are currently brown trout eggs in 114 classrooms in 99 schools across the Clyde system.  Around 20 of these are in the Kelvin subcatchment.


Work Parties

Mixed bag with regards to the work parties last year. We had an excellent day at the back of Glasgow Golf Club, where we managed to open up some very interesting pools. The whole stretch looks to have some good fishable water, but unfortunately it is very overgrown and will need several days of work.

We also arranged a session at Torrance, but the turn out was so poor that this had to be abandoned. David Graigie and I instead went to Balmore and spent the day strimming the banks.

Winter weather meant that the closed season was not as productive as it has been in the past. Although I’m pleased to say that we managed a work party on Sunday, and a lot of banking has been opened up above the University Pool.

A ever, the Committee continue to get feedback from disgruntled anglers about access to the river. I would remind everyone that we are an Association, and it is everyones responsibility to chip in where you can. Turn out at the work parties has been very poor. We could get so much more done if we actually had the bodies to carryout the work. In previous years we have had more volunteers that equipment, and therefore invested in more. Now, very often we leave equipment in the cars as there is no one there to use it.

As we open up the banks to improve access, one unintended consequence is that we provide room for invasive plants to grow. This year we will need to focus on removing Himalayan Balsam in particular. So please volunteer to come along to the work parties in the summer months, to learn more about dealing with this plant and to help keep it in check.

 Pollution Incidents

With regards to the incident that Tommy Savage reported at Torrance, where a farmer has dumped topsoil down the bank and altered the flow, I regret to inform you that this matter was not dealy with by SEPA. Indeed a complaint was raised by the Committee, and an apology issued by SEPA. A warning has been given to the farmer, but there will be no further action. We have raised the matter with the RCFMT.

Scottish Water Projects

I recently met with Scottish Water to discuss the upgrades they are making to the wate water system across Glasgow. Having completed most of there works on the Southside, they are now turning their attention to the North, with several projects planned for the Kelvin catchment.

The first stage involves upgrading 3 Combined Storm Overflows that currently discharge into the Kelvin, which are unscreened. Two within Kelvingrove Park, and one beneath Otago Street. The two in the Park are to be replaced and given automatic screens, which will clean themselves following any discharge. The CSO at Otago street will be given a manual screen, which will be electronically monitored and cleaned by Scottish Water after every discharge.

They hope to stat this work in March, and there should be very little issue for anglers. The majority of the work should be finished within 6 months, however one of the CSOs is below a school and can only be worked on during the school holidays. It is estimated that this will therefore take 3 years.

The next stage is to tackle a futher 8 CSOs further upstream on the Kelvin.

Opening Day

This years opening ceremony will take place on the 17th of March. We will meet in the Islay in from 11:30 am, and head down to the river at midday. As usual, all are welcome. We will be offering free fishing to all on the day, so please come along and enjoy the occassion.


Although the numbers of fish caught last season were down, this could be down to reduced angling pressure. This is reflected in the number of permits sold, and could be seen on the river with unsettled conditions in the summer meaning the banks were often quiet.

The drop in revenue can be put down to a slight decrease in permits sold, but also due to an increase in certain permit types. Existing members permits, fly only and junior memberships were all up, so the drop in revenue is down to new member tickets. This is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, if we had 100 new members last year that all renewed this year, then revenue from those sales would be down 30% (no joining fees). The decision then is whether to increase prices, drive new memberships or trim the budget accordingly. At the moment the club remains financially comfortable, so the Committee are not keen to increase the permit price. Instead this year we will look at trying to recruit new members and continue to balance the books with regards to spending.

There are no major outlays expected in 2018, indeed we are awaiting a rebate on our lease as agreed with the Crown Estate. The plan is to try and increase the access at a greater rate this year. We would have done more this year but the tree surgeon we were working with was fully booked for the second half of the year! We will try to arrange more work parties, and look at alternative suppliers for some of the major arbore work.

What we need from the membership?

Please continue to keep an eye out for poaching/pollution incidents.

Volunteer as a bailiff if you can spare the time.

Come along to the work parties.

Encourage others to join the Association.

With regards to recruiting members, we are looking to create some posters to go in angling shops etc. If you have any trophy pictures to share that we can include, please send them in.

Have a great season!